It seems like we just need to slow down and think at a deeper level sometimes…
It sometimes seems like most of the population is being lulled to sleep, floating along on autopilot .
You’ve seen it, too. We all have.
You’ve seen the two people, standing less than 100 feet from each other, texting each other… or worse, standing even closer while trying to have a conversation… and texting someone else.
You’ve seen the blog comments left by what we call trolls… senseless, baseless comments that are hurtful to people, and don’t have much thought behind them… or a valid place in conversation.
You’ve seen the rather immature name-calling when it comes to political debates (and other debates)…
“You’re a left-wing nutjob,” “You’re one of those crazy libertarians,” and variations of these for the “other side of the aisle.”
And that is the mild version of these insults.
You’ve seen the lines at the Apple store… millions of people across the country lining up, senselessly, for their 15 minutes of fame as they try to be one of the first to buy an iPhone or other device that doesn’t really have much more to offer than the previous version they bought less than a year ago.
(Apple isn’t the only company with dedicated buyers, either. I think we’ve all fallen victim to this “we’re part of a community” style of marketing)
You’ve seen the news media “reporting”… blathering on about various news bites that really do not stimulate anything really important, rather focusing on how to get more eyeballs for advertisers (when actually thinking about what the viewer truly wants IS that way, rather than psychologically tricking people into watching with hyperbolic and negative headlines).
Now before I continue… let me provide a little context for this Manifesto for thinking…
I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I’m very open-minded. I’m not a scientist, but am aware of (but not an expert of any kind in) the scientific method…
… and finally, what I’m writing here probably isn’t going to make Internet history.
That said… what I’m writing here has a basis (and at least some measure of proof) if you do some light Google searching or discussion with other people (that is… thinking).
I’m not intending this to be an academic essay, so there won’t be footnotes or references within.
I’m going to leave it to you to do the work.
I realize that implies a sort of “trust me” mentality… to which I say for the purposes of this essay, DON’T.
Don’t trust me, do your deeper thinking, do your research, form your own opinions… and if you do, you’re starting (or continuing) on your own path to the type of thinking I’m attempting to inspire here.
Because it is that type of deeper thinking that seems to be seriously lacking in our society, not the science-based, philosophical type of thinking that accomplished professors do in advance of an academic paper of some type, no…
… the kind of thinking that gets us past the superficial, past the marketing messages, past the news bites, past the name-calling, past upgrading our gadgets unnecessarily, past the baseless accumulation of “stuff,” past the senseless impulsive consumerism, past our sense of entitlement, past the need for greed, past our willingness to judge others based on very limited (and sometimes nonexistent) information…
… overall, getting us towards the type of deeper thinking we need to get back to as a society, and COMBINE (not replace) that thinking with technology to allow all of us to prosper as the human family together, genuinely united yet maintaining our individuality as people.
Let’s define that thinking briefly…
If you’re a troll, and publish hurtful comments towards other people, that isn’t thinking (in most cases, at all).
If you run a news media organization, there is a business beyond “clicks and page views”… even beyond selling advertising… you just have to think a little and quit what I call the “Enquirer Mentality” of writing with the sole purpose to get views and clicks (see Ryan Holiday’s book “Trust Me, I’m Lying” for more on that).
I would be VERY interested in a news media organization that focused on accurate reporting, instead of trying to be “first.”
I would be even more interested in a news media organization that could report the news, instead of relying on hyperbole and “Enquirer” – like headlines to try and “get” people to watch or click.
That would represent deeper thinking on the part of the media organization, from my perspective.
For the average person at home (like me), deeper thinking is:
–> Slowing down before publishing comments online, and checking spelling and grammar, at least a bit (no one is perfect, but examine some YouTube comments to get a grasp of what I mean here).
–> Thinking about and formulating a logical, well-thought-out response to something… whether it is online or offline.
–> Thinking about the impact on other people, of whatever you say or do, BEFORE you react (or act) on any information you read or hear. We need to think, not spread rumors and gossip that damages other people’s reputations online.
–> Thinking before contributing to a “self-policing” environment. We don’t need to focus our lives on watching what others do… and please don’t contribute to trying to consistently “catch others” doing something wrong.
(most people are good people, and there will be obvious exceptions to this, all I’m saying is don’t focus on the “policing” part)
–> Thinking just a little bit more about the impact you’re having on other people when you are in face-to-face conversations with them. You do NOT have to “get that call” or “answer that text” while you’re talking to someone… the rest can wait, slow down.
–> Thinking about controlling our technology instead of letting it control us. I’ve seen countless people walking around, and every time their phone “dings” or another email comes in… they respond similarly to the dog in Pavlov’s bell experiments (search “Pavlov’s dog” on Google for more).
Ding… get the phone… RING… gotta answer the phone … Beep… answer that text etc… STOP IT! Slow down, and think a little bit, the devices and their little notifications can wait, I promise.
Not one of us is so important, nor is there any “competition” among us that requires we attend to our technology in real-time.
Maybe “timely,” and I use this term conservatively, but not real-time.
Even business owners need to define what a true “real-time” response is… I agree that your clients need care and the relationship nurtured… but that does NOT need to run your life… or your business for that matter.
Take good care of the people that support your business (it is about the people, that’s for sure)… but be sure to set parameters and expectations early in that business relationship, clearly, so you don’t have to fall into the trap of unknown client expectations.
You don’t need to be available 24/7 in most cases… and your competition won’t want to be either.
Think… we need to think… it allows us to be proactive instead of reactive, and in the instances where reaction is necessary, if we think we can react in a way that makes it easier for everyone involved.
If we think, instead of “pre-judging”… we can open our minds and listen to the other side of a vaccination debate, an abortion debate, etc… instead of immediately classifying that person as an “idiot” or worse, just because they don’t see things our way.
If that person on the other side of the debate is equally open-minded, then we can respect each other’s point of view, instead of pulling up pitchforks and torches… and trying to get our 15 minutes of “fame” on the news.
Calm down, and think. Our society, our world, our governments etc… will be a whole lot more peaceful if we do.
Thinking allows you to love your neighbor for who they are, not what stuff they have.
Thinking allows you to bring your art to the world, to share it with us, because if it is truly valuable… we want to see it. If it isn’t, share it anyway, and if we are all thinking… we might be able to help you make it better.
Thinking allows you to tone down that Amazon, or Goodreads book review, and review the book instead of the author. Thinking also allows you to choose whether or not you really want to leave that review in the first place. Like Grandpa used to say, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”
Thinking allows the upper level people at the NSA itself to re-evaluate the “gotta collect it all” mentality, and instead do its real, prescribed job while respecting the privacy of the citizens that make this nation whole.
After all… we are all part of the same country, aren’t we?
Thinking allows the Government to help change the U.S. Healthcare system, by doing its job instead of trying to become another health insurance provider and forcing people to make choices… we don’t need babysitters, we need the insurance companies to think, too.
Because thinking allows the health insurance companies and drug companies to realize they ARE in fact price-gouging their customer, at the short-term benefit of their profits… and the long-term failure of the economy as the middle class erodes away.
(yes, you can have capitalism with respect for your fellow human)
Thinking allows us to redefine capitalism to include “make profit, all the profit you want, but NEVER at the expense or harm of your fellow human being.” Take care of the people who take care of your bonuses and paychecks, and you’ll have more of them.
Even better, you’ll have the most priceless asset of all for your business… the trust of the person who chooses to do business with your company.
Thinking is something we can easily do. It will change a lot of things, mostly for the better, but we ALL have to be willing to get our heads out of our gadgets, and marketing, and the news, and our stuff (only for a few minutes to a couple of hours a day) and think.
I hope you’ll join me in doing so.
If not, I think you’re missing out… but hey, what do I know?