Critical Thinking is a Byproduct of Education

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Critical thinking is a byproduct of education.

When a culture prioritizes the educational process as one that exists to indoctrinate minds, ensure conformity of behavior, and to socialize to a certain level, education transforms into something other than a vehicle for encouraging critical thinking.

When public education becomes something else, it serves to overpower and induct rather than something that serves to grow engagement and interaction with hard ideas—and tough (rather than utopian) choices about life, morality, ethics, and care.

Critical thinking becomes the byproduct of analyses, interaction, and engagement in a model that favors the development of such traits. In this scheme, critical thinking is not to be confused with “criticism-thinking”: where a conclusion is pre-determined and then the student is educated backward to make sure that their answers (and their thinking) conform to the “right” answer.

Whatever that answer may be.

Fake news” as a public information issue is exacerbated by the presence of a lack of critical thinking among college students: people who are exiting a public education system that overpowered their critical thinking (but not their “criticism-thinking”) long before they became encultured to the vagaries of choices and options in the world that only applied critical thinking could help them manage.

When the public focus is more on telling people what to think, because that process sells more papers, encourages more compliance, or makes better workers (but not better citizens) the public overall shouldn’t be surprised when, after a few decades, critical thinking becomes less of a byproduct of education.

The critical thinking for which the public is looking—to create informed voters, for instance—comes about through first determining what exactly the educational system is for.

Critical Thinking is a Byproduct of Education

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Critical thinking is a byproduct of education.

When a culture prioritizes the educational process as one that exists to indoctrinate minds, ensure conformity of behavior, and to socialize to a certain level, education transforms into something other than a vehicle for encouraging critical thinking.

When public education becomes something else, it serves to overpower and induct rather than something that serves to grow engagement and interaction with hard ideas—and tough (rather than utopian) choices about life, morality, ethics, and care.

Critical thinking becomes the byproduct of analyses, interaction, and engagement in a model that favors the development of such traits. In this scheme, critical thinking is not to be confused with “criticism-thinking”: where a conclusion is pre-determined and then the student is educated backward to make sure that their answers (and their thinking) conform to the “right” answer.

Whatever that answer may be.

Fake news” as a public information issue is exacerbated by the presence of a lack of critical thinking among college students: people who are exiting a public education system that overpowered their critical thinking (but not their “criticism-thinking”) long before they became encultured to the vagaries of choices and options in the world that only applied critical thinking could help them manage.

When the public focus is more on telling people what to think, because that process sells more papers, encourages more compliance, or makes better workers (but not better citizens) the public overall shouldn’t be surprised when, after a few decades, critical thinking becomes less of a byproduct of education.

The critical thinking for which the public is looking—to create informed voters, for instance—comes about through first determining what exactly the educational system is for.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, Old Posts

Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby, Political Pollster, Strategist, Data Analyst, Trend Spotter, Author, Entrepreneur

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

It’s popular, trite, and somewhat cliché to say, when talking about the current social and political state of America, that “the things that unite us should be stronger than the things that divide us.”

But this an American conception of unity and solidarity that only began historically after the ugly mess of the Civil War in the 1860’s.

Today in America, we are divided by political lines, social lines, and even class lines, in as almost a pernicious way as we were in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Now, I’m not an advocate for armed conflict—this is a peace building podcast, after all—but I am an advocate for analyses, understanding, strategy, and planning.

So that we can get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in.

Our guest today, John Zogby, is probably the most famous pollster that you’ve answered the phone for, but have never heard of.

Along with the Gallup Organization, and Nate Silver’s efforts over at FiveThirtyEight, Zogby has carved out a unique niche in American public life.

His analysis on this podcast episode is delivered without fluff and with hope.

Which we all need more of these days.

Hope is the eraser for despair, and since this is our last episode in our 5th season, I want to thank you for listening, for commenting, and for your feedback.

This last episode acts as a “bookend” to our first episode of the season with Bathabile (who’s got her own podcast now, you should go listen to it) and serves as a way of moving forward past despair.

As usual, connect with John and John Zogby Strategies all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

John Zogby Strategies: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/

John Zogby Books: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/books/

John Zogby on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/John-Zogby-327444807331559/

John Zogby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJohnZogby

John Zogby on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-zogby-59928688/

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, Old Posts

Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby, Political Pollster, Strategist, Data Analyst, Trend Spotter, Author, Entrepreneur

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 8 – John Zogby

It’s popular, trite, and somewhat cliché to say, when talking about the current social and political state of America, that “the things that unite us should be stronger than the things that divide us.”

But this an American conception of unity and solidarity that only began historically after the ugly mess of the Civil War in the 1860’s.

Today in America, we are divided by political lines, social lines, and even class lines, in as almost a pernicious way as we were in the decade leading up to the Civil War.

Now, I’m not an advocate for armed conflict—this is a peace building podcast, after all—but I am an advocate for analyses, understanding, strategy, and planning.

So that we can get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in.

Our guest today, John Zogby, is probably the most famous pollster that you’ve answered the phone for, but have never heard of.

Along with the Gallup Organization, and Nate Silver’s efforts over at FiveThirtyEight, Zogby has carved out a unique niche in American public life.

His analysis on this podcast episode is delivered without fluff and with hope.

Which we all need more of these days.

Hope is the eraser for despair, and since this is our last episode in our 5th season, I want to thank you for listening, for commenting, and for your feedback.

This last episode acts as a “bookend” to our first episode of the season with Bathabile (who’s got her own podcast now, you should go listen to it) and serves as a way of moving forward past despair.

As usual, connect with John and John Zogby Strategies all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

John Zogby Strategies: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/

John Zogby Books: http://johnzogbystrategies.com/books/

John Zogby on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/John-Zogby-327444807331559/

John Zogby on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheJohnZogby

John Zogby on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-zogby-59928688/

Laboring in Vain to Make Spectacle

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Many people are laboring in vain online to create, distribute, and promote content that has all the actionable substance of milk designed for infants, rather than meat to be served to adults.

Long ago, symbolism and spectacle have come to replace action and substance. First with the TV-advertising complex that dominated much of the 20th century, and now with the ubiquity of social media use and through our mobile phones.

Content we create that should be focused on that which is concrete and actionable will not be found in our social media feeds.

Just as the television and mass advertising of old, our collectively new, spectacle driven environments, tend to encourage and reward the development of content designed to appeal to the interest of the masses, who have all the attention span of infants.

Or much less.

Adults—people with longer attention spans searching for the meat of substance–have now had their interests, attention spans, and content pushed to the edges of the content universe of the Internet.

In the niches.

They’re tucked away reading long blog posts, listening to challenging podcasts and watching long videos.

They’re investing in online classes and developing learning experiences that marry the life online with the life off line.

If you want to get the attention of the masses then, by all means, compete in a race to the bottom on creating, developing, curating, and distributing spectacle-driven content.

But make a decision about what you’re actually offering: meat or milk, once the spectacle has run its course, that way your laboring won’t be in vain.

The Opposite of Civilization is Human Nature

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts

The opposite of civilization is human nature.

And occasionally, regrettably, human nature finds a way to break through the behavioral, cultural, social, and even religious boundaries constructed assiduously around it.

We define this “breaking through,” as conflict, violence, and—at the nation-state level—war.

The purpose of civilization is to hold back the tides of human nature and to negotiate the consequences of human nature when it runs amok: selfishness, greed, vanity, pride, sloth, envy, and so on.

Civilization does this job through the application of social and behavioral norms that enough individuals agree to. Conflicts arise, of course, when the social and behavioral norms are no longer considered normal.

Cultural evolution is a constant. Human nature is a constant.

But civilization is precious, demanding, and worth defending.

Just Make It Work

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Two things are happening simultaneously in our organizational cultures, our markets, and our personal lives.

We have established non-curiosity (“I don’t care how it works, I just want it to work”) as the new standard for engaging with the work, the ideas that interest us (or not) and the world of conflicts that inevitably surround us.

We have also decided that we don’t have the time or emotional or mental bandwidth to care deeply about a topic, person, or idea, and thus we have jettisoned that character trait (caring) as well.

At the same time, for anyone who is interested enough to look, there has been an explosion in the ways that people are explaining what they do, why they do, and—most importantly—how they do it. From videos on the Internet to long-form blog posts, to intentional curation via your email, to documentaries streaming on your over-the-top video player, there are more people taking more time, to explain what they do, to more interested (curious) and caring audiences than ever before.

These two cultural occurrences represent a split and a niching down into time, attention, caring, and curiosity that is dividing audiences, and may well portend a future of less curiosity and caring at mass, and more curation, curiosity, and even care, at the edges of the conflict universe.

The things that matter, the solutions that “stick,” the statements that are meaningful, and the audiences who will care about the impresario’s show, are not going to be found in the immediate, speed driven, bite-sized, mass market.

They will be found at the edges, slowly, over time, and they will be hungering for you to arrive, with your deeply thought out solutions to their most pressing problems.

Just Make It Work

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Two things are happening simultaneously in our organizational cultures, our markets, and our personal lives.

We have established non-curiosity (“I don’t care how it works, I just want it to work”) as the new standard for engaging with the work, the ideas that interest us (or not) and the world of conflicts that inevitably surround us.

We have also decided that we don’t have the time or emotional or mental bandwidth to care deeply about a topic, person, or idea, and thus we have jettisoned that character trait (caring) as well.

At the same time, for anyone who is interested enough to look, there has been an explosion in the ways that people are explaining what they do, why they do, and—most importantly—how they do it. From videos on the Internet to long-form blog posts, to intentional curation via your email, to documentaries streaming on your over-the-top video player, there are more people taking more time, to explain what they do, to more interested (curious) and caring audiences than ever before.

These two cultural occurrences represent a split and a niching down into time, attention, caring, and curiosity that is dividing audiences, and may well portend a future of less curiosity and caring at mass, and more curation, curiosity, and even care, at the edges of the conflict universe.

The things that matter, the solutions that “stick,” the statements that are meaningful, and the audiences who will care about the impresario’s show, are not going to be found in the immediate, speed driven, bite-sized, mass market.

They will be found at the edges, slowly, over time, and they will be hungering for you to arrive, with your deeply thought out solutions to their most pressing problems.

Louis C.K. and the Cortez Problem

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, New Posts

There is a story (probably apocryphal) that the comedian Louis C.K., burns his jokes, his stand-up material, and his writing after successfully delivering it at the end of each year.

This story reads like a corollary to the idea (popularized through the constant repeating of the alleged actions of the explorer Hernando Cortez upon arriving in the New World) of burning the boats on the beach.

This idea of creative (or not-so-creative) destruction, as a motivator to either exploring further (because there is nowhere else to go) or rebuilding (because everything you built before is destroyed), can be scary for some.

Even for those who believe that they’ve already burned the boats…and the jokes.

What’s never talked about is developing the will and the courage to look at what you have accomplished in the past (i.e. a successful negotiation, a big project, a positive relationship) and ask the two following questions:

What about this could be better than it is now?

Who here will have the courage to change in order to make this thing better?

Having the will to destroy what’s already been created in the pursuit of a better future is the first step toward realizing that better future.