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Howard Gardner lays out "five minds" he thinks are necessary ...
on November 16, 2014
Howard Gardner lays out "five minds" he thinks are necessary for future societies and workplaces in Five Minds for the Future. He even in a later chapter gives the order in which he believes these five different ways of thinking should be developed. I will try to tell you what they are from memory.
1. The Respectful Mind. Gardner thinks that people should develop a respectful mind early on in their life. Developing a respectful mind just minds developing respect for other people and their differences, being able to understand different and similar ways of thinking and behaving. Gardner argues that in many ways such minds can be developed when societies hold up role models for the younger generations, people who were respectful themselves of differences and who encouraged them.
2. The Disciplined Mind. What people ought to learn to have next, Gardner thinks, is a disciplined mind. When a person has a disciplined mind, they are able to understand the major disciplines needed to function as a literate adult. These disciplines are learned over time, of course, and incrementally. The disciplines include what you would probably think. For a modern American, they would be mastery of the English language, understanding of major mathematical and scientific concepts, a working knowledge of American and world history, an adequate grasp of literature, both American and international, and so on--that is, most of what has been traditionally taught in schools. Gardner does believe, however, that the current educational organization could be rearranged to develop more a disciplined mind; most of those proposal are to be found in his book Multiple Intelligences.
3. The Synthesizing Mind. The synthesizing mind is able to take the deep knowledge she has acquired throughout much of her time while studying the various disciplines and then re-combine it to be able to get a clearer picture of the world. An example of this might be understanding how evolutionary processes (biology) and game theory optimization techniques (mathematics, economics) seriously delimit the scope of certain kinds of human thought and behavior (psychology). That example I just gave, by the way, is not fully fleshed, but you get the picture.
4. The Ethical Mind. In Gardner's use of the words 'respectful' and 'ethical,' the respectful mind is when a mind tries to relate to other minds and understand those minds as people to be respected, whereas the ethical mind is when a person tries to relate what should be the proper thoughts and actions given a certain role she occupies in the workplace, in her society, or in the world. This would involve a doctor, for instance, being on time for his/her appointments or for a lawyer adequately defending his/her client. It could also be conceived of more broadly, as with a civil rights activist understanding that it is part of his/her role to defend other people's civil rights.
5. The Creative Mind. Gardner thinks developing a creative mind is hardest to cultivate but it can be done in small doses, especially when people find new ways to relate to other people, or relate to their roles, or to develop new ideas in a discipline, or find a new and creative way to synthesize. Etc.