Five minds for the future

Posted: April 4, 2009 in General, Legends, My Heros, Passion

By A P J Abdul Kalam

I happened to see in the book stall, “Five Minds for the Future” written by Howard Gardner. Let us remember, this book is being published, 25 centuries after Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. My curiosity and desire increased to go into the details of this book; particularly in the today’s world environment of social conflicts, political violence and impact of globalization and above all the youth of the world have a question where their lives’ are heading. I am convinced with the multi-religious background of our nation, the future definitely needs these capacities to be built in the minds of the youth. I studied the five minds of the future, let me describe based on my understanding:

1. Disciplinary mind: Disciplinary minds require the mastery of major schools of thought that may include science, mathematics, history and religion. Apart from this the disciplinary mind has to be enriched with expertise in at least one professional field. Research confirms that it takes up to 10 years to master a discipline. This mind also knows how to work steadily overtime to improve skill and understand.

2.Synthesizing mind:
What is needed is the ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines or spheres into an integrated system and communicate the synthesized thoughts. With the increasing volume of information in the present day world, capacity to synthesize assumes great importance.

3. Creating mind:
It is essential to build capacity to uncover and create solutions to new problems, questions and phenomena. For examples on creativity, in general we look for leaders, rather than managers.

It puts forth new ideas, poses, familiar questions and arrives at unprecedented answers. The creating mind seeks to remain at least one step ahead of even the most sophisticated computers and robots. I understand that most of the computers of the future and accessories will be micro sized, wearable and will have wireless communication with each other. Moderately priced PCs capable of performing about a billion calculations per second today will be able to perform about a trillion calculations per second within next 10 years. It is predicted that by 2019, the computational ability of an ordinary PC would exceed the capability of human brain. By 2029, the capability of a normal PC would be around 1000 times that of the human brain. My view is that definitely the creating mind of the human being will always be superior to the most powerful computers in the horizon.

4.Respectful mind:
It is a uniquely developed mind, a mature mind that has awareness and appreciation for differences among human beings. The capacity built in the respectful mind, leads to understand other persons on their own terms with mutual trust. In the world where we are, all interlinked and need to maintain working relationship, intolerance is no longer a viable option.

5. Ethical mind: It is indeed a built-in-capacity for fulfilling once responsibility as a worker and as a citizen simultaneously, It will essentially lead to “work with integrity and succeed with integrity”.

The mind conceptualizes how workers can serve purpose beyond self interest and how citizens can work unselfishly to improve the lot of all. The ethical mind then acts on the basis of these analyses. In the present scenario, the need for respecting mind and ethical mind is very important, because many of the societal problems today are arising out of lack of consideration for others and overwhelming selfishness of the individual. The education system has to cultivate these minds among the youth, so that they learn to respect others, are tolerant and perseverant for realizing their goals in life.

With these five types of minds, a person will be well equipped to deal with what is expected as well as what cannot be anticipated. Without these minds, a person will be at the mercy of forces that he or she can’t understand. Our educational, political, managerial and spiritual system should nurture these five kinds of minds for cultivating positive human potentials. Disciplines, syntheses and creativity can be put to all kinds of ends if we do not cultivate the sense of respect and ethical orientation. Hence, the five kinds of minds should be made to work synergistically.

When I visualize these five minds of the future, I have a message for all of you. Nurturing all the five minds is possible, if you build the following five capacities among the youth. What are those five capacities?

The five capacities are: research and inquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial and moral leadership are the five capacities required to be built through the education process.

If we develop in all our students these five capacities, we will produce “Autonomous Learner” a self-directed, self controlled, lifelong learner who will have the capacity to both, respect authority and at the same time is capable of questioning authority, in an appropriate manner. These are the leaders who would work together as a “Self-organizing Network” and transform any nation into a prosperous nation. The most important part of the education is to imbibe the confidence among the student is the spirit of “we can do it”.


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