More research indicating that our inner capabilities for perception, understanding, and imagination are not three separate activities in our brains – but rather an intertwined set of abilities directed at prediction. We have an efficiency unmatched by any computer: we notice and process only that information about our world that does not match our predictive assumptions. If the environment around us is unchanging, we are spared the banal status report. Compare this to mind-numbing staff meetings, where “we go around the table and update everyone.”
But wait. While mind-numbing as so many organizational rituals can be, aren’t these status meetings a chance to think? To question status updates that may contain a hint of shift? To think is to learn. To think is to be intentional about questioning our predictions. If the world around us presents us with unexpected information, it gains our attention. This is how we are wired, but our attention is generally focused only on this ‘exception handling.’ We have to exert ourselves to devote attention to the status quo, to look for minor signs of shift. Our brains are fantastic at predicting the effects of our movement through our immediate environment, most likely the purpose for this predictive ability, but are famously also able to trap us in bigotry, mistaken assumptions about abstract concepts such as economics or love, or to help us miss out on opportunities to learn.
The picture here represents one of the great corporate slogans from over 100 years ago: Think. In all things, focus the mind on questioning its assumptions, its expectations. Our world is famously unpredictable, thinking moves us from reacting to the potential for proactive change – to a place where we notice the quiet signals in our environment that deserve our attention and imagine change.
Today we honor a man who shared his Dream with humanity. Who demanded we think about our actions, our assumptions, and to change the nation’s ways towards a moral path. To dream is to think. To think is to question. What do you question today?