John Brockman, via Edge.org, gathers together the thinkers of our era, and asks them a question. This Will Make You Smarter is a collection of answers to one of those questions.
“What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”
Each entry names the concept proposed by one of today’s intelligentsia, describes it in layman’s terms, and attempts to connect it to everyday life. The answers are varied, but have been grouped into overall themes. A few of these mini-essays are beyond me, to the point I’m actually aware I don’t get it. But, on the whole, the entries are interesting and thought provoking, and justify the effort to understand them.
Now, just in case you think this might be too “sciency,” Brockman clarifies the question a bit. “Here, the term “scientific” is to be understood in a broad sense – as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be human behavior, corporate behavior, the fate of the planet, or the future of the universe.”
I think that much of this book will eventually end up in my personal arsenal (I said arsenal) of intellectual weapons, to arm my pen and tongue, as it were. I will update this section with synopses of some of the entries, and the questions and ideas they provoke, as I work through the book.
But check it out yourself if the state of modern intellectual development is something you’re interested in exploring.