Thinking Beyond the Flat Narrative
ABOUT THREE-DIMENSIONAL THINKING
(image per uncyclopedia.)
Social media is forcing us to change how we see things. Because of social media, our minds are changing how we perceive and process reality.
The previous way of thinking and perceiving is to take a news story handed us by the Big Screen at face value. Yet what you’re receiving has been heavily edited– often in order to present a rigged, structured viewpoint. It looks at a news item from a single angle. Everything from established news outlets is geared toward narrowing and focusing the story, for greater impact.
QUESTIONING THE NARRATIVE
Social media adds more information– often from unapproved sources like your average citizen. (The essence of democracy.) Unexpected video– or the full video before editing. New, different angles. The truth of a matter is suddenly not as certain as we were originally led to believe.
Many of those trained to think one-dimensionally have trouble handling this. A leftist friend of mine recently tweeted out this statement:
The idea that there are two sides to every story, and that you gotta hear ’em, is probably the most destructive ideological position operating today.
In truth there are more than two sides to every story– but at least two. We should accept two at minimum, because the alternative is totalitarianism.
SEEING THE FULL PICTURE
The person who wants to be more than a blind follower of this herd or that one, has to think in as broad a fashion as possible– and engage in games or exercises designed to get the mind outside a narrow corridor. Chess runs on rigid rules, but trains the player to think side-to-side as well as straight ahead. More importantly, to be good at chess you have to put yourself in the shoes of your opponent, to see the game board through his eyes, from his viewpoint. Poker trains the player to study the person as well as the cards– to try to understand the minds of a variety of players.
The three-dimensional thinker is ahead of the curve. Within several years, those who aren’t seeing the world three-dimensionally will be far behind.
Examining a variety of views and opinions simultaneously isn’t comfortable or easy. For indoctrinated ideologues especially, confrontation with contrary viewpoints is especially painful. It goes against their schooling; against every part of the way they’ve been trained and educated.
Standard education practices teach students in a linear way. The student progresses in stages, from one level to another, as if in a corridor– using texts which proceed in a linear fashion. Everything is geared to reinforce the impression that the universe works in a linear, one-dimensional mode. But it doesn’t. The environment we emerge into is far more complex than we’d like to believe. Linear thinking is a shorthand way of understanding the world– but only that. Extremely limited and ridiculously incomplete.
The creation of smartphones and the rise of social media have given us a bombardment of information. There are three ways for ourselves and our brains to handle that.
A.) Our personalities and our brains break down in the face of it. We go insane.
B.) A totalitarian state or giant monopoly drastically restricts the flow of information the public receives. Unapproved participants to be kicked out; shut down; disallowed.
C.) Our minds adjust. We learn to adapt, to process information faster. Which means, for one thing, faster reading. Not quite speed reading, but close. (The direction our Attention-Deficit society has been going in anyway.) Which will have many consequences for the literary art.
I’ll discuss those consequences, and the effect of three-dimensional thinking on the arts in general, in a future essay.
-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit NEWS