A Short Essay by Tao Gaede
The problems of the future require modular and flexible thinking. Modular thinking is the capacity to think in parallels, either with multiple simultaneous perspectives in a scenario, or many scenarios simultaneously from one perspective. Of course, juggling both multiple perspectives and scenarios at the same time is ideal. Here, the “modules” are the distinct perspectives, which may be mutually exclusive, as well as the distinct scenarios, which may together reveal a single perspective to be internally contradictory. Modularity allows us to compare perspectives and scenarios.
Flexible thinking is the ability to both double-down and reset one’s theories on a given matter in response to new information or reconsideration of old information. Flexible thinking is the ability to respond appropriately and promptly to contradiction or negative feedback from the testing of one’s perspectives. Flexible thinking is essential to being an active thinker who can navigate the unprecedented problems of the future without being habitually confined to misrecognizing the future as repetition of the past in which past solutions are suitable.
This unprecedented nature of the future is what demands these adept ways of thinking. It is especially important that a vast proportion of a democratic polity adopts modular and flexible thinking, because high adherence will scale the effect of institutions. In the realm of average thought, modularity and flexibility should be sacred assumed goods. Modularity enables empathy and mutual perspective recognition, while flexibility enables the mobility between perspectives. Modularity and flexibility provide the machinery for good thinking, but machinery alone is insufficient for human thought – we need values. These values are the measures of justice, ethics, and reality, that ought to constrain thought.
These measures that ought to constrain thought form the bases for thinking perspectives. Such measures are decided by individuals amidst modular and flexible thinking; and once decided, flexible conversation mediates the mobility of distinct perspectives. If institutions reasonably represent the perspectives within the polity, then with such conversations happening constantly throughout, institutions will act from the best tested perspectives surmised within the polity. Such is the ideal mode of thinking within a polity that is most likely to withstand the future.