Posted by Tom Kershaw in on -
Currently, the speed at which technology develops is dizzying. In previous eras, generations came and went without much in the way of technological development and when something big was developed—like steam power or the printing press—it resulted in a complete social reordering. These days, as soon as we buy a piece of technology, we can barely walk out of the store without some new development making our purchase obsolete.
We now find ourselves in the “technological era” –or- the “information age.” Rare is the person who isn’t attached to some sort of device, linked to the web and, by association, everyone else. It has begun to affect the way we think, our minds, lifestyles, ideologies, philosophies and societies. We’ve all but integrated technology into ourselves. What could possibly be the next step?
We Are Primed and Ready
Technology focuses ever inward, aiding movements like the “quantifiable self,” inspiring techno-centric cosmologies where God is replaced with the “Great Programmer” and machine-oriented ontologies like mechanistic materialism where the mind (among most other things) is viewed as a massive parallel-processing computer-like machine.
Given the greater role technology plays in our lives, its effects on the self and the ripples and waves it is creating through the greater social consciousness, perhaps society and the individual have reached a point where they are ready to adopt and use sophisticated intellectual technologies. This will require a slight adjustment in how we view technology, but I think we’re game.
This blog does not purport to introduce the general concept of intellectual technologies to the world. They are in use regularly, most often within organizations and in the service of management—have a look at Six Sigma or the “5 Whys Method” for examples. Rather, it aims to expose a vast collection of intellectual technologies with far-reaching applications to nearly every facet of personal and social life.
What are Intellectual Technologies and What Can They Do?
Using the metaphor that our brains are computers, an intellectual technology would be a software program, or an update. The computer on which you are reading this blog is a dynamic tool. It can do innumerable things. It probably came with a word processor and an Internet browser. It can also edit photos in Photoshop or record music in Pro Tools. But to do these things, you would obviously have to install these programs.
Your mind is similarly dynamic. It is capable of anything from communicating in everyday situations to engineering spacecraft. But it would take “installing” the “spacecraft engineering program” to do that. That’s why certain applications of your education are intellectual technologies. And this doesn’t only apply to hard sciences of engineering. If you studied journalism, for example, you probably learned about the reverse pyramid. If you were to write a standard newspaper article in that format, you would be using an intellectual technology.
These technologies enable us to operate beyond our base abilities, to exceed what socialization and education have instilled in us, to adapt our “software” to different situations and contexts. However, up until recently, they have gone un-acknowledged as technologies and largely unsophisticated as such. That’s where THEE (The Taxonomy of Human Elements in Endeavour) changes the landscape.
What About these Technologies for Personal and Social Life?
THEE began as intellectual technologies for organizational consultants to use in their work with top managers. Over 30+ years, it has evolved to something much more. THEE, taken as a whole, is about fundamentals, and while fascinating, it must be significantly focused and adapted before parts of it are practical as technologies for your everyday use.
THEE has many intellectual technologies for organizations and managers, including strategies for marketing, making businesses profitable, how governments can effectively intervene in the economy, motivating employees, strengthening the management culture and more.
But where THEE gets really new and exciting is its intellectual technologies for individuals. We all struggle with and question our purpose, our role in society, how we should approach our career, how to handle our family life and numerous other personal and social challenges. More and more technologies are always emerging, being developed and in varying stages of completion, but currently individuals can benefit by learning how to use your autonomy creatively. They can explore their role and how to participate in society, how to interact with others for benefit, how to progress in their career, release their innate creativity and much more.
Much like software that is programmed to stealthily act upon the functions of a computer when needed or called upon, THEE intellectual technologies, once integrated, (and this takes some intensive reflection) wait in your mind for the appropriate context. They activate like knowledge that has become second nature. They are the technoligization of what it is to be a human being in action.
As enthusiastic as we are about physical technology, it only stands to reason that we would extend that enthusiasm to include ourselves, our minds and our endeavors. We’ve made everything faster, smarter, more effective and more efficient—except what is most important: ourselves with our political life, organizational life, and social life. Isn’t it about time?
- Tom Kershaw
- Hi! I'm Tom and I am a full-time writer, musician, and father to a firecracker of a four year-old. My wife and I lease our house and cars from her in hopes that her considerable talents of mess-making, princess-impersonation, and stuffed animal-whispering will pay off and fund our eventual retirement in the south of France.
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