Shoot Shock Me.
In my previous piece, I advanced the need to coin some new terms that better reflect the true nature of—and the threat created by—the “fear of missing out”, or FOMO. Namely, that it is critical to be in a state of relaxed mindfulness and cognitive ease, as that is necessary for introspection, imagination and creativity, and FOMO is the antithesis of this.
A recent article in the New York Times entitled “No Time to Think”, correctly points this out and is worth a read:
“Researchers have also found that an idle mind is a crucible of creativity. ‘Idle mental processing encourages creativity and solutions because imagining your problem when you aren’t in it is not the same as reality,” said Jonathan Smallwood, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of York, in England. ‘Using your imagination means you are in fact rethinking the problem in a novel way.’”
The article goes on to highlight a recent and very disturbing study published in Science that found a significant number of people “began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people… had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.” Clearly, we have become a culture that “values doing more than thinking and believes answers are in the palm of your hand rather than in your own head.”
It is one of the core themes of The Evolved Generalist to advance the idea that the true existential threat to any enterprise trying to compete in the 21st century is the failure to create a culture of mindfulness that nurtures innovation and inspiration.
The Science study shows just how difficult that can be, and should serve as a wake up call.
-Mark HT Ridinger