Heart-Centered Thinking: Last week’s link to the post on my change of heart didn’t create a workable link so I am reposting it here. Bringing my “whole self” to my work has also prompted me to spend some of my thinking time on what it means to bring my “whole soul” to my work. I lay no claim to having found “the answer,” but it is a question I encourage everyone to spend some time reflecting on. I also invite you to spend some time reflecting on what you should NOT be thinking about.

Think Small and Then Big: Technological trends, especially those which are advancing exponentially, can be deceptive. At the beginning of any accelerating trend, the technology appears to be growing at a linear pace but, as the compounding continues, and scale changes by magnitudes and this fast growth can catch people by surprise. A few months ago, I noted that ChapGPT had been added to Boston Dynamic’s multi-purpose robot–giving it some impressive new cognitive abilities. Now, the same robot appears to be improving its ability to grip and handle small objects. In a world struggling to find qualified labor, humanoid robots are likely to arrive in a warehouse, store, farm or business near you sooner than you might expect.

Think Different: John Cage, the composer and musical theorist, once said, “I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas, it’s the old ideas that frighten me.” Since reading that line, I have become an admirer of Cage’s thinking. He died in 1992 and he is best remembered for his piece “4’33,” but he also composed the longest playing musical piece. The latest note played on February 5, 2024 and the entire composition won’t be completed until the Year 2640. (FYI: The next note is scheduled to play on August 5, 2026.) The idea of a musical composition that plays out over 500 years might sound ridiculous to many people but in a world that suffers from a serious inability to think long-term–and by “long-term” I mean hundreds of years into the future–Cage’s composition is a good reminder that what we are doing to the planet’s air, water and soil today does, in fact, matter a great deal to future generations.

Think Radically: I live in Minnesota and the lakes didn’t freeze over until mid-January and this week the high temperatures are hovering in the low ’50’s. (The average temperatures are usually in the 20’s this time of year). Of course one warm season does not prove climate change, but the world is coming off its hottest year ever and science offers substantial supporting evidence for the idea that humans are contributing to climate change in a significant way. This reality has led to a number of scientists and policymakers to debate the wisdom of geoengineering. Nobody fully knows if it is wise for human to tinker with manipulating the atmosphere on a larger scale, but the topic is gaining traction.

Think Optimistically: Long-term access to groundwater remains a serious issue for both farmers and many towns and cities across the United States. There is, however, hope as this article about how citizens and farmers in Montana are working to protect the groundwater for future generations.

Afterthought: “What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” –Martha Graham

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