Responding to Susan Boyle: What Were We Thinking?

20 04 2009

See Talent and the Mob in Chronicle of Higher Education Review’s “Brainstorm:Lives of the Mind” art blog:

I’m offended by the way talent shows offer spiritual redemption through show business. No one stands up to show off how they’ve taught themselves orthopedic surgery or math or carpentry.

. . .The whole audience for this performance — and if you think about it, for all theater — is in the same category as a mob, only it’s a polite version.

. . .For the health of society, it’s a good thing wannabe talents show off inside auditoriums, where audience responses are limited to clapping and booing. Otherwise, there’d be a lot of burning and hanging. . .

Thinking We’re Thinking Is What’s Wrong!

20 04 2009

I’m elevating to post status this comment about ways to decide between competing college applicants:

I read [Crimson Wife’s] comment after finishing the Sunday NYT Week in Review stories — this for example, but pick anything because the whole section is about imperfect categorizing of our information and choices, one way or another.

My favorite might have been George Lucas re-categorizing Dick Cheney as NOT Darth Vader. 😉

I also read Natural Happiness and the real-world research of “decision scientists” in the NYT Magazine — if we can educate ourselves with better information about how our own brains and minds make such complex social decisions, and why, then maybe we can manage our own ambiguity and flailing about and wiring for failure?

CW, you might like Bono’s [ambiguous and almost poetic] piece on feeding soul and spirit individually, as society and an economy.

I was just getting ready to blog all this as educational Power of Story, and here you hand me a custom-made connection!

So no formula or algorithm is perfect, from the Dewey Decimal System to personalized ad software, to college admissions and business staffing decisions. OTOH, intuition, nepotism, corruption, guesswork or being too overwhelmed to function don’t work any better.

The overall findings suggest to me that no human decision-making process Read the rest of this entry »