Friday, September 18, 2009

i-TFTD #219: Buzan's Bytes on the Brain

i-TFTD #219: Buzan's Bytes on the Brain

Nuggets gleaned from a participant at a seminar titled, "The Brainsmart Way to Surviving in a Changing New World" conducted yesterday in Mumbai by Tony Buzan, originator of Mind Maps and author of over 90 books:

-From the Age of Agriculture, humankind progressed to the Age of Industrialization, then to the Age of Information, then the Age of Knowledge but now, we have moved to the Age of Intelligence. The brain, as the manager of knowledge, needs to be managed now since information and knowledge have become easily accessible commodities. Notice the increasing frequency of magazine cover stories on the Human Brain in the past decade and a half

-While the brain does have specific regions with specialized functions, most of our thinking activities involve both hemispheres of the brain. Effectiveness is increased by synergetic utilization of different parts of the brain

-It is simplistic to characterize Einstein's thinking as left-brained (logical, analytical) and Leonardo da Vinci's as right-brained (visual, spatial imaginative) but these and many other great thinkers demonstrated ample use of both types of thinking. One commonality across Einstein, Newton and da Vinci is regular daydreaming!

-Many people say they are not good at drawing but that is due to a flaw in how we were taught. Everything else we have learnt as children (speaking, writing, arithmetic) involved imitating first and then giving freedom to make mistakes. Somehow when it comes to drawing, there is ridicule at the initial attempts, and copying is not encouraged

-Progress involves classifying and creating specialized branches of knowledge but we should not forget the reality of inter-connectedness.

Once, when narrating some anecdote from an early stage of my career, I mentioned that there was no Google or even Internet in those days, and a participant at the training programme wondered aloud, "Without Google, how could you do any work?!" Many of us have witnessed a dramatic tranformation in our work and lifestyle with the advent of the worldwide web but we rarely pause to consider whether it requires us to act differently with respect to our thinking habits.

Leonardo's notebooks were a mixture of textual notes and drawings. Einstein's "thought experiments" involved visualizing strange scenarios combined with reasoning.

Buzan's propounding the use of mind maps in any topic he covers can put off some people but he deserves credit for bringing such simple tools to widespread use.

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