Becoming Whole Thinkers

Whole thinking

Reading on a variety of topics helps us expand our thinking while it contributes to our ability to discover patterns across different disciplines. It's a process that supports our value as individuals and contributes to the strength of a group.

In Learning Habit weekly, I share what I'm reading along with a curated list of articles and resources for making sense of things, making do with what is at hand, and examples of making it we can learn from.

Topics range from business, technology, culture, creativity, philosophy, psychology, and more. It is an exploration of the connections between the arts and the sciences and how they enrich our lives.

Why different disciplines?

This method of learning is based on the liberal arts subjects of study in schools and apprenticeship studios of the first millennium after Christ in the West.

The classification originated directly from the body of work of rhetorician Martian Capella. In the fifth century he determined there were seven bodies of knowledge people should learn from. Capella separated them into three literary and four scientific studies:

  • He selected political, linguistic, and philosophical studies to form the basis of the literary studies of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic
  • For the sciences, he picked arithmetic, geometry, astronomy (astrology), and music

This body of knowledge would be our curriculum between the ages of fourteen and twenty, after which we could go on to study jurisprudence, theology, or arts. Liceo Classico, where I completed my secondary school, is the oldest type in Italy that still follows much of the same curriculum. Five years on top of the eight of a solid grounding in general knowledge.

Lest the Liceo's five years of math and three of physics seem thin, my professor also taught at the Military Academy — this meant quality of effort had to be over the top from first year to last, school-year beginning to end to pass. 

Specialization in marketing, communications, technology, research, etc. came after a broad and deep program in linguistics at the University of Bologna (Alma Mater Studiorum A.D. 1088.)

Becoming whole thinkers

As we debate the role of technology in our lives, we are also facing an enormous shift in the types of jobs of the future — near and longer term. It's hard to pin-point exactly which jobs we'll have, aside from those we are creating right now.

Thus the idea is to become whole in our thinking, no matter where we work.

The everyday benefits of this approach include learning to ask better questions, expanding our imagination to apply to problem solving, and appreciating empathy to build a shared understanding.

We hear about the value of agility, flexibility, and creativity in our work. We can learn to navigate the uncertainty of context by grounding ourselves in a core set of values and principles we can use to be resourceful and resilient in the face of volatility.

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[image via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain]