A Whole New Mind-Right Brainers to Rule

Prosperity, abundance, automation are not generating happiness.

Are you a witness to this? I believe you are and that’s why you and I find joy and peace in creating…i.e. using the right side of our brains.

To get the complete picture, read A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink.

Several weeks ago, I attended the Entrepreneurship & the Arts: From Survival to Success conference at the University of Tampa. Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design, opened the event by relating that one of every 110 jobs today is art/design related; that there’s been a 43% increase in art/design related job openings in recent years; and that everyone should read Pink’s book to discover why.

As I read this book and think about the big picture of why I am most happy when creating an artwork, no matter the media, today’s disparate pieces of reality fell into place.

Here are some bits from the book that may move you to get a copy….

“The left brain specializes in text; the right brain specializes in context. In other words, the left brain handles what is said, the right focuses on how it is said.”

“The left brain analyzes details, the right synthesizes the big picture.”(See men are from Mars, women are from Venus?)

This emphasis is changing for three important reasons.

First is abundance. Today the world has an array of ‘things’ at its disposal. [Things that are disposable as well.] This abundance, “a triumph in L-Directed Thinking has lessened its[left brain thinking’s] significance.”

Now just producing lots of stuff is not enough. Continuing to excel in using math and science alone is empty in the long run. “There is a premium on R-Directed sensibilities – beauty, spirituality, emotion.” Think of Target’s Michael Graves toasters to toilet brushes!

Second is Asia. Asian parents have emphasized useful education in math and sciences. Hence, Asian countries are producing thousands of extremely knowledgeable college graduates in these fields. Meanwhile, not only are there many Asian young men and women with excellent abilities in these fields, their American counterparts demand $70,000 salaries while the Asians can live an upper-middleclass lifestyle for $15,000 a year. Less cost to American companies meaning outsourcing overseas. It’s called globalization.>

And, third is automation. Computers and computerized items can get jobs done faster. But…not necessarily better.

Pink goes on to demonstrate that over the last 150 years, we’ve moved from the Agricultural Age (farmers) to the Industrial Age (factory workers) to the Information Age (knowledge workers) to-now and the future-the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers.) This last is a result of affluence, technology, and globalization.

Left-brain thinking is still required but what is evolving is the need for those who can empathize, can satisfy the non-material side of human beings, which is what is controlled by the right side of the brain.

In the business world today, says Pink, the MFA is the hottest credential in the world. It is the new MBA! Pink goes into detail on the six R-Directed aptitudes required to compliment the L-Directed aptitudes in this new era

That brings me back to Ragged Cloth Café. Personally, I feel it’s about time! Being a strong right brainer who has worked hard and long to develop that left hemisphere, I’m thrilled that my lifelong concept of value to community has finally assumed a significant place at the table of life.

How do you feel about this turn of events? How do you view textile art, any artistic endeavor, because this applies to music, performing arts, design, etc., etc., today and in the future? Do you see changes, if so, what kind? If not, what concerns you about the inclusion of textile art in today’s world? Hmmmmm???

And, get a copy of the book. It’s a great read.

6 Responses to “A Whole New Mind-Right Brainers to Rule”

  1. 1 Marcey June 25, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I believe we are definitely in a world where a shift of thinking is becoming a necessity and will eventually become the norm. I’ve noticed changes in our society as a whole…suddenly jobs are being outsourced, people are discovering they need more technological and critical thinking skills for their jobs, and there has definitely been a more centralized focus on the arts in traditional left-brained roles, whereas many people are now focused on coming up with the newest idea or being the most creative. It’s very exciting for me to finally see such a shift in an emphasis on the arts where there hasn’t always been one. It’s nice to finally be validated for much of the work I do as a drama director in the school I teach and many of the things I try to incorporate in my classroom. It seems like many of the contemporary ideas of today are coming full circle, where in past eras like the Renaissance, art was such an important part of being. Although I think we are definitely a long way coming to a righ-brained world, Pink is certainly on the brink of what our future could hold. Perhaps one day we’ll all be majoring in Art in college and taking time to meditate on a daily basis!

  2. 2 June May 4, 2007 at 6:54 pm


    Like Terry, I marveled at the idea that the MFA is the hottest degree in town. And I don’t really believe it, although perhaps Pink does. His book sounds like something out of the 1990’s, when Clinton was in the White House and optimism was rampant. Also before we all knew about Enron and the culture of corruption, global warming in its daily update of horrors, and other things I can’t bring myself to mention.

    What your post really sounds to me like is that Pink is an amazing and inspirational speaker and has made you feel at one with the creative urges that surround you. And that you want to include the rest of us in your positive outlook.

    Your question about the future makes me smile a bit, since on another list I’m reading, the word is that Art is Dead. But the fact is that creativity is hard-wired into us; it will, regardless of circumstances, find ways to express itself. And that is true whether we are Asian or American or some integration of both. I’m not even sure we know how to cultivate creativity, although schools certainly try hard. It seems to hinge on some temperamental traits that ratchet themselves through your soul.

    So I am wondering — do others of you find yourself inspired enormously, as it sounds Pat was, by conferences and conventions? What is it about them that can pump you up? For me, it was my personal memory of the feminist conference in Wyoming in the early 1970’s, when we all sang “We Shall Overcome” — and thought it was true. I still can feel a rising excitement — until I remember that it’s 2007 and we haven’t. But singing makes me feel like I’ve entered a different and better universe — even when I’m off key and out of breath. Probably it’s the oxygen deprivation.

  3. 3 terry grant May 4, 2007 at 10:40 am

    I want to say from the outset that I haven’t read the Pink book. I just read the excerpt that is on Amazon and I tried to read his blog, but found it very self promoting and hype-driven, without really getting into anything substantial. So I’m still not very clear on his message. I would like to be fair, but I have a bias against professional prognosticators. My feeling is that books like these are built on a premise, dreamed up to shake people up and sell books and that’s about the extent of what comes of it all in the end. So, color me cynical.

    I had to go back and read the following statement a couple of times.

    “In the business world today, says Pink, the MFA is the hottest credential in the world.”

    Well, hard to believe in the first place, and in the second place–yuck. Huge corporations are–what?–dragging in MFAs to do what? Paint murals in the lobby? “Humanize” the workplace? Design lovelier toasters? I find it hard to imagine how MFAs are finding ways to do what they do in the business world.

    I’m not getting it, obviously. Maybe what he is referring to is the current interest in good design, a trend that waxes and wains throughout history. That would account for an increase in design jobs. Does this filter down, somehow, to fine artists? Textile artists? I tend to think that artists continue to do their art pretty much regardless of those trends. So, I guess my question is “what do you feel it is ‘about time’ for? What is going to happen that is going to be so beneficial to all of us? Beyond a philosophical ‘appreciation’ of right brain endeavor, what will be the material consequences of this ‘turn of events’?”
    Sorry, that was three questions, but I am missing what we are being asked to comment on.

  4. 4 Pat Shaer May 4, 2007 at 8:32 am

    The lack of creativity in the education of Asian students is just the point. Remember, Pink is talking about the reason that Left Brain thinking has ruled, i.e. the Asian students who can whip up a computer on a whim, construct the programming etc. These points and the low cost of living well, is why American companies have farmed out such an abundance of jobs to those countries. The graduates are well educated (left-brain oriented just like our MBA grads) but demand a much lower salary.

    If you read the book, Pink makes us aware that today the biggest output in Japan, especially, has become Pop-Culture. Check out any competition on advertising. It’s become unreal. Job competition resting on technology alone is stalling the job market. Moreover, human sensitivity to what a person sees and hears and feels has felt a drought. Hence, the right-brain of even the Asian worker is being required to get on the stick, as it were.

  5. 5 eileen doughty May 4, 2007 at 5:45 am

    As the parent of an up-and-coming art student, I’m very glad to read that there will be a place for her in the job market.

    I am a little confused by the “Asia” example you gave. Those bright science and engineering students from Japan and similar cultures are taught in a very rigid, fact-based system. Creativity is not a big part of that system. I see that in our American education system, with its increasing focus on test-taking and less and less on thinking.

  6. 6 Susie Monday May 3, 2007 at 11:24 am

    About time. I linked to this from my post today. Thanks for the book suggestion, I am heading to Borders now. Susie

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