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"We are beginning to understand some negative psychological effects of the extraordinary volume and pervasiveness of media, advertising, entertainment, and electronic wizardry coming at us, and there is not a moment to waste in correcting them." Ms. Treder-Wolff spends the next few chapters in specifically detailing how each of these numbing, destructive influences, albeit designed to heighten progress, dull the mind in logical thought, feeling and the sense of self-worth necessary to live a fulfilled and successful life. Given that the rate of speed of mechanisms and technology is not about to alter in the near future, this text is a wake-up call and more than that a guide to get back on track before we become the Brave New World or other dystopian novel characters.
To begin with we are reminded that creativity requires both logic and feeling, a "balance between structure and open-endedness, as well as time to envision possibilities, a skill that all great thinkers possessed in the past. It also requires living with a certain amount of tension that always exists between what is and what is to be. Rather than being purely speculative, however, this social worker, creative arts therapist and certified group psychotherapist, offers valuable suggestions on how to achieve this structure and balance.
One chapter deals with the need for social connection, the fact that it is easier to brainstorm in community than it is individually. Living and working in a dynamic community decreases pressure and fosters creative ideas as well as networking connections to make the ideas a reality. Our technology often locks one into just the opposite as we sit typing on our computers or communicating on Facebook; this kind of connection lacks what in-person dialogue and living fosters so much more creatively. The author proceeds to both explain and prove this by citing research about how the neurons in the brain react to close relationships and communication, a reminder today's culture needs to heed. The roles we play emerge not only from our inner self but also from our "socially-imposed channels."
Finally, the end chapters of this text speak about the need to face our strengths and talents, as well as face our darkest thoughts and feelings in order to free up the space taken by pressure and pain to be filled with a stronger and more satisfying sense of personal worthiness and a positive self-identity. Many examples and details follow in a realistic, meaningful way that is both credible and supported by quotes from some of the greatest thinkers of the past and present.
Possible Futures: Creative Thinking For The Speed Of Life is a well-written, intelligent look at an alternative lifestyle awaiting one who wishes to live in the modern world but not be consumed by it. Much more information and discussions fill these pages that is practical, visionary and motivational for anyone looking to move out of the rut of contemporary living and consider a different "possible future."
Very nicely done, Ms. Treder-Wolff!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on August 21, 2009