Does the media give us a chance to think outside the box? Or does it give us answers to every question we might have in advance? Are we even given the possibility to form an opinion about something or all we do is somewhat agreeing with someone else’s idea?
Sometimes we prefer sharing something with a small impact like our outfit of the day or a picture of the neighbor’s dog on our feed, but shouldn’t we share our ideas and opinions instead? We have this powerful medium in our hands and we let it control us, but it could, it should be the other way around. If we are not able to think outside the box how can we expect to have innovative ideas?
Thinking Outside of the Box
Firstly, I would like to explain exactly what I mean by ‘thinking outside of the box’. Observe these nine dots very carefully:
Now, try to connect all of the dots using only four straight lines. Take your time, it’s not a race.
Did you give up already? Ok, don’t worry, most people are not able to figure out a way to accomplish the task, so you are totally fine. If you actually connected the dots, congratulations, you used your divergent thinking.
I am Divergent
Divergent thinking is a process through which a person is capable to find multiple and original solutions to a problem. Opposite to convergent thinking, that one method that we are taught to use since elementary school: you have to narrow down every problem and find one solution to it. One solution. Only one, and usually there is also a particular method to follow, one that you have to learn by heart and, once you know it, you can be done thinking, you already have the solution. But what if the problem that you will have to overcome next time is a tiny bit different? What do you do then? Do you learn another law, another formula? you are very likely to forget some information working like this, so what happens next? Are you not able to solve a problem anymore?
The Art of Scrolling
Very often we spend our free time, between a class and the other, sitting on the bus or waiting for the laundry to be done, scrolling through social media. Scrolling. That is all we do. We don’t necessarily interact with it, we just quickly pass from a picture to the next. All we need is something to pass the time because we are not used to staring at a wall thinking about what to cook for dinner anymore. Dinner will probably be delivered in thirty minutes on our front door, just by clicking an app. But if we don’t use our time to talk and discuss things how are we supposed to form an opinion?
The truth: we probably don’t have one, we just adopt someone else’s because we saw this nice picture on Instagram or a funny tweet and we thought ‘oh, this person knows what is happening, and I totally agree, but we agree to what exactly? If we had to actually support our point of view in court what would we say?
Don’t Forget to Share
Social media is killing our ability to think and education is not necessarily helping. The solution is not banning smartphones from class and not letting students access the Internet, now it’s a major part of our lives to cut entirely off. Instead, schools should teach children how to use their phones, how to discuss what they read on a celeb’s feed.
Right now, we have the possibility to be heard.
Social media should be the means through which creativity starts and expands. We should be able to get inputs from it and start conversations, but most of all: we should share. We have this idea that our unknown opinion, after all, does not matter and it will not change anything. But right now, we have the possibility to be heard. For the first time in history, everyone has the same chance to be seen, and still, it seems we are not able to use that. Sometimes we say it’s because we don’t have the time to share our ideas on social media but how come we have the time to share what we had for lunch then?
Sharing is what social media is all about. Divergent thinking should help us find a way to do it creatively, in a way that is different, touching. We might think that what we have to say is not important, but it is indeed. Every idea, every thought should be expressed because that is the only way through which we can change a system that needs to be changed.
I am firmly convinced that this world needs more creative thinkers, more people that have the ability to think outside of the box. As thanks to them, we face progress and society keeps expanding. Definitely, we need to know the laws of physics and medicine but once we have the knowledge we should be able to go past that. Progress wouldn’t have happened if people just stood to the rules. There is always someone that is brave enough to push through, so why shouldn’t it be you?
The solution to the dots enigma (I know you were waiting for this):