Mental Landscapes, David Brooks and the Aspen Festival of Ideas

David Brooks gave a talk last week in Aspen that inspired me and that I can’t stop thinking about. Note that it comes in three parts. His book is due to come out in the fall of 2009.

Brooks discusses an intellectual revolution that brings together neuroscience, sociology, psychology, behavioral economics, genetics, and a variety of other fields in an effort to shine a light on non-cognitive skills — that which cannot be counted by IQ scores, but is important to success.

He addresses the importance of the action that takes place in the human mind below the level of the awareness, in the unconscious; how emotion is the central core for giving value to thinking – it’s the central organizing process of the brain; and the permeability of the human mind.

Brooks speculates: How do you talk about the unconscious or love at a Congressional Hearing? We tend to focus on what we can easily measure. Yet, what really matters is extremely emotional, unconscious, and relationship-based and, for that, we need a new vocabulary.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Brooks’ talk. If you have the time, there are a number of talks worth viewing on the site from the Aspen Festival of Ideas.

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