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517otu34hhl-_sx326_bo1204203200_A recent book, “The Next America: Boomers, Millenials, and the Looming Generational Showdown” confirms it’s plausible to see recent presidential election as a symptom, rather than a cause. The book illustrates how different the US is now than previous, and suggests this doesn’t in fact point backward to circumstances which no longer exist, but instead ahead to a different future we have yet to assemble.

Despite current reactionary trends.

Written by Paul Taylor and the PEW research center, this book is full of statistical sketches of changes in America that are dramatic and ubiquitous. It’s not just one thing that is dramatically different, but it’s that change is everywhere we look compared to what US was decades, or even ten years, or five years, earlier, in the US.

One of the more puzzling changes was how in the span of perhaps five years or so the majority position in the US went from suspicion and fear of those at the fringes of sexual roles, ( homosexuals to other forms of “deviancy”)…to today’s apparent majority that supports the rights of those on those fringes.

How did this happen? What can we learn from it that pertains to changes in learning? One of the 7 core elements that PSA posits, is “Understanding Media in the Mobile Age.

That requires understanding perception, and understanding perception requires understanding consciousness, which is after all the sum total of that which we are “paying attention to”…both externally and internally.  Which is then constructed into a reality we live and act in. Or in a phrase, how we perceive the world.

Probably one of the better explanations of .perception and consciousness and reality, which is something that is very hard to talk about…..might be found in the article below from the Atlantic discussing the ideas of Professor Donald D. Hoffman UC Irvine.

Download (PDF, 101KB)

 

One hypothesis might go like this: Millenials are comfortable with the fringes of sexuality because through exposure to internet depictions of sexuality there’s just much less fear of the unknown to deal with concerning sexual roles. This is a speculative statement,  but it’s also a model for how dramatic change might be caused by a change in perception that was brought about by exposure to new circumstances.

Along those lines, since online presence has certain aspects of avatars, AI, robots, taking on personas that only exist in the online “space”, VR, and other aspects of media… might not those who spend a lot of time in this type or sort of perception, come to view definitions of “the world” and “what is a person” in dramatically different ways?

In other words, views on what media is, and what a person is, might change dramatically, even “overnight”…read 5 years or less. If so, then our ideas about learning in collaborative contexts, and in social learning constructs, and how to best learn by working with and in the new media world, would also change dramatically.

Some signs of this sort of change have been present in movies and other “shows” for some years, sort of along the lines of, our perception isn’t what’s really happening. It’s an illusion. Like the “Truman Show” for example.  Yes this is a speculative endeavor, but when change is occurring rapidly, we have no choice but to throw up speculative signposts along the way, and hope they point us in the right direction.