Why do we react to information in certain ways when we are older?
Afrikrown Annual Art Exhibition was launched officially in September, 2019, with the aim of promoting the art of young Africans and creating a space for interaction geared towards fostering societal changes. As much as there is a list of issues to tackle (as Nigerians would say; problem no dey finish), the exhibition annually selects a topic relating to an issue, creating a theme out of it and working towards the overall achievement of the aims.
This year’s exhibition centers on ‘The complexity and impact of the information consumed from childhood on the life of an adult’, with the theme; BOX.
In an initial attempt to fully understand the scope of the theme as well as the best possible way to relay it to the audience and carry them along during this exhibition, we had a discussion with Dagbue Daniel. We asked some questions and received some thought provoking answers. Below is an excerpt…
Alright, so we have mentioned that it is possible to live within this box as is evident in our lives. The nature of individual personalities also determines whether or not they would be aware of the concept or would seek to expand, but regardless of an individual’s background or back-story, not everyone has the urge to seek things out of the ordinary.
Question: So is it possible for some environments to stimulate this urge to expand their knowledge (the BOX, if you will) like you have mentioned?
Answer: Well, yes, it is possible for an environment to stimulate that urge or to dampen it. The Torrance test for creative thinking which had a focus on children in schools is a very good example of an environment that affects this urge to expand. The mind is like a muscle that laxes when it is not exercised or flexed. So truly, the environment matters.
Question: One might regard it a risk to step out of the known into the unknown. What would you say about that?
Answer: In all honesty, holding onto all that you have known is not bad in itself. As a matter of fact, it is the safest thing to do. The BOX is the safest place to be because it is created from information, knowledge, ideas, perspective and experiences of other people who have gone through life, probably even before you came into the world. Believe it or not, people have asked a lot of questions on this and other issues and were able to come up with answers that worked. Those answers may not be universally or ultimately correct, but they are answers nonetheless. Now, because this accumulated knowledge from past generations exist, it is not compulsory to start searching for answers to questions that have already been addressed. The answers given to some of these questions may lead to more questions stemming from the same issue that popped up five decades ago. One can start from the finishing point of the past questions and observations to get a new solution or answer, while someone in the future can repeat this cycle with the answers earlier provided to come to a conclusion. So obviously, there is no end to learning and curious people seem to work with that. They latch onto this accumulated knowledge and they run with it, creating even more finish lines for others to start with, or relax at…either way it is fine.
People’s minds are different. Some follow laid paths, some don’t. Thinking systems have foundations based on ideas that is held sacrosanct, that’s why you hear of people giving up their lives for causes that might seem bizarre or pointless. It is risky to step into the unknown because when one is asked to expand this BOX, it’s like asking them to start learning from scratch.
Question: In view of all that has been discussed, is there a solution or a tool that can aid an interested individual to expand this BOX?
Answer: For most people, once information is received from a ‘trusted source’ our minds latch onto it and deem it correct, no questions asked. That is what individuals work with regarding cultures, laws, or religions and what have you? It is actually very possible to believe completely in something and it turns out to be incorrect. It is important to live through experiences where one finds out that the initial thoughts on a subject matter were incorrect or incomplete. That way, one grows into a state of humility where they are able to create room for growth and absorb knowledge. When it comes to logical and critical thinking, or even science, there must be an allowance for doubt. Doubt is usually seen as a negative thing, but if used the right way, it simply creates opportunity for growth.
Question: Any final comments?
Answer: A friend of mine once told me that when you are doing something new, it will not be clear but the key thing is to keep moving. As you move, the picture becomes clearer, your focus becomes sharper.
If you go on a trip spending the night in an unfamiliar hotel, and you decide to wake up in the middle of the night in search of the light switch, there is a high probability that you would stumble on an obstacle because you are in an unfamiliar environment. It is up to you now to decide whether to stay asleep on the bed where it is safer or to get up.