There's a Flip Side
Cover of the GiLE Journal of Skills Development international journal on competency development


analytical thinking, common arts, cognitive skills, liberal arts, metaphorical thinking

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Velencei, J., & Baracskai, Z. (2021). There’s a Flip Side: the Mystery of the Human Being and Puzzle of Homo Economicus. GiLE Journal of Skills Development, 1(1), 99–106.
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Steven Pinker wrote in the introduction to one of his books that every idea in the book may turn out to be wrong, but that would be progress, because our old ideas were too vapid to be wrong. In this essay we are also trying to understand which the right question is. We are looking for a question for which we do not have to look for a single correct answer. We are looking for a question that makes those who prone thinking to be actually start thinking. Here is the question: what does a child learn? We remember that all of us, our children and our grandchildren played with things that were made available to them. Some of us played with dolls, balls, Barbie dolls, Lego blocks, or 5G smart gadgets. The child kicked the ball, comforted the doll the same way as nowadays he or she plays with 5G smart gadgets without any prior training. The tools have simply become more sophisticated. However, something did not change. Ancient Greek tales were read to all. Is it possible the other way round, namely to read or watch contemporary tales on ancient Greek gadgets? We tend to claim that this is impossible, as gadgets are becoming ever more modern day by day, and ancient Greek tales and their ethical norms do not change. In this essay we argue that the ‘Septem Artes Liberales’ are permanent, but the ‘Septem Artes Vulgares’ change. As we stated earlier, the emphasis is on asking the right question. Noam Chomsky suggests the terms ‘problem’ and ‘mystery’. Here and now, we are using the terms ‘puzzle’ and ‘mystery’ to depict unknown phenomena. This is how we view it: the unknown phenomena of the world are mistakenly classified as puzzles, to which someone either already knows the solution or else the solution will become known sometime in the future. Let us instead accept a world where the ‘Septem Artes Liberales’ have mysteries, while the ‘Septem Artes Vulgares’ have puzzles. This explains why the solutions for puzzles have become more sophisticated over time. The mysteries have endured, and it is good that they have done so.


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