Pieces and Patterns




Pieces and Patterns

A complaint sometimes made about people in the millennial generation is that they think in disconnected moments. Their minds are used to making short comments on Twitter; they live by disconnected experiences. The complaint is that they do not connect these experiences together to for an understanding or see an overall pattern. This may mean a poor understanding of themselves and others. Life’s an interesting set of jigsaw pieces that stay unassembled in the box.

Perhaps this is a misconception. Perhaps older generations always believe the new generations aren’t getting it right. Perhaps the next generation is only different, not mistaken. Or maybe it’s just immaturity, with the older generation forgetting how they went through the same type of experiences at that age.

But a kernel of truth in this is the concept of a mind that is more concerned with isolated experiences and moments, maybe facts, rather than connections. This type of mentality has always existed. In fact, it must be the starting point for any newborn infant mind. But if a brain is to develop it must start connecting its experiences together. This is needed if we are to be self-aware, or aware of the world around us.

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In contrast to the accusation that the millennial mind is focuses on disconnected experiences is the mentality behind digital technology. Digital technology, whether it is coding or interfacing devices, is all about things being interconnected. Computer code is highly structured, not just a random group of terms. Physical devices and social media connect at multiple levels. What can be a problem is that the users are mostly oblivious to this. The structure is provided for them without their needing to understand it.

Computer games can be an exception to this. Some games are just mindless entertainment where you shoot space invaders. But more advanced games require users to put things together. And puzzles or detective games require thinking and pattern formation.

Escape rooms combine physical experiences with a mental demand for putting those experiences into some sort of order. This is how new neural pathways are formed. And it is something different to the learning obtained from reading, which is also high beneficial in its own way.

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An escape room game is social, teaching team work with friends; they teach resourcefulness, because we can’t just look for h answer on Google; they are physically engaging, not just being words on a page; and they teach us the interconnectedness of our experiences.

Escape rooms may be a fantasy scenario, but they teach us practical thinking skills and the joy of being physical involved with what we do.



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