Gideon Rachman asks in the FT of 25th January: ‘Where have all the thinkers gone?’
He is making an interesting discovery on the basis of this year’s list of the Foreign Policy magazine re the ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers‘ (of 2010).
He notices that the top ten in the list are quite more famous as doers (rather than thinkers).
‘…The 1861 rankings could have startd with Charles Darwin and John Stuart Mill….then you could include Karl Marx and Charles Dickens. And that was just the people living in and around London. In Russia, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were both at work, although neither had yet published their greatest novels….’
After naming a few reasons that may account for the above difference between the thinkers of the past century and the doers of our days he concludes:
‘ ….there is a final possibility. That, for all its wealth and its gadgets, our generation is not quite as smart as it thinks it is’.
Probably Gideon Rachman is right. Probably we are less smart despite the tools we use to ‘make’ us smarter (i.e. smartphones?). Or, it is probably our epoch that requires us doing rather than thinking. If thinking is not reflected upon doing then what difference can it make? And, I believe, ‘doing’ has a taste, while ‘thinking’ may be just a nostalgia of a possible ‘doing’…..