A Chess Skill that’s a Life Skill: Thinking about the Future

So I was watching a great documentary created by Kelly Pope Ph.D. titledCrossing the Lineregarding research about individuals who commit white-collar crimes.  While watching this documentary, one of the speakers said something very interesting.  He said that younger people are more susceptible to commit white collar crimes because they do not think of the ramifications their choices can have. They live life like checkers, thinking one move at a time rather than chess, seeing the whole picture behind every move.  To learn more about the documentary, visit James Moore’s blog at http://condor.depaul.edu/jmoore/blog/files/tag-kelly-pope.html

After hearing this, I immediately decided I wanted to write about it.  No offense to the checkers players, but I agree that chess requires much more foresight.  Because of the variety of roles the pieces play, it is necessary for a chess player to calculate the effects of different variations.  The mere fact that the term “variation” is used so common in chess demonstrates that chess is not a game played on a move-by-move basis.  Instead, one must always think of chess in sequences of moves to be successful.

I agree with the speaker that younger people do think more short-term and have less perspective.  I think the way modern media and advertising further perpetuates this.  With the evolution of technology, everything seems to be moving at such a fast-pace nowadays and people look for results fast.  Modern advertisements and commercials are short because it is known that people have short attention spans.  While some cultures listen to songs that can be well over 30 minutes, people in America seem to only listen to songs that last no more than five.  Our style of communication is even encouraged to be shortened through the use of social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

I do not think shortened communcation and short songs mean we should change.  Actually, I think these quickened processes are very efficient.  We should try to make ourselves more aware though how our fast-paced lifestyles are affected by the things around us.  Although it may just be a song or a commercial or a quick comment on Facebook, all of these things permeate to other parts of us such as how we think.  I probably have a lot to work on to gain some perspective as well, but I think it’s important to raise the issue.

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