This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Richard Longworth: Leading Award-winning International Technology Authority, Thought Leader, Educator and Celebrated Author.
After a successful career in private industry and public education, Richard retired in 2007. Richard worked in industry as a programmer, systems analyst, database consultant; and in later years as a college professor, teaching courses in mathematics and IT. His students often remarked that his teaching approach was unique, and enabled them to achieve highly successful outcomes-a testimonial to Richard's belief that good teaching comes from the heart and not the mind. Now, as a retired college professor, Richard spends a majority of the time writing and lecturing on holistic education, global consciousness, and self-actualization. He is an ardent supporter of mindfulness, and has recently published a book for twenty plus year olds on how a change in mindset can lead to a more meaningful life. Richard continues to have strong ties with his past students who seek his advice, wisdom and counsel. His former students form the nucleus of his Gen X followers in creating global consciousness. Some of Richard's future endeavours associated with his work on global consciousness include: applying technology resources (social media for communication, subject databases for indexing and research); a 'Yes You Can be...' series; and the development of a virtual classroom.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
What sparked your initial interest in computers?
"....It was more coincidental than planned. After graduating from Concordia University (early 70's) with a degree in Mathematics I was asked to join Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Montreal. My future supervisor at that time explained that mathematics was a pre-cursor into data processing so I would be a natural. In those days it was data processing, computers were quite new....With no background in computers I joined the programming department...."
How would you describe your top innovative achievements in terms of the problems you were trying to solve, your solutions, and the impact it has today and into the future?
"....I derive much pleasure from working on problems and when interested I like to wrestle problems to the ground and come up with a solution. For me, it is not unlike solving a math problem....
How do you manage change and make connections?
"....In most cases by simply observing my reaction towards the change, I become fully aware of my feelings and thoughts about it. Through this observation, I am able to make conscious decisions without becoming emotionally attached....
.....The question, "How do I make connections?" is so different now compared to in the past. I rely more on technology than ever before.....We truly live in a global village where distances are bridged through the Internet; any meetings and research are conducted on-line from the convenience of home or office.....But I still receive more satisfaction, understanding, awareness, humanness when I talk directly face-to-face with a person...."
If you could sum up your life experiences with career tips for the ICT professional, what would be your tips and the reasons behind them?
"....Choose your career well, make it a free choice; something you would love to do the rest of your working life. Find a career that brings you much satisfaction and joy, but also balance your career with good relationships, healthful living...."
Please make predictions for the future, their implications, and how business executives and IT professionals can best prepare?
"....One: Hierarchical views of text and graphics for drilling-down through layers instead of the traditional linear-approach with a single-unified structure....Two: Social network learning with digital textbooks and proliferation of e-books such as Kindle and Sony Reader....Three: Emphasis and further advances in behavioural social networking....Four: Emerging technologies in creating, sharing, researching around content....Five: A shift in scientific and educational philosophy from epistemology (knowledge aspect) to ontology (being aspect)....Six: Movement towards more awareness-based content contrasted to the old paradigm of memory-based content...."
What do you see as the three top challenges facing us today and how do you propose they be solved?
"....The first three that come to my mind are the economy, world hunger and terrorism. These are only three of many that I would consider the top challenges facing us today. Ask me on another day and I may give you a different list of my three choices....To meet and successfully solve the challenges, we must identify and understand the cause since every challenge has a root cause for us to probe...."
During your working career you were a college instructor, teaching courses in IT; now, as a retiree, you are writing, promoting global conscious awareness. Why such a transformation?
"....My interest in conscious awareness actually started 30 years ago when I studied the works of J Krishnamurti. So my recent writings, presentations are not really a transformation but an evolvement....."
Your book is directed mainly to Generation Y, why?
"...The book can help anyone; however, all the examples, scenarios, vignettes in the book are situations that would occur during the post-teen years. Why did I write it for this age group?....I do believe we have a responsibility and a moral obligation to our future leaders to bring forward the notion that a more peaceful, gentler, compassionate way of living does exist....."
What is the major theme, purpose of your book?
"....The major theme in the book is about conscious awareness.....The book is a guide towards self-awareness and self-actualization....."
Could you go a little deeper and explain the concept of conscious awareness, and perhaps point out any benefits.
"....Conscious awareness is about learning more about yourself, enabling you to take complete control because you are fully aware...."
Is there scientific evidence that conscious awareness really works?
"....When we speak of scientific evidence, we are acknowledging that physical proof exists, and the evidence can be measured and observed. Conscious awareness however, is a non physical entity....For those who are interested I would recommend a review of the work done by Drs. John Hagelin, Ramesh Manocha, J.A. Dusek, and websites like http://www.pubmed.gov; as well as studies done at the David Lynch Foundation. If you would like you may contact me through my email at email@example.com....."
Do you believe there is a clash between science and spirituality?
"....Both science and spirituality search for truth. Digression does occur however since science searches for truth in the physical world, whereas spirituality seeks truth in the nature of (non-physical) consciousness...."
Richard gives us a practical example of conscious awareness from his book.
"....The book suggests that you apply conscious awareness during times when performing repetitive tasks...."
What are your future plans related to your book and teachings?
"....I am convinced that the new paradigm of conscious awareness is taking root. I believe there is an urgent need for change in our global consciousness, as we have discussed today. One approach that could significantly accelerate the process is through the application of technology, particularly social networking....."
If you were conducting this interview, what 3 questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
"...."What are my current interests?....What is the best way to connect with my work?....What would be my final words?...."