Can you see the blinders?




 
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Boots
 
June 10th, 2009  
coberst
 

Topic: Can you see the blinders?


Can you see the blinders?

Quickie from wiki: “Blinders, also known as blinkers or winkers, are a piece of horse tack that restricts the horse's vision to the rear and, in some cases, to the side. They usually are made of leather or plastic cups that are placed on either side of the eyes, either attached to a bridle or to an independent hood. Many racehorse trainers believe this keeps the horse focused on what is in front of him, encouraging him to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions, such as crowds.”

Our culture and its associated educational system prepare young people for the work place so that as they reach adulthood they can easily assimilate into a work force that will help to maximize production and consumption, i.e. they will help maximize GDP. Our educational system graduates young people with a “set of winkers” sturdily attached to the cultural tack that will restrict the individual’s intellectual vision to those personal and community activities that will best enhance national GDP.

As a result our citizens are not prepared to deal with the complexities that result from our ingeniously developed high tech culture.


“Tradition” is a word for a complete set of blinders. Tradition provides us with sets of assumptions that we pick up, not through a process of contemplation, but through a process of social osmosis. Of course our family and our immediate community provide more provincial assumptions.

Our Western tradition is primarily forged from a Judeo-Christian heritage. Our idea of the universal moral status of each and every person is equal because we are created “in the image of God”. That which makes us equal is our essential human characteristic of reason. “That is, we all stand equally under the same moral laws, and so have the same duties toward ourselves and others. As rational, all are due equal respect as moral agents.”

“But the fact is that what we come to regard as this ‘universal’, ‘formal’, ‘limiting’ principle of reason (i.e. the principle of universal moral personhood) is only one among the many possible principles, values, goods, and ends we might reasonably come to embrace. It just happens to be the foundational principle for our moral tradition. But to say that it is foundational for our tradition does not make it a formal principle of reason itself.

Quotes from Moral Imagination by Mark Johnson
June 11th, 2009  
A Can of Man
 
 
Dunno about that.
I think a lot of folks who go through the educational system learn a whole bunch of useless stuff and not enough stuff that will help them integrate into the work place and society as a whole.
We have a lot of folks who don't have the motivation or the talent but have watered down liberal arts degrees which makes every dumbass in the world have their own opinion without any solid knowledge base.
June 11th, 2009  
The Other Guy
 
 
In a way I agree and in a way no. Yes, the blinders of tradition are thrust upon us by our parents and by the society around us. And students are forced into what they say is what we need to prepare us for the real world. However, very little of this actually does prepare us, and while it limits us it does not get us any closer to "maximizing production", as you say. In all honesty, do we even make anything here anymore? Seems that most jobs on the market are service jobs.

As a whole, children are restricting creatively from the moment they step into kindergarten, and it gets worse the older one gets. You have to color inside the lines. You can't have a purple cat. The sky is blue. Animals can't talk. Some children buy into this system with steadfast devotion, to the point that the tiniest alteration of the daily routine can send their minds spinning into disarray, while others thoroughly reject this system as stupid and choose to act out. These children are labeled immature and are either cast aside and left to their own devices, or they attempt to correct the so called error with medication designed to "normalize" these kids. Which kid is smarter; the kid who walks the line but doesn't understand entirely why, or the kid who understands the line and does not walk it? The first child is the golden child, the dream kid for any teacher; the role model who will even report himself for looking off another child's paper. The other child might be a problem, or maybe he is just the silent type. Some kids are not very social, and as a consequence never really get into the typical social norm expected of all grade school students. This student may be perfectly comfortable talking with adults but have trouble communicating with children their own age. And then there are the children who make a switch. They follow the system for years and see little to no fruits for their labor, and so they quit. Their grades drop; no, they plummet. An A student is suddenly a C student, because this student realizes that he is now stuck in a system he does not like. In a conversation, this student might be able to carry on intense debates on various topics of history, but struggle with his science class because it is part of the system. He starts to see the system for what it really is; a time occupier, a way to control his youth. While he understands the need for education, he feels genuinely lost because, having followed the line so closely for so long, he has become ostracized from his peers. Now, as they slowly lose their rebellious will and fall back in to place, this now enlightened student is once again left alone. The inner spirit of the kid, the part held in place by the blinders, is often neglected or erased completely. Some kids, however, manage to keep it going; either at home, or over the internet, or often just in their minds. These kids are the daydreamers, the ones who fall asleep in class, who are bright students but average Bs and Cs because their inner self is so crushed that it overwhelms them and works against their concentration. As they reach "adulthood" as it is called, these people are finally either forced back into the line of social normalcy, or they get so frustrated that they take drastic measures.



I doubt any of what I just wrote applies to this thread, but I started and I just kept rolling.
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Boots
June 11th, 2009  
A Can of Man
 
 
Different lines of thought I think.

Personally, I think that people must have a solid knowledge base as well as creativity and that both work hand in hand and are in fact, not opposites as many people like to think.

The key is balance.
Any jack ass can spash paint on canvas, call it "The Tweety Bird of Truth" and call it creativity, but I'm pretty sure not many us can actually build a UAV in our back yards.
It's like when you learn martial arts, it doesn't work like Kung Fu Panda where some fat ass suddenly decides he wants to do it and he can do it. It takes a lot of time, discipline, practice, effort and a touch of talent never hurts either. You don't just dump a toddler in a room and say "alright, let's see what you can do" and all of a sudden when they get older one has mastered Kung Fu, the other has built a working design of a rocket ship, etc. You might argue that they might come up with something completely different but the odds are they will be what we used to be: cave men who suck at being cave men.

Usual problems with East Asian countries: Too much structure, too much raw memorization, little to no education on creativity.
Usual problems with US education: Too little structure, too little memorization, too much emphasis on creativity that just produces useless trash.

I remember some of the stuff taught at school (I went through a US education system) which said it's okay not to be very good, it's okay to suck, it's okay... and growing up I realized that it's NOT okay. Fortunately my grades were on the good side.

Here's the ultimate deal though I think: Once you are done with high school, you have to be in control of your life. I've seen many cases where parents held on trying to make their kids live the dream of their parents and in almost every case it did not turn out well.

If we do it totally your way, we might as well throw a bunch of kids into the woods and say "good luck!"
June 12th, 2009  
coberst
 
Johnson's book is an attempt to demonstrate that the new paradigm created by SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) makes it clear that moral values are not created from dogmatic moral theory that is absolute and forever. He uses his understanding of human cognition to point out that imagination is basic to reason and must be basic to moral understanding and moral action.
June 12th, 2009  
A Can of Man
 
 
I think anyone who argues that they are absolute and forever are gravely mistaken. I don't think anything is.
But to say that there is no merit in any of it and therefore children should be left to their own devices in just about every way from birth is bull sh*t of the highest caliber.
 


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