My Grand Unified Theory of Humanity holds that awakening to our hearts holds the key to personally and societally significant, fulfilling, and beneficial lives. This is directly tied to education and the importance of that to a democratic society. America has yet to understand this in reality.
Educators would give lip service to it, but they are so focused on programs and data that they have neglected philosophy. We seem to seek a systemization that will make us look good in comparison to other nations and that will accomplish what every red-blooded American wants — a great job with minimal thought or effort required that will make them rich. What bullshit!
A Facebook friend shared the following article with me, knowing my interest in what is going on in our culture: “The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the ‘dumbing down’ of America” ( https://www.sott.net/article/313177-The-cult-of-ignorance-in-the-United-States-Anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-of-America) (And I am giving the reference here because I have no works cited page nor am I going to do an internal citation every time). It briefly chronicles the decline in intellectual, thoughtful responses to social issues and discussions around those. Ray Williams, the original author, deals with the contribution of social media to the anti-intellectual development in America, and then he really engages with the decline of education. Enough of this — I didn’t intend to do an annotation or complete review here.
I do, however, want to deal with education, because when I peruse and engage in social media, I see so many folks who believe what they are saying based on their inability to think through an issue or to do research, which involves starting with a hypothesis, finding information, analyzing it in reference to the question, and synthesizing and creating new knowledge. I will say that I am in favor of freedom of speech in almost every circumstance, and social media has given a voice to those that perhaps felt unheard in the past. How much greater would it be if they had been educated, though, to be able to think?
If that had happened, then maybe we wouldn’t have folks so convinced that they are so indisputably right that by yelling the loudest, most frequently, and most crudely that they think anyone who doesn’t agree with them is an avowed enemy, worthy of destruction. And I see this on social media — how utterly stupid, educated well or not. (Side note: for many faults, politicians who have diametrically opposed views on many things are still friends!).
The article makes this point: There are many people “who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.” The alternative would be to research what others say, engage in discussion, and make your point. Don’t try to egoically FORCE others to give you the credit and believe everything you say — unchecked and unmerited.
The article says that America is a population that is “directed towards trivia, towards the inconsequential, towards unquestioning and blatant consumerism.” In other words, youth, especially today, have been sold, even through education, that the most important things are acquisition of wealth, and those with the most toys, fame, beauty, and money are the ideal — rather than those who can think well, communicate cogently, and contribute to society’s knowledge base.
What is the result of a program-formatted, money-making educational endeavor? “This results in intellectual complacency.” In a formal school structure organized according to my philosophy, students and their interests come first, teachers second, and administrators and consultants, paraprofessionals, whatever come LAST. Teachers must know the skills and concepts that lead to an education of discovery and creativity, not dependent on a hard-wired curriculum built around data-mongers and textbooks.
Oh, most of the people in America have been educated, but according to whose agenda and for what purposes? “People accept without questioning, believe without weighing the choices, join the pack because in a culture where convenience rules, real individualism is too hard work. Thinking takes too much time: it gets in the way of the immediacy of the online experience.” (I might add that it gets in the way of standardized test questions and times, too). I see the standard educational model of today represented in this, with the high-stakes testing mentality being a major contributing component.
Educators know what’s best, it’s been formulated into programs and curriculums, and students should gratefully, quietly, and numbly accept it all. BULL to the capital SHIT. If any educator believes this, quit. Quit now. Please. OR know that there is another way, another philosophy.
I have dealt with this before, but I will briefly say it here. Education is built on collecting knowledge, connecting that knowledge with other knowledge, and creating new knowledge. Student motivation is primary in that and NO curriculum that is pre-printed can deliver this. Intrinsic motivation initiates and carries this through.
Students, then, are primary in determining the course of curriculum. Educators are instrumental in ensuring that all the skills necessary for students to learn what they want to learn and to learn how to learn are employed. Of course, educators need to be passionate and enthusiastic in order to expand the intellectual horizons of students. These crucial roles of both students and educators, if they are true and effective, can only arise from an organizational structure that encourages self-awakening, coming to know core Self — which principle was inherent in the very beginnings of our nation and stated so in the Declaration of Independence.
Perhaps you, if you are an educator, think those principles don’t apply to teachers or education. Then quit. Or maybe even go to another nation that would support your philosophy — like Cold War USSR where the students were directly programmed. We are providing our own programming today, just different messages.
Ultimately, the need is this: Know yourself, whether current student, former student, or educational professional. Hear your heart. Know that the heart insists on an intellectual honesty and doesn’t force others to believe our conclusions. We need to know our truth, live it, and apply it to whatever issue, thought, or controversy we encounter. And by the way, knowing your truth doesn’t mean loud-mouthing “This is what I believe so I’m right.” It means knowing who you are, like I’m Discovery, and I’m all about discovering for myself and helping others to discover whatever they need to know.
That doesn’t mean me saying “This is who I am and because I know that, whatever I say about everything else is right.” Nope, doesn’t work like that. If I’m true to myself, when I encounter ideas or issues, I search in accord with who I am. The educational process is the same. Get it?
Let me end with this. These ideas are more crucial than ever considering the political, governmental, and global issues we all face right now. The way of Heart and core Self, no matter who we are personally, will ultimately revolve around love and acceptance. Because we can accept and love self, we can accept and love others. Those who try to force us to do otherwise are those enslaved by ego. I will stand in the fellowship of the heart, and the many corollaries implied in that.
How about you?
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!