Archive for the ‘education’ Category

The Breaking Of The Western Mind

June 3, 2018

 

What Happens When a Society Stops Being Able to Think Critically?

Once upon a time, a man boarded a flight to his chosen destination and on arrival went to collect his liggage, only to find he had arrived safely but his luggage had not. Enquiring of the airline staff: “Is my luggage lost?” he was told “No, sir, it is not lost just cannot be located.”

“But that makes no sense,” he complained. “Either it’s here, or lost.”

“We don’t consider a bag lost until it can’t be found for three months. Then you can file a claim, because we can’t find it.”

“But you can’t find it now!” he shouted. “My luggage isn’t Schrodinger’s cat!”

He had entered the Kafkaesque world of politically corret bureaucracy, a place where Orwellian Newspeak and Doublethink have replaced claOrwell,rity of thought and expression and  reason and logic are pointless. Bureaucracies have always run on equivocation, obfuscation and rationalizing logic, a type of logic so rational it ends up being illogical — and that’s what the airline was doing: the bag isn’t lost, it just can’t be found. A thing can exist and not exist all at once — as long as the system says so.

“But if a thing exists but is not where it ought to be and cannot be found, isn’t that the definition of its being lost?” you might well ask.

And yet we see the same effect in all aspects of life. The rules say it is one thing, our common sense tells us it is another.

But: should we run a society like this? Can we be said to be thinking , much less civilized or reasonable people ,  if we prioritise rules and procedures over common sense. Are we all becoming like the man who a few years ago, drove is car off the dockside as North Shields, UK, and into the sea because his GPS navigation system told him to keep going straight ahead?   What happens when we start equivocating notions like right and wrong, left and right, true and false? And is this not happening now? Think of the logical and verbal contortions of politically correct thinking.

Let me give you three examples.

In the USA 1500 children were reported missing in 2017. Were they lost, run away, abducted by aliens? After a hue and cry journalists informed the nation that in fact the children were not lost at all. Their details merely could not be found in the information retrieval system.

Apparently their caregivers had not filed routine reports saying, “Yes I am the caregiver for Child A and he / she lives at my home. Never mind the reports of children being sold into slavery and disappeared by sex traffickers (which does happen but usually involves third world kids,) these children managed to pull off the near superhuman feat of existing and not existing at the same time. OK, some kid might be standing right in front of you, wanting a snotty nose wiped or demanding food or something, but if that child’s details are not u to date in the system that child no longer exists.

Equivocating logic: the kids exist in reality and don’t exist in law all at once. Already we are in the realm of the absurd, aren’t we? They’re Schrodinger’s kids, apparently, and like his cat they can be alive and dead at the same time because of quantum physics. Which one is it: do the kids exist or not exist? After all, they are human beings, not quantum wavefunctions — they can’t do both.

But this simple enough question appears to have no answer. Why? Well, note what civil servants who lost the kids did not do. They didn’t go out and verify with the caregivers whether a) the children did actually exist and b) they were accounted for. In other words, they did not investigate, verify, confirm, or corroborate any kind of human reality, they assumed the system must be correct. The man who drove his car into the sea at North Shields also assumed the system must be correct instead of believing the evidence of his own senses.

The airline official who reported the lost bag not lost was also guilty relying on the system rather than personal intelligence “Sir, no one has entered your bag as lost in our system yet, therefore, it is not lost but it in transit by a different route. If it is made of sapient pearwood you have nothing to worry about other than they way people start avoiding you when you have worn the same underwear for several days.”

It’s all perfectly logical. Or maybe it is not.

Does this make sense to you? In a civilized society, whenever there is the merest hint of such a thing as a mass disappearance, don’t you think the authorities should do their utmost to disestablish the facts? Shouldn’t the burden of proof rest with institutions — newspapers, media, governments agencies, and so on? Probably you would agree. But why is that?

If we use the bureaucratic logic of equivocation and moral relativism when it comes to human lives, then anything can take place, because good and bad, right and wrong, have ceased to be at all. The camp manager can say: “the prisoners are fine! Why, they are not really prisoners at all! They are having fun!” And that is how tyrannies grow and holocausts or genocides come to pass, as we tumble down a slippery slope of upside-downness and rationalization. “They’re animals anyways, after all — why not put them to work?”)

We cannot use the same rules that we apply to luggage for human lives. At least not if we are thinking people. Human lives are not inanimate things, after all.

Yet shortly before the story of the missing kids broke in mainstream news, a lawyer of some sort took to Twitter (First, she remarked that the kids are OK — Schrodingers’ kids, remember?But she cannot have interacted with all of them, and didn’t claim to have talked to a single one. So are we to simply take her word for it? That is what most people appeared to do. Critical thinking, remember?

She went on suggest that disappearances are good for the disappeared — better for the government not to able to keep track of people. Maybe vulnerable people can vanish and escape te clutches of the evil Trump administration by existing in limbo. Liberals cheered. How wonderful! Disappearances are not a bad thing after all! Hooray!!

But that is not what a disappearance is, is it? A disappearance is the erasure of a person who already exists, the ploy of authoritarian regimes that find it convenient to  erase their critics,  not the failure to record a person’s existence on a piece of paper or through a computer keyboard into a database in the first place. Surely the difference is obvious enough. And yet no one questioned any of this — because no one appeared to be thinking much at all. Leave the thinking to Artificial Intelligence we are told, computers are so much smarter than humans.

This netherworld of reason is where equivocating logic takes us. When a person can exist and not exist, just like a suitcase to an airline, the distinction between disappearance and liberation disappears, ironically enough. But that is also the line between right and wrong, isn’t it? And in that way, here we see even good and well-meaning people legitimizing and cheering   authoritarianism without even knowing it ,  by endorsing the idiotic, illogical, upside-down idea that disappearances are good for the disappeared. How that must baffle and enrage and amuse the ghosts of Camus, Orwell, Kafka, and Solzhenitsyn.

Here is my third example. It is a smaller, but even more problematic one. Last month that formerly august jornal (now a repository for all the craziest ideas of politically correct liberals, The New York Times, published an article discussing the rise of “faith based politics”. I have seen such a thing in many countries. Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan. Only it isn’t called “faith based politics”. It is better, more accurately, more genuinely called theocracy or religious extremism.

Is “faith based politics” a thing? Does it mean anything different from theocrats aspiring to write laws and alter constitutions to accord with holy books? For the priests to declare God the head of state, but a head of state who only speaks to his people through the priests. If not, then why use such a neologism in the first place? Doesn’t it only muddy the waters, and cheat people of the crucial understanding that Western collapse, thanks to the determination of our ruling elites to give our civilisation into the hands of Islamic medievalism, might well not be altogether different from, say Irani, Afghani, or Pakistani social collapse? After all, Iran, too, was once a liberal, secular nation — and now it is something more like a theocratic oligarchy.

Nations can only fall in so many ways , that is one of the great lesson of history.

The stunning rise of these neologisms is leaving younger generations, not just ill-informed. But uneducated. Unaware. Clueless, to put it a little unkindly. At precisely the time they need to be most aware, sensitive, intelligent. To and of what? To history. To reality. To time and truth. They are not gaining the understanding that societies fall in similar ways. They are not really gleaning the insight that what is taking place in Europe and America is something like a full-blown social collapse at Olympic pace. They are not learning the lessons that Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, authoritarian Latin America, theocratic Islamism, or tribalist Europe have taught — and how they might apply to them.

Millennials in the west are being taught, that they are still special, different, unique. That they are somehow above everyone else — and so there is little to learn from the world, from history, or from reality.

The authorities rewrite history. They reject reality. And they blind the next generation of leaders to the belief that the system is unassailable, and their place in it is secure.

If people were to see a little more clearly, what would they glimpse? There is a choice of dystopias which await it. Will the collapse of the USA or European Union end in something like Soviet Russia ,  a kind of economic totalitarianism, or succumb to predatory capitalism, a society where quality of life declines, while the economy “grows”?

Or will it be more like Nazi Germany — a proud reich, exiling and exterminating its strangers, aliens, dissidents, an intellectuals? Or will it end up more like Iran — a secular state imploded into theocratic oligarchy, every action and word scrutinized for moral purity and piety? Or will it be a combination of the above?

Those are terrible thoughts to have to think. But when one is on a course of ruin, plunging into the abyss, it does no good to call it “a gravity-based event”. To invent an overly rational neologism that makes it sound less bad than it is, but refuses to acknowledge or accept history, reality, and the world, and instead rewrites history, rejects history, and blinds us to the world.

class=”graf graf–p graf-after–p”>Do I overstate things? Perhaps, perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe, we have been underestimating the plight and peril politically correct thinking and laft wing authoritarianism have been leading us towards. Time and again we are told “trust the machines, Artifical Intelligence is infallible and machines, unencumbered by emotions, past experience and other distractions, will always make better decisions than humans and are leading us to a better world. Our observations should tell us things have become worse, instead of better. Fifty years ago we were being told plastic packaging would be so much better in so many ways than paper and card. Now the world is choking on indestructable plastic where paper and card degrades in a matter of weeks.

Because we have been equivocating and rationalizing very real problems, issues, and challenges away, just like fools would, our minds are failing. Unable to call things what they are, to place things where they belong, to separate right from wrong and good from bad and real from unreal, unable to discriminate. And a mind like that cannot think.

Question. Reason. Judge. Discriminate (yeah it’s not a dirty word, nor is it something that can only be done against or in favour of racial minorities) and never accept a thing is correct just because the voice of authority said so. Or, in the end, live in a world in which two and two makes five if the system says it does.

We must control the senses to be avoid addiction. Senses play an important role in the development of attachments.

The individual who is ruled by the senses becomes attached to objects. From attachment comes desire, from desire jealosy arises. From jealousy comes delusion and from delusion arises the perversion of memory.
From distortion of memory comes loss of intelligence and when intelligence is lost we become addicted. Once addicted we have lost ourselves.

Bhagavad Gita (Hidu sacred text)

 

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There Is NothingIn The Dumbing Down Of Education That Does Not Support ‘The Agenda’

July 6, 2016

Most of this long post is exerpted from a post on Minding The Campus blog, a US blog site for dissident educators. The article is written from the perspective of an educator: It is reproduced here under ‘fair use terms’ in the public interest. The article exposes some misconceptions about the nature and purpose of modern education . The author opens by bemoaning the standard of education found in young people.

My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.

He’s complimentary to the children:

[T]hey rarely allow themselves to become passionate and invested in any one subject); they build superb resumes. They are respectful and cordial to their elders, though easy-going if crude with their peers. They respect diversity (without having the slightest clue what diversity is) and they are experts in the arts of non-judgmentalism (at least publically). They are the cream of their generation, the masters of the universe, a generation-in-waiting to run America and the world.

But:

Some students, due most often to serendipitous class choices or a quirky old-fashioned teacher, might know a few of these answers. But most students have not been educated to know them. At best, they possess accidental knowledge, but otherwise are masters of systematic ignorance. It is not their “fault” for pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature. Science fares somewhat better but it is learned by rote and theories are passed off as fact; mathematics is all important though most of us will never use any branch but arithmetic after leaving school.

Modern pupils however have learned exactly what we have asked of them – to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present.

This can’t be stressed enough. In my last decade in work the constant mantra was that new is good, therefore right and I was nothing to do with education. But old mavericks like me, men and women who had benefitted from that education system known as “The Renaissance Education” which taught us to question, were being phased out. When I left the last corporate job I had in the early 1980s to become a freelance Information Technology consultant, the management services director (another Renaisance Education type) stormed into Human Resources demanding to know why I was being allowed to take a redundancy package and go when a number of notorious plodders would be staying.

“This company needs people who can implement corporate policy, not people who question it,” he was told.

Mordern teachers are, on the whole, open to new developments coming out of the curriculum branch, but when something bad comes along (such as Common Core in the USA, and britain’s National Curriculum, few are prepared to stand up say, ‘Hang on, since when did education take a one-size-fits-all approach, what about diversity?’

New! New! New! That’s the mantra.

And of course new policy is backed up by new teaching materials, innit, which comprise texts and exam books, extension work – anything to get the school to buy three texts per child, not one. Let alone the teacher texts. And inside those books are a complete political system based on the assumption that all pupils conform to a standard model and thus have identical educational needs. So  who are  the drivers of the new ideas? They are bureaucrats working for central government, people who have rarely if ever taught a class or, since they left school themselves, interacted with people from different educational classes or social backgrounds. but they will all have obtained a PhD ‘education’ which qualifies them as much greater experts that teacher who have spent years working at ‘the chalk face.’

Everyone below the ‘educationalists’, through the teachers, classroom assistants and down to the pupils, is expected to fall into line behind the currently fashionable theory of education.. Teachers are afraid to appear reactionary, racist, sexist, homophobic and even the moist trivial dissent from the official line will see one branded thus. Those who doubt the message may gently and quietly mock but teachers have mortgages and bills and need to eat and they know it’s more than their job’s worth to voice criticisms or point out that the system is failing.

Of late, people have started to wake up to the fact that the BBC is in effect the broadcating arm of The Ministry Of Truth and that the leftie luvvies and ‘speshul snowflakes’ it employs seem to be so brainwashed they cannot distinguish between facts and their personal beliefs and prejudices. The damage was done  a generation ago it was done, to Generation X and Generation Y who were taught never to question authority and to accept the assumptions of the politically correct left as facts.

And voila, the culture of the 40s, 50s and 60s is not only gone, it’s mocked. A lady who was  in a blog group I was in, in 2006/7, wrote to me that I sounded as if I were from the 60s. That was meant to be bad, that was meant to cut. It didn’t, because all I had been doing was questioning the assumptions of the left.

The immense power of the people controlling the media is incalculable. And yet those people are always hidden and are always at work, advancing the agenda. Any topic, say demonstrating  a relative pronoun, can be loaded with embedded values, (e.g. (1) the boy who bullied immigrant children (2) we gave to a charity that drills wells in Africa) Every single excerpt, every single example, reinforcing the message.

Back to Minding the Campus which gets down to the nitty gritty here (BTW nitty gritty is a racist phrase because it refers to the gravel that was used as ballast on slave ships according to American educators. In fact the term originally referred to the ballast on all ships, but hey, never miss an opportunity to reinforce the message):

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctible outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide. The end of history for our students signals the End of History for the West.

This is not an overreaction at the end – it really is the end of history. Being a sad case, I’ve always liked history books and when I was staying at a mate’s place, his son’s old history book was in the bookshelf. Took it out and it had the leather bound, hardback look which spelt gravitas.

Good, the old history, I thought. Several pages in and I was already muttering, then expostulating – the guff included as given truths were off the planet. Usually it’s the bias of selection and omission but this one included total porkies. I looked at the date – mid-90s.

Oh my goodness – who was going to correct these things? Well obviously people such as I. And just how was I going to do this? Track down the authors when I had a dozen things to do that day? And the son was now grown, out in the world. You see the impossibility of the task. And who’s to say he’d even listen or see it as relevant to his own world these days?

Back to the teachers and how far can they be blamed? Those in charge are Gen X, the new teachers are Millennials – the process has already been done on them.

Some saw it and tried to fight back by producing alternative materials:

E.D. Hirsch even worked up a self-help curriculum, a do-it yourself guide on how to become culturally literate, imbued with the can-do American spirit that cultural defenestration could be reversed by a good reading list in the appendix. Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success.

Heads would look at it – hmmmm, interesting angles but reactionary, racist, every other -ist. And that was that. Those values were never going to be reintroduced by us. The only real chance is that some bright kids start to see something’s wrong, something’s missing and start exploring.

It’s not unlike The Who’s song 905:

In suspended animation
My childhood passed me by
If I speak without emotion
Then you know the reason why
Knowledge of the universe
Was fed into my mind
As my adolescent body
Left its puberty behind

And everything I know is what I need to know
And everything I do’s been done before
Every sentence in my head
Someone else has said
At each end of my life is an open door/a>

I have a feeling deep inside
That somethin’ is missing
It’s a feeling in my soul
And I can’t help wishing
That one day I’ll discover
That we’re living a lie
And I’ll tell the whole world
The reason why.

Chilling, yes? The point made over and over is that none of this is random, the rising and falling wave of civilization – this is quite deliberately introduced and it has succeeded. These are very patient people.

The earliest confirmed example was long ago, called the Lincoln School in America, Rockefeller funded and embracing what’s known as Wundtian philosophy. I’ll leave you to explore Wilhelm Wundt who might have died an obscure experimenter, were it not for his inclusion in the genesis of the new education.

There are just too many articles on education but one good one, on research methods, was reprinted here on my former blog:

http://archive-random-nour-obscur.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/appendix-h.html

The theme of deliberate intervention in order to suppress the very natural human instinct to question and rebel was, when I started blogging in 2005, seen as tinfoil hat conspirascy stuff, despite senior teachers and lecturers writing many essays and books critical of the way education was heading. Today, it’s seen as part of the fightback against dumbing-down which most of us (everyone who has used Facebook or Twitter for example) have observed in all its ingloriousness.

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