The Great Reset Part 4: “Thinking about thinking”.

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Call to action, Creative Inspiration, Great reset, Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Hey there, my intuitive and thoughtful folk — Welcome back!

What are you thinking about, Readers?

Thinking about thinking?

I hope so.

Oh… Don’t you worry, I know precisely what you thought as you read the title,

“What in Cotton-Pickin, Tar-Nation is Jared thinkin‘ bout writing on today?”~ You, just a moment ago

(And, by the way — what was that Reader? A Yosemite Sam reference? Anyone else ever notice that he’s kind of… A little racist? Tar nation… Cotton picking…?)

But I digress…

Now, if you’ve been following along thus far with my whole, “Great Reset” project, you might already know what today’s blog is all about. So far, of my original list, I’ve covered; Energy, balance, conservation, the environment, and sustainability. Most of these were covered in the last post, when I gave all of NYC a modern makeover (did you see the final reveal? Wasn’t Lady Liberty simply STUNNING!? OMG I know!), but I also touched on the ideas here, and here as well. And today, in case you haven’t figured out as such yet from all the annoying underlining I did up top, I would like to talk about Education. And, more specifically, the way that our current system cultures us to think.

So, to be honest about my own thoughts today, der Yosemite,

“I keep trying to think, but nothin’ happens” ~ Me, my whole life

My Mentor

Got a headache yet?

That’s what I thought 😉

For many of you; I’m sure you’re wondering what is wrong with the current education system at all? Understandable. After all, it taught all of us — and we’re here reading this — So… Where’s the beef? Right? Well, for us to really understand what’s going on in the education system today, and why it needs to be reworked for the “Great Reset”,  we need to first understand why it works the way it does in the first place.

Time to set the Way-Back machine to the mid 19th century!

But -- why the 19th century Mr. Peabody?

Elementary, my dear Sherman — Because that is when and where our system of education was conceived.

You see, Sherman; before the 19th century, most people were educated through life itself. There were no standard schools for everyone to attend. Sure the Jesuits had been schooling people long before this time — but the financial requirements necessary to buy your way in to these schools left most exempt from wonderful world of knowledge at large.

At the time… This was not seen as a problem

School was not for everybody. It was for the Elite. The Scholarly. Those with Potential. And, to be any of that, either you were born into money (and could afford the Jesuits way), or you were lucky enough to know someone who owned the classic novels, and would let you read them — that is if you could read at all. Knowledge of the classics — The Iliad, The Bard, and the like — were, in the opinion of the time, an indicator of a person with scholarly potential. It was believed that as an individual, you were either born with the capacity to be intelligent, or — simply — not…

Intelligence, and our view of it, has changed radically over the years — However — this view of potential has not. And to me, that’s quite sad.

Me too kitty.... Me too

On to, “The Industrial Revolution”

When you hear the term, “Industrial Revolution”, What do you think of? Assembly lines? Batches of boxed and manufactured goods? Lots of rust dust, face filth, and poor hygiene? If so, than good — because you now have an image in your brain of where our education systems roots are grounded.

Think about it, we manufacture “Batches” of kids — shipping them through Grade School with the only grouping restriction being their age — on standardized, “Assembly lines” of required classes. We grade them all on the same standard — the, “Industry standard” of either right, or wrong. There is only one way to be — one right answer — and any child that winds up with a differing conclusion is promptly labeled “defective”, fails, and is left behind to take the Ole’ whirly-bird for another spin…

Do we really want our kids to think that the most important aspect about them is their Born-on-date? Is there really only one right answer to problems? Sure, maybe in math, but overall?

No.

No!

A hundred times, NO!

There are MANY ways to look at any given situation, and many potential outcomes for each, to be sure. This is called “Divergent Thinking “; finding many ways to answer a single question — Ahem, creativity.

What we teach today however, is not divergent, but rather “Convergent thought”; where all the facts converge to the only answer that exists. This is how the revolution of industry, and the inception of interchangeable parts, had us thinking, and this is the way we built the education system….

Those concepts, along with the dangerous notion that standardized testing would sift out the “Scholars”, from the “Dunces”, has been the honing stone which would prove to “sharpen”, the minds of the millions educated under its auspices.

Today though, I’d like to ask you all, avid readers — is this a good idea?

If the goal of education is to aid in people learning — to not only teach them, but to help them figure out things on their own when they’re finished — than, being that we know well about individuality, how can we honestly expect the same system to benefit everyone under it equally?

Is every person the same? Do we all have identical propensities toward learning? The same interests? The same Hobbies? The same passions? Is everybody alike?

Certainly NOT!

Haven’t we have all known children who’ve shown interest and potential in things and subjects far beyond their grade level? For one reason or another, these things make these people — these future adults who will one day run our society — happy. These things are their passions. And, as you know, here on this blog, we’re all about people finding their passions and becoming the person that they’ve always wanted to be! This path of interest and passion leads, not only to lifelong satisfaction — but also a lifelong journey.

If you’re always interested, you’re always learning. If you’re always learning, you’re never bored. If you’re never bored, you’re content! And content people, (even though they have to work hard), actively advance the fields they’re involved with — and when you do that, you push the very evolution of mankind (for all those unfamiliar with this concept, please catch up on this series 🙂   )!

Think about how amazing the world is today — and also, how distracting…

When our kids are caught distracted from their lessons, lessons that we’ve already established might not be “Right” for them, they are chastised, lectured, belittled, their parents are called, and — all too often — medication is prescribed. We’re forcing our kids to sit through school, through things that they find boring (and rightfully so), WITH DRUGS. Is this what we want? If we had a choice, is this how we would set it up again after, “The Great Reset”?

Looking at it now — I highly doubt it.

Did you know that most children, some 98%, are at the GENIUS level when measured for divergent thinking? But here’s the thing; as we re-test these kids after years of “schooling”, we find that this ability atrophied, and eventually dies. We need to rework the system to reflect the goal of education — to not only educate, but to teach someone to learn on their own. Give a man a fish and all that…

We teach logic, which is all well and good — but its only half the picture.

We should instead teach creativity.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”
~Albert Einstein

How do we do that? How do we teach Imagination? Well, mostly, with subjects we’ve been ignoring.

The Arts — teach a person about what it’s like to live as someone else — an unrivaled thought experiment, and extreme reflection of the self.

Philosophy — more in that same vein, and even deeper, Philosophy helps us understand the current matrix that is our personal understanding of the world. Once we know our limits, we have the ability to supersede them. However, you can’t jump over an invisible hurdle…

Less standardized, more personalized — I remember a science teacher of mine running into class once, simply overjoyed at some breakthrough in his field he’d heard of over lunch, but he couldn’t tell us what it was, because it wasn’t part of his lesson. Here we had a person willing to share their genuine passion with us, something that as a child could have imbued us all with a real sense of wonder, and yet — he couldn’t share because of “Standards”… What a world… This needs to change!

Stop, Stop, Stop with the assembly line — I say, toss it all. Let teachers teach what they want. Let them talk to each other, shuffle students between classes to look for the right fit. And be able to freely and actively try to make the kids happy, and interested.

I understand that this will all be very difficult, and that it will make the job of educators infinitely harder — but this isn’t necessarily bad. It will draw in those who are best suited for the job, rather than pension seekers and lazy care-nothings. People would not join the field unless they positively loved it, especially when we’d expect them to spend their summers (if we can even afford summers off, with all there is to know about the world these days…), re-work their entire years lessons, to properly reflect our changing world….

Starting to get the picture?

Children are not the only ones effected here

How many people do you know that hate their jobs?

Plenty, I’d bet.

How many others would be grateful to have that “hated” job, but hate the one they’re in themselves?

This is a serious problem. People aren’t happy. They’re going through this antiquated system blindly, like they’ve been told to. They’re getting their degrees, their leaving college (with HEFTY debt), and they’re miserable… So what do they do?

Nothing…

They don’t know anything else to do. They’ve forgotten how to think divergent, so they’re trapped, in a very real sense of the word. Problem is, their subconscious still wants them to be great! It still nags them, insisting that there’s something left to do, something left unattended — and that can drive a person mad, depressed, and — mostly — just very, very confused. So they distract themselves to drown out this voice…

They wind up pouring themselves into things like TV sitcoms, Reality TV, Movies, Sports, Innocuous trivia (Say Thank’ Ya), and a million other distractions — but they are not living up to their potential. They’re not doing what they love. They’re not — not truly — happy. Maybe in fleeting moments of drunken debauchery, or drug addled hazes, but I believe that a lot, maybe even most, feel lost and confused with the question, “Who am I”?

This leads me to my conclusion;

As we engineer our own future, we must recognize that mankind’s greatest gift is his creativity — creativity is passion, creativity is invention, and thus, creativity is evolution.

Everybody wants to matter, to be important, and they all can. Each and everyone on the planet has a piece of the puzzle to the great mystery of life, and by not culturing this — by telling them that they simply can’t because of genetics, socioeconomic status, or place of birth — we are shooting ourselves in the foot!

Always remember, don’t just aim to better yourself — that’s selfish. Attempt to better all those around you. Because, in truth, we are all as one living organism — Earth. And when the world is viewed through that lens, by giving a leg up to a stranger, your also helping yourself — not to mention all of mankind.

Martian Luther King Jr. Once had a dream that mankind would at one point see each other not by skin-color, but by the virtue of an individual. We may be growing colorblind these days, but we are not yet culture blind — and that needs to change!

~J

P.S. A lot of ideas in today’s blog were inspired by Sir. Ken Robinsons TED talk, of which i’ve mentioned plenty of times in the past. You can check out my favorite version of his talk here!

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Comments
  1. “Tarnation” is not what you think it is, but rather a euphemism for damnation. On the other hand, “cotton picking” is exactly what you think it is.
    I have worked in public education for many years and I would like to add that most public school administration is based around Money, Politics, and Convenience. Avoiding lawsuits (difficult in such a litigious society) is a high priority.
    What is best for individual children is way down on the list. If teachers had more freedom and less regulation, it might be different, but this would create a logistical nightmare for the government. True education is nearly impossible to measure. Standardization is a well-intentioned evil that sucks up class time and does not benefit students at all, but (accurate or not) it is the only way for the government to show taxpayers what their money is paying for.

    Totally unrelated note: I am reading a new novel called Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslakovic, which I am recommending to you, because you like Douglas Adams. I am only on page 25, but it has real promise.

    • Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! This was, AMAZINGLY, not only the 100th comment on my site BUT ALSO was the 6000’th view of all time!!!!

      “I nao haz a Happy” ~ The kitty up top.

      And secondly, i was schlepping my hungover self through the subway system to attend this charity benefit, where a friend of mine was bar-tending, last night, (not in the best of spirits with my aching head as you might imagine), and when i read your first sentence i quite literally laughed out loud — and my whole outlook on the evening became much more positive! So thanks!

      It is an honor to have an educator reading this post, and more than a little depressing to hear you agree about the needed change but acknowledge the corruption which prevents it. The next, and likely final, post in this series will deal with re-crafting the Government after a “reset”, and this is something that must come into play.
      It seems to me that the honorable intentions of our forefathers was best suited to a small groupings of colonies. We have grown too large, and the government no longer can possible grasp the individualistic needs of unique community’s — and that needs to be altered. So, even though i have no idea yet how I’m going to change this as a whole as of yet, I’m really looking forward to finding a solution later on in the week.

      Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU, for your thoughtful and funny comment — you made my night — and hopefully i can propose something next week that will make a difference.

  2. I’m glad my comment was so well received. On my end, I enjoyed the fact that you used the expression “not in the best of spirits” after talking about hangovers and bartenders. =)

  3. jakesprinter says:

    I Love this post 🙂

  4. Speaking as someone who tried to teach the Arts in the 70’s I know that kids are generally brought up to believe that unless you can draw then Art is a free lesson. Attempts to change the way we educate have usually been met with derision by those who, generally, are “Academics” in the Ken Robinson sense (great talk, by the way). To educate in the Ken Robinson way would take a societal leap of faith that would be difficult to concieve even though, I would imagine, everyone can see the sense in what he says. Perhaps this is because the “Elites” make the rules, of achievement and what constitutes it (money),who gets the jobs, the recognition etc, and therefore this is still seen as a goal for all to attain and the thought of someone’s kid falling short having been given all the “help” he needs would be shameful.
    It takes a personal transition to say that the recognised goals of society are not “my goals”. One person at a time making this leap becomes a societal shift in numbers, eventually. The shift to more experiential and creative values has to be led by people who can show that there is greater happiness and enrichment to be found in not coveting the new Merc or BMW, but rather in living a life that is an expression of yourself.
    It will take a bold leader. I hope one steps up to the plate.
    Excellent series of posts, Jared.

    • Glad you liked that talk, TED is my go-to for entertainment when i need a brain-health break.
      That societal leap you mentioned — You’re DEAD on, and I beleive we’re ready.
      The only problem, as i see it, is all the other muck that’s been layered atop society which prevents most from seeing any other way to operate. That’s why the “Reset” project.
      The short in the mix might have seemed the most unrelated, but to me it’s essential that we stop the old way of thinking and doing things.
      Fear cannot rule the day any longer.
      Fear can only manifest from misunderstanding.
      That Fear is now coming to an end — with the age of inter-webs and information — and I’ll be glad to see it go!
      And that’s it, you’ve said it wonderfully — all change has to start with a single step, and when the change is of the mind, a single person.
      It’s a rough path, but I’m on it — as are you, and all the others who make it through my painstakingly long posts.
      I’m elated to have you all in my company.
      Great comment, Al.

  5. PL Holden says:

    Great writing di Croce! I have had fantasies like these too. But I have been wondering ever since you started The Great Reset series, how does (I’m assuming) a regular guy who’s into blogging hope to implement these ideas? As I read this one it occurred to me that you probably wouldn’t be the one to do it, but….
    The people who read this might start to get talking and writing about it, then their readers and friends might, and so on and so on. Eventually whenever the opportunity presents itself to start from scratch in a small corner of the world and somebody isn’t willing to lay down and rot just because they aren’t able to buy their way out, these ideas will be the building blocks for making a comeback!

    • Thanks Peter. You’ve got it, guilty as charged. This is a movement of the mind. We might want more from this world, but if we dont understand what’s missing than we wont strive to fix it — cause how could we.
      I thought that the easiest way to help people see beyond the zeitgeist, was to merely get rid of it.
      Hypothetically, does not have to be the case. We know what to do. And how, so….. What are we waiting for?
      With any luck, this will fall on the right ears.
      I even thought about going down to Occupy Wall St after I finished, to hand out as many of these as i could print. Not sure if I’m quite that brave, nor that confident in my ability, but i might do it nonetheless — perhaps for the experience alone.

  6. You must know convergent thought to “pass” the LSAT and state bar exam, but law school? No. It doesn’t make sense.

    • haha, not even a little 😉 I really think divergent thought is the way to go. It breeds many solutions to a problem, and gives the individual the power of choice. Thanks for dropping in, hope to see you again (particularly when the topics aren’t so severe).

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