10 June 2008

Answering My Readers

In response to reader comments:

To Joe, who commented on My latest education post, here's My response: The basic tools We need to be self-educated--that schools absolutely fail to teach--are:

1) Contextual thinking: The "why" about things and the relationships between facts. In essence, schools fail miserably at providing the connective framework needed to develop knowledge. Yes, Columbus discovered America in 1492; most kids know that. What most kids don't know is Columbus' nationality, the reason he sailed for Spain rather than the mighty sea empire of Portugal and what conditions made this trip anything but a foregone conclusion.

Many of you will say "Who cares about all that crap?" and that proves--beyond a shadow of a doubt--that you're the quintessential product of a stupid factory... in both senses of the term. Without context, without connections between facts, knowledge cannot emerge. The skill needed to develop this tool is the curiosity to ask "why" and add facts as they come into view. Once you learn how to do it, you can learn anything you choose to focus on.

2) Critical thinking: Beginning with logic and running the gamut to include even knowing how to trust your instincts, critical thinking is absolutely vital to self-education. Without it, a comic book and a textbook have the same learning value: None. With it, a comic book and a textbook have immense learning value: Each in their own way. Lack of critical thinking makes an average moron a murderous one, and makes an average person an unwitting dupe to lies, falsehoods and propaganda. Once you learn how to do it, no man or concept is your master

3) Imagination: School does everything it can to quash imagination, because imagination has the power to explore beyond all horizons. The school system wants to act like the end-all and be-all: Imagination places it within its proper context of "tiny wasted space." Imagination, cultivated so it doesn't roam willy-nilly, but soars on currents it can only feel, flows naturally from why, what about, how about and maybe. Think back over your school days and remember the reaction to questions or answers that began with those words. To a hammer, the whole world is a nail. Imagination leaps the gaps--for there are always gaps--and prepares the way for a bridge to "over there." And no, you don't teach imagination: You teach how to use it. Once you learn how to use it, there is no limit to how much you can learn.


Joe asked Me what We can do to "give The Fools what's theirs, sideways and with the sharp corners exposed." Gabriel posted a link to a "furious and indignant" local Fool Cristobal Colón (one of three who voted against freezing the automatic legislative pay raise) who had this to spew about his "reduced" benefits and now-frozen 22% pay raise:

...(P)risoners in Puerto Rico have more rights than legislators because they vote two days before the elections. "If they die that night (of the elections), their vote still counts. If we die the day of the elections, our vote doesn't count."

Are you shitting Me, Colon-Breath? Here's an idea: Drop dead. And take a prisoner with you.

Back to Joe. Here's the simple formula:

A) Vote them out of office.

B) Whoever stays or comes in gets microscopically watched. I'm talking 24/7 colonoscopy of their legislative and gubernatorial actions. The Information Soldier talked about a "political memory" website, and there are a couple of congressional watchdog sites doing their thing. The Internet is perfect for this, We don't need many volunteers (retired teachers would be perfect at this) and the media would slowly pick up on the trend so that it eventually dawns on The Fools that their asses belong to Us... and We are aiming kicks.

In any case, drop by My post "Mass Transit Woes" and check out Joe's lengthy and fascinating comment. To MC Don Dees, who suggested I join a chess club: Good idea. It's a silent game. To The Information Soldier, thanks for the encouragement and welcome back. To The Picky Gramar Lady: No, I don't spell-check. And to the rest of you who call to tell me what you think, thanks for reading.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

No comments: