8
   

Does truth matter anymore?

 
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 04:57 am
@jeeprs,
Quote:
and too much of the modern world is aimed at making the world a safe place for the ignorant.

I still remember sitting in 7th grade math on the first day (1974) and the teacher goes into some trauma he suffered as a kid and says all seriously "there is no such thing as a stupid question in my class". All year students tested him on this, asking the dumbest questions they could think of trying to get a rise out of him, but never succeeding.

I think we see over and over again that not enough is asked of people, expected. It is now very bad form to tell a person that they have not produced the minimum requirement, standards went by the boards a long time ago when it comes to intelligence. We are more concerned with not hurting peoples feelings than we are in encouraging people to be wise. I however fail to see where tolerating without objection our brothers and sisters wallowing in delusion is a humane act.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 05:26 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
e are more concerned with not hurting peoples feelings than we are in encouraging people to be wise


Everything is being dumbed down. Why is that? Is it softening people up so that they will be more compliant consumers? Maybe its a by-product of democracy - the unintelligent outnumber the intelligent by a large number and so they present more sales opportunities....I don't know, really. But it does not bode well. (I think it would not have surprised Plato.)
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 08:52 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:

I think we see over and over again that not enough is asked of people, expected. It is now very bad form to tell a person that they have not produced the minimum requirement, standards went by the boards a long time ago when it comes to intelligence.


It is interesting that you posted this because this is the standard that the left was attempting to promote vis a vis education around the time you were born.

You follow with a statement that people are "more concerned with not hurting peoples feelings," which sounds like a description of the PC movement.

The PC movement was not, strictly speaking, a left wing movement but rather a maxim followed by middle of the roaders in response to the message of the left during the late 60s into the early 70s. Watered down stuff.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 09:18 am
@jeeprs,
One of the reasons why things are being dumbed down is the bottom line. School administrators . . . note that I did not use the word educators . . . think dumbing down saves money.

Some parents feel the same way as well. When I was a substitute teacher, I was cornered by a militant parent one day who was against the four tracks that the high school offered: College Prep 1 and 2, Advanced and Honors. She felt less money would be spent on books if all kids were offered the same program. Not really. One-thousand plus students still need one-thousand plus books. Unless having 50 teenagers in a classroom is desirable, the same number of English or history or math teachers are needed.

Furthermore, the kids who are natural mathematicians or natural linguists need to be in a more advanced environment than the kids who need help. However, I did hear on NPR one morning several months ago, of a school that decided to challenge the non-achievers. The kids were put into a Shakespeare class rather than into a class that taught "young adult fiction." Several students were interviewed and spoke into the mic, saying they loved being challenged. That's great but it does not always work and sometimes the kids will sloooooowwwwww the class down. The other thing that happens at the College Prep 2 level (often the lowest level taught with the exception of SPED), the classes include kids with 85-90 IQs and good work ethics along with students with behavioral problems. As a teacher, your heart goes out to the former because school is challenge enough for them without having to deal with awful peers.

Then there are community members who feel it is wrong to challenge slow kids. On another forum, a very vocal right-wing woman talked constantly about the adopted teenagers who lived next door. Supposedly, the kids had IQs in the mid-80s. The writer hated the fact that they were forced to take science courses. I first challenged the writer on how she knew her neighbors' IQs but said that IQs can be raised and that everyone needs to know science these days.
Quote:
Is it softening people up so that they will be more compliant consumers?


I detest advertising. Advertising all too often uses shaded truths. The classic example is the claim (is it still made?) by Folger's Coffee that it is "mountain grown" because that is the "richest, most aromatic kind." Duh! Most coffee is a high altitude plant. While Folger's isn't lying, the truth is shaded.

But, let's consider Folger's itself. That's a Proctor and Gamble brand. Why isn't it called Proctor and Gamble coffee? The very use of a brand name here is misleading as it often is.

Finally, this particular example enrages me because, as a newly wed, many years ago, a retirement-aged couple were in the coffee aisle at the same time I was. The woman picked up a can of Folger's and told her husband, "They say this is good."

Advertising has damaged several generations of consumers, rendering them less able to make decisions based on their own experimentation with several brands. (Let me digress and say that autodidacts will buy several brands and sample them, so a certain type of person is more apt to experiment and less willing to follow the crowd.)

We need to not only teach government, economics (both were taught at my high school beginning in academic 1964-65), basic accounting and more science at the high school level, but we also need to teach media awareness.


0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 01:26 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
Everything is being dumbed down. Why is that?
That is a taboo subject of course, you can't be telling the dumbed down that they are dumb. First they will not believe it, second they get pissed and take their anger out on you. Alan Bloom found that out after writing "the closing of the American mind", though surely he expected this response.

His take was that the final straw was the capitulation of the universities to the student movements in 1969, but the reason they did so dates back to a decline in education that was already evident after ww2. It probably had something to do with the massive increase of student load cased by the GI bill, also that a lot of those guys had no business being at a university so allowances had to be made. After that cohort made it through all of those chairs had to be filled, which required standards to be diluted again and again.

One bigger problem though is that all or almost all is sacrificed at the alter of conflict reduction...maintaining peace. We have decided that conflict is too dangerous, we are afraid that we will blow this civilization to bits if we allow conflict, we we will do almost anything to tamp it down. The World wars, and then the Race and War riots of the 60's drove that message home. Fear trumps willpower, it is a failure of will. The imperative is to keep the herd calm.

Another problem is a failure of imagination. Very few people read deeply anymore, very few people are willing to separate themselves from the herd of humans and have a different experience than the herd, All people know is what they see around them, human imagination has become an echo chamber, or as Bloom said the mind now runs very shallow.

And the purpose of eduction has changed...is was once to teach the traditions and train the mind to seek the good life, to develop a taste for the best that humanity has to offer. It is now to teach job skills, and to mold individuals into a democratic personality. Much of what goes under the heading education is indoctrination of values, for while it is claimed that the individual has the right to make up his own mind we surely must discourage the practice.

jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 04:58 pm
@hawkeye10,
Hard to know where to look for a way out of this. I suppose those who are educated and critical just have to keep working away, teaching and writing. The traditional skills of dialog and debate still have a large part to play. But there are many fundamental problems and distortions which are very deep-rooted and are very hard to expose.

There's a thread elsewhere on moral relativism. It is closely related to political correctness. I guess the bottom line is that not all viewpoints are equal, so that even though everyone is entitled to their opinion, some of them are going to be incorrect. A democratic society can hardly bring itself to acknowledge that. After all if we challenge the traditional standards what alternatives are there? Another Bloom, Howard Bloom, wrote an anthology called The Western Canon. Perhaps the approach is a return to more classical education. It doesn't sit will with the post-modernist attitude. I mean the whole idea of moral standards is kind of, you know, uncool. (To which the reply might be that this is because so much of the contemporary outlook is, you know, degenerate.)
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 06:17 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:

Hard to know where to look for a way out of this. I suppose those who are educated and critical just have to keep working away, teaching and writing
I have long thought that those who should know better have allowed themselves to be bullied into at least silence, if not support for the dumbing down program. I have been told that I am unreasonable, that I expect too much out of people.

I do understand that to go against the program will cost reputation, material success, and is spiritually draining. I think that the wise have an obligation to speak and to write what they see as the truth anyways.

I keep thinking back to Thomas Moore "care of the soul" who early in his career wrote the groundbreaking book "dark eros" about the dark side of the soul and how it is played out in S&M, and who also said that professional counselling has more than a little Dominance/submission power dynamic in it....and the pro's really let him have it. They said that even if such was true he was irresponsible to talk about it, and by saying anything negative about his profession he was a traitor. Even after Moore wrote a new forward to the book with tons of qualifiers and saying that he was in no way approving of the dark side and that maybe we could use this book to help mitigate the dark side Moore was given no quarter. He was expected to repudiate his book, apologize for his stupidity and apologize to his profession for his sins, and when he would not he was frozen out....or at least this is my sense of what went down, he himself might not agree as I have never seen where he has spoken on the matter. I have seen where he has said that he is not writing for people of today, as he has no confidence that we are reachable, he is writting in the hopes that 50-100 years from now his work will be discovered by people are are prepared to take it in, who are not brainwashed or asleep, or mostly dead, or what ever the **** is wrong with us...

Thomas Moore is an example of how I wish more wise people acted, he is conspicuous in his having taken the road less traveled.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 06:59 pm
@hawkeye10,
perhaps the moral high ground has been occupied by people of low intelligence. In my view they are those who mistake the symbolic for the actual, and the outer for the inner.

It has to do with the conception of freedom. Liberty in the age of materialism is the freedom to please yourself. It puts ego front and centre. But to go beyond that requires the intelligence to see through it. It can't be compelled but must be freely chosen. And few will choose it - same now as always.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 07:13 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
perhaps the moral high ground has been occupied by people of low intelligence. In my view they are those who mistake the symbolic for the actual, and the outer for the inner.
IDK, but my current thinking is that something has gone wrong with power in this technical society, the wrong people have it. I am not sure of why though, is it because our democratic yearnings do not allow us to see and understand power thus it is taken by those of a criminal bent who use it to extract personal gain rather than collective progress? Or is it rather because technology makes us soft and hungry for titillation because we have too much time on our hands so we will follow whom ever will entertain us? Something else?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 07:22 pm
@hawkeye10,
all of the above. And I think it is also something fundamentally wrong with capitalism. (Shock! Heresy!) I remember one of the satirical slogans of the 60's - 'consume, be silent, die'. The whole populace is grossly manipulated by commercial interests while the wealthy elite accumulate incomprehensible riches.

This kind of analysis really belongs with social critics more than philosophers. As a sixties type, my instinct is to quote Marcuse, Roszak, and other counter-culture intellectuals, and all those who warned that the world was being run (or ruined) by the military-industrial complex. The US symbolizes the worst of this (and I am not anti-American in saying that). I just think the so-called Right have been basically bamboozled by the capitalist class into thinking that whatever makes the biggest profits for the largest corporations should be seen as the criteria of freedom. Those who are willing to criticize it are small in number and are systematically denigrated and marginalized.

Just found a very interesting quote by a writer I have not heard of previously:
Quote:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.” – Edward Bernays

jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 07:28 pm
apparently Edward Bernays invented most of what we now know as Public Relations.

Figures.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 07:32 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
And I think it is also something fundamentally wrong with capitalism
only the idiots are not aware that this is true...capitalists once understood that their duties were to themselves, their stockholders, their employees, the collective as a whole, but they have over time largely made it all about them. The capitalist system will collapse under the weight, it has become malignant.

However, in my opinion this is a symptom of what ails us, not a cause. I strongly suspect that the root cause is a spiritual problem. Whence it came IDK.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 08:24 pm
@hawkeye10,
Capitalists also once understood that they had duties to the communities in which they operate. This mostly disappeared 20 years ago as they begin the ruthlessly play states and cites off each other, looking only for the best deal. Whom ever offers the best tax rates/subsidy package wins. At anytime someone else offers a better package they will be gone. There is no honor or loyalty anymore, often times even a contract is not considered an obligation, rather it is a jumping off point for the next negotiation. The whole system does not work when the rules can't be counted on to be operational tomorrow.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 09:02 pm
@hawkeye10,
the other thing I have noticed is that the Christian Right is more or less the cheer squad for it. For example, the way that reactionaries have virtually taken control of the Texas School Board and are promoting a certain ideological agenda which is perceived to be 'pro-American'. And part of this 'pro-American' stance is the commitment to unbridled capitalism as being part of America's patriotic duty as 'the light on the hill for the nations of the world'.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 09:46 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
the other thing I have noticed is that the Christian Right is more or less the cheer squad for it. For example, the way that reactionaries have virtually taken control of the Texas School Board and are promoting a certain ideological agenda which is perceived to be 'pro-American'
I learned a long time ago that those with power must be evaluated just like the wise man does with his woman, pay no attention to what they say, consider only what they do.

There is no difference between the right and the left on this issue. For instance the Commodity Futures Modernization Act which forbid regulation of credit default swaps, which ultimately undid our financial system, passed the house 292-60, the Senate by Unanimous consent, and was signed into law by Clinton. The CFMA had previously passed in the house as H.R. 4541 377y-4n
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 09:48 pm
@hawkeye10,
yeah I think you're right, it would be unwise to attribute to one or another 'side' of the system. We're all in it together, I s'pose.
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 10:48 pm
I don't buy all the dumbing down theories. People adapt to that which they need to adapt. People who haven't needed to adapt haven't. It is much the same argument that an older generation has against the language usage of a younger generation. "These young whippersnappers are corrupting my language they must be so stupid, why can't they use it right?" It happens in every generation. And every time the older generation loses out (because they eventually die) and the language changes anyway. It is a natural socio-cultural evolution just as ideals about intelligence.

in fact the standardization of what is intelligent may be hampering the necessary evolution of intelligence. Much like standardized language tends to retard the evolution of spoken language. An outdated education system and intelligence ideal set may be retarding the needed evolution of applied intelligence.

The real culprits who are being "dumb" may be us. We hold an ideal of intelligence and/or language usage that is inappropriate for today's needs. Since we are obviously wiser we must also be smarter, and our ideals of what is smart must be better.

It swipes right through the middle of ethics as well. Our innate sense of egoism and nostalgia/romance affect our sense of perspective when the world changes. Although I would prefer to think that humanity as a whole is transcendental of a herd, I cannot. The majority of people will adapt to be averagely intelligent enough to navigate the world in which they find themselves. All the dumbing down complaints I've seen on this thread are valid complaints from the perspective of a person who is probably older, or raised in an "older way", or they are likely more self aware than the average person. All this is to say, people are more stupid relative to the ideal of the complainer, but in the world as it functions now, the complainers may be relatively more stupid
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 10:58 pm
@GoshisDead,
Quote:
All the dumbing down complaints I've seen on this thread are valid complaints from the perspective of a person who is probably older, or raised in an "older way", or they are likely more self aware than the average person. All this is to say, people are more stupid relative to the ideal of the complainer, but in the world as it functions now, the complainers may be relatively more stupid
no doubt you have an equally snappy explanation for why the language of media and education text books are now written for a lower grade level reading ability, and why Americans at least are increasingly ignorant of the history and geography of the Earth and its peoples. Being expert thumbers of their IPOD's does not quite compensate.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:01 pm
@hawkeye10,
"War is God's way of teaching Americans about geography" (anonymous).
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:06 pm
@hawkeye10,
I didn't realize my post had snap, sweet! Why would I need a snappy reply. Much like your post I am saying the 'stupidity' is built into the system. I also didn't imply that I was happy with the change, in fact I am trying desperately to get my children to adhere to what I consider a higher level educational course. All this does not change the likely fact that the issues discussed in this thread aren't natural and necessary.
 

Related Topics

So I just joined Facebook.... - Discussion by DrewDad
YouTube Is Doomed - Discussion by Shapeless
Internet disinformation overload - Discussion by rosborne979
Participatory Democracy Online - Discussion by wandeljw
OpenDNS and net neutrality - Question by Butrflynet
Internet Explorer 8? - Question by Pitter
 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/04/2020 at 04:52:10