How Society Conditions People into Idiocy!

One of the tricks that society plays on us is the trick of authority. Though this is relevant to all types of authority here I am focusing in on the idea of an authority when it comes to truth or knowledge.

 

Instead of engaging with experience 1st hand most people don’t even engage with it at all. That is they don’t attempt to understand what is. The reason behind this is partly school and partly media. At school people were just spoon-fed fact after fact. There was very little in the way of learning how facts come about.

 

In a very real sense the education system is upside down. When people are younger they should be taught procedural knowledge rather than factual knowledge. This would be a lot easier than it seems especially in things like the sciences because in the sciences you could just get them to perform the experiments. Get them to go through the scientific method but don’t be so concerned with getting them to get the “Right answer”. This would be incredibly easy because the scientific method is incredibly simple.

 

Don’t go telling me that children aren’t sophisticated enough for the practice that would make up the acquisition of procedural knowledge because they learn language when they have no language. I mean if nature – that is blind forces acting upon stuff – can cause a dumb child to speak then I am sure we can teach that same child how to act out the scientific method.

 

The media is no less responsible. As a result of the schooling people are given now those that don’t persist into further education generally tend to become vegetative in respects to anything to do with learning once they leave school. Media just perpetuates this state of affairs by offering a surplus of pseudo-documentaries that appear to be instructional but when analyses consist of nothing but a sequence of unsubstantiated truth-claims.

These claims may well be true but that is not the point. That such questions as “How is the truth-value of a claim to be known?”, “How are these “facts” generated?” and so on are not addressed is quite atrocious. It acts upon a person’s intellect in much the same way that the news acts upon a person’s moral sensibility. In the case of the news a person is constantly presented with a series of images where people are in distress but he can do nothing about it and thus his feeling of empathy is deadened. In the case of the pseudo-documentaries he is presented with a string of unconnected facts which come from god knows where and with which he can do nothing and so he is left in a stupor.

In the media – I am afraid to say – science plays the role of religion. Instead of saying to the laymen “Don’t ask that because it is forbidden” it says “Don’t ask that because you are stupid”.

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3 thoughts on “How Society Conditions People into Idiocy!

  1. Firstly, I appreciate that you’re stating an opinion here, and I like the way you do so with some force of conviction. If I may though, I just want to pick you up on this matter of children learning language, as I think you’ve simplified this too much. As I understand it, much of the child’s ability to acquire language is due to the plasticity of the neuronal networks being, if you will, predisposed to this acquisition from birth. There is, or rather was, a debate about whether language is entirely learned or is partly innate, though my understanding is that the latter position is now more favoured based on the evidence. If so, this means that the ‘blind forces’ that you write of are not entirely blind. I agree with your broad take, but I think some of the suppositions are open to discussion. With gratitude and respect, Hariod Brawn.

    • Of course the whole thing is open to discussion – in fact everything I write is and I welcome it. I’ve only disallowed one comment from showing on my blog to date and that was because it said “You just don’t have a clue about anything and you keep showing that!”. If the author of the comment had given content to his criticism it would be up but no content no facetime!

      Of course there’s the whole universal grammer thing Chomsky which I do agree with. But that shows that children are more capable of learning than adults are and the kind of learning they are more capable of seems to be procedural. Of course fact acquistion is also something they are stupendously good at but it seems to me that they are only good at it when it is linked with procedural activities. For example words are learnt with great rapidity because they are learnt alongside the use of language.

      But I have very little back-ground in what I was just talking about and have done next to no research on it. That (and most of what I right) is purely – well mostly purely – a priori and is thus on very shakey ground!

      I tend to write in a frenzy (thus “subjective” in the title) and uninhibitively use anything that comes to mind in order to elucidate some point however hazy.

      The main point I was trying to get across here was how people aren’t as stupid as they seem and they only seem as stupid as they do (both to themselves and others) because of the social conditioning that has been forced upon them. And also how being fed facts without being made aware of where they come from or how they come into being produces the myth of epistemic authority which is probably the largest culprit in the dumbing down that i see!

      I do think a child could practice the scientific method though! It is pretty darn simple

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