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Forum Post: OccupyTheConstitution Education

Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 11, 2012, 9:03 p.m. EST by Nanook (172)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

BASIC CONCEPTS

Education in the modern world, like so many other institutions, has gone totally awry. We have to STOP the Race to Nowhere (www.racetonowhere.com ). We have to recognize that the push for national standards is politically driven and scientifically unfounded. Everywhere we turn we hear the STEM education propaganda: America's future depends on more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We need more CREATIVITY! So, we must FORCE ALL of our students to achieve standardized grades in these subjects.

The truth is, world society has been turned into slaves to line the pockets of the executives in the military, industrial, educational, and Wall Street complex.

The secondary schools teach to the FCAT scores, supposedly to drive U.S. competitiveness and the GDP. ( These are code words that mean Wall Street profits. ). The universities are, of course, part of the game. Finding social breakthroughs to end poverty and improve everyone's standard of living are not important to them. They are playing the game of getting government grants. This means doing trivial research projects, to support the military and industry money machines, and to line the pockets of professors and administrators. For those colleges who don't do research, there is a new game in town. Anyone who wants to go to college can get a government loan, no matter how much it costs or what you study! Then, amazingly, if you can't find a job, even with your shinny new degree, and you go bankrupt, you NEVER GET OFF THE HOOK for this money! (What's next? Bring back the DEBTORS PRISONS?)

To solve the “education” problem, the world first has to solve the “jobs” problem (http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-jobs/). To solve the jobs problem, we have to solve the “quality of life” problem (http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-quality-of-life/). To solve the quality of life problem, we need to understand “society”, as a whole, from a SYSTEM perspective. Why? Because the world has become too COMPLEX to understand one part at a time. People, and all the world leaders, are in DENIAL about the complexity of the modern world.

But there's a deeper problem still. People are resistant to change even when presented with indisputable reasons to do so: like outright contradictions. For example, every day we hear, ‘Education is the KEY to U.S. competitiveness.’ Yet, people, government and industry, all resist providing sufficient funding for education. Why? Is it because they don't actually believe what they are preaching? I don't think so. I think it's simple: GREED. We all do think we need education. But we want someone else to pay for it. Notice! We're back to the SYSTEM problem.

In summary, part of the approach I’d take to solve the education problem is:

  1. Force Congress to address the Quality of Life issue. Part of this effort must address the human psychology problem that drives greed (http://a3society.org/Fear http://a3society.org/7 Deadly Sins ) .

  2. Pull industry and academic leaders together, with full public participation, and create a comprehensive, system based VISION, to simultaneously get us back to full employment while solving the country's Quality of Life problems ( poverty, crime, etc.).

  3. Provide clear educational paths for both adults and kids to reach this full employment model. This is not just a list of jobs. It's paths! from cradle to grave. This does not mean forcing people along the paths. It just means the paths have to be there for those who want to follow them.

  4. Determine and implement the most fare and cost effective approach to pay for it.

Please jump in below with your comments. A number of subtopics have been started to focus discussions. Here's a local index:

BASIC PRINCIPLES AND PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-584969

CREATIVITY http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-586434

EDUCATION - ONE SIZE FITS ALL http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-581993

FINANCING EDUCATION - STUDENT LOANS http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-581888

FINANCING EDUCATION - THE LARGER ISSUE http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-590377

JOBS - THE PROBLEM / CAREERS / LIFE PATHS http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-605226

SOCIAL LEADERSHIP - THE UNIVERSITIES http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-605229

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

23 Comments

23 Comments


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[-] 3 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

BASIC PRINCIPLES AND PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION

Here is an excerpt on the fundamental principles of education paraphrased from Wikipedia:

A. The enterprise of civil society depends on educating people to become responsible, thoughtful and enterprising citizens. This is an intricate, challenging task requiring deep understanding of ethical principles, moral values, political theory, aesthetics, and economics, not to mention an understanding of who children are, in themselves and in society.

B. Progress in every practical field depends on having capacities that schooling can develop. Education is thus a means to foster the individual's, society's, and even humanity's future development and prosperity. Emphasis is often put on economic success.

C. One's individual development and the capacity to fulfill one's own purposes can depend on an adequate preparation in childhood. Education can thus attempt to give a firm foundation for the achievement of personal fulfillment. The better the foundation that is built, the more successful the child will be. Simple basics in education can carry a child far.

D. Developing character. Learning to balance the need for personal freedom with the need to follow rules; to balance personal expression with moral restraint.”

Here is a list summarizing the purposes of life from a non-religious viewpoint, taken from the chapter on the university in LIARS! Vol. 2: Escape to Insanity: ...to realize one's potential and ideals
...to live and reproduce
...to love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living
...to seek wisdom and knowledge
...to have power
...to do good, to do the right thing

When these two lists are compared, we get the following GOALS (the letters are the wikipedia principle identifiers):

  1. to realize one's potential and ideals - individual development (C)
  2. to live and reproduce, to love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living - personal fulfillment (C)
  3. to seek wisdom and knowledge - thoughtful citizens, political theory, aesthetics, economics, the psychology of learning (A)
  4. to have power - enterprising citizens, progress in every practical field (A,B)
  5. to do good, to do the right thing - responsible, based on ethical principles, moral values, developing character (A,D)

This comparison raises a VERY BIG problem. IF education is a way of instilling the purposes of life believed by a society into the youth of that society, then modern education is COMPLETELY FAILING at the task. Why?

The first goal is INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT. Modern education fails at this because it fails to acknowledge and develop the individual. Everyone goes through the same meat grinder, and is tested against the same scoring chart. You get an IQ score, an SAT score, cumulative grades 1-5, and now the FCAT scores. What do these "numbers" tell us about ballerinas, rock stars, football players, hollywood actors, business executives, personal character, or school dropout billionaires?
 The second goal is personal fulfillment, which includes the "knowledge" to live and reproduce, to love, to feel, and to enjoy the act of living. Did we ever study any of this in school? We get all the grand public speeches that say EACH CHILD is important – NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND – and all that. But, as soon as we look at any child as an individual, the school system tunes out! And what is the PRIMARY reason for this? I claim it's what I call the MULTIPLE RELIGION PROBLEM. In short, to avoid stepping on the toes of hundreds of varieties of religious viewpoints, the public school system has had to abandon a long list of TABOO topics. These include how to live, how humans reproduce, what it means to love, interpersonal feelings, the individual expression of living, AND VALUES! To be sure, these topics eventually get some attention in college. Unfortunately, that's already too late to affect the main period of human personality and values development.

The third goal is to seek wisdom and knowledge. How could education miss this? Simple! The Multiple Religions problem again. Our social structures are based on the past two thousand years. Our basic understanding of life and it’s purpose is based on the religious teachings from the Dark Ages which was dominated by religion. The great advances of science launched during the Renaissance have not been matched with needed advances in social ideas. Because society must steer clear of criticizing ANY religion, we have adopted a universal attitude which states that everyone must be allowed to have their own opinion. So, what happens when every individual starts ACTING OUT their "OWN" opinions, and everyone else is supposed to RESPECT those actions? This is NOT a simple problem for society. This is a HUGE problem. Because it effectively STOPS society from achieving collective WISDOM. And it is this problem, the multiple religions problem, which is a major component of the breakdown of modern politics. And because society can't resolve it (i.e. the ability to achieve wisdom), the schools can't teach it.

The fourth goal is EMPOWERMENT. This is directly aimed at JOBS. HOWEVER, it fails at a much deeper level. Sure, we wave the banner of the "American Dream", and how even the average person might someday be President, but the reality is very different. The reality is that 1% of the people in the country control 80% of the wealth. The reality is that the 99% will live their lives always in fear that the next paycheck may not come or that their future will be taken from them. It is this environment that DEFINES modern education. Modern education is NOT designed to turn the 99% into the 1%; it is designed to produce workers to staff the farms and factories and offices of the 1% and create and operate the luxury world they live in.

The fifth goal is DEVELOPING CHARACTER based on ethical principles and moral values. Again, this fails due to the multiple religions problem. Of course, the religious leaders will all stand up and object to this statement. They will all describe how THEIR religion only teaches the "highest" ethics and morals. But as soon as their religions are brought together in a society, they start fighting with each other, either violently, as in south eastern Europe and Asia, or politically, as in Europe and America. And while the laws guiding education try to steer clear of this nightmare, politics derail these attempts.

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 3 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

FINANCING EDUCATION - STUDENT LOANS

Here is a great opportunity to bring in the word RESPONSIBILITY. Recently, congress decided to increase funding of college studies to chase the myth that job growth depended on better education. Many new colleges were hastily set up to grab the new money. Knowing that people were desperate for work, the colleges solicited them as students and charged steep tuitions, also knowing the rules were so lax that they could get away with it. The desperation for work also made finding "professors" easy, who were, of course, offered LOW salaries and benefits. KaaJinggg! $$$ in the pockets of the new college executives and Wall Street firms that bankrolled setting the colleges up.

Someone in government recently wised up to this and is now limiting what colleges can offer their students in loans based on the student job placement rate of those colleges. What Congress should do is force this process back in time, make it permanent, and link it directly to a college's responsibility for success in placing students. That is, ALL student loans would be covered by a new law, no matter when they were started. Here are some suggestions for possible details:

  1. Each college should have the RESPONSIBILITY to UNDERSTAND the employment market it is training its students for and adjust student loads to match. Therefore, each college should be required to PAY for their miscalculations by paying the outstanding interest for any of its students who are carrying college loans for any period of time the students are unemployed.

  2. Since the government and the banks were part of this scam, principle repayment should be deferred during any unemployment as well.

  3. Furthermore, during employment, total loan repayment costs should be limited to 10% of the individuals current salary as long as that salary is above 4 times the poverty level. The repayment limit would be lower, dropping to zero, at 2 times the poverty level.

  4. Any remaining loan would be cancelled as fully paid 20 years after graduation, no matter how much of it has been repaid.

Obama actually took action recently to address some of these problems. Specifically: limit payments to 10% of the students current income; no payment needed if the student is unemployed; the loan is cancelled after 20 years if not paid off. These are good provisions and are similar to suggestions I made above. But, the Obama action only applies to "government" loans. Many students have private loans. So, here is another action that should be taken. Only allow "government" backed student loans to be exempt from cancellation in bankruptcy. Let private banks be responsible for the unsafe loans they are making.

Please comment further about student loans here.

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 2 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

SOCIAL LEADERSHIP - THE UNIVERSITIES

One of the big questions about human society is "what are the basic principles that guide society?" All of the previously discussed goals of education: individual development, personal fulfillment, wisdom and knowledge, enterprise, morals and ethics, depend on what these "basic principles" are. Since early Greek and Roman civilization, supposed "wise men" came together to discuss this question. In our modern world, at a time of huge challenges and enormous change, where do we find these "wise men" in our society? UNIVERSITIES, one would expect. But this is obviously not the case. And it's a much more tragic problem than it first appears.

How many times have we heard it said that the role of schools is to teach "HOW TO THINK, not WHAT to think". If they do that, the "logic" goes, then people can find their own way to fulfillment. This is actually one of the great lies of society - another case of pure Single Sentence Logic. Let’s consider the study of Art as an example.

What about art can be taught that is only “how to think”? Do we just teach that art is a process that uses pencil or crayons or water colors or oil paints? Do we then just teach that art occurs when these materials are put on paper or canvas? Do we then teach that paint can be put on using knives or brushes or fingers? All of that was already learned by second grade. What is left to teach at the high school or college level? The point is, in order to teach what we call ART, we have to face up to the fact that art has VALUE in the "eyes of its beholder" based on complex social issues. And for a new art student to learn art, they need to understand the details of how art is VALUED. They have to know why Rembrandt or Monet became successful. This can’t be done without reference to the concept of value. It can’t be done without teaching value. The new art student cannot practice art without knowing what is currently seen as value. And teaching value is teaching the ‘WHAT’ of thinking.

Another example would be things like auto shop? That’s just a how thing, right? Sure, turning a screw driver is a HOW thing. But the configuration of a carburetor when it is finally assembled correctly is a WHAT thing. The motion of spraying paint is a ‘how’ thing. The use of a primer is a ‘how’ thing to obtain a solid bond and rust resistance. But the stack-up of layers and selection of materials to get a factory equivalent GM finish is a ‘what’ thing.

The whole notion that we can just teach ‘how’ vs. ‘what’ is a big lie. But there is a reason society promotes this myth: the Multiple Religions Problem (this is discussed at length http://www.a3society.org/MultipleReligionsProb ) In brief, in order to keep people from violence, society has adopted a practice of saying that everyone can believe whatever they want. In addition, we are told, we have to RESPECT what other people believe.

This, of course, is ILLOGICAL. We can't respect issues that are opposite to our own beliefs or which we believe will cause us harm. The results is we actually won't tolerate the actions of others that conflict with our freedoms or steal our property.

What causes this confusion? It's the fact that the word RESPECT can be used in multiple ways. One of these is focused on an issue: to hold an issue in high or special regard, or to view an issue as having a positive VALUE. The second is focused on the PERSON who holds the belief. That is, we may respect a person for what they say, just because we respect human life, independent of the message they are trying to convey. This difference was very well understood at the time the Constitution was written. But society has lost the ability to implement that distinction in our modern "high conformity" society. And when authoritarianism and loyalty become the new rules, the ability of individual creativity in the schools is lost. That's what we now have.

The universities of our time have SOLD OUT to government, military and industry grant money. They are driven by politics to sustain their operational revenues. And individuals, wanting to believe that EVERYONE CAN BELIEVE WHATEVER THEY WANT, independent of the laws of nature and rules of logic, cannot understand how to hold the universities RESPONSIBLE for finding TRUTH. The result! Our society is cast adrift in both understanding nature and the morality of society.

I realize that this is a huge issue to discuss and there has been a lot of academic discussion already about this. So, comments here may best be references to places where these issues are discussed. Of course, any insights will help and any new viewpoints are encouraged.

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22781) 5 years ago

This is a good post, Nanook. We really do need a complete overhaul. It is overwhelming to think of where to begin. I credit you for trying and for putting your vision out there.

[-] 4 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

I love your user name. One of the concepts I've started is Quality of Life http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-quality-of-life/ Something I'm going to suggest is that the need for Beauty in this world is one of the most important. Every time I've visited Greece, I saw beauty held to such high standards in the ancient world. Modern functional industrial buildings and strip malls have done so much damage to the human spirit. If every city were built like an arboretum, the quality of life for everyone, including the poor, would go up a lot.

[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (22781) 5 years ago

I agree with you 100%. Well said.

[-] 2 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 5 years ago

It's true that living amidst beautiful architecture feeds the soul with inspiration and appeases life's many torments. There's no doubt that constructions such as strip malls constitute a major step in the wrong direction for all of mankind.

It's important to realize that this type of ugly and repetitive architecture that has become all too common in developed countries and especially in USA is only a few decades old. It baffles the mind that we let this tragedy take over our cities. It only takes a few contractors who want to save a few bucks to build these atrocities and ruin our cities for the next hundred years. The short term plans of a few affect us all for a very long time.

My home city was ruined this way by one man; a very rich contractor who built plastic building after plastic building throughout the 90's. My heart weeps every time I go back home.

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 5 years ago

I too love that username.

It reminds me of the famous words of Muhammad: "God is beautiful and He loves beauty".

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

JOBS - THE PROBLEM / CAREERS / LIFE PATHS

There is a lot of talk these days about education being the key to jobs. But, at the level this discussion is being held, it is just so much Single Sentence Logic. The failure of the discussion is due to the fact that the structure of society has so fundamentally changed, that old models don't apply anymore.

An example of an old model is: if your father was a sheep herder, you will be a sheep herder. Any question about that still being true? How about, if you live in Pittsburg, you will somehow end up in the steel industry? How about, if you get a position at General Electric or General Motors right out of high school, you'll work there all your life, live the American Dream, and retire with a good pension? The assumptions that created these models have all changed. This is discussed at length at http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-jobs/ .

So, in order to talk about CAREERS and LIFE PATHS, we need to understand some real FUNDAMENTAL issues about JOBS. These include things like: how much human manual effort is required to produce the basic necessities of life in a fully automated world? If very little human manual effort will be required to produce basic necessities, then what is the meaning of WORK? Why would anyone WORK? How do we decide on WORK vs. PLAY? What ACCOUNTABILITY does each individual OWE to society? How much will each member of society be expected to CONTRIBUTE to the QUALITY OF LIFE?

There are a lot of directions this topic can go in. Please help organize this. Here are some starting questions:

What concepts can help us decide how to proportion life between WORK and PLAY? For example, should society change the defacto work week? How about a three day work week as standard? How about two days?

What factors should be taken into account to decide how much citizens should be required to CONTRIBUTE to the QUALITY OF LIFE? Another place to comment on this point is at http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-quality-of-life/ .

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

FINANCING EDUCATION - THE LARGER ISSUE

In my view, the reason society is having so many problems with education is that society is having so many problems just understanding itself. The last 200 years of technological development have changed human society drastically. We are no longer just another biological variation of animals. The recent changes are added to the substantial advances of Ancient Babylonia, Greece and Rome. But the philosophical model we have of humans as a "society" has not advanced much beyond the very simplified superstitions of the earliest human cultures. Technology, however, will not relent. And the decisions it will force society to make about their interaction with the planet cannot be ignored or delayed. The result is a planetary society and governments in chaos. Why? Because most of people are either completely clueless about the problems or in denial about facing them. This much bigger issue will be confronted in a separate topic: World Society - The Future.

To deal with just the educational part, we need to start with some assumptions.

First, we need to agree to accept logic as an arbitrator of our observations and opinions. This may seem like a "given", and therefore a trivial thing to bring up. But one of the most important discoveries about human social breakdown which I discuss in my books ( A3society.org ) is that society don't actually do this. So logic is a prerequisite.

Second, we need to address issues, not just as fixes of the current system, but as they might be if we drastically changed our approach to education. Looking at this second option is not just good to provide contrast. It is a necessary first step to making that change.

Let's start by listing out some of the "hot issues".

V1 - Who is "responsible" for funding education? Some eligible candidates are: Parents, students themselves, local government, state government, federal government, industry, philanthropy.

V2 - When is education appropriate? Birth to kindergarden, kindergarden, grade 1-6, 7-9, 10-12, college, post grad, career adult, retirement. OR, maybe these groupings are arbitrary and misleading.

V3 - What level of education should be provided? Introductory, basic, functional, comprehensive, expert.

V4 - What subject matter should be covered? 3 R's; sciences, humanities, arts, vocations, recreation, politics, religion, personal medicine, personal psychology, functional citizenship, home economics, etiquette, sports.

After expanding just 4 educational variables, it should be very obvious that education is VERY complex. But note what variable is obvious by its absence: GOALS. And this is why society is in such turmoil addressing funding education - we don't yet have a logical foundation about what the goals are. So, people take one combination of factors from the above list and try to GUESS an amount and process to fund it. This approach is doomed to failure.

To make some progress here, I'm going to suggest a different approach. Let me suggest we use the goals listed to start the discussion on BASIC PRINCIPLES AND PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-584969

Specifically:

  1. to realize one's potential and ideals - individual development
  2. to live and reproduce, to love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living - personal fulfillment
  3. to seek wisdom and knowledge - thoughtful citizens, political theory, aesthetics, economics, the psychology of learning, the natural world
  4. to have power - enterprising citizens, progress in every practical field, the conduct of business
  5. to do good, to do the right thing - responsible, based on ethical principles, moral values, developing character

Now, for each of these, we can address funding concepts for the four variables V1 through V4. So, jump in here and add observations. I've started the conversation by listing the following second level comments below:

For the goal of INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT, what general principles should apply to funding education?

For the goal of PERSONAL FULFILLMENT, what general principles should apply to funding education?

For the goal of SEEKING WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE, what general principles should apply to funding education?

For the goal of successful ENTERPRISE, what general principles should apply to funding education?

For the goal of MORALS AND ETHICS, what general principles should apply to funding education?

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

For the educational goal of INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT, what general principles should apply to funding education?

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

For the educational goal of PERSONAL FULFILLMENT, what general principles should apply to funding education?

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

For the educational goal of SEEKING WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE, what general principles should apply to funding education?

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

For the educational goal of successful ENTERPRISE, what general principles should apply to funding education?

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

For the educational goal of MORALS AND ETHICS, what general principles should apply to funding education?

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

CREATIVITY

The fourth goal listed for education in the comment about Basic Principles And Problems Of Education, is Empowerment. A key factor in empowerment is CREATIVITY, one of the big buzz words of modern society. It is seen as the driver of change. The schools talk about it all the time. But it's a big LIE. It's a smoke screen to allow the production of workers for the industries owned by the 1%.

To start with, creativity comes as a double edged sword. Lawrence Kubie, in his book Blocks to Creativity, says, “Education does so little to help one attain – as a student, and then as a matured person – that DEGREE OF EMOTIONAL STABILITY AND FREEDOM that is ESSENTIAL if he is TO USE HIS INTELLECTUAL ENDOWMENTS IN THE MOST CREATIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE WAY POSSIBLE … many of the concealed but universal neurotic ingredients in human nature are reinforced by a primitive educational process.”

So, does modern education produce the needed emotional stability and freedom? We can pretty easily throw freedom right out the window. We all like to think we live in a free society. Therefore, it must follow that the schools teach it. But it's obvious to the most casual observer that, from day one, school is designed to teach kids to march to a common drummer. Classes run by the bell. Everyone has the same books and learn the same lessons approved by a very narrow hierarchy of people. We all answer the same questions and are judged by the same tests. Diversity of intelligence, temperament and interest are never addressed or rewarded by testing. This goes on for 17 years to get a bachelor’s degree. And then what do people do? They apply for jobs in factories or service companies with rows and rows of machines or computers where individual freedom is just as absent. Sure, we can point to artists, musicians and sports heroes who are the feature stars for TV, movies and magazines. But they are classically renegades from the system, and such a minuscule fraction of the population.

Isn't there some hidden rule in life that says it has to be that way? It takes a lot of people doing the same thing to make lots of cars and sinks and washing machines. If everyone was an artist, who would build what the population needs? The problem with a question like this is it totally disregards the original issue – FREEDOM. We are in denial about how completely we have been brainwashed. The model in our minds about what a factory floor looks like is all that we know. That model was created one step at a time based on ancient authoritarian models. The early period of the industrial revolution was driven to get the maximum output from people. People were driven like slaves, and a large fraction of today's workers are still driven that way. It doesn’t have to be that way. Laws could be structured to avoid it. But the people making the laws are under the influence of the wealthy large factory owners, and people are kept blind through fear of losing their jobs.

Isn’t this where the freedom to work wherever you want in a free society comes in? It would, IF, people were actually FREE to move from job to job. But what we often rely on to justify that people are "free to move" is only the most trivial element of MOVING: getting in a car and driving from one place to another. In most cases, there are a dozen other overwhelming factors: is there a reasonable job available somewhere else; what about family disruption; what about lost friends and social groups; what about family history and familiarity with a location; housing, climate, extra finances, even needed clothing? When have all of these things ever been available? And what principle of social justice says that business owners MUST be granted the right to optimize their wealth, even at great loss or tragedy to employees?

Let's switch now to the fundamental question of creativity itself. If creativity is so valuable, wouldn’t we see it EMERGE frequently in society? You say it does? You say, aren't the iphone and ipad perfect examples? Actually, no. If you look in the file cabinets of universities and research centers like Bell Labs, you will find them stuffed full of inventions. General Motors recently claimed to have more than 100,000 patents! These are not just minor improvements; these are PATENTS! How many changes significant enough to merit a patent have you ever seen on a General Motors car? Correct! GM. Ford also has a patent portfolio like that, as do all the others. And hundreds of new ideas are produced for every one that ends up with a patent. So where on a GM car do you see 10 million improvements?

The point is, the emergence of creativity is rare in relation to how much goes on. The 1% who dominate most of our society only understand dog eat dog competition. They don't want frequent change. They want slow change, which they can control, and which they can milk over and over again for additional profits by forcing people to CONTINUOUSLY buy new products with SMALL changes. Every year, software is "updated". If you don't accept the new software, your applications don't work anymore. History demonstrates that more commonly, companies do NOT accept change. Even in the most drastic situations, like the emergence of the automobile, most buggy whip manufacturers ended up closing their doors, rather than learn to manufacture door handles. This was what happened to MOST U.S. manufacturers when Japan started to automate with new methods.

The fact is, media, business and government leaders talk about creativity and its importance all the time, but our business and government systems have been "fine tuned" to stifle it. Lawyers pride themselves in being a force that "slows things down". One of the terms we hear often today is ‘disruptive technology’. This refers to innovations that somehow sneak in, causing the 'old guard' to be caught by surprise, and get hurt in the process. Those in control do NOT want the new technologies. Another more recent example also occurred in auto manufacturing. American auto companies lost 60% of the U.S. auto market. That wasn't sufficient to get factory and union management to adopt new ideas that were repeatedly presented to them. They took their companies right to the brink of bankruptcy. So why would we expect the creativity of INDIVIDUALS on the factory floor to ever have a chance? It CAN'T; NOT in the U.S.! But creativity was welcome in Japan. And it led the small resource poor island of Japan to excel over the great nation of America.

The 1% and political leaders who control U.S. education do not want to admit this reality. They DENY it. They lie to us and tell us we can do anything we want in life. They tell us creativity is so important. They do this to set up false expectations to keep driving us to work harder for less return. But, when we enter the real world, any creativity we bring into the workplace will be stifled as being disruptive. A greater tragedy yet is that the teachers remain blind to this. The parrot what they are told. So, while teachers and political leaders continue to preach creativity, kids continue to be marshaled into narrow, high tech molds, so they don’t disrupt the stamping machine classrooms that pump out workers for the big companies.

Here is what Eric Hoffer said about this in his book, Reflections on the Human Condition: “The central task of education is to implant a WILL and FACILITY for learning; it should produce NOT LEARNED but LEARNING people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together. In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

I started this comment saying creativity is a double edged sword. Hoffer's quote brings that out. When society is running well, the leaders talk a lot about creativity. But they don’t really want it. Creativity brings change. Change knocks people off the top of their dog piles. The tables turn when society goes into a crisis, which is where we are now. Ironically, creativity is not actively sought during times of change either, any more than at other times. But more of it comes out because people are desperate. The flood makes it harder for the elite to contain it or bottle it up. As it emerges, a lot of the old guard fall out of their ivory towers. New people, who luck out, (the $25B 25 year olds) grab on to new opportunities and rise to dominance. There is a big dark side to this. When the crisis relents, the new elite become the new 'old guard' who then try to lock things up just like their predecessors did. The cycle then repeats. Only, THIS TIME, there is no more reset button. We have already depleted the natural resources that in the past allow the prior generations to rebound. So, unless some radically new social structure is put in place to stop that, the overall result will be a big loss. That's how downward spirals into Dark Ages happen.

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

@grapes commented on creativity elsewhere on this topic ( see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/#comment-582288 ) Here is my reply to that comment. It was stated, "Creativity IS an important advantage that the U.S. has but it is not easily teachable to the masses." This is a deeper statement than it first seems. Because people are so confused about the claim in the Declaration of Independence that, 'All men are CREATED EQUAL', they have told themselves that ANYTHING can be learned by ANYONE, if they just go to the right school. This is not the voice of sanity. The same people easily accept the IQ scale, and will be the first to say that some people ( them) are smart while others are dumb. This behavior in society is what I call Single Sentence Logic and Denial.

The fact is, as far as brain ability is concerned, people are created VERY UNEQUAL. The importance of accepting these two observations ( that people are very different, and that a large part of society ( especially our leadership ) will not accept or rationally address it ) is that they explain a lot of the bizarre situations we see in the world. So getting a kid into MIT through wealth, who does not have the brain for high level scientific academics, will not result in the production of a creative inventor. The same applies to putting chemically astute brains in physics programs or humanities programs. They do gain communication skills, but not excellence. My own experience roughly estimates that high technical creative skills are only natural to about 4% of the population. This is very different from "mechanical" skills like auto mechanics and plumbing. That's much higher, but still may only be 50%. The problem is, trying to ram science, technology, engineering and math down everyone's throat, with the totally misguided notion that it will make the U.S. competitive, is one of the current era's tragedies. Trading academics for physical health, to produce more wealth for the military, industrial, educational complex, is just another enrichment tool for the 1%.

The point about the nonsense with coloring activities is priceless. How many highly skilled engineers were needed for Steve Jobs to put colored cabinets on Mac computers? Once the touch screens were designed and graphics software tools written, how many highly skilled engineers were needed to produce ALL the applications for the ipod and ipad? I was once brought in to rescue a medical instrument development program that was still not finished after 46 engineers worked on it for 6 years! 40 of the engineers were fired before I got there. All the prior research effort was essentially lost. I started with a brand new concept, and in 8 months, with only the 6 remaining engineers, produced a revolutionary machine with performance almost 6 times better than the design goals. Did it become a great selling product? NO. The manufacturing and marketing parts of the company fell apart before it was completed. But the points are: first, it was NOT about the number of engineers. It was about having "key abilities" in the lead position. And second, great creativity did not launch a new product. Most of the patents which have been granted have never produced a product in the market.

[-] 1 points by America921 (161) 5 years ago

Well the reason people get degrees in the Sciences, Math, Technology, etc, is because those are the most developing areas right now. That is where the money is. There is zero money in solving the "Quality of Life Issue". People go to college so they can raise and support a family and live the America Dream. That's why I'm personally going to college. So i can get a job that pays well and look out for my own.

[-] 2 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

Of course, I wish you well personally. But what I'm trying to warn people like you, the future is going to be radically different from anything we have ever seen. But the past wasn't always the rosy path the politician want you to believe. I graduated from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1969 ( right, a real MIT rocket scientist ). That was the year of the moon landing. Within 6 months, over 100,000 aerospace engineers were given pink slips. I was one of the lucky ones. I hung on for 4 years. Then I was gone too. And I was never able to get back into aerospace again. NEVER! After the dot com bust in 2000, I saw the cream of the crop of MIT computer engineers out of work for YEARS! I know seasoned engineers working for less now than in 1992! Right, 20 years ago. As I said, I wish you well personally. But if major corrections aren't made to the structure of the country, the American Dream will only be a DREAM! ( The whole story is in my books at A3society.org )

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

EDUCATION - ONE SIZE FITS ALL

Problems with U.S. Education have been discussed for decades. Here are a few paragraphs from Paul Goodman's 1962 book "Compulsory Mis-education and the Community of Scholars":

“… we have been swept on a flood-tide of public policy and popular sentiment into an expansion of schooling and an aggrandizement of school-people that is GROSSLY WASTEFUL OF WEALTH AND EFFORT and does POSITIVE DAMAGE to the young. Yet I do not hear any fundamental opposition in principle; not even prudent people (rather than stingy people) saying, go warily. The dominance of the present school auspices prevents any new thinking about education, although we face unprecedented conditions. It is uncanny. When, at a meeting, I offer that perhaps we already have too much formal schooling and that, under present conditions, the more we get the less education we will get, the others look at me oddly and proceed to discuss how to get more money for schools and how to upgrade the schools. I realize suddenly that I am confronting a mass superstition.”

In the prior paragraph, he starts building a case for an interesting concept, "EDUCATION IS TOO BIG TO FAIL". Where have we heard that before?

“In this little book, I keep resorting to the metaphor school-monks: the administrators, professors, academic sociologists and licensees with diplomas who have proliferated into an invested intellectual class worse than anything since the time of Henry VIII. Yet I am convinced -- as they got their grants and buildings and State laws that give them sole competence -- that the monks are sincere in their blind faith in the school. The schools provide the best preparation for everybody for a complicated world, are the logical haven for unemployed youth, can equalize opportunity for the underprivileged, administer research in all fields, and be the indispensable mentor for creativity, business-practice, social work, mental hygiene, genuine literacy -- name it, and there are credits for it leading to a degree. The schools offer very little evidence of their unique ability to perform any of these things -- there is plenty of evidence to the contrary -- but they do not need to offer evidence, since nobody opposes them or proposes alternatives.”

Sure, some people will say that society does have input. They can complain and the government can intervene. But the impact of that will only affect overall funding. The details are beyond individual scrutiny. I mean, who is better suited to decide about a math program than the leading mathematicians at the best universities :-)

But more important, our basic premises about education are beyond criticism. Like, ‘how much schooling is really needed?’ This is what Goodman means when he says the monks are deaf to criticism, even when we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. Another paragraph:

”It is claimed that society needs more people who are technically trained. [ Remember, this quote is from 1962 ] But informed labor people tell me that, for a job requiring skill but no great genius, a worker can be found at once, or quickly trained, to fill it. For instance, the average job in General Motors' most automated plant requires three weeks of training for those who have no education whatever. ... In the Army and Navy, fairly complicated skills, e.g. radar operation and repair, are taught in a year, on the job, often to practical illiterates.”

What does this say about the current heavy handed push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ). I have a masters degree from MIT and have worked at the forefront of technology for 40 years. The number of times I've used calculus I can count on one hand. Now, with computer modeling, I NEVER use it. Yet the schools are pushing this into high school.

My daughter was brilliant in high school. BUT, her career goal was BOSTON BALLET! The school system still forced her into the college "A" path: algebra and trig, advanced physics and biology with genetics. She had a short term aural photographic memory ( dance choreography). I read the text books to her. She aced the tests. Everything she learned was gone in months. When I tried to get her out of physical education, they said, "no way. STATE LAW." It didn't matter that she was doing dance rehearsals 4 hours a day, 6 days a week! One more statement:

“Naturally, if diplomas are prerequisite to hiring a youngster, the correlation of schooling and employment is self-proving. Because of this fad, there is a fantastic amount of miss-hiring: hiring young people far too school-trained for the routine jobs they get. I was struck by a recent report in the Wall Street Journal of firms philanthropically deciding to hire only drop-outs for certain categories of jobs, since the diploma made no difference in performance. Twist it and turn it how you will, there is no logic to the proposal to extend compulsory schooling except as a device to keep the unemployed off the streets by putting them into concentration camps called schools…"

Comments?

(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )

[-] 1 points by grapes (5019) 5 years ago

Creativity IS an important advantage that the U.S. has but it is not easily teachable to the masses. It may have actually come from the unruliness and non-conformity of the culture of the U.S. that engenders creativity in some individuals but I do not see how that can be scaled up easily. We probably have too much industrial-scale schooling in K-12 in the U.S. Recesses have been cut out almost completely (is it the teachers' unions' work?). I really question whether we are actually teaching obedience and subservience in K-12. Why do teachers force the young children to do so much stupid coloring of their homework assignments, for example? I do not see the children learning anything except that a child learns to be on good terms with the authority figure in the classroom by yielding and conforming. Some teachers actually said that it was "FUN" for the children to make homework into these stupid coloring activities and some mumbled about "fine-motor skills." (is it a term coming from a Ph.D., M.D., or a book author? another symptom of professionitis?) It may be fun to do it for one teacher but doing it for EVERY teacher is nothing short of being tortured. If we have to teach obedience and conformance, maybe we should reserve that lesson to older children and save a bundle of money just babysitting kindergartners. Then there is our "No-Child-Left-Behind" law that will soon be waivered into irrelevance and yet we had spent a decade teaching students to test well. The only way for "No-Child-Left-Behind" to succeed is to make sure no smarter child gets ahead. It may sound facetious but it has more than a grain of truth if you actually see what had happened in schools under "No-Child-Left-Behind." Our children were sacrificed for a political slogan.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5019) 5 years ago

Your posting seems to take aim at the colleges and universities. I believe that we may have a bigger problem than just the colleges and universities. What can we do for the large number of high school graduates or lesser educated people who have lost their jobs? Many of those old jobs are gone for good. The newly created jobs have more math-content and they tend to be job-killers! During previous job crises, some companies promised to hire people coming out of training programs that they had approved and sponsored only to renege later. I did see people who had solved their unemployment problem by taking the matter into their own hands and made a move. That however required flexibilities on both the employee's and the employer's part as well as their ideas about academic credentials. Union rules can contribute to inflexibilities. By and large, many employers believe that academic credentials are positive because they do NOT pay for them so they get freebies just by being choosy about whom they hire.

[-] 1 points by Nanook (172) 5 years ago

I agree that the problem is bigger than just the colleges and universities. I've started to address that in a new topic about education. Take a look at http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-education/ Also you can find an index to all the topics for this project at http://A3society.org/OccupyTheConstitution-Index . Thanks for taking the time with both comments. I'll add to your observations about the creativity issue below that comment.

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