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Thread: Managing mass mind: heads I win tails you lose?

  1. #1 Managing mass mind: heads I win tails you lose? 
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    Managing mass mind: heads I win tails you lose?

    I say it is 5 feet and you say it is 5 feet 1 inch; do we argue or do we bring in a standard of measurement?

    I say it is a matter of self-interest and you say it is a matter of fairness; do we argue or do we bring in a standard of measurement?

    Objectivity is our shared subjectivity. The determination of the degree of objectivity and subjectivity rests on the matter of standards.

    Standard is defined by Webster as “substantially uniform and well established by usage”.

    Therein lay the crux of the distinction. How is established usage determined?


    We have available standards of measurement and weight but few standards for matters that do not fit those parameters. We have no ready standards for the human sciences; probably this is so because there is no quick money-in-it. We have never learned to think critically about tomorrow.

    How do business and ideology manage the will of citizens who lack Critical Thinking skills, i.e. how do business and ideology manage standards? I suspect that the truly successful institutions do so by manipulation. The Matador with cape skills is more successful than one with rational skills. I suspect that often a mere patina of reason is sufficient to keep the citizen’s eye focused upon the cape.

    A popular adage goes something like this “I cannot argue down a conviction that has not been argued up.” It is impossible for me to use reason to convince someone who is without confidence in reason that they should have confidence in reason.


    An adult without confidence in reason must start the effort to study reason before they can gain a confidence in reason. Perhaps that is impossible also. Perhaps it is the case that an adult without a confidence in reason will never have confidence in reason.

    I would argue that intellectual sophistication developed by means of self-actualizing self-learning can help us broaden the quantity and quality of standards available to us.


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  3. #2 Re: Managing mass mind: heads I win tails you lose? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Managing mass mind: heads I win tails you lose?
    You don't define "mass mind", thus making this interrogative entirely unanswerable and seemingly not following with the previous clause.

    I say it is 5 feet and you say it is 5 feet 1 inch; do we argue or do we bring in a standard of measurement?
    To what is this relevant?

    I say it is a matter of self-interest and you say it is a matter of fairness; do we argue or do we bring in a standard of measurement?
    How does "standard measurement" apply, in any way, to abstract concepts? Measurements of fairness and self-interest are determined largely by cultural and subjective means with no truly accepted measurement.

    Objectivity is our shared subjectivity.
    Um. What? by definition one cannot be the other.

    The determination of the degree of objectivity and subjectivity rests on the matter of standards.
    The purpose of standards is to establish something that's uniform (thus easy for everyone). Rarely is it ever established for objectivity, except in sciences.

    How is established usage determined?
    well how IS it determined? You do not answer this anywhere, nor use it as a supportive query for a line of reasoning. Again, this does not follow!

    We have available standards of measurement and weight but few standards for matters that do not fit those parameters. We have no ready standards for the human sciences; probably this is so because there is no quick money-in-it. We have never learned to think critically about tomorrow.
    Though in the same paragraph, the bold part is a completely separate topic that is not expounded upon further, nor supported. I neither have an understanding of the use of "standards" in relation to humanity itself. Are you advocating the use of objectivity for the determination of morality?

    How do business and ideology manage the will of citizens who lack Critical Thinking skills, i.e. how do business and ideology manage standards? I suspect that the truly successful institutions do so by manipulation. The Matador with cape skills is more successful than one with rational skills. I suspect that often a mere patina of reason is sufficient to keep the citizen’s eye focused upon the cape.
    Nice parable of sorts, yet how is it relevant to any of the above paragraphs? You've presented over three completely separate ideas without substantiating any of them by reason or empiricism. This is like Fermat's last theorem, but I'm not going to spend the next few centuries guessing.

    A popular adage goes something like this “I cannot argue down a conviction that has not been argued up.” It is impossible for me to use reason to convince someone who is without confidence in reason that they should have confidence in reason.
    Again something of a nice saying completely irrelevant to anything said above.

    An adult without confidence in reason must start the effort to study reason before they can gain a confidence in reason. Perhaps that is impossible also. Perhaps it is the case that an adult without a confidence in reason will never have confidence in reason.
    Finally a second paragraph that follows the previous one. This is true, one must realize the power of "human reasoning" before one can realize the fallacy of believing in anything else. Teaching indoctrinated people this, however, is impossibly difficult without forcible deprogramming.

    I would argue that intellectual sophistication developed by means of self-actualizing self-learning can help us broaden the quantity and quality of standards available to us.
    Um. What? Self-actualizing? Self-learning is useful, but only if you already have a mental framework to facilitate it. How do either of the two terms, in any way, lead to the conclusion that they "broaden the quantity and quality of standards"? What standards? Ones relating to the actions of humans (i.e. morality)?! ARgh!


    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    I had once concluded it to be natural that when confronted by a new idea humans tended to do a turtle; withdraw into their shell until the coast was clear.

    After some time posting in cyberspace I have modified my view somewhat. I think that we tend to display two types of turtle responses to our encounter with new ideas.

    The terrapin withdraws quickly into its shell and the snapping turtle hisses, spits, and snaps when such an encounter happens. I suspect that cyberspace has allowed many people to display a more vulgar attitude than they would in face-to-face encounters.

    I think that age is a factor in this equation. The young tend to be snappers and the older tend to be terrapins. I think that our teachers and professors have imprinted on the minds of their pupils that there is a legitimacy aspect to knowledge. That knowledge introduced by the teacher is legit and the rest should be avoided when possible.

    Instead of graduates eager to learn and to earn we have constructed an educational system that qualifies citizens for a life of mindless production and consumption. Instead of turtles we need cats as a model for schooling.

    A cat travels through the forest alert and curious to all that is in her range of perception. Instead of withdrawing into a shell the cat stealthily examines everything in its path. After a quick examination the cat very well may dart away for cover. The cat is, I think, more likely to survive in a dynamic and dangerous world than is the turtle.

    Everyone is ignorant of 99.9999…% of the knowledge in the world. Understanding this fact I think is the first step toward setting each one of us free from any embarrassment we might feel about our ignorance. We should use our ignorance as a catalyst for discovering the joy of learning to understand what ever portion of the world’s knowledge that interests us.
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  5. #4  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    we have constructed an educational system
    Here we go again.

    Even though you repeatedly claim that all schools fit the same mold and that what was true of your schools must have be true of all schools, could you give us an example of a specific institution that exemplifies "our educational system"? Then we can at least have a concrete model against which to have a fruitful discussion and discuss actual facts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    we have constructed an educational system
    Here we go again.

    Even though you repeatedly claim that all schools fit the same mold and that what was true of your schools must have be true of all schools, could you give us an example of a specific institution that exemplifies "our educational system"? Then we can at least have a concrete model against which to have a fruitful discussion and discuss actual facts.


    That so many children in this country cannot live up to their potential because they are born in poverty and attend terrible schools is one of the nation's greatest scandals, as Gates pointed out in his recent letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Disclosure: Melinda Gates is on The Washington Post Co. board of directors.) "Only 71 percent of kids graduate from high school within four years, and for minorities the numbers are even worse -- 58 percent for Hispanics and 55 percent for African Americans," he wrote. "If the decline in childhood deaths [in developing countries] is one of the most positive statistics ever, these are some of the most negative."

    A new report from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) on the nation's civic literacy finds that most Americans are too ignorant to vote.

    Out of 2,500 American quiz-takers, including college students, elected officials and other randomly selected citizens, nearly 1,800 flunked a 33-question test on basic civics. In fact, elected officials scored slightly lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent compared to 49 percent.

    Only 0.8 percent of all test-takers scored an "A."

    America's report card may come as little surprise to fans of Jay Leno's man-on-the-street interviews, which reveal that most people don't know diddly about doohickey. Still, it's disheartening in the wake of a populist-driven election celebrating joes-of-all-trades to be reminded that the voting public is dumber than ever.




    Most bracing: Only 27 percent of elected officeholders in the survey could identify a right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.






    What's behind the dumbing down of America?

    The ISI found that passive activities, such as watching television (including TV news) and talking on the phone, diminish civic literacy.

    Actively pursuing information through print media and participating in high-level conversations -- even, potentially, blogging -- makes one smarter.

    The ISI insists that higher-education reforms aimed at civic literacy are urgently needed. Who could argue otherwise? But historian Rick Shenkman, author of "Just How Stupid Are We?" thinks reform needs to start in high school. His strategy is both poetic (to certain ears) and

    pragmatic: Require students to read newspapers, and give college freshman weekly quizzes on current events.

    Did he say newspapers?! Shenkman even suggests government subsidies for newspaper subscriptions, as well as federal tuition subsidies for students who perform well on civics tests. They could be paid from a special fund created by, say, a "Too Many Stupid Voters Act."


    Not only would citizens be smarter, but also newspapers might be saved. Announcements of newsroom cuts, which ultimately hurt quality, have become routine. Just this week, USA Today announced the elimination of about 20 positions, while the Newark Star-Ledger, as it cuts its news staff by 40 percent, lost almost its entire editorial board in a single day.

    In his book, Shenkman, founder of George Mason University's History News Network, is tough on everyday Americans. Why, he asks, do we value polls when clearly The People don't know enough to make a reasoned judgment?

    The founding fathers, Shenkman points out, weren't so enamored of The People, whom they distrusted. Hence a Republic, not a Democracy. They understood that an ignorant electorate was susceptible to emotional manipulation and feared the tyranny of the masses.

    Both Shenkman and the ISI pose a bedeviling question, as crucial as any to the nation's health: Who will govern a free nation if no one understands the mechanics and instruments of that freedom?

    Answer: Maybe one day, a demagogue.

    Kathleen Parker's e-mail address is kparker@kparker.com.



    Writing off reading

    The following are articles I found that relate to the problem of education in America.


    Clueless in America
    E-Mail

    By BOB HERBERT NYTimes
    Published: April 22, 2008


    An American kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. That’s more than a million every year, a sign of big trouble for these largely clueless youngsters in an era in which a college education is crucial to maintaining a middle-class quality of life — and for the country as a whole in a world that is becoming more hotly competitive every day.

    Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread. A recent survey of teenagers by the education advocacy group Common Core found that a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler, a third did not know that the Bill of Rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, and fewer than half knew that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900.

    This is a serious problem in the United States and I assume it may also be a serious problem in all nations.

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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...800976_pf.html
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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    coberst

    Please use the 'fair use' guidelines (see forum guidelines) regarding the quotations from copyright material. The site could get into trouble if not.

    Would you like to modifyyour post in terms of the block quotations you have done?

    Thanks

    shanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    coberst

    Please use the 'fair use' guidelines (see forum guidelines) regarding the quotations from copyright material. The site could get into trouble if not.

    Would you like to modifyyour post in terms of the block quotations you have done?

    Thanks

    shanks
    I will delete some of the post.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    coberst

    Please use the 'fair use' guidelines (see forum guidelines) regarding the quotations from copyright material. The site could get into trouble if not.

    Would you like to modifyyour post in terms of the block quotations you have done?

    Thanks

    shanks
    I will delete some of the post.
    Thank you.
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  10. #9  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    That so many children in this country cannot live up to their potential because they are born in poverty and attend terrible schools is one of the nation's greatest scandals
    I couldn't agree more. In fact, a more telling picture of the net educational situation can be gotten here (courtesy of the National Center for Education Statistics):

    http://nces.ed.gov/FastFacts/display.asp?id=16

    What the study shows is that educational success in this country is inextricably tied to social standing. That is why it is not only misleading but outright offensive when pundits criticize "our educational system" solely on clichéd targets like consumerism and mass entertainment. Not only are these tired arguments that have existed for as long as there have been intellectuals to complain about them, but by ignoring class issues and using the royal "we" when they talk about "our" education system, they assume that every student has more or less the same access to more or less the same quality of education (not to mention more or less the same access to consumer goods and mass entertainment). Only someone born into a certain minimum of comfort could make such an assumption.

    That is why I have little faith in the screeds regularly published by intellectuals or posted on the web by those aspiring to be them. The belief that Ernest Becker will magically cause students to have equal access to quality education (since that is effectively what you are claiming when you say that "becoming an intellectual" will fix "our educational system") would be laughable if it were actually a laughing matter, which it grimly is not. I would go so far as to say that targeting one's ire at clichéd things like consumerism is a deliberate and knowing way of ignoring the real problems, and of appearing to help but in actuality basking in the comfort of one's computer desk.
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