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Thread: Acquiring a database versus creation of understanding

  1. #1 Acquiring a database versus creation of understanding 
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    Acquiring a database versus creation of understanding

    The success of our production and consumption society is structured upon our highly rationalized capacity to develop, organize and utilize knowledge designed to encourage individuals to become highly specialized experts in narrow specialties. Our industrial base demands experts who require little understanding except in very narrow specialties.

    Most parents desire that their children graduate from higher education with a credential entitling them to a good job with a high salary. The student of higher education in the United States graduates with a large database of specialized knowledge designed to permit that graduate to immediately fit into a large organization of specialized professionals.

    Our Colleges and Universities have successfully met the demands of society and are the envy of the world. Higher education has learned to produce graduates with a large database of highly specialized knowledge.

    Unfortunately the intrinsic value of education has been lost as a result. We have facilitated the maximization of production and consumption at the cost of losing contact with the original value of education.

    I do not think that efficient assimilation of information into knowledge is our problem; I think our problem is creating meaning from what we do know.

    It appears to me that humans have a great propensity to acquire knowledge but a miniscule capacity for understanding the meaning of that acquired knowledge. I would liken the basic human cognitive nature to be similar to that displayed by the United States Intelligence Agency in the 9/11 fiasco. We had the dots but did not have the capacity to connect the dots. Our educational system displays a vast capacity to graduate individuals with extensive databases but little understanding.

    I would say that the intrinsic value of education is wisdom. I would define wisdom as a sensitive synthesis of broad knowledge, deep understanding and solid judgment. Our universities produce individuals capable of developing a great technology but lacking the wisdom to manage the world modified by that technology. Higher education has become a commodity.

    The relationship of sex to love as compared with the relationship of knowledge to understanding might help to clarify my point.

    Sex and knowledge are easily acquired and easily forgotten. Love and understanding requires an intense investment of the person. Sex can alienate, thus making love more problematic; just as extensive specialized knowledge, which leads to intellectual arrogance, can alienate, thus making understanding problematic. One can get sex but one must create love. Love and understanding are something to seek and work for and may or may not happen. Carl Sagan is quoted as having written; “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”

    When we speak of a cornucopia of information and our attempt to assimilate that info in a coherent manner so as to facilitate our survival I wonder if we might not be missing something important. Our DNA was developed over millions of years based upon the prevailing environment. We have, as a result of our very successful rationalization of knowledge acquisition developed a far different universe than what our genes have prepared us for.

    All of our fundamental capabilities make it possible for us to assimilate and organize great deals of information and to react to that knowledge in ways to assure survival in the world of the past. However, what do we do in this very different world of technology?

    Conversion of input stimuli into knowledge was sufficient before but perhaps our future success in the world indicates that we may have to seriously modify our response to the world. Up to this point we have been able to successfully navigate a world where knowledge with little understanding is sufficient. Perhaps such a situation is reaching a climax. Perhaps we must adjust to becoming much more adept at understanding.

    The success of our production and consumption society is structured upon our highly rationalized capacity to develop, organize and utilize knowledge; this process is designed to encourage individuals to become highly specialized experts in narrow specialties. Our industrial base demands experts who require little understanding except in very narrow specialties.


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  3. #2 Re: Acquiring a database versus creation of understanding 
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    1. In general there is little rationalisation of the production/consumption aspects of society. They are taken as a given.
    2. There is as much encouragement given to creating generalists and adaptable individuals as there is to creating narrow specialists.
    3. Most Western countries have lost their industrial base and converted to a service base.
    4. The remaining industrial segment requires highly adaptable individuals, capable of periodic specialisation, but not ones who are career long uni-specialists.
    5. Most parents (i.e. the majority) would likely be content if their children avoid early pregnancy, don't take drugs, are not killed in drive by shootings and wind up with some kind of a job.
    6. I have never witnessed any graduate of high school, or university who could easily fit into a large organization of specialized individuals. They need to be taught enormous numbers of facts, methodologies, specific skills and social norms.
    7. The top universities in the US are the envy of the world. The ones at the bottom of the spectrum are the laughing stock.
    8. Your exposure to universities and colleges which focus on knowledge over meaning (i.e. the bottom quartile, or more) has warped your judgment.
    9. Your perception that people are better at learning things than understanding them just means you should get out more.
    10. This vast capacity to gather data and understand none of it appears to be the first flickering of recognition of your own condition.
    11. Etc.


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  4. #3 Re: Acquiring a database versus creation of understanding 
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I do not think that efficient assimilation of information into knowledge is our problem; I think our problem is creating meaning from what we do know.
    A more accurate way to put is is that you have a problem creating meaning from what we "typical Americans" choose to do with our lives. What you fail to realize is that this is your problem, not ours.
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    We can comprehend only what we are prepared to comprehend.

    Our (America) educational system prepares us to comprehend only that which is necessary to maximize production and consumption. It does not prepare us to become sophisticated citizens.

    The only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication is through the process of social osmosis. We learn a little bit through day-to-day social intercourse. Obviously what we learn is inadequate when compared to our needs as intellectually sophisticated citizens.

    Internet discussion forums are one mode of social osmosis. It is obviously inadequate but it is one of the few places that a higher level of social osmosis might take place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    We can comprehend only what we are prepared to comprehend..
    This is something you demonstrate on a daily basis across the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Our (America) educational system prepares us to comprehend only that which is necessary to maximize production and consumption.
    Provide peer reviewed references to substantiate this statement. At the very least provide anecdotal evidence to support it. You have been making the same claim for years without a single attempt to support your argument. Archie was banned from this forum for far less intransigence, in a far shorter time.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    It does not prepare us to become sophisticated citizens.
    Without using your meaningless placeholder terminology define what a sophisticated citizen is: in detail, rigorously.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication is through the process of social osmosis.
    There are vast libraries. There are organisations open to all that deal with almost any aspect of the intellectual realm. There are debating societies one can join. Evening classes can be taken at schools and colleges across the nation on a bewildering variety of subjects. The internet is a vast resource of knowledge.
    Clearly your claim that social osmosis is the only practical route to sophistication is a shortsighted claim at best and patent nonsense at worst.
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    “The decay of decency in the modern age, the rebellion against law and good faith, the treatment of human beings as things, as the mere instruments of power and ambition, is without a doubt the consequence of the decay of the belief in man as something more than an animal animated by highly conditioned reflexes and chemical reactions. For, unless man is something more than that, he has no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and there are no limitations upon his conduct which he is bound to obey.” Walter Lippmann

    Western democracies have invested in a concentrated effort to establish a ‘confidence in reason’ because it is assumed by many that reasoning is the principal factor that makes humans different in kind from other animals.

    The attempt to seek knowledge presupposes that the world unfolds in a systematic pattern and that we can gain knowledge of that unfolding. We assume many things because our ‘gut’ tells us that: 1) the world makes systematic sense, and we can gain knowledge of it: 2) every particular thing is a kind of thing; 3) every entity has an “essence” or “nature,” that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.

    We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians. We, in fact, assume that things have a nature thereby we are led by the metaphysical impulse to seek knowledge at various levels of reality.

    Now back to ‘confidence in reason’. I guess the Greeks were the first to systematize our belief that reason can be an important factor in making life better; that reason can provide us with a means to convince others that this particular way is the better way of reaching the desired goal; a mutual confidence in reason becomes one of life’s most important goals.

    Why a ‘mutual confidence in reason’ becomes one of life’s most important goals? Because of the disaster to all of us that is derived from an intellectual distrust of reason. I think that one of the important duties we all have is to help others formulate a confidence in reason.

    I think that we can find in our self many times when a confidence in reason is displaced by a belief that is not grounded in reason. Examples might be faith in charismatic leaders, faith in ‘authority’, faith in some social group, faith in our ‘gut’, faith in fate, faith in technology, faith in unanalyzed experience, faith in someone because s/he is a successful maker of money, etc.

    I picture myself as a member of a small group of riders trying desperately to turn the stampeding herd before that herd reaches the cliffs.

    The herd is humanity. My fellow riders are the few who, like me, think they have been enlightened and wish to stop an impending catastrophe. The skeptical reader is, of course, correct that the riders may be idiots and that the herd is just seeking better pastures. The consoling thought for the riders is that if they, the riders, are wrong it is of little consequence because they are so few; while the herd, if wrong, will probably destroy the human species and perhaps even the planet and all life.

    The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the human species will live happily ever after.

    The fundamental issue that concerns the riders is that the herd makes very poor decisions. For this reason the riders think that if the herd became Critical Thinkers and self-learners matters would improve.

    A rider from a past generation, Walter Lippmann, who is responsible for the opening paragraph of this post, seems to agree with my analysis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the human species will live happily ever after.
    Good to see you haven't lost any of your inflated sense of self importance during my short absence.

    Now answer me this: why would we not want our friends to know that we are all metaphysicians? Why would we wish to keep that from them? It is such a strange statement to make; it appears out of the blue; there is no justification offered for it; you make no use of the conclusion later in the piece. Very strange.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the human species will live happily ever after.

    The fundamental issue that concerns the riders is that the herd makes very poor decisions.
    So the answer to the world's problems is... make better decisions. That's Coberstism for you: being "enlightened" means issuing statements that are positive enough to be indisputable but vague enough that you don't actually have to do anything difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the human species will live happily ever after.
    Good to see you haven't lost any of your inflated sense of self importance during my short absence.

    Now answer me this: why would we not want our friends to know that we are all metaphysicians? Why would we wish to keep that from them? It is such a strange statement to make; it appears out of the blue; there is no justification offered for it; you make no use of the conclusion later in the piece. Very strange.
    I suspect few people know anything about the nature of metaphysicians and must think they are like shamans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The riders, like me, think that there is a fundamental issue, that if resolved, will reposition the herd into a more perceptive and reasonable mode and thus the human species will live happily ever after.

    The fundamental issue that concerns the riders is that the herd makes very poor decisions.
    So the answer to the world's problems is... make better decisions. That's Coberstism for you: being "enlightened" means issuing statements that are positive enough to be indisputable but vague enough that you don't actually have to do anything difficult.
    The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).

    CT is an acronym for Critical Thinking. Everybody considers themselves to be a critical thinker. That is why we need to differentiate among different levels of critical thinking.

    Most people fall in the category that I call Reagan thinkers—trust but verify. Then there are those who have taken the basic college course taught by the philosophy dept that I call Logic 101. This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.

    The third level I call CT (Critical Thinking). CT includes the knowledge of Logic 101 and also the knowledge that focuses upon the intellectual character and attitude of critical thinking. It includes knowledge regarding the ego and social centric forces that impede rational thinking.

    Most decisions we have to make are judgment calls. A judgment call is made when we must make a decision when there is no “true” or “false” answers. When we make a judgment call our decision is bad, good, or better.

    Many factors are involved: there are the available facts, assumptions, skills, knowledge, and especially personal experience and attitude. I think that the two most important elements in the mix are personal experience and attitude.

    When we study math we learn how to use various algorithms to facilitate our skill in dealing with quantities. If we never studied math we could deal with quantity on a primary level but our quantifying ability would be minimal. Likewise with making judgments; if we study the art and science of good judgment we can make better decisions and if we never study the art and science of judgment our decision ability will remain minimal.

    I am convinced that a fundamental problem we have in this country (USA) is that our citizens have never learned the art and science of good judgment. Before the recent introduction of CT into our schools and colleges our young people have been taught primarily what to think and not how to think. All of us graduated with insufficient comprehension of the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for the formulation of good judgment. The result of this inability to make good judgment is evident and is dangerous.

    I am primarily interested in the judgment that adults exercise in regard to public issues. Of course, any improvement in judgment generally will affect both personal and community matters.

    To put the matter into a nut shell:
    1. Normal men and women can significantly improve their ability to make judgments.
    2. CT is the domain of knowledge that delineates the knowledge, skills, and intellectual character demanded for good judgment.
    3. CT has been introduced into our schools and colleges slowly in the last two or three decades.
    4. Few of today’s adults were ever taught CT.
    5. I suspect that at least another two generations will pass before our society reaps significant rewards resulting from teaching CT to our children.
    6. Can our democracy survive that long?
    7. I think that every effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they need to study and learn CT on their own. I am not suggesting that adults find a teacher but I am suggesting that adults become self-actualizing learners.
    8. I am convinced that learning the art and science of Critical Thinking is an important step toward becoming a better citizen in today’s democratic society.



    Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

    “ABSTRACT: The ideal of critical thinking is a central one in Russell's philosophy, though this is not yet generally recognized in the literature on critical thinking. For Russell, the ideal is embedded in the fabric of philosophy, science, liberalism and rationality, and this paper reconstructs Russell's account, which is scattered throughout numerous papers and books. It appears that he has developed a rich conception, involving a complex set of skills, dispositions and attitudes, which together delineate a virtue which has both intellectual and moral aspects. It is a view which is rooted in Russell's epistemological conviction that knowledge is difficult but not impossible to attain, and in his ethical conviction that freedom and independence in inquiry are vital. Russell's account anticipates many of the insights to be found in the recent critical thinking literature, and his views on critical thinking are of enormous importance in understanding the nature of educational aims. Moreover, it is argued that Russell manages to avoid many of the objections which have been raised against recent accounts. With respect to impartiality, thinking for oneself, the importance of feelings and relational skills, the connection with action, and the problem of generalizability, Russell shows a deep understanding of problems and issues which have been at the forefront of recent debate.” http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHare.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I suspect few people know anything about the nature of metaphysicians and must think they are like shamans.
    So shouldn't you seek to educate them in this regard? You say you would not want them to know they are metaphysicians. You still have not explained why you would keep it from them. It is almost as if you want to keep them as part of the herd. I thought your objective should be to do away with the herd and convert everyone to a rider. Any other approach would be elitist, wouldn't you agree?
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    Coberst I am still waiting for your response. In particular you said:

    "The only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication is through the process of social osmosis."

    I responded:
    There are vast libraries. There are organisations open to all that deal with almost any aspect of the intellectual realm. There are debating societies one can join. Evening classes can be taken at schools and colleges across the nation on a bewildering variety of subjects. The internet is a vast resource of knowledge.

    Do you still maintain that social osmosis is the only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.
    You're the last person who should be peddling advice about basic logic, as I've pointed out before.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).
    You've been saying that for a while. What's the second step?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I suspect few people know anything about the nature of metaphysicians and must think they are like shamans.
    So shouldn't you seek to educate them in this regard? You say you would not want them to know they are metaphysicians. You still have not explained why you would keep it from them. It is almost as if you want to keep them as part of the herd. I thought your objective should be to do away with the herd and convert everyone to a rider. Any other approach would be elitist, wouldn't you agree?
    I have been posting on Internet discussion forums for 5 years. My message has always been "get a life--get an intellectual life". The first basic step in such a life is learning CT (Critical Thinking). The "unexamined life is not worth living"--Socrates/Plato
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Coberst I am still waiting for your response. In particular you said:

    "The only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication is through the process of social osmosis."

    I responded:
    There are vast libraries. There are organisations open to all that deal with almost any aspect of the intellectual realm. There are debating societies one can join. Evening classes can be taken at schools and colleges across the nation on a bewildering variety of subjects. The internet is a vast resource of knowledge.

    Do you still maintain that social osmosis is the only practical means available for the unsophisticated adult to learn anything that might qualify as intellectual sophistication?
    Yes because almost all Americans are too lacking in intellectual sophistication to comprehend the direct approach of being motivated directly to seek knowledge from books. Practically speaking, I must sneak up on them and whisper in their ear suitable words that might slowly motivate them to move in the direction of a book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.
    You're the last person who should be peddling advice about basic logic, as I've pointed out before.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).
    You've been saying that for a while. What's the second step?
    I will give you the second step after you have taken the first. You will certainly stumble if you skip the first step.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I suspect few people know anything about the nature of metaphysicians and must think they are like shamans.
    So shouldn't you seek to educate them in this regard? You say you would not want them to know they are metaphysicians. You still have not explained why you would keep it from them. It is almost as if you want to keep them as part of the herd. I thought your objective should be to do away with the herd and convert everyone to a rider. Any other approach would be elitist, wouldn't you agree?
    I have been posting on Internet discussion forums for 5 years. My message has always been "get a life--get an intellectual life". The first basic step in such a life is learning CT (Critical Thinking). The "unexamined life is not worth living"--Socrates/Plato
    Then why did you implicitly advise that we not inform them, that we not educate them? That is what I am getting at. Your words were "We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians."

    Thus, there is an apparent contradiction between your consistent message to get an intellectual life and this message that we may wish to withhold important information from some people. I am asking your help to resolve this misinterpretation. If you simply misspoke the remark about metaphysicians then say so and we can move on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I will give you the second step after you have taken the first.
    Dodging the question, huh? I can't say I'm surprised. Quoting fancy-sounding sound bytes is the easy part; actually doing things is more difficult. We all know which path an intellectual prefers to take.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I will give you the second step after you have taken the first.
    Dodging the question, huh? I can't say I'm surprised. Quoting fancy-sounding sound bytes is the easy part; actually doing things is more difficult. We all know which path an intellectual prefers to take.
    We can comprehend only what we are prepared to comprehend. You cannot skip addition and subtraction and go directly into learning long division.
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    Assume, then, that I have studied critical thinking. (I will refrain from commenting on how my study of it compares to yours as evidenced by your posts.) If you are unwilling to make this assumption, then you are a prime example of someone who comprehends only what he is prepared to comprehend. If you are willing to make this assumption, then please answer my question: what is the second step?
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I will give you the second step after you have taken the first.
    Dodging the question, huh? I can't say I'm surprised. Quoting fancy-sounding sound bytes is the easy part; actually doing things is more difficult. We all know which path an intellectual prefers to take.
    We can comprehend only what we are prepared to comprehend. You cannot skip addition and subtraction and go directly into learning long division.
    I am versed in Critical Thinking, and in Logic and Reason... Please, divulge this magical concept upon me. I think I'm prepared to comprehend what you have to offer.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I am versed in Critical Thinking, and in Logic and Reason... Please, divulge this magical concept upon me. I think I'm prepared to comprehend what you have to offer.
    The next step is to become a self-actualizing self-learner. When our school daze are over we must resist the normal inclination to store our intellect with our year book in the attc.

    Studying disinterested knowledge is like taking off a month every year to visit a strange new land. Curiosity is reinvigorated and new meaning is created.

    Disinterested knowledge is the energy bunny; studying disinterested knowledge creates more energy than it consumes. It generates the energy for exploration and for overcoming some of our inhibitions.

    Disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term 'disinterested knowledge' as similar to 'pure research', as compared to 'applied research'. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

    Knowledge is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have created many puzzles in coping with reality and when we receive a new piece of knowledge that does not fit our present puzzles we forgetaboutit (Italian word for ‘forget about it’). However, if through disinterested knowledge we have created new puzzles within which the new knowledge might fit we might find a whole new meaning in life.

    After we leave school if we want to become a self-learner and to become knowledgeable of new domains we will follow this same procedure but with a significant difference. We will have no teacher to supply us with the pieces of the puzzle. Especially difficult will be gathering the appropriate side pieces so that we can frame our domain. After this we might very well have to imagine the image of the puzzle because we will not have a teacher to help us ‘see’ what the domain ‘looks like’.

    When we become a self-learner we will often find pieces of knowledge that do not fit our already constructed frames, when this happens we have two choices. We can throw away the new fragment of knowledge or we can start a journey of discovery in an effort to organize the construction of a new domain. The odd piece of knowledge is either trashed or we must begin a big effort to start construction on a new big puzzle.

    I think that knowledge is easily acquired when that knowledge fits easily within one’s accepted ideologies. If we have a ready place to put a new fragment of knowledge we can easily find a place to fit it in. When the knowledge does not fit within our already functioning ideas that fact will be discarded unless a great deal of effort is made to find a home for that fragment of knowledge.

    We are unable to move beyond our ideologies unless we exert great effort. No one can give us that type of knowledge; we must go out of our way to stalk it, wrestle it to the ground and then find other pieces that will complete a frame. That is why our schools do not try to take us beyond our narrow world because it is too costly in time and effort. Our schools prepare us to be good workers and strong consumers, anything beyond that we must capture on our own.

    No one can give us that kind of knowledge. It can only be presented as an awakening of consciousness and then we can, if we have the energy and curiosity go and capture the knowledge of something totally new and start a new puzzle.

    Creativity is the synthesis of the known into a model of the unknown. The value of the unknown is yet to be determined. Creativity requires a comfort with the unknown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The next step is to become a self-actualizing self-learner.
    To summarize where we are so far: Step 1 is to learn critical thinking and Step 2 is to become a self-actualizing self-learner. Do any steps involve doing anything? Or, as I suspect is the case, do the steps get successively more general and consist of saying the same thing with different words? I'm guessing it's the latter. Despite the fact that this advice is being offered as a way of improving the world, it doesn't look like it even involves getting up from one's couch. Not that I blame you. Sitting on one's couch and philosophizing is fun and easy. Getting up and doing stuff is hard.
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    Dear coberst

    The only reason I am moderating this sub-forum is that I, some 10 or more years ago, became a 'self-actualising self-learner' (utterly ghastly phrase, by the way). If this all you have to say and have taken so long to say it, and wasted so much forum bandwidth, and haven't even got to the third step - which is learning to listen instead of merely preaching about your 'discovery', please tell me why you shouldn't be banned for trolling?

    Importantly in this context, I have not yet seen evidence that you have any facility to learn from the responses you receive here. If you cannot do that, what value can we claim you have as a poster? Nothing you have done so far demonstrates any ability beyond that of the teenage creationist troll who monomaniacally posts on his (invariably his) hobby horse without learning from the knowledge and thoughts of his respondents.

    If you can't do this, and continue to preach, merely, I shall (but with regret, for I have some respect for you as a person) have no recourse but to ask for you to be banned.

    Please think about this seriously (or with, as you might put it CT) as it as an action I will, albeit reluctantly, take. Please respond specifically and without further platitudes from the two books you appear to read.

    Regards

    shanks (partly in mod mode)
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  26. #25  
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    Alright... I must ask, however, what is the use of mere learning, seeking out knowledge, and making an attempt to craft a working model of what we believe we know? Would it not be more fruitful and fulfilling a venture to educate others, or empower the weak, provide help to those who can't find salvation themselves?

    And besides that, what exactly is a self-actualizing self-learner? Aren't all Learners Self-Learners? Is it possible to learn by proxy of another, in that whatever the learn is imparted upon another? All a teacher does is guide a scholar, they never impart knowledge upon them, only give them the keys necessary to learn.

    When it comes to helping people, I must agree with Lyn. His/Her point is sound, and in all reality, simply learning, no matter how much you actually know, won't make any big difference. What has to be done is concrete and physical. You must help people in order to help people, as novel a concept as that may be. If you don't help them, there is nothing you can do to actually help them, despite however amazing your abilities in Cognition and Critical Thinking, if you do not act then nothing is achieved.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  27. #26  
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    Our (American) educational system has left us with serious learning handicaps. One of these handicaps is that we have never experienced learning from "mere learning". We lack the sophistication required to recognize our very serious handicaps and thus to dig our selves out of this deep hole caused by a shallow education.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Our (American) educational system has left us with serious learning handicaps. One of these handicaps is that we have never experienced learning from "mere learning". We lack the sophistication required to recognize our very serious handicaps and thus to dig our selves out of this deep hole caused by a shallow education.
    This is a disappointing response, as it is merely a reiteration, for the umpteenth time, of your perennial theme.

    Please consider yourself on notice for trolling.

    shanks

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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).

    ... Everybody considers themselves to be a critical thinker. That is why we need to differentiate among different levels of critical thinking.

    ... Yes because almost all Americans are too lacking in intellectual sophistication to comprehend the direct approach of being motivated directly to seek knowledge from books. Practically speaking, I must sneak up on them and whisper in their ear suitable words that might slowly motivate them to move in the direction of a book.
    Hmmm. It seems to me that the world you want is never going to happen. You can't force people to do what you want - to be free ... isn't that negative vs positive liberty ?

    You have passion, that's good - you must be still alive !! Most people are dead. You can be happy with yourself, it's getting rare nowadays to be alive - so well done.

    But ... it seems to me that there is no solution to the problem that involves people becoming rational computers. Give up on that solution ... and then ask why you wanted that solution in the first place - do you think of yourself as only a machine ?

    You seem to talk a lot about the control that people are under in society ... that is likely to be because you feel the control applied to yourself ... how far has it gone into you, deeply most likely ?

    My advice is to give up on the West and go East.
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  30. #29  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior
    Please consider yourself on notice for trolling.
    Hear, hear.

    The most unfortunate thing about this is that no amount of reasoned discussion will convince Coberst that what he is doing is trolling. Because of his determination to be a misunderstood intellectual messiah, I'm sure he's interpreting all of these negative responses as indications that he is right and that we just don't get it.

    Coberst, this is what makes your posts inappropriate for a science forum. No one is arguing with your claims that learning and self-betterment are good things. No one is disagreeing with your belief that there are flaws in American culture. These things are indisputable, and that is the problem. Your posts allow no room for discussion because you are not saying anything that can be refuted. You target your attacks at generalizations like corporations and "our educational system" rather than citing specific actions by specific corporations or specific educational institutions. (Do you really think Wal-Mart can be so easily lumped into the same category as the Animal Issues Movement, or that what is true of Philips Exeter is also true of Brooklyn's PS 19 elementary school?) Whenever someone asks you to provide evidence by citing a specific instance, you respond with more cut-and-pasted generalizations because you know (or so I'm willing to bet) that citing specific data is what enables us to assess your claims, and you don't want your claims to be assessed. You just want to be able to assert things without having to discuss.

    That's trolling. If you want to troll the same screeds over and over again without having to be held accountable to reasoned discussion, fine. There are plenty of websites where you can do it. But don't do it on a science forum.
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