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Thread: Be all that you can be

  1. #1 Be all that you can be 
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    Be all that you can be

    No, I am not suggesting that you join the Marines!

    “The religious believer assigns dignity to whatever his religion holds sacred—a set of moral laws, a way of life, or particular objects of worship. He grows angry when the dignity of what he holds sacred is violated.” Quote from “The End of History and the Last Man”.

    To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality and self-actualization, upon what foundation does s/he stand? If the non believer does depend upon rationality and self-actualization for dignity how is it possible that so few know anything about such matters?

    Abraham Maslow tells us that there are two processes necessary for self-actualization: self exploration and action. Self exploration is very important, the deeper the self exploration, the closer one comes to self-actualization. Self-actualization results from our desire to actualize our potential. As the Marines might say “Be all that you can be”.

    I think that the area in which Western society fails most egregiously is in the matter of an intellectual life after schooling. We have a marvelous brain that goes into the attic after schooling is complete and is brought out only occasionally on the job or when we try to play bridge or chess.

    It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population. Our colleges and universities have prepared young people to become good producers and consumers. The college graduate has a large specialized database that allows that individual to quickly enter the corporate world as a useful cog in the machine. The results display themselves in our thriving high standard of living, high technology corporate driven life styles.

    Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.

    What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.

    If today’s adult wishes to learn CT s/he must learn it on their own nickel. I think a good read to begin with is this one
    http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHare.htm


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  3. #2 Re: Be all that you can be 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population.
    Call me elitist. Call me simplistic. You may well be right. I think the problem faced by all cultures and all societies is that most people are pretty dumb, regardless of the extent, character, duration and motivation of their education.


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  4. #3 Re: Be all that you can be 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population.
    Call me elitist. Call me simplistic. You may well be right. I think the problem faced by all cultures and all societies is that most people are pretty dumb, regardless of the extent, character, duration and motivation of their education.
    I would disagree to the extent that almost all people fail to approach their intellectual potential. Our educational system produces conformists who will make good producers and consumers. Only when people recognize that they have much more ability than they utilize and they recognize that they can no longer afford the luxury of apathy and ignorance will things change for the better.
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    Well it would be simpler to be what you can be if it had a higher purpose.
    Obviously there is no such a thing.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeavingQuietly
    Well it would be simpler to be what you can be if it had a higher purpose.
    Obviously there is no such a thing.
    Purpose and meaning are human creations. Our task is to create meaning and purpose.
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  7. #6 Re: Be all that you can be 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I would disagree to the extent that almost all people fail to approach their intellectual potential. Our educational system produces conformists who will make good producers and consumers.
    I am a product of our educational system. I like to think I am something of a non-conformist and certainly am not a conventional consumer. What enable me to break the mould? Guess what - it was our educational system. I listened to the teachers who encouraged us to think? I observed those who used their brains and tried to emulate them. I grasped the opportunity to learn anything and everything.
    The people who didn't do this had exactly the same opportunities I had - arguably some of them had better opportunities. So why didn't they take them. My, admittedly arrogant, explanation is that they were dumb. Dumb is not the same as lacking in intellect - dumb is not using that intellect - which is much what you are saying. But I tend to blame the individual, not the system.
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  8. #7 Re: Be all that you can be 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I would disagree to the extent that almost all people fail to approach their intellectual potential. Our educational system produces conformists who will make good producers and consumers.
    I am a product of our educational system. I like to think I am something of a non-conformist and certainly am not a conventional consumer. What enable me to break the mould? Guess what - it was our educational system. I listened to the teachers who encouraged us to think? I observed those who used their brains and tried to emulate them. I grasped the opportunity to learn anything and everything.
    The people who didn't do this had exactly the same opportunities I had - arguably some of them had better opportunities. So why didn't they take them. My, admittedly arrogant, explanation is that they were dumb. Dumb is not the same as lacking in intellect - dumb is not using that intellect - which is much what you are saying. But I tend to blame the individual, not the system.
    I think that if a small percentage of the population were to become self-actualizing self-learners that we could turn this ship around. If we cannot find this small group to lead us beyond our present attitudes we are, I fear, in gib trouble.
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