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Thread: Technology makes passive life seducing

  1. #1 Technology makes passive life seducing 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Feb 2007
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    Technology makes passive life seducing

    “The development of general ability for independent thinking and judgment should always be placed foremost, not the acquisition of specialized knowledge.” --Albert Einstein

    Our (US) society is not generally tuned to agree with Albert’s opinion. We generally consider education is a commodity, an object of commerce; generally our schools, colleges, and universities prepare us in a specific specialty so that we can fit directly into the cogs of the industrial machine when we graduate.

    The “development of general ability for independent thinking and judgment” must come after our school days are complete. If we do not begin this process of preparation for independent thinking quickly after schooling it is quite likely we will never acquire the judgment required of an independent critical thinker.

    There is good reason to consider our first priority is to acquire the certificates necessary for a good job and then to focus our attention upon taking control of our life following our graduation.


    There is a significant difference between life as it is typically lived and life as it could be. This difference can be lived provided one does not give into a passive role and develops an active roll in determining her or his future.

    The passive learner rolls with the punches; s/he establishes habits that ‘work’, which allow him or her to ‘get by’. The passive learner seeks to integrate her or him self into the status quo.

    Our technology makes a passive life seducing. The following two paragraphs are from a recent article in the Washington Post written by a reporter who had rented a car with a GPS guidance system.

    Again and again, I turned off the calculated route — following my nose across country — and the G.P.S. patiently rearranged its plans. Now and then I heard it say, “Make a legal U-turn at the first opportunity,” and I wondered if I was hearing a sigh of defeat in its crisp, female voice. I set out one morning for a nearly vanished Kansas town. “You have arrived!” said the G.P.S., without irony, as we drove down the tumbleweed streets of our destination.

    We fought only once, in Emporia. We were leaving the surface road and picking up the Kansas Turnpike. The instructions I heard flatly contradicted my sense of where we were, so I ignored them and found myself heading west, toward Salina, instead of northeast, toward Lawrence. It was a humbling experience. I stopped for coffee. When I started the car, the G.P.S. said, “Resume?” Not a hint of told-you-so in its voice. I said yes, and let it lead me home.


    The active learner establishes habits directed at constant improvement. I think that many people become active learners directing their efforts at maximizing production and consumption. In fact I guess the American life style is ‘to be the active learner running faster and faster on the industrial tread mill’. The values ingrained in us by our culture ‘tell us’ that that is the natural way to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. But there is another way to become an active learner and that is by self-actualization through self-learning directed not at becoming a better producer and consumer but upon establishing a broader perspective, by establishing a different value system.

    How does a young person who has finished their schooling develop their own value system?

    How does a young person develop a sound intellectual foundation upon which to build a life?

    What is a sound intellectual foundation?

    How does a young person learn to ask the important questions?

    How does a young person find the answers to these questions?

    How does a young person become an independent thinker when the culture is constantly singing a lullaby for slumber?


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