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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

BOOK REPORT - Part 13 - Strategies For Survival

Teaching As A Subversive Activity

The final chapter is a great conclusion. Starting with "The basic function of all education...is to increase the survival prospects of the group." When this function goes unmet, civilizations disappear.
Do we have an unconsciously held belief that old ways of thinking and king are necessary to the survival of the group? (p. 208) This belief is okay when a society is stable and the environment changes extremely slowly.
"Survival in a rapidly changing environment depends almost entirely upon being able to INDENTIFY QHICH OF THE OLD CONCEPTS ARE RELEVANT to the demands imposed by the new threats to survival" [emphasis mine] (p. 208).
Unlearning or "selective forgetting" is needed for progress.
If we fail to detect things that are irrelevant, these concepts themselves become threats to our survival.
"One of the hazards of being first is that you leave everyone else behind" (p. 210). Beyond that, it is lonely, frustrating, emotionally draining, and requires a focus on the end goal (dream) or you will quit.
The essential question of the book is on page 212. From Robert Theobald, "How do you change the thinking of a culture with enormous speed?"
The answer is to do it through the school system. It is the only institution that exists to fulfill this function.
We teach not just to recognize the world in which we live, but how to cope with it.
The chapter concludes with the canons of Lynn White, Jr.
1) from occidental to global percepions
2) from logic & language to symbols of communication
3) from rationality to unconscious realities
4) from a hierarchy of values to a spectrum of values
This book's purpose was to promote Hemingway's assertion that having a built-in crap detector is the most necessary tool for survival. The final sentence reminds us of this purpose.
 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous


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