Our Education System Got An F

Education is believed to be the liberation of the mind, but is it anymore? Or was it ever? We are constantly fed with these age-old preconceived notions about education from society. And sometimes directly from the people who are meant to be educating us, almost creating a moral paradox! They tell us that school will enrich our creativity. They tell us how the intrinsic, natural creativity of the human mind is a speckles’ worth in contrast to the mind that has endured years of methodological indoctrination and testing. But are these notions valid? Or are we (they) confusing one thing for another? What are the drivers of education? How is it intertwined with the prevailing cultural and economical scene? These are some of the pressing questions that surfaces when one fundamentally re-examines the very concept of education that much of civilization has held on to dearly for decades, if not centuries. After years of school and college, it’s about time for us to step away from the tradition of receiving grades to being the ones to grade our education system.

Like every other endeavor of human civilization, education is one that has had its movements and reforms. From the early attempts at systematic indoctrination in religious and philosophical schools to the modern system consisting of graduated learning levels from elementary to graduate school, there are unmistakable commonalities to the keen eyes. From the times of the ancient Greek civilization, the Platonic academy and the two men, Socrates and Aristotle who surrounded his legacy to the Huehuetlatolli of the Aztecs to the madrasas of the Islamic world to the Vedic teachings of Indus Valley civilization – the earliest attempts of systematic indoctrination were based on the moral code essential to the functioning of early society. Their teachings were subjective to each civilization and time period, and very further subjective to the teacher or master leading the congregation. Education was simply restricted geographically and lost its relevance with the natural progression of civilization and the spread of ideas. Perhaps one of the most notable cultural exchange of the early days happened with the Silk Route, in a time when education was still in its infancy.

philosophy came to be the grand unifying force for many culturally-divested schools of education

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The Need For A 20th Century Philosophy

There are several lines of thought in philosophy – the most popular being the separation of the soul and body. The Venn diagram of the what these domains are supposedly believed to contain are exclusive. Something like that would have made sense in 16th century France, where theological ideas primly shaped the everyday functioning of society, where a spiritual domain was required. Ancient philosophy was essential to establish the foundations of ethics and morale – approaching a time where advanced political systems were emerging in Europe such as the democracy. Once a philosophy of people was established, what was left was conquering and rationalizing perception and reason and knowledge – in that order. Today, modern science tells us more on sensory perception than any philosophy, and the rules of reason have come to be known under a wider subject of logic. Knowledge has moved past being a substance of the mind acquired through sensory experience and thought to scientific consensus – where senses are used arbitrarily to reach personal satisfaction of any conclusion. At any time, we can employ logic and mathematics to go back or forth from present knowledge to understand it’s coming into existence or predict what could be or coming.

In the present day of the 20th century, science has far progressed past this phase of individual reasoning. We have build a framework into which we fit things and if they don’t, we conclude them false. A framework consisting of mathematics and science, ruled by logic or pure reason. However, as the society of today moves past the moderating theology that helped maintain humane order of the ancient land, into secular and liberal institutions – we must develop a new and contemporary philosophy to help sort through the ethical and moral conundrums of the present-day. Especially now with artificial intelligence around the corner, we must work on this fast.

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Religion: Earliest Attempt At World Order

This likely will be my last time discussing religion. Unlike the last two times where I directly spoke out against certain religions and how they manage to work in contemporary times, today’s installment will be more on understanding why they work – a question that will require a philosophical analysis of this concept. Our discussion will be focused on exploring why religion might have been necessary and maybe still is. Later, we will get to understanding some shared ideologies among religions.

Where do we start? A new World Order? Sure, let’s start here – despite your forced consent that would’ve otherwise made no difference if you’d answered. The fundamentalists of religion saw the state of political chaos – the anarchy – invading our civilization as the people grew. With more people came more demands to meet their individual and collective needs. People would then give in to their animalistic instincts – their innate desires and ambition – and that would soon overcome any order of the people. Imagine a world without law and order, a world where ethics and moral were foreign ideas – this is exactly the kind of place religious fundamentalists realized and saw. In fear, they envisioned a word of order. A world where man’s innate desires were suppressed for the greater benefit of his fellows – and indirectly himself. The fundamentalist knew order cannot result from the reign of another man – because man’s ambition of a control of his territory would destroy his obedience – and conflict would soon prevail. The solution was to device something of an outside entity – a supreme and perfect being in all regards of man. An entity that lives and grows in apparent truth with the belief of man and other men.

Resources come at a premium – and anyone from a third-world can perfectly relate to this. Nothing is free. In a world survived by man’s innate desires, it would have been hard to ensure fair distribution of vital resources such as food. Also, as anyone who watches the National Geographic can describe – these desires are often lawless in modern hindsight. Animals aggressively secure their territory, their food and their potential mate at any costs. They fight among themselves and among others and form clans – where they venture together into unknown territories to conquer or mark as their own. The fundamentalist knew man was no different from his ancestor and such instincts would soon creep in as they outgrew in numbers eventually leading them to their own destruction. A need for a system of order was in dire necessity. A system to channel man’s own emotions – that he has been naturally predisposed with – against his unknowing will for the benefit of other men and himself. A concept of religion was therefore required.

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Is Science Just Subjective: Are We Observing Or Interacting?

This is part II to my previous post on subjectivism in science. The last part for those of you wanting to catch up, explored the mechanisms by which subjectivism creeps into scientific literature and also ways to alleviate it. Part II will explore subjectivity in observation or more generally, observation bias – from a practical and metaphysical standpoint.

you interact to perceive

mutual exclusion is nothing but an illusion

Scientific instruments are limited to their resolution, accuracy and precision. An instrument can only resolve within finite numerical intervals, only being able to gauge some metric with some degree of statistical consistency. The fixed numerical gaps between which an instrument can register is called its resolution. All instruments have a resolution that is predetermined from design – and probably something you can expect to find on the back label. Accuracy and precision are parented in statistics. The ability of the instrument to consistently register close to some numerical value is called precision, while its ability to register closer to the actual numerical value is called accuracy. The keywords are highlighted.

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The Information Loop: Intellectual Stimulation or Retardation?

Today I am going to write about something a little controversial and what I’d like to call fancily the Information Loop. This loop represents every source we get our information from: news, answers to our crockery questions, and how to tie a tie, and by some magic the loop seems to have answers to all of them. I’m taking this up on myself to debate the intellectual effects from our reliance on this repository of knowledge.

Before I dive further, why call it a ‘loop’? And let me assure you I’d done a bit of thinking before calling dibs on ‘loop’. We are often inclined to believe what sources (of information) we chose to get our information from is solely per our discretion but is it really? The prerequisite of knowing where to get your information from is also information. You certainly wouldn’t be reading this if you hadn’t been informed of WordPress. If you’re still not seeing it, the information pertaining to the whereabouts of other sources of information is one that needs to be acquired from a source. There certainly is a hierarchy but it is also a source (of information) and follows suit until you establish yourself in a loop – where you get information from the same sources and turn to the same other sources for more information. Continue reading