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The Unprepared Society: We must educate for ?


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#1 Michaelangelica

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:39 PM

These bits from The Unprepared Society by Donald Michael, on what sort of education/teaching we need have always struck a chord with me even when i first read them 40 years ago. They seem even more relevant and urgent today.

"We must educate people to have long range perspectives, to think in terms of many variables related to each other rather than certainties.
. . .
We must educate so people can cope efficiently, imaginatively, and perceptibly with information overload. . .

We must educate for empathy, compassion, trust, nonexploitiveness, non manipulativeness, for self-growth and self esteem, for tolerance of ambiguity, for acknowledgment of error, for patience, for suffering."

The Unprepared Society by Donald Michael Basic books NY 1968
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#2 Vox

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:29 AM

"We must educate people to have long range perspectives, to think in terms of many variables related to each other rather than certainties.
. . .
We must educate so people can cope efficiently, imaginatively, and perceptibly with information overload. . .

We must educate for empathy, compassion, trust, nonexploitiveness, non manipulativeness, for self-growth and self esteem, for tolerance of ambiguity, for acknowledgment of error, for patience, for suffering."

The Unprepared Society by Donald Michael Basic books NY 1968


My opinions: Firstly and foremostly we should be able to focus this only moment we have , now and present.. if we" deal" things now..long term is not an issue as it do not exist as such.. current "model" of living although is to project things to future and we assume to correct things in the future or wait future to bring us fortune, wealth and soulutions to "yesterdays problems".. that is the intial problem...

Information is mistankenly misinterpreted as knowledge and wisdom.. that is the initial problem.. information is considered value itself

Interesting statement concerning educating compassion, empathy, etc. These are mentally healty human beings normal charasteristic´s.. We need to think why these are not normally apparent in our societes? are we actually doing active "de education" concerning these human characteristic´s
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#3 gurocat

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 11:54 AM

I'm not sure any of those things can be educated for.

"We must educate people to have long range perspectives, to think in terms of many variables related to each other rather than certainties.
. . .

You can't educate people to be more intelligent.

We must educate so people can cope efficiently, imaginatively, and perceptibly with information overload. . .

We must educate for empathy, compassion, trust, nonexploitiveness, non manipulativeness, for self-growth and self esteem, for tolerance of ambiguity, for acknowledgment of error, for patience, for suffering."


Social engineering has no place in schools, and in any event is notoriously ineffective. Like intelligence, personality seems to be largely an inherited quality.

#4 DFINITLYDISTRUBD

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:38 AM

Interesting statement concerning educating compassion, empathy, etc. These are mentally healty human beings normal charasteristic´s.. We need to think why these are not normally apparent in our societes? are we actually doing active "de education" concerning these human characteristic´s


I believe we (well society in general) are in fact failing to preserve these learned traits...As we move from a society where one expects or learns to expect repercussions for their actions to one where every effort is put forth to insulate our offspring from them we are conditioning them to not think beyond right now or what they want without regard to the impact on others it might cause....after all why think about what may happen tomorrow, next week or next year if you don't have any reason to expect anything to arise from what you did today.

What is the determining guideline for a mentally healthy level of these characteristics? where are the lines drawn between the sociopath, the normal, and the obcessively humanitarian (for lack of better wordage.)

#5 noexpert

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 12:43 AM

I'm not sure any of those things can be educated for.


You can't educate people to be more intelligent.


I believe that by stretching one's mind and by pushing their limits one can expand the abilities of their mind (to an extent). But what I really would like to say is that todays problem is not that people do not have the mental ability to understand and overcome the problems of tomorrow, the real issue is that people dont care enough to apply their minds to solving the problems. Maybe we can't educate people to be more intelligent, but we can educate and inspire people to use more of their intellect.

Our culture has come to a point of complacency where people have the mindset that whatever happens, somebody will be there to fix it, presumably not that person. So if somebody else will repair whatever problems come our way, why even worry about trying to find ways to fix it- much less take action for yourself. This is largely why we see the blame game take place in business, and government, and everyday life. People always want to put the blame on somebody else so that they dont have to take responsibility for it.

Much like with the recent oil spill, every time you turned on the news all you would hear is some Washington big-wig saying how BP was responsible and that they were going to make BP clean it up. No matter whose fault it is, it has potential to affect OUR coastline. So rather than waste our time pointing the finger, we should take the intiative and be a part of the solution.


Sorry if I went off topic, I just needed to get all that out. :lol:
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#6 HydrogenBond

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 09:18 AM

One upgrade would be to define some generalist paths for higher education, instead of stressing primarily specialization. Don't get me wrong, all areas of study get very complex, such that even specialists need to acquire a lot of information. But a generalist is someone who knows a little about many things (same amount of data but more spread out).

An analogy is comparing someone who is the best qualified at a position on the assembly line, compared to someone who is not quite as good, but has the capacity to move from position to position in the line, with some modest level of proficiency. This allows them to get exposure to the entire line, so they can understand how all specialists, connect.

If you look at political bickering, it is because we have two main experts (two political parties). The generalist would learn both orientations instead of specializing in one. This would require a higher level of objectivity and would generate less emotion. This training gives him a better shot at seeing the good points from both sides to create a compromise. The more hats one can put on, the more angles one can approach problems. A specialist will have his best angle defined and may still reach a good solution. But he is not the only expert and angle. So nothing gets done. The generalist puts in the hats of the many angles and finds the middle ground.

One possible way to define coursework, would be to consider the toughest problems such as the Arab-Jewish bickering. What types of tools would allow one to put on all the hats. One would need study in political science, history, Arab and Jewish studies, economics, anthropology, etc. One is now able to move around circular arguments and find a seam.

#7 Vox

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 12:10 PM

I believe we (well society in general) are in fact failing to preserve these learned traits...As we move from a society where one expects or learns to expect repercussions for their actions to one where every effort is put forth to insulate our offspring from them we are conditioning them to not think beyond right now or what they want without regard to the impact on others it might cause....after all why think about what may happen tomorrow, next week or next year if you don't have any reason to expect anything to arise from what you did today.


Here is quite interesting presentation which is linked to this threads overall topic :



#8 HydrogenBond

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:43 AM

I like to think outside the box. But you need thick skin to do that, since the first reaction is for others to dump on new ideas and quote the existing state of the art. It is easy to get beat down, until one finally takes the path of least resistance and just memorizes the status quo. Memory is useful, because it is quick and easy. However, if all you do is memorize the party line, one is not prepared for situations where group memory is not available to memorize. Someone who thinks out of the box sees this as a challenge.

Accountability is implicit of self reliance. If you are told to memorize with the group, or get beat down if you don't, one follows the flow and is not responsible if the group theory is wrong. The self reliant person is generating their own ideas and therefore takes credit and responsibility for these action.

One explanation for the current change is the information age. There is too much information, so it is easier to just go along and memorize summaries. Now the herd leaders are responsible, which means you are not. If they let you think outside the box, then one is now a ship in the sea of knowledge, needing to learn to navigate since you depend on it. Now if you mess up, it is you and not the herd leader and the rest of the herd being responsible.

Political parties are part of the problem, since they prefer an army of drones. If your drone think outside the political box, you can't control the army as well. With drones, if things get messed up, you were a good soldier and was not responsible for the problem. You may not even know there is a problem if the leaders of the drones keep a steady keel and go into denial.
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