Friday, August 24, 2012

The Function of Education

The real function of education -- is to teach a student so they can learn on their own, anything they REALLY have to -- and not just because the education professionals and experts think it is important and necessary for EVERYBODY to do so -- when they say everybody must, in order for them to justify their own full employment.

The challenge of these times -- as well as any other, IS to prepare every generation to successfully solve the real problems of their own existence -- rather than everybody to carry on the work of Newton, Einstein, Milton and Shakespeare, although there will be a few prodigies that do -- but whether it is productive for a society to require that everybody has that inclination, and even mandate it as the qualifications for successful living, shows how "unqualified" the professional educators are in determining those values for everyone -- but merely reinforces the dependency on the teachers and the education system to determine  that curriculum for everybody else.

And that should be, what are the skills that people are failing at -- in their real lives.  Obviously, right off the top, that would be their health and well-being, and the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve and maintain it -- as the top priority, rather than algebra, poetry and Latin, as what everybody needs to get by in life.  No, they need a fundamental grounding in the realities of life -- and not the fairy tales and other myths that are taught to them so there is no room for anything else.  And it is the "anything else," or even "everything else" (reality), that is sacrificed and denied in favor of the education indoctrination of the purely academic and "noble" purposes that obscure the "teachers" of their own clarity of their function and purpose -- which is ultimately, that the student can determine such matters for themselves, all their lives, learning from anything and anyone, for the rest of their lives, as people increasingly have to do.

There will inevitably be the child prodigies for which that is THEIR reality -- to advance esoteric knowledge because that is their unique interest and gift, that also needs to be recognized, encouraged and directed to the right masters of that field, but for any society to train EVERYONE for a specialized or academic discipline for learning's own sake, is the reason many, if not most, adults have an aversion  to learning anything useful -- and think that learning is arbitrary, pretentious and irrelevant -- which is the real measure and failing of the present education system and all those involved.

When the teacher and their essential role in the process becomes the dominant, if not exclusive concern, then that education has already failed -- and something else entirely different, focused on the successful adaption of every student to real life and the problems they may encounter, then everything else becomes possible, and even easy -- but not vice-versa, that merely solving academic problems, no matter how irrelevant and frustrating, is good discipline that will ensure that we don't see the high dropout rate we do that dooms many young people to be alienated from society, and to have no idea what real life is, because their teachers were "too busy" and "well-prepared" -- teaching them what they "needed" to learn instead.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Death and the Meaning of Life

The larger issue is "death" -- and how it can be done humanely, and even morally at times.  When a person is condemned to a life they do not wish to live -- such as a lifetime imprisonment, or with a deteriorating, painful and hopeless (health) condition, can we terminate that life in a humane manner -- or inflexibly require that one has to commit their own suicide, or as the medical/state presently allows, starvation and dehydration under medical supervision -- rather than a quick and painless eternal rest. 

Many people in the future -- as is already happening now, will be faced with these dilemmas -- of having their lives prolonged indefinitely with no quality of life that makes it meaningful, purposeful and necessary to sustain -- other than our own denial that death is the ultimate fate of everyone -- and how we meet it, can be an intelligent, rational and peaceful choice -- instead of an absolute evil, that we just don't want to deal with, but our caregivers inevitably will, which we hope will be the state with its unlimited resources to prolong our lives in an indefinite vegetative state -- forever.

This runs into the "death with dignity" issue that will benefit from the decision of people like Mr. Haugen who chooses to be a volunteer in facing death with dignity and as little psychological trauma about the issue of death -- that many commenting here, are obviously mentally disturbed by.

A somewhat related issue on the other hand, is the prohibition of the use of "performance enhancing drugs" by volunteers in athletic competitions that certainly would be vastly helpful in improving and enhancing life in those stages and conditions in which there is hopeless deterioration and decline that we only hope to slow those impacts -- because we have determined that no money and research should go to improving lives in this profoundly significant way.

A person wasting away, is not "cheating" if they take these performance enhancing aids to resurrect themselves, but would be the intelligent choice -- if that option was widely and legally known.  Life, as well as death, could be made much greater, more meaningful and purposeful if we expanded the human experience, choices and knowledge by these pioneers -- that every human has a right to be -- in whatever condition and circumstances they are in.

That is how life is made greater for everyone.  That is the meaning of life.