- Jan 22, 2018 at 7:28 pm #3513732
It’s sad, but I almost feel like some of the kids on college campuses that are behaving this way were set up for it.
Combine an intellectual culture that is heavily, heavily delving into issues of power and oppression within society and identity and throw in a bunch of exuberant 18-25 year olds that are just starting to find their political voices and the potential for extremism is great. The line between theory and practice is getting completely blurred for many of them and the pendulum is obviously getting pushed too far. I have no qualms with power and oppression being central to discourse but I’d caution people to think carefully about how we should deal with this on the student level. When pendulums get pushed too far, too fast in one direction, they inevitably swing hard in the opposite.
I’m curious what people want to talk about in Santa Cruz that cannot be talked about.Jan 22, 2018 at 7:36 pm #3513733
I agree with your take above Craig.
Given where I work I will not write the specifics here. It is subjects that have come up here before and we have had good discussions. It is much too risky for me to delve into it now. Can do in private though.Jan 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm #3513734
jeffrey armbrusterBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
In my workplace the non-negotiable position (among most young co workers) is that sexuality is a social construct and everyone is free to choose their own–but that’s primarily a political choice. Biology has nothing to do with it.
Oh and that 100% of cops are racist.
I should make clear: this isn’t what I think.
Jan 22, 2018 at 7:42 pm #3513735
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by jeffrey armbruster.
FWIW…..Most of what I write on Chaff qualifies for it. Just not going to put it in a thread so easily available/searchable.Jan 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm #3513736
“Not everyone agrees on cursive being useless”
Great links Kat. And the pros/cons at the first link are all worth reading.
Interestingly, even the second link promotes handwriting, just not necessarily cursive, as did one of the cons in the NY Times pieces. I wonder if some folks think they’re the same thing.
Ironically, the first commenter in the NY Times piece, very much against cursive, was Nick, from CA. I found that funny. :-)Jan 22, 2018 at 11:38 pm #3513776
Young people just have no use for cursive. Back in the day, I would write something out in cursive and then type it. I haven’t done that in years. And I write for a living, mostly. Younger people wouldn’t consider using it. I’ve got no objection to people using it or even studying it if it fascinates them, but it’s really not a useful thing to be teaching our kids. It doesn’t seem to make sense to spend years of education learning an antiquated way of writing.
I’m not sure progressive and specialized mean the same thing in education. Really, much progressive education is criticized for being too general in nature.
I agree with Nick on the need for a broad, liberal education. I just see no reason it needs to limited to western civilization classics. Honestly, I was listening to some Plato on podcast recently and disagreed with virtually everything he believed. I suspect he would have disavowed half (or more) of his philosophy if he had spent a few hours with a solid genetics/evolution expert.
With the exception of mathematics, I would much rather learn from people who have a better idea of how the world works than old guys who knew a lot of things we now know to be wrong. Like, why would I want to learn the intricacies of astronomy based on the earth being the center of the universe? It’s interesting to know that people believed that, but the details don’t seem like something most of us should spend our time on. Seems that time would be better spent teaching music, art, gardening, or writing.Jan 23, 2018 at 8:22 am #3513852
I agree with Nick on the need for a broad, liberal education. I just see no reason it needs to limited to western civilization classics…
…With the exception of mathematics, I would much rather learn from people who have a better idea of how the world works than old guys who knew a lot of things we now know to be wrong. Like, why would I want to learn the intricacies of astronomy based on the earth being the center of the universe?
Ben, this is a good point about limiting ourselves to the great books of the West.
As you know, if we survey the great works of Western civilization, which is our tradition, we need to recognize that it encompasses literature, art, history, philosophy, politics, economics, science, and more. The tradition is linear, starting with Homer, the ancient poets, and forward from there. Each builds on the great works that came before him. The result is an extensive library that requires years and years to read (if we skip Cliff Notes and textbooks); decades to study and understand. The good news is that these works are readily available, although some require diligence in getting a quality translation if the original wasn’t written in English.
As to the scientifically wrong works, most of those that are considered “great books” address important great ideas, such as the soul, God, the one and the many, space, causality, being and becoming, etc. Often the mistaken ideas, such the earth at the center of the universe are the result of the lack of tools or technology to measure and understand.
To read and understand the great works of the East isn’t as simple as picking up a copy of something like the Bhagavad Gita and reading it without a good knowledge of the culture and traditions. A couple years ago I decided to “read” the Qur’an and that ended up being quite a task. I eventually read three different translations, the last being the best because it had a lot of historical notes and dates, and I needed to take a deeper dive reading a couple history books so I could place everything into the context of historical events and cultural influences — in the end I ended up knowing how much I still didn’t know — but all in all it was a worthwhile endeaver.
Honestly, I was listening to some Plato on podcast recently and disagreed with virtually everything he believed. I suspect he would have disavowed half (or more) of his philosophy if he had spent a few hours with a solid genetics/evolution expert.
Regarding Plato — yeah I understand what you went through. He is good reading from the perspective that he asked all the important philosophical questions, but we need to then read Aristotle to get the methods to answer Plato’s questions. Plato was the mystic; Aristotle was the man of reason. In many of Plato’s dialogues, the main characters are historically important figures, and one has to read Thucydides and Xenophon to learn more about them… so when one reads all works of all three, things fall into place nicely and most become enjoyable to read, at least for me. Sometimes Plato even has a sense of humor. I like the part in the Republic when Thrasymachus accuses Socrates of cheating in an argument, and Socrates says he would “rather try to shave a lion than cheat.”Jan 23, 2018 at 3:04 pm #3513869
Nick, I suggest you watch the Dave Chappelle special on Netflix for a little better humor. I watched it on the plane recently and couldn’t stop laughing. I propose that he is even funnier than Plato.
I have no problem with the “classics” addressing big ideas, even if they do get self-important at times. My problem is that they are so wrong. There aren’t even close to the right answers so often, and now we know that.Jan 23, 2018 at 6:05 pm #3513912
jeffrey armbrusterBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
” My problem is that they are so wrong. There aren’t even close to the right answers so often, and now we know that.”
Hmmm…Justice, ethics, love, the status of Being and our existence in particular, what it means to think, is the universe one or many, what constitutes good government, how does knowledge arise, is math an invention or a discovery, what is the nature of our soul, how should we relate to the Gods….I could go on. We are still occupied with these questions. Oh here’s another, from Plato: how do we pose a question correctly?
We are used to thinking about questions that science can answer definitively–what is the atomic structure of oxygen? It’s true that the ancients got most of that wrong. You can do wonderful technical things with this sort of knowledge, including making medicines. We also make nuclear bombs. Richard Feynman railed against teaching Aristotle in schools because the latter’s science was wrong. Hated that. He also played bongos in celebration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki being destroyed, because that proved his science was correct. His autobiography makes clear that he never ever grappled with the ethics of building a nuclear bomb–he shrugged his shoulders when it finally occurred to him that a lot of people will die if a bomb hits New York.
He should have read Aristotle’s Ethics. His education had serious gaps in it.Jan 23, 2018 at 7:35 pm #3513947
Justin WBPL Member
Not all Western ideas/concepts/beliefs/modes were so great. Very generally speaking, the West has focused too much on the individual and materialism and the East too much on the collective. There is a happy medium, balance, and integration between the two.
There hasn’t ever been, and will never be, a greater teaching than Love. Learn and practice Love, and it will eventually lead one to wisdom and balance in ALL things that are focused on. I say wisdom, not necessarily knowledge. Wisdom is ultimately more important than knowledge. Wisdom is the correct application of knowns, and more over–ideals. Wisdom is timeless, and knowledge is constantly being updated and revised; partly because we are a species that historically has severely lacked attunement to both Love and wisdom and tends to do things the hard and slow way (constant trial and error).
Intuition and imagination, what is that, tis only for short sighted fools like Tesla. Oh…..Jan 30, 2018 at 7:45 pm #3515689
I think that the classic stories about the human condition ( classic because they have been recognized as valid for centuries) should not be chucked and supposedly replaced for some new groovey ideas born of barely post pubescent kids. We need new input all the time, absolutely, but before we destroy anything we should be very clear on what we think is going to replace it. Vacuums are rarely a good idea.Jan 30, 2018 at 9:21 pm #3515706
I just finished reading “The Meaning of Human Existence” by Edward O. Wilson. Fascinating book. In it, he argues (among other things) for the “all-importance” of the humanities.
“…our species possesses one vital posssession worthy of their attention. It is not our science and technology, as you might think. It is the humanities.”
“Science and the humanities, it is true, are fundamentally different from each other in what they say and do. But they are complementary to each other in their origin, and they arise from the same creative processes in the human brain. If the heuristic and analytic power of science can be joined with the introspective creativity of the humanities, human existence will rise to an infinitely more productive and interesting meaning.”Jan 30, 2018 at 9:44 pm #3515714
I agree about the importance of the humanities and I am not alone in my concern that those departments in US universities have parted from teaching what is important to teaching what is popular at the moment.Jan 30, 2018 at 9:46 pm #3515715
Plato’s Theory of Ideal Forms completely dumbfounds me. And he doubles down on this theory and purports it to be virtually universal. It’s bizarre. It clearly doesn’t fit our current understanding of the universe. If I was a kid, and someone spent hours teaching me this, I would be turned off by education.Jan 30, 2018 at 9:49 pm #3515716
Finding one (or twenty) concepts that don’t ring true or real does not discredit the rest.Jan 30, 2018 at 10:15 pm #3515726
Oh, I agree. There are some good old concepts out there. But we seem to keep some of them out of tradition even when they are not good concepts. The ones that make no sense should go to make room for new concepts. We can start by getting rid of Plato and cursive. There are plenty others that can go too.Jan 30, 2018 at 10:20 pm #3515728
I am not talking about cursive.
Even concepts that are deemed “old “ should be studied if one is hoping to improve education, if nothing else so that these concepts won’t be reintroduced as shiny and new without anyone noticing.Jan 31, 2018 at 12:15 am #3515745
I understand your point Kat, but to add to it I’m not sure we should dismiss all (my word)”new groovey ideas born of barely post pubescent kids” as simply being what is popular at the moment.
At some point in time most of us were seen as barely post pubescent kids with groovey new ideas…and then we went and completely upended some unbelievably #$%^! up attitudes and values that the generations before us passed on as if they were scripture.
I’m only 41 and I remember when “multiracial relationships” were still actually a “controversial” topic- even in Los Angeles! My own children are eons ahead of where I was at their age when it comes to navigating an increasingly complex world of culture and identity. So much so that they wouldn’t even characterize it as complex.
I think youth deserve far more credit than they get for questioning the status quo and shaping society for the better.Jan 31, 2018 at 12:26 am #3515746
^^^^but I did not say that. In fact I did say we need new input, which is where the kids’ ideas and experiences come in; I also said we should not chuck thoughts on the human condition that have proven relevant for centuries for new groovey ones. There is a difference between that and dismissing new ideas.
btw nothing I wrote or think here has much to do with progressive ideas as far as racial relations, marriage etc. I am talking about how humans tackle life and death and growth and our demons and the meaning of life. If anything I spend more time with kids and animals than I do with adults and know what you are talking about.
Jan 31, 2018 at 12:37 am #3515750
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Kat.
….but I do hope that anyone envisioning themselves as someone that can reshape society has figured out how to get along with a couple of roommates first. I mean that. It’s a little more complicated than just hoping to destroy the status quo.Jan 31, 2018 at 1:12 am #3515757
I don’t think we’re understanding each other…I was trying to make a larger point from what you said, not attacking what you said personally. Maybe I’m coming across wrong, my apologies.Jan 31, 2018 at 1:37 am #3515760
No biggie here; I am trying to be more careful in what I say and how I say it so I felt the need to point out what I did and did not say. That and I have been known to get defensive without much cause so…. apologies there and ready to move on..Jan 31, 2018 at 6:16 am #3515795
Plato’s Theory of Ideal Forms completely dumbfounds me. And he doubles down on this theory and purports it to be virtually universal. It’s bizarre. It clearly doesn’t fit our current understanding of the universe. If I was a kid, and someone spent hours teaching me this, I would be turned off by education.
I’ve pointed it out before… Plato should be studied because he asked all the important philosophical questions. Most western philosophers have been trying to answer those questions ever since.Jan 31, 2018 at 6:28 am #3515797
I think youth deserve far more credit than they get for questioning the status quo and shaping society for the better.
Well… yes. Keep in mind that my generation, in our youth, probably did more questioning and re-shaping than any generation before or after us (IMO). The type of education our youth receive is pretty much out of their control… the old ‘status quo’ people create the curriculum.
Going back to the OP subject of “Classical Education…” it wasn’t offered during my youth, except at a few ‘specialized’ universities as it is today. Although I received bits and pieces of a classical education through elective courses, the bulk of my education in the classics has been done on my own over the past 40 years or so.Jan 31, 2018 at 3:47 pm #3515833
Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
Actually the Greek philosopher Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC) proposed the heliocentric model of the solar system back during the Hellenistic era. Copernicus knew about his ideas. Aristarchus also thought that the earth revolved on its axis.
As far as the question “What does Classical Education have to do with Revolution?” I think not very much really. Did Napoleon, Marx, Lenin or Che Guevara delve heavily into the classics? (Che was a reader of Steinbeck though).
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