Friday, August 10, 2012

Unteachable

When I read the news lately, I feel like this is a nation of the unteachable.  No matter how good the evidence is, no matter how many people verify that evidence, some people simply will not change their point of view.  There are many lessons from history, from art, from science, from nature that we should have already learned, but we ignore them in favor of money and power.

From the Great Depression, the one that touched nearly the entire world less than a century ago, we should remember that the wealthy don't really create jobs and that workers are consumers.  Yet, time tested failed policies are brought back into the arena for a rematch.  So far, history is winning by repeating itself.

Great distopian novels from the early twentieth century should have scared us away from giving up our rights to due process and unbridled authority during crises, but few people read "Animal Farm", "1984", and "Brave New World" with the attention to detail and historicity that they once did.  It's a sad testament to both our critical thinking skills, as a group, and our educational system.  We also ignore the history and message of powerful pieces of art left behind by their creators as warnings and reminders against tyranny. Museums, the houses of preservation, are being starved to death, and soon, many will close their doors leaving the important artifacts and documents they currently preserve, to drift away.

The lack of knowledge and understanding about the process and purpose of science makes it easy for politicians, and the average person, to say "It's just a theory" and dismiss important findings.  These people don't even understand what the difference between theory and hypothesis.  They have no concept of statistics and don't care about peer review and open access to information.  Sadly, these people also employ bad science to make important decisions for the rest of the world.

Nature is the first teacher to humans.  As we have come to be who and what we are, Nature has always been, constantly seeking balance, self correcting, and adapting to change.  Nature is one of the few things human beings can't control, but we ignore the lessons, the warnings and the examples it has shown us.  We think that our technology, our gods, or virtue as humans will save us from destruction if Nature requires our sacrifice to balance itself, but as we accelerate pollution and climate change, we forget that we are, without all of our stuff, quite vulnerable creatures with nothing going for us but a tendency to group together for survival and problem solving brains.

My point is, humans with their sometimes incredible ability to figure stuff out (like wine, beer, bread, architecture...), are being stupid on the whole.  Maybe it's our nature; I'm more inclined to think that it's all about how we've been conditioned to think we are superior to the rest of nature.  Like many people who are watching the world with troubled hearts and minds, I am unsure of whether my attempts to teach the unteachable amount to stupidity (you know, doing the same thing over and over again expect a different result), desperate hope (maybe this time they'll listen), or truly scientific (repetition is the key to verifying scientific theory).



1 comment:

  1. I think you are absolutly correct and I think you shouldnt give up...but people love their perceptions they learn the way the world is through their parents and grandparents perceptions it makes the world seem safe and controllable it takes people who push past those endless cycles and thoughts people who want to know who, what, why and can I do better and what more is there to learn? I think that since it truly is a minority of people who have this voracious appetite for knowledge and this acceptance that nothing is in our control who will change the world the problem is they have to convince everyone else. Keep fighting the good fight sister we will get there.

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