Sunday, July 3, 2016
IS THE HUMAN RACE CAPABLE OF SURVIVING ITS OWN SELF-IMPOSED IGNORANCE?
A WORD ABOUT WORDS, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND HOPE
Children sometimes enjoy repeating a word over and over again, until it becomes nothing more than meaningless sound. One may still do this, even as an adult. Try repeating aloud any word, say, for example: “politician, politician, politician…“100 times in rapid succession. Granted, this is a relatively meaningless word to begin with, but it becomes a truly meaningless series of sounds when one’s ability to think is overwhelmed by excessive repetition. This is what has happened today on a broad scale to a number words in the English language.
A good example is the word ‘awesome!’ Originally, this word was only applied to something truly amazing, something that caused you to stop and stare in awe and wonder. Now, people regularly have awesome haircuts, awesome underwear, and awesome bowel movements… awesome everything …every day! The word has become almost completely meaningless, -just a filler, like ‘well’, or ‘you know’ or ‘… uh’!
Another such word is ‘university’. Originally, a university was an awesome institution of higher learning. A university contained many colleges, each representing a well-defined field of learning, with eminent learned professors, each teaching a series of increasingly advanced courses in their chosen fields of study. Today, a storefront with a few computers can call itself a university, and anyone can buy a degree.
The word ‘educated’ used to mean having a certain degree of learning, and most importantly, a significant depth of understanding about a number of subjects. Being awarded even elementary-school and high-school diplomas meant that you had mastered the subjects and material taught at those levels. Today, after decades of excessive societal concern that everyone should be entitled to an education, such diplomas have become almost meaningless, documenting nothing more than the possibility that the ‘student’ may have spent a certain amount of time in class or on line. Today BS, BA, MS, MA, MBA, and even PhD degrees can be obtained on line. Unscrupulous individuals can, and do, hire or persuade another with the appropriate knowledge and understanding of a given subject to take the on-line exams for them.
Originally, if you could not show mastery of the subject matter, you were not advanced to the next level. This has not been the case for a long time now in public education in this country. In the early 1960s, after earning a bachelor degree in mathematics with a physics minor, and completing 12 hours of ‘education’ courses (which, in my opinion, were a joke, even then), I decided to seek a teaching job in a ‘secondary school’ (formerly ‘high school’) in the public education system of my home state. I was appalled when the HS principal, also the basketball coach, told me that I could not fail any of the basketball team members enrolled in my algebra and geometry classes, no matter how poorly they did. The reasons given were: the already over-crowded classrooms, and the ‘fact’ that everybody is entitled to an education.
This mistaken philosophy that everyone is entitled to an education, whether they want it or not, and whether they are capable of learning or not, has penetrated our institutions of higher learning to the extent that even 20 years ago, when I was in a position to hire entry-level professionals, I had applicants with degrees from colleges and universities who were functionally illiterate!
This deplorable state of affairs has penetrated even to the level of MS, MBA, MD and PhD recipients. Fifty years ago, someone with these letters after their name could be expected to possess a significant depth of understanding of at least one complex subject. Today, anyone can find a way to legally represent themselves as a ‘master’ of science, ‘master’ of business administration, or even a ‘doctor’ of philosophy, whether they actually know anything or not. Sadly, public education in America today has largely become a case of the blind leading the blind.
Another word that, tragically, has become virtually meaningless in today’s society, is the word ‘truth’. Thanks to trial lawyers who grossly over-populate American politics, and have even become President, truth is believed to be anything you want it to be.
The point of this little essay is that the deplorable state of our country today, economically, morally and politically, is no accident. It is the result of more than 50 years of the deliberate ‘dumbing down’ of public education. We have ‘university’ graduates, people who think they are educated, who don’t have the basic understanding of reality our great-grandparents had with eighth-grade educations. Yes, they may have been exposed to more ‘information’ than existed in the world of our great-grand parents, 75 or 100 years ago; but do they really have any understanding of that information? Many don’t even know the basic realities of human history, the basic grammar of any language, or understand much of anything they have supposedly learned obtaining their degrees. One dangerous result of this pseudo-education is the proliferation of so-called experts, gurus, and ‘life coaches’ who can’t even manage their own lives. Even more dangerous is the fact that we have politicians who actually believe they are qualified to run our country just because they can win a popularity contest with voters who know little or nothing about anything.
This downward spiral is exacerbated by the wedding of Western science to the spiritually bankrupt metaphysics of materialism. The spiraling of science into the dead end of materialism, punctuated by misguided statements by mainstream scientists like “We are nothing more than debris flying away from a big explosion!” and “The more we know about reality, the more meaningless it becomes.” is closely related to the spiral into social chaos and violence we are witnessing today. A science that preaches there is no meaning or purpose to life and the universe, fans the destructive flames of self-centered desire for fulfillment in the moment at the expense of others and the future of the human race.
Is this situation of wide-spread socially-engineered ignorance and scientific atheism utterly hopeless? No, I don’t believe so. I still have faith in the underlying human desire for justice and equality, and the basic honesty and goodness of human nature. I believe that common sense, uncommonly absent today, will eventually emerge from the mess and confusion of political correctness that is part of the divisive pitting of various classes and ethnic groups against each other by politicians seeking personal gain and power.
I predict that, slowly, and probably with great difficulty, the human race will pull itself out of this self-destructive tailspin created by misguided science and political ‘activists’ pushing social agendas. This can, and I believe will happen as more and more people begin to realize that mainstream science is wrong, and that the social agendas forced upon us by political activists have repeatedly failed historically. With these realizations, more and more people will turn toward the truth and light that still exists in the heart of every soul, and in the teachings of the great spiritual masters of all times.