Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blinding Education (Paper Tigers)


Blinding Education
(Paper Tigers)

“Education should not be an assembly line production system, destroying individuality.”

A cell, a unit of life, can be defined in four words, as I just did here, or an entire line, paragraph, chapter, or even a book be written about it. A cell, a unit of life, is made up of many smaller structural units including nuclei, mitochondria, ribosomes, DNA, RNA, vacuoles etc. A cell, a unit of life, can also itself be a miniscule part of an entire body of a multi-cellular organism, for which it might be nothing more than a disposable entity, like the dead epidermal cells of the skin, or it may have a really vital role to place, as an ovum in a female. A cell, a unit of life, if I was your educator and I asked you to go and do a thorough research on some aspect of it, saying that you are free to choose what you want to research about it, for I intend to develop and test your research skills, and that I will be judging you for how deep you can go with your research, which aspect of a cell’s existence would be the right one for you to pick?

That last one above might be a question that you would want to ask me. But then, I am not judging you for what you find out about the cell, or what you have to say about the cell. I want to judge you for how good you are with your research skills. My inquiry is not as to what you find out about the cell, but about how adept you are in researching facts and coming to conclusions, were you to be put in a real life scenario, which may be totally unrelated to the existence of any cell. Of course, the quality of your research will be a reflection about your ability to research, but does that really limit the choice of what aspect you may wish to research? Perhaps if I said that your research should only be confined to biological sciences, it might be a limit, in the sense that if one was to go truly deep, then at the end of the chain of a cell’s existence are macro-molecules like proteins, fats, lipids and carbohydrates etc. These molecules are further made up of atoms, which have sub-atomic particles like electrons, protons and neutrons that can further be broken down into quarks. But if you were to go and do a deep research on atoms and sub-atomic particles, you would no longer be in the field of biological sciences. You would have transgressed into the field of particle physics, not even chemistry.

But what is the point of this example?  Perhaps it would still not be clear at this point, so let us dig a bit more into this example.

Let us say that one of you decides to do a research on cell’s internal organization, and one of you decides to do a research on cell’s roles in various capacities in a multi-cellular organism. Both of you can go as deep as you want to in either direction. But say I have put a limit on how many words you can use to explain your findings. Given this limitation, say the one working on internal organization decides to pick up just the mitochondria inside the cell for research, and the other one decides to list all the kinds of the cells that could be in a multi-cellular organism. So what would happen when the two would compile their reports? The one who would research upon mitochondria would fill up the report with various facts about mitochondria, which would give a detailed account of one aspect of cell’s existence. The other however will fill up with short accounts of all the different kinds of cells that could be found in a multi-cellular organism. The point I want to make originates from this point onwards.

A poor educator or academic would judge the two reports differently. For him or her, the detailed account of a cell’s mitochondria would represent a more comprehensive research, while the fleeting reference to various kinds of cells in the other report would represent a superficial research lacking effort. However, it is not the student but the educator who has failed here. How, you might ask!

To explain, let us consider the second report. Being a functional part of a multi-cellular organism is as much a part of a cell’s existence, as its internal structures. Of being more than one in kind is also an equally important part of the cell’s existence. And without thorough research, none of this could have been identified by the researcher, and the report details the various kinds of cells effectively. So, not only the report is well researched, but it is also of the same value as the other. However, the educator has failed not because of having failed to judge the value of the report correctly. Rather the educator has failed because the educator forgot what the objectives of giving out the assignment were. The educator failed to take account of how much research was done, and whether the two students were adept at going deep in whatever direction they chose. Magnifying a tiny dot in the picture for evaluation, and evaluating the entire picture, and perhaps how it fits with its environment, all three of them involve equal levels of skill. But the point here is not just about the failure of the educator. The point here is also about the failure of the modern education system, which I would for the time being address as western education system.

As an educator with a sizeable experience behind me, teaching science in a high school in rural India, that too after having had all my education in English all my life, and then imparting the science education in Punjabi, I have never been impressed by the western education system. Let me sum up what I want to talk at length in a simple sentence. While the western education system is busy spoiling the student with all the freedom at the school level, it is out to destroy everyone’s individuality beyond the school, churning out similar products out of every stream, like an assembly line production facility. Let me break the two for explanation.

Schools and homes are the nurseries that raise future citizens. A discipline at these two places inculcates the respect for law, so that the naughty kids going through the school pass out as responsible adults headed into different economic directions. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is not a proverb that equals to destroying individuality. As long as the child is free to pursue their talents and abilities, no freedom is destroyed. However, behavioral correction at these two institutions is reminiscent of the work that legal system does outside these two places. Breaking the law has consequences, and discipline at school and in homes represent a schooling that develops this understanding and respect, so that the individual does not have to go out in public and test the consequences themselves. However western education system has removed this vital function from the equation. The results are reflected in both the levels of delinquency, as well as general irresponsible behavior by young adults. This is the first stage of failure for the western education system.

The second failure occurs at post school levels, where the same individuality that was upheld at the schooling level, is severely constrained throughout the higher education process. Institutions are busy churning out professionals who do the same things, in similar ways, that confirm to a similar existing pattern, with any change being looked down upon. The higher education style in western system has indeed degenerated into an assembly line production facility.

The example that I have used above reflects this failure in ample terms. By making everyone learn how to focus on the tiniest details, the western education system has made their products incapable of seeing the bigger picture. To put it simply; they are simply not accustomed to looking at the bigger picture. And this is the reason why even though the western democratic structures are deteriorating fast and bad, yet no one really sees it. Now I will talk about the “Paper Tigers” in a moment, but let me explain this statement first.

About six or seven decades ago the western academics went around the globe, telling all and sundry as to how great the capitalistic society is, and how any man can dream big, and then provided he works hard, he can convert those dreams into reality. Today their current torch-bearers are going around the world telling how great Corporations are, and how the best thing that you could ever achieve in your life is securing an underpaying job with one of them, a job that will barely fulfill your desires, let alone make you capable of raising a family, something which a married man could do in India on his own means even two decades ago. What these torch bearers don’t realize is; these corporations have grown so big that they have effectively started replacing your democratically elected governments as bearers of opportunity. Have a look at the list of top 500 economic entities based on GDP, and you will realize that out of the top 180, nearly 120 are corporations some of whom generate more money than nations like South Africa, Philippines, Malaysia, etc. In simple terms, one of them could have easily bought any of these nations and run it for free. However unlike the governments of these nations that cater to the needs of millions of people, most of these corporations barely employ a few hundred thousand workers, most of who don’t get paid enough to manage a family on their own. But this is not the worst aspect of the “bigger picture”.

Back in the days when kings and queens used to rule aristocratic societies, feudal lords owned all the land and opportunity. The rest of the people were peasants who used to work for them in various capacities. This is what modern western capitalistic societies have become today. But the western academics won’t notice this. They are too busy researching micro-economics!

At this point however, it would be unjust if I don’t talk about the “Paper Tigers”, and give them their due credit that they so desire. So who are these “Paper Tigers”?

“Paper Tigers” my dear friends are the academics who write the same stuff that I write in my blogs as well as talk in the videos. In fact, they might have already written a lot more than what I have written in this blog thus far. Yet no one knows what they have written!

“Paper Tigers” are the academics who write not because they want to change the world, but who write because they want to satisfy their conscience, by writing the truth and publishing it in a discrete publication that not even everybody in academic circles reads. They are tigers for they talk the truth, but made of paper for they don’t have the guts to say the same things openly in public forums for they are scared of ruffling the feathers of high and mighty, lest their careers should come crashing down to the earth. They are the cowards who have historically made no difference to the fate of their fellowmen, like Aristotle and Cicero, two very well known gentlemen, hoping and wishing that one day many centuries later, human posterity will re-visit their works and hail them as great visionaries of our time.

No, you can’t have my respect!

I am a man of honor, who still believes men have honor, and that men live, die and kill for honor. The only men who don’t have honor are feminists and academics, the two groups who never had the guts to go to a duel to settle their scores. The only men that write how men have no honor, and how men don’t fight for honor, come from these two groups. Look at my personal website, and it will bear a testimony to what a man of honor does and how he reacts. You didn’t need to read this article this far down to get that idea.

Now let me return to the education.

Now if someone was to come and say that I’ll provide you the best education, but you will have to give up your individuality, I will not blink an eye before showing that person the closest exit. But with a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Forensic Science already backing my name, there is not another degree in this world that I need, to establish my academic credentials. However, the point I do want to make here is; what identifies me as a man today are not these qualifications, or what I was taught, or what I learnt in my educational institutions. What identifies me as a man is the individual that I am. Nobody taught me politics, social science, economics, music or literature, yet I’ve done work that covers all these fields. This has been possible because none of my teachers ever tried to mould me into a particular person that would satisfy the professional needs of an industry. The result is a man who is capable enough of satisfying any industry’s need. The determining factor is my individuality which is still intact after all that education.

Now if I am going to teach your educators and academics as to how they should do their job, shouldn’t I be getting more money than what I already am?

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”