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coberst

What can one dummy tell another about self-le

11 posts in this topic

What can one dummy tell another about self-learning?

I often face the frustration of responders who find them selves confused by my words. This has led me to post my OP “Knowledge is a puzzle” (which I copy and place at the end of this OP)

I constantly study books written by authors who hold a critical view of the existing social status quo. The books I study are the books I write about and these essays are the ones I post. Thus my OPs are constantly contrary to the status quo world views. My OPs are essays that do not generally fit the puzzles that readers have been working on all their lives.

Thus when I throw a piece on the reader’s table it will almost never fit any of her puzzles. The reader who decides to respond generally does so after modifying the piece so that it will fit the puzzle that is familiar. The response the reader makes is then about the fragment of knowledge that has been sliced and diced to fit the wrong puzzle.

When I start reading a new author I am constantly facing total confusion as to what the author is saying. However, I do this so often that I have learned not to be frustrated because I know that if I just keep plodding along I will sooner or later begin to comprehend what the author is driving at. Of course, I can trust the author because I only choose the best that is around (or at least one that receives praise from many) whereas the reader of my essays does not have that comfort.

I discovered that few people know how to go about the process of learning a new domain of knowledge. When they are given a fragment of knowledge that does not fit into their puzzles that they have been working on all their life they do not know how to start a new puzzle. They had teachers to help them start new puzzles but they never learned how to start one of their own. Instead, they take the fragment of new knowledge and either tosses it out the window or they cut it up to fit their present puzzles.

What is needed, I think, is for young people to learn how to start new puzzles. Your teachers will never teach you how to do this, you must learn that your self or remain ignorant of new domains of knowledge the rest of your life. The reason many find my posts to be incomprehensible is because I am presenting a bit of knowledge that does not fit the puzzles that our teachers taught us.

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Most everyone has played with jigsaw puzzles and recognize how we put such puzzles together. When we start a new puzzle the first thing we do is construct the frame. We gather all the pieces with one straight edge and slowly construct the outer perimeter of the puzzle.

Such is the case when we organize knowledge. When we begin to learn a new domain of knowledge in school our teachers help us set up the frame. They hold our hands while we construct the outside boundary and slowly fill in the image by adding new facts.

After we leave school if we want to become a self-learner and to become knowledgeable of new domains we will follow this same procedure but with a significant difference. We will have no teacher to supply us with the pieces of the puzzle. Especially difficult will be gathering the appropriate side pieces so that we can frame our domain. After this we might very well have to imagine the image of the puzzle because we will not have a teacher to help us ‘see’ what the domain ‘looks like’.

When we become a self-learner we will often find pieces of knowledge that do not fit our already constructed frames, when this happens we have two choices. We can throw away the new fragment of knowledge or we can start a journey of discovery in an effort to organize the construction of a new domain. The odd piece of knowledge is either trashed or we must begin a big effort to start construction on a new big puzzle.

I think that knowledge is easily acquired when that knowledge fits easily within one’s accepted ideologies. If we have a ready place to put a new fragment of knowledge we can easily find a place to fit it in. When the knowledge does not fit within our already functioning ideas that fact will be discarded unless a great deal of effort is made to find a home for that fragment of knowledge.

We are unable to move beyond our ideologies unless we exert great effort. No one can give us that type of knowledge; we must go out of our way to stalk it, wrestle it to the ground and then find other pieces that will complete a frame. That is why our schools do not try to take us beyond our narrow world because it is too costly in time and effort. Our schools prepare us to be good workers and strong consumers, anything beyond that we must capture on our own.

No one can give us that kind of knowledge. It can only be presented as an awakening of consciousness and then we can, if we have the energy and curiosity go and capture the knowledge of something totally new and start a new puzzle.

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I constantly study books written by authors who hold a critical view of the existing social status quo. The books I study are the books I write about and these essays are the ones I post. Thus my OPs are constantly contrary to the status quo world views. My OPs are essays that do not generally fit the puzzles that readers have been working on all their lives.

Thus when I throw a piece on the reader’s table it will almost never fit any of her puzzles. The reader who decides to respond generally does so after modifying the piece so that it will fit the puzzle that is familiar. The response the reader makes is then about the fragment of knowledge that has been sliced and diced to fit the wrong puzzle.

W

The thought that immediately leaps to mind here is the phrase "Monkey see, monkey do."

Your attitude to society, civilizational construction, individual personality and diversification in a classed society is not as inconsistent with the majority of opinionated people in the world today as you may think, however your desire to see your thoughts and feelings in print, is.

I would suggest diversifying your reading matter and generally lightening up a little. Why not try a move into politics ? That generally gives people a new perspective.

F

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The thought that immediately leaps to mind here is the phrase "Monkey see, monkey do."

Your attitude to society, civilizational construction, individual personality and diversification in a classed society is not as inconsistent with the majority of opinionated people in the world today as you may think, however your desire to see your thoughts and feelings in print, is.

I would suggest diversifying your reading matter and generally lightening up a little. Why not try a move into politics ? That generally gives people a new perspective.

F

I pay a good deal of attention to politics but I do not wish to post about this matter except in rare cases. Virtually all discourse about politics becomes just so much ranting and raving.

I try to post about ideas because I am convinced that if our society (American) does not become more intellectually sophisticated soon we will self destruct.

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I pay a good deal of attention to politics but I do not wish to post about this matter except in rare cases. Virtually all discourse about politics becomes just so much ranting and raving.

I try to post about ideas because I am convinced that if our society (American) does not become more intellectually sophisticated soon we will self destruct.

Political debate does tend to descend into ranting and raving, doesn't it; I agree. However, I was not asking for you to post on a political debate. I care not a jot for your, or American politics, and to be honest, the survival of American society. I have much bigger fish to fry..

What I meant was, why don't you move into politics where you can put your energies into making direct changes to those society status quo that you crave to. I think that when you get deep into the political round and uncover what really goes on, you will be better armed to, shall we say, blow the whistle, on accepted failings. The only problem then, I fear, is that you will not be so frustrated at being misunderstood... you will be frustrated at being not listened to....

F

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Political debate does tend to descend into ranting and raving, doesn't it; I agree. However, I was not asking for you to post on a political debate. I care not a jot for your, or American politics, and to be honest, the survival of American society. I have much bigger fish to fry..

What I meant was, why don't you move into politics where you can put your energies into making direct changes to those society status quo that you crave to. I think that when you get deep into the political round and uncover what really goes on, you will be better armed to, shall we say, blow the whistle, on accepted failings. The only problem then, I fear, is that you will not be so frustrated at being misunderstood... you will be frustrated at being not listened to....

F

In our American system of government the people have the final word. If the people cannot comprehend the matter then they will not make the sacrifices required for long term solutions. The only solution is that the citizens must become more intellectually sophisticated or our civilization cannot stand. We are all in the same boat, this problem is world wide for all democratic forms of government.

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the real world, where so few people, for many reasons reach only a fraction of their human potential.

I prefer "real life" relevant puzzles and challenges but the purely intellectual ones can be entertaining. I approach life as a game and, personally, i have chosen to model my rules on those of calvin ball. This is fun and intellectually stimulating and helps keep one young in heart and mind.

For me, intellectual competence includes awareness of, and competence in, what are commonly called multiple intelligences.

Not just logic and philosophy, but spiritual and emotional intelligences, among others, must be recognised, enhanced, and utilised as appropriate, because all of them make up a part of what it means to be a sapient human being.

To reach our full potential we must not just be aware of the nature and significance of these intelligences, but skilled/practiced users of them all.

Ps im not so sure that a workable/efective democracy demands citizens who are competent in everything> another structure consists of skilled bureacrats and engineers in each discipline who are directly accountable to political masters. Then, despite the whims of the voting populace, the bureacracy can maintain social and physical structures at an optimal level.

On the other hand, in a democracy, no matter how informed the voting populace, they get what they deserve, via the quality, nature and beliefs of the people they elect. This may be weakness of democracies, but it is also their great strength.

For example, in australia judges have no accountability to the general public. They apply the laws of the parliament as they see fit.

Thus, punishments and sentences often do not fit the public will, but the ethics/moralities of parliamentarians and judges. Some see this as good, but the point of a democracy for better or worse, is that the will of the people be served, and people can then see the natural consequences of their will expressed, for good or bad.

I suspectthat, in australia, this is an historical social legacy of our convict past, and the fact that the "ruling classes" never really trust the vox populi

Edited by Mr Walker

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Posted (edited)

In our American system of government the people have the final word. If the people cannot comprehend the matter then they will not make the sacrifices required for long term solutions. The only solution is that the citizens must become more intellectually sophisticated or our civilization cannot stand. We are all in the same boat, this problem is world wide for all democratic forms of government.

Forgive my skepticism, but I doubt very much that the American people have the final word. In what way does the American democratic system differ from those in the rest of the world where the minority with all the cards tell the majority what a few of the cards are and what a few of the cards arn't, then keep the rest of the pack for their eyes only ?

Isn't that why the people cannot comprehend the matter ? Not because they are emotionally or intellectually retarded, but because they are not allowed to know all the facts to make an informed decision.

The American system is no different to the rest of the worlds governments in that they decide what to tell the population and the poor misinformed or deluded population has to make an uninformed choice based on what that minority (in government) what them to make their choice from.

That's why I suggested you go into politics... you'd get a real view of what the world is like, especially your own country and then you would know what true misunderstanding is all about..

F

Edited by Fitter

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Mr Walker, I speak of sophistication not intelligence. The normal human has pleanty of brain power but little intellectual sophisication.

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Mr Walker, I speak of sophistication not intelligence. The normal human has pleanty of brain power but little intellectual sophisication.

Im not sure i see the distinction in this scenario. An aboriginal person may have little sophistication in european terms but is intelligent and very capable of adapting that intelligence to survival.

Given assured survival in a quite comfortable environment most westerners simply dont bother to use their minds further.

Perhaps we need greater challenges to force people to make more of their natural mental capacities.

I agree with a point i think you have made before, that few young people today are taught the disciplines and skills required to fully utilise the natural intelligence they possess.

On the other hand they also need to be taught how and when to apply such skills. One does not require a classical education to write an accurate and legible shopping list. And in a way that ability (or how to provide a compelling CV) might be as important for their success and prosperity as other forms of sophisticatrd thought.

Most people arent stupid when it comes to politicians or politics. They are perceptive and aware, but often tolerant. They may know they are being kept happy with bread and circuses, but as long as they ARE happy, that is their desired state of mind, and they ask for little more.

One reason many people are not comfortable with obviously intelligent and sophisticated thinkers is that such people present a challenge/potential which threatens their comfortable existence. They threaten to "rock the boat"

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Can our civilization survive much longer if our citizens fail to become more intellectually sophisticated? Presently it is apparent to me that few citizens have any idea of the problems that we face. If the citizens do not comprehend what is going on they certainly will be unwilling to make the sacrifices required. I see CT as fundamental to increasing our level of sophistication.

We were born smart enough but we werent born intellectually sophisticated enough to handle this high tech world we have invented.

What is the difference between being smart and being sophisticated? I would say that we can use the handyman and his tool box as a good analogy for comprehending this difference. The number and quality of the instruments in a handymans tool box is a measure of his smartness and his experience using those tools is a measure of his sophistication.

If a handyman has only a hammer then every job is a job that will get hammered on. If that handyman has a great tool box but has experience only with a hammer then that handyman will look for things that can be hammered into place.

These following definitions I have copied from this web site: http://www.criticalthinking.org/resources/articles/glossary.shtml

multilogical (multi-dimensional) problems: Problems that can be analyzed and approached from more than one, often from conflicting, points of view or frames of reference. For example, many ecological problems have a variety of dimensions to them: historical, social, economic, biological, chemical, moral, political, etc. A person comfortable thinking about multilogical problems is comfortable thinking within multiple perspectives, in engaging in dialogical and dialectical thinking, in practicing intellectual empathy, in thinking across disciplines and domains. See monological problems, the logic of questions, the logic of disciplines, intellectual empathy, dialogical instruction.

monological (one-dimensional) thinking: Thinking that is conducted exclusively within one point of view or frame of reference: figuring our how much this $67.49 pair of shoes with a 25% discount will cost me; learning what signing this contract obliges me to do; finding out when Kennedy was elected President. A person can think monologically whether or not the question is genuinely monological. (For example, if one considers the question, "Who caused the Civil War?" only from a Northerner's perspective, one is thinking monologically about a multilogical question.)

The strong sense critical thinker avoids monological thinking when the question is multi-logical. Moreover, higher order learning requires multi-logical thought, even when the problem is monological (for example, learning a concept in chemistry), since students must explore and assess their original beliefs to develop insight into new ideas.

Edited by coberst

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Given assured survival in a quite comfortable environment most westerners simply dont bother to use their minds further.

Perhaps we need greater challenges to force people to make more of their natural mental capacities.

I agree with a point i think you have made before, that few young people today are taught the disciplines and skills required to fully utilise the natural intelligence they possess.

On the other hand they also need to be taught how and when to apply such skills. One does not require a classical education to write an accurate and legible shopping list. And in a way that ability (or how to provide a compelling CV) might be as important for their success and prosperity as other forms of sophisticatrd thought.

I'm interested; how do you suppose an individual or an organization would go about increasing the natural mental capacities of it's majority, and how might it/they handle the unbalancing of it's originating civilization that that "improvement" may bring about ?

F

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