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  1. #1
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    Default Can we know only what we are prepared to know?

    Can we know only what we are prepared to know?

    If an individual has never learned to add and subtract that individual cannot learn how to divide and multiply.

    Our American educational system, K-12, attempts to teach minimum fundamentals that prepare an individual to function within our high tech society. Our colleges and universities generally augment these fundamentals with some form of specialized knowledge that will make it possible for graduates to obtain good jobs.

    Few graduates from our American educational system are prepared to comprehend the very complex type of problems our society encounters. In a democracy such as ours the citizens can choose the politicians to act as their representatives in government. In a democracy such as ours the citizen can veto any public policy that they do not comprehend even though it might be necessary for the survival of the American culture and perhaps even of the survival of the human species.

    Under such circumstances is a democratic form of government adequate?

    If not what form of government is adequate?

    Is it possible for us to educate citizens to the higher level of sophistication that is required to manage a sophisticated high tech society such as ours?

  2. #2
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    High tech = high specialization. I don't see that kind of training being valuable to a k-12 education, or as something citizens need to be educated in.

    I do think social sciences should be given more of a priority in k-12 education, though. And that can further people's understanding of social problems.

  3. #3
    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Is it possible for us to educate citizens to the higher level of sophistication that is required to manage a sophisticated high tech society such as ours?
    Good question. My two cents : I don't think it is possible. Having said that, I still think we should strive to achieve that (even when it's in vain). If people understood the power in the hands of our chosen few, maybe they would at least choose them more wisely, and that would already be a major step forward. Maybe citizens need a critical mind/view, rather than knowledge about all and everything.
    That veto thing is a good point btw. But I think the opposite happens even more fequently, ie. people voting in favor of stupid things (be it indirectly by voting for the "wrong" people), because of a lack of knowledge at hand or plain demagoguery.

  4. #4
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

  5. #5
    Junior Member Obscure's Avatar
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    The idea that we can only know what we’re prepared to know does hold some truth to me. As you said you need some foundations to build on for certain knowledge. Even some ideas can be misinterpreted depending on past experiences, and later can change what someone “knows”.

    I don’t know if democracy is adequate in that it does play to the majority, but, as I believe Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried”. Essentially we(as a country) seem to vote for people that we like, as such, a politicians image is incredibly important, so even then I’m not certain if teaching the majority more in political/social sciences would even have an effect if they won’t study up on who/what they(‘ll) vote for for themselves(though I'll go with vince and say it should at least be strived for).

    Now, I’ll stop there since I no longer know where I’m going with this.

  6. #6
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    I claim that comprehending is a hierarchy and can usefully be thought of as a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is awareness that is followed by consciousness, which is awareness plus attention. Knowing follows consciousness and understanding is at the pinnacle of the pyramid.

    Two aspects of this comprehension idea deserve elaboration: consciousness and understanding.

    When I was a youngster, probably seven or eight, my father took me with him when he drove to a local farm to pick corn for use in the café the family managed. We drove for a significant amount of time down local dirt roads to a farm with a field of growing corn.

    We went into the fields with our bushel baskets and filled them with corn-on-the-cob. Dad showed me how to choose the corn to pick and how to snatch the cob from the stalk.

    On the drive home I was amazed to observe the numerous fields of corn we passed on the way back to town. I can distinctly remember thinking to myself, why did I not see these fields of corn while we were driving to the farm earlier?

    Today I have an answer to that question. I now say that on the way to the farm I was aware of corn-on-the-cob but on the way back home I was conscious of corn-on-the-cob. There was a very significant difference in my perceptions regarding corn-on-the-cob before and after the experience.

    We are aware of many things but conscious of only a small number of things. We were aware of Iraq before the war but now we are conscious of Iraq. There is a very important distinction between awareness and consciousness and it is important for us to recognize this difference.

    To be conscious of a matter signifies a focus of the intellect. Consciousness of a matter is the first step, which may lead to an understanding of the matter. Consciousness of a matter is a necessary condition for knowing and for understanding of that matter. Consciousness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for knowing and understanding to take place.

    When discussing a topic about which I am knowledgeable most people will, because they recognize the words I am using, treat the matter as old stuff. They recognize the words therefore they consider the matter as something they already know and do not consider as important. Because they are aware of the subject it is difficult to gain their attention when I attempt to go beyond the shallowness of their perception. The communication problem seems to be initially overcoming their awareness and reaching consciousness.

    Understanding is a long step beyond knowing. Understanding is the creation of meaning. Understanding represents a rare instance when intellection and emotion join hands and places me in an empathetic position with a domain of knowledge. When I understand I have connected the dots and have created a unity that includes myself. I have created something that is meaningful, which means that I have placed that domain of knowledge within my domain that I call my self. I understand because I have a very intimate connection with a model of reality that I have created. It is that eureka moment that happens rarely but is a moment of ecstasy. As Carl Sagan says “understanding is a kind of ecstasy”.

    When I read I almost always read non fiction. I have tried to read fiction and to learn from reading what is considered to be good literature. However, my effort to read good literature fails because I thing that learning by reading good literature is a very inefficient means for gaining knowledge and understanding.

    I claim that I can acquire more knowledge in one hour by reading non fiction than I can while reading good literature for ten hours. That is, I claim that learning by reading non fiction is ten times more efficient than learning by reading fiction, i.e. good literature.

  7. #7
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    The communication problem seems to be initially overcoming their awareness and reaching consciousness.

    Understanding is a long step beyond knowing. Understanding is the creation of meaning. Understanding represents a rare instance when intellection and emotion join hands and places me in an empathetic position with a domain of knowledge.
    I can totally relate. That is why I tend to look beneath to understand the truth behind the facade. The less we question, the more susceptible we are to just 'accept things' the way the are, and to take a very passive approach to life, which then translates into apathy, so on and so forth.

    I also think that when we dumb down a society of people, it creates a sense of fear. So instead of operating on 'consciousness' and making 'conscious' decisions, most of functioning exists in the primal, sensate mode where 'instant gratification' is the primary level of thinking, not understanding/long-term consequences (which requires a deeper level of empathy, as highlighted).

    The more consciously we choose our thoughts/actions, the closer we are towards working torwards a higher level of a self-actualized society? It's all up to us to make that choice, each and every day. Our existence depends on one another. k-12 (education, in general) is *that* important.

  8. #8
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Can we know only what we are prepared to know?
    We drive forward looking in the rear vision mirror.

    So quite naturally, we crash into each other in war and we even crash the economy.

    But what does it take to turn our eyes from the rear vision mirror to the windscreen?

    It is more than just changing gears, it is changing the way we see.

    And changing the way we see only means moving our eyes one millimetre from the rear vision mirror to the windscreen.

    But we prefer to look in the rear vision mirror because it is familiar. And looking through the windscreen, everything we see is new and rushing towards us.

    So we need to alternate our eye by just one millimetre so that we alternate between the rear vision mirror and the windscreen.

    And so it is l'alternance that will give us the whole picture.

    It is l'alternance that makes us whole and wholesome and gives us integrity.

    And at a slightly deeper level, l'alternance is simply metaphor.

    And metaphor is a comparison of relationships - so we compare the relationships we see in the rear vision mirror with the relationships we see through the windscreen, and we will arrive safe and sound.

    And look, you are looking through the windscreen in front of you right now. Yes, without you knowing it, you are looking through the screen in front of you at me.

    And I am looking back at you.

  9. #9
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Yes, without you knowing it, you are looking through the screen in front of you at me.

    And I am looking back at you.
    Lecher. :rolli:

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Understanding is a long step beyond knowing. Understanding is the creation of meaning. Understanding represents a rare instance when intellection and emotion join hands and places me in an empathetic position with a domain of knowledge. When I understand I have connected the dots and have created a unity that includes myself. I have created something that is meaningful, which means that I have placed that domain of knowledge within my domain that I call my self. I understand because I have a very intimate connection with a model of reality that I have created. It is that eureka moment that happens rarely but is a moment of ecstasy. As Carl Sagan says “understanding is a kind of ecstasy”.

    When I read I almost always read non fiction. I have tried to read fiction and to learn from reading what is considered to be good literature. However, my effort to read good literature fails because I thing that learning by reading good literature is a very inefficient means for gaining knowledge and understanding.

    I claim that I can acquire more knowledge in one hour by reading non fiction than I can while reading good literature for ten hours. That is, I claim that learning by reading non fiction is ten times more efficient than learning by reading fiction, i.e. good literature.
    hahaha, I feel the same way about it. I almost could have written that.

    Fiction does have a way of improving your sociability though. I'll take it for that reason if nothing else, but then, there's also something also about fiction that puts you more in touch with yourself and your feelings. Maybe it gives you commonman's practical wisdom, where non-fiction is better for theory. I prize both.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viv View Post
    k-12 (education, in general) is *that* important.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

  10. #10
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    Viv and Victor

    I would be interested in any comments that you might wish to make regarding this message.

    We have many problems bearing down upon us that have the strength to destroy our civilization and perhaps even worse. Just to mention a few obvious ones: WMDs, global climate change, consuming our natural resources at a rate way beyond the planet’s ability to replace them, a population that is already too large for the planet and growing, an ever increasing percentage of the population in old age, health care constantly rising in cost due to old age of population and increases in medical technology, our financial house of cards facilitated by technology, technology uncontrolled by socially sophisticated analysis, etc.

    Our educational system prepares us only to become good producers and consumers. Our culture encourages only that which will maximize consumption. Our educational system does not prepare us for the intellectual sophistication required to comprehend and solve the problems that we face.

    The only solution that I see is that adults must take it upon themselves to become more intellectually sophisticated. To become more sophisticated, Americans must become self-actualizing self-learners.

    Our culture represents as alien any intellectual activity not directed toward making money or worshiping God. I post on the Internet in an attempt to convince readers of these facts and to present a role model for any individual who might consider becoming a self-actualizing self-learner.

    "When you are right, you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

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