Education

Education is the institution of learning. Sometimes the institution is mistaken for the organisations entrusted with teaching. Sometimes it is mistaken for the buildings and teachers within it. But it really describes the distance between ignorance and knowledge in any of the thousands of areas of knowledge in our world. It includes history, viagra sale generic science, pills arts and stories that are taught systematically to people in our societies in order to progress and protect the lives of the individuals who live in it – and of the society itself.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates that heat will flow from a warmer area to a cooler one. If information was seen as heat, malady education can be seen as obeying the Second Law, too. It is the flow of knowledge towards ignorance. And who are the teachers? Anyone or anything that a person will learn from, listen to, and trust.

Is the value of education understood by the learners who swim in it? Many people are happily ignorant and jealously protect that from interference. On some level they understand that new knowledge demands a change in our actions in order to maintain personal integrity. Knowledge is power. Once you discover that you are powerful you must use that power or be condemned as having wasted it. Once you discover that every human is your brother, sister, mother, father, son or daughter, you must use your power to pull the ones below you out of the drowning waters of suffering. Once you discover that you yourself are enslaved, you must use your power to pull yourself out of the slavery towards freedom. This is the yoke of knowledge. It can be thrown off with action true to your conscience, or by running away from the reality with medication, entertainment or therapy.

Knowing how difficult it is to live in a world where you believe everybody is equal and deserving of human rights, would you inflict the pain of such a pre-determined course on your children? Or would you want them to be happy and free from the yoke of responsibility that comes from such enlightened attitudes? The road to personal peace is paved with ignorance. What right do you have to torture your child with the shackles of empathy and decency? You should be incarcerated for negligence because you did not give them their god-given opportunity to be ignorant and happy. That is the double-edged sword of education.

The gradual degradation of our written language in children coming through the education system is often lamented by older journalists, authors, teachers and academics. Shorthand texting on mobile phones and the move away from the importance of “The Three Rs” (Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic) in education are two targets for blame for this situation. The implication is that complexity of thought and its expression to other people can only (or best) be achieved with a correctly spelt and conjugated written language. I don’t think the grammar or spelling is as important as the breadth of vocabulary. It is in being able to finely distinguish between two ideas that true communication exists.

Before the printing press, some cultures trained people incessantly in their oral tradition, and great pride was taken in accurately repeating what was passed on from one generation to the next. The advent of massive recording and archiving of video on the internet allows the recording of thoughts and ideas in a way that is as permanent as a book, provided it is backed up reliably. What is not available at present is an easy way to find videos relating to particularly finely selected criteria, the way we currently can with text in Google.

Words change their meaning over time. Words from even twenty years ago have changed their meaning. “Wicked” once meant evil, then good, and now evil again, depending on the context. “Awesome” used to mean fearsome. Now it means excellent. How much more difficult would it be to understand the correct meaning of words written hundreds or thousands of years ago?

Experience and the education required to understand it is the key to wisdom. Together they provide lessons in how to act in spite of our fears. Education is the “KY Jelly” of society which lubricates its members and allows them to interact more tolerantly. Linguistics, the study of language, is feared by many politicians, power-brokers and con-men. Learning about false logic in arguments can be used to confront prejudiced thinking in ourselves and others, and can be used to identify manipulation by others. A love of history and study of the use of our language can be used to critically analyse and expose the meaning behind the words of our leaders, for our benefit.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the quality of teaching is key to quality education and it is time that public policy focuses on this ahead of other more easily measurable directions.

Dunderhead Behaviour

Your right to be a dunderhead stops where my right to be left alone begins. Political correctness has done a lot to blunt the public expression of nastiness and prejudice against people based on groupings of colour, best cialis class, cialis usa race, religion, gender, sexual preference, and culture. But I doubt that it has done much to change the underlying feelings. That aside, what it has done is provide a weapon for dunderheads to use to defend their own behaviour and shut down debate about what they are doing. If I say to a person, “Stop doing that, you are being a dunderhead,” they’ll say, “You’re having a go at black people,” or Jews, Muslims, accountants or women. To that I say, “No, I’m not. I’m having a go at you. Don’t bring down a group of people you identify with to defend yourself against me putting your dunderhead behaviour under scrutiny.”

It’s used to shut down the debate. In a sense, the person who calls this defence into such a debate is denigrating that group by associating their personal behaviour with the group’s standard of behaviour – particularly if it is unrepresentative of the group’s values.

Foreigner – I want to know what love is

Foreigners are people from other cultures, sildenafil click nations, beliefs, attitudes, morality, colour and shape. Your measure of the “foreignness” of someone is based on how much you think you understand or empathise with them. It is also based on how much you agree with their values.

Should a nation, race, religion or culture teach its people not to trust, associate or marry foreigners to their group? Do people who believe in the exclusivity of their group deserve to be treated with the equal respect and dignity as a person who has no such beliefs or rules? Should they expect equal opportunities in trade, business and respect of their human dignity? And if a society did not expect reciprocation of its values from people that it extends rights to, would it not be opening itself to abuse? When should values like those in the Declaration of Human Rights come before your own beliefs, the beliefs of those around you, or even your own religion, in the way that you should treat a foreigner?

When we watch movies with aliens in them, we have the same uncertain reaction to them that we do when we encounter people from another culture for the first time. A sense of repulsion or mistrust prevails until they do something we recognise as human. Then, if we can, we feel empathy. Our natural reaction is to treat foreigners as “other-worldly” until we can understand and trust their values. The fear we feel about others that are different to us stems from our fear that they may hold contempt for us. We think that we should be wary of people we don’t understand because there is a good chance that they will not treat us with equal respect because we are different.

“I have seen the enemy, and he is me”

Based on our own understanding of human nature by virtue of looking at ourselves, we realise that all humans at a basic level are a combination of naively trusting beings and fearful, xenophobic killers with no desire to get to know anyone who looks or acts differently to themselves. But what mix of the two characteristics does that foreigner have? Getting to know them is the only way to find out.

This is the News

If you rely on one or two news sources that you “like, viagra sale cialis ” you cannot hope to get a complete picture of what is happening in the world. It is great, cialis though, generic if you wish to be thoroughly titillated and constantly entertained. It is like experiencing an action movie with murders, explosions, love affairs, betrayal, horror, hope and laughs for anywhere from five minutes to twenty four hours a day, depending on how you access it. Without knowing what your news source is ignoring or under-reporting in their news or current affairs, newspapers or websites, you cannot expect to see the world in a balanced way.

For most viewers the events described in the news will have little bearing on their lives, except for financial news. Viewers will rarely have any influence on how the news unfolds. If you follow commercial news to expand your education, be warned that there are a number of reasons it will not provide a complete and balanced meal. This is the fate of every news item:

  • if it doesn’t rate it won’t be seen.
  • if it offends the advertisers it won’t be seen.
  • if it offends the most vocal of viewers it won’t be seen.
  • if it offends the media owners it won’t be seen.
  • if the content doesn’t match the best advertisers’ demographics it won’t be seen.
  • if the content offends the friends of the station it won’t be seen.
  • if the content puts the station at legal risk it won’t be seen.
  • if the content is paid for by an advertising company it will likely become a current affair.
  • whatever is left will be seen, with a few brave exceptions.

This is fine if you don’t see commercial news as your only window to the world. It really doesn’t make a difference if you don’t care to learn or act for anyone outside of your colour, class, age, wage bracket or other demographic, because we are divided and targeted for consumption and influence. Our fears, hopes and desires are used to make us buy and believe. They are also used by politicians to make us cling to their legs when they wish to expand their power. We will be taught to fear people who are not like us, and be given no chance to embrace them.

If you want to be part of one world, listen to, befriend, learn about, help and support people you don’t understand, or even like. Avoid commercial news, commercial newspapers, and commercial radio unless you have another source of information to balance their views. The world’s voices can be found in person, on tape, video, the internet, in books, and in groups that meet regularly.

Beggars, Street-Sellers and Fund-Raisers

If you take a walk at lunchtime in the city (Melbourne) you will likely be interrupted by somebody who wants money from you. Beggars will want a few dollars, cialis buy ostensibly for a room or a bus.  Fund-raisers for the larger non-government organisations won’t accept cash donations. They want your credit card details in order to make monthly donations. At least the street-sellers leave you with something other than just a good feeling. By the way, the good feeling from giving only comes if your do it out of love and not guilt.

I think people should be able to wear an “Opt-Out” badge that requires people to leave them alone when they are walking down a street or on public transport. Headphones are one of my favourite ways that somehow make people leave me alone. When I was living in the city I would wear headphones with the lead stuck in my pocket, and nobody would interrupt me. Without headphones, I was constantly stopped. Shaving my head completely bald and wearing a big moustache was also an effective technique for being left alone. That actually made some people cross the road.

The opt-out badge could list what one is prepared to be interrupted for. Then people on the street would not interrupt you for things that anger you or in which you are not interested.

A badge might look like this:

Interrupt me for: Money, food, gym memberships
DO NOT interrupt me for:
Greenpeace, Red Cross, Christianity, anything else

Spock would think that this would be a logical and efficient social contract.
McCoy would rather people just left him alone when he walked down the street.

Marriage

In our society we live by such diverse social rules that even people living next door to us can be unwittingly offended by our own beliefs, viagra sale cure behaviours and what we find acceptable.

If we were to actually meet aliens from another planet, advice they could behave in ways that made us think that they wanted to wage war against us; they may not be able to understand our culture enough in order to be polite. If they went around killing people, store would we be expected to assume it was a social faux par and that it wasn’t a deliberate act of war or aggression? How many should we allow them to “accidentally” kill in the name of diplomacy?

This is an extreme example to illustrate some people’s reactions to an idea which is alien to many of them: non-gender-specific marriage.

When two people think that they will be a good family they should be able to go to the government and say, “We are going to be a good and loving family. We may or may not raise children. We may or may not have children. If we do, though, we will love them dearly.”

The government in response will then say, “Go for it! Become the fabric of our society. Strengthen our society by being a good family and by being people who love each other and who will love their children. It is not our right to know what is in your pants or dress. It is not the media’s right to know and it is not your neighbour’s right.

If you think that you will be a good family, then the government will stand by you and will give you every opportunity to make it work and to make it good.”

A person’s gender or what they do with it is not the government’s business.

Gender should be removed from marriage applications, certificates and records.

Loving people make great families and great citizens, regardless of their private preferences.

Now it is time for the secular government of our society to acknowledge it.

Wealth

The concept of wealth varies greatly between individuals, viagra usa look but it is always associated with having more than a person needs to survive. A person can feel wealthy when they have enough to eat, cialis canada ailment a place to live, malady and more than enough to meet other needs. When we decide who is well off and who is not, we are judging the lives and lifestyles of others against an idea of what it means to be rich. Underlying this, though, is really a belief that wealth equates to happiness. We look jealously towards wealthy people and believe they are happy people while missing the sheer amount of time, effort and pain required to maintain that wealth.

There will always be people with more than you and people with less than you. It is common in our society to blame the people less fortunate than ourselves for their own situation by believing two lies: that we are where we are solely through our own efforts; and, the less fortunate are where they are through their own lack of effort.

Before China annexed Tibet, the country operated under a feudal system where people used Buddhism to convince the poor that the wrong they did in their past lives was the reason they were so miserable today. Our own belief that effort brings reward and therefore poverty implies not enough effort is a logical fallacy. Effort is not the only cause of financial success, and lack of effort is not the only cause of poverty.

There are many factors that determine the likelihood of an individual’s personal wealth, success (and hopefully happiness, or at least self-sufficient satisfaction):

Early education, opportunities, available services, available employment, strength of relationships, and family and personal issues are some of the less controllable factors related to whether a person is financially successful.

The social benefit of a person becoming financially successful rather than requiring government assistance is the lightening of the government funding load. Many of us are jealous of people who receive government assistance when we do not think they deserve it. Some people will always abuse a system of welfare assistance, but what of the people that it helps? Should they be hurt in the process of making the welfare system “fairer?” The concept of government welfare is based around two important ideas:

* That a person’s situation or disadvantage is not necessarily the fault of the individual

* That long-term social costs can be offset with shorter-term assistance

One way of determining the success of a government is whether it can produce and maintain productive citizens. A productive citizen provides a net profit to the society and strengthens the government, increasing its power. A citizen that is a net drain on a government weakens a society and hence its power. It is therefore in the interests of a government to pursue policies that result in the most productive citizens. Providing an environment where the disadvantaged are helped with aid and money to improve their chances (and their children’s chances) of being productive citizens makes sense. And this is without needing to resort to moral arguments for the fundamental equality of everyone or the biblical underpinnings on which our society’s laws are based in the first place.

If I were to send a message to the super-rich in the world, I would say that there is not enough to go around for you if you are never satisfied, but there is enough to go around for everyone else. Is it possible for one society to be wealthy without another being poor? Can a society thrive without inequality? The greatest fear of the wealthy and comfortable is that there is not enough to go around for everyone to be as comfortable as they are. This was Karl Marx’s complaint about capitalism: that it could only exist through the exploitation of other people’s labour.

Spock would say that the distribution of wealth in the western world is unfair but not unjust, and that the government should not interfere.

McCoy would say that it is unfair and unjust and that the government should do something about it.