The Breakdown

The most powerful force for good in human societies is the ability to pass on thought patterns.  For example, teaching languages, problem-solving skills, and healthy relationship dynamics.  Educational systems are generally the vehicle for delivering those mental road maps to the young in our societies. 

Many of the difficulties we face in the evolution of human societies stem from cultivating sub-optimal or downright harmful thought patterns in our educational systems.  Some of the difficulties stem from not cultivating healthy thought patterns.

One of the most problematic thought patterns we have cultivated in the Western world is The Breakdown.  We use analytical and critical thought processes to dissect all of the structures underlying our mental, physical, social, and spiritual experiences.  Which is quite useful, of course.  Understanding the parts of a thing can be helpful when we are trying to fix it.  Sadly, much of the critical analysis we have done has not been used to fix anything.  In fact, we have been leaving many of those key structures broken after our critical analysis is complete.

We used critical analysis to break down harmful gender roles, but didn’t replace them with healthy gender roles.  We used critical analysis to break down harmful racial policies, but didn’t replace them with healthy attitudes.  We used critical analysis to break down dysfunctional family structures, but didn’t replace them with healthy family relationships. 

It’s time that we engaged in some constructive synthesis instead of critical analysis.  It’s time to clear the broken structures and build healthy gender identities, healthy attitudes towards individual differences, and healthy relationships.  It’s time to rebuild the structures that allowed us to know who we are, give meaning to our existence, and life to our relationships.

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2 Responses to The Breakdown

  1. sumeoj says:

    I’ll slightly be playing devil’s advocate here since I’m curious to see your own answer to it. It’s easy to see what’s wrong with something, but it’s rather difficult to see what’s right unless one’s had experience seeing perfection before. How can one bring something up to the level of health when they’ve never seen what it looks like before? I think many people try to substitute in things they perceive as good to replace the bad, only to later find that their solution has generated different problems (example: self-esteem movement leading to children unable to take criticism).

  2. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @sumeoj – The self-esteem example is really a great one.  I’m glad you brought it up.  One of the problems we’ve faced when trying to perform constructive synthesis is precisely what you’ve described.  We fail to think through the consequences.  What we often try to do is make things more convenient for ourselves and others when building new social structures.  In the case of self-esteem, protecting egos is certainly a convenient way to protect our self-image.  I’m not a fan of the protective approach to building new social structures.  We humans need challenges, and one of the biggest difficulties we face in education right now is a lack of challenges.  We spoon-feed kids knowledge, which means that they don’t appreciate how hard it is to gain knowledge.  As a result, they take education for granted and are often not challenged.  Which means that they are often not engaged in active learning.  Which means that often that knowledge falls right out of their heads.I suggest an approach to building new social structures that uses progressively more difficult challenges.  I’d also use this approach in individual development.  I certainly use it in my own life.

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