Jon Anderson <[address removed]
> 4/3/13 questions and discussion
> 1-how much specialization can we tolerate?4
> 2-should we encourage public shaming and if yes, are there limitations?3
> 3-isn't it a good thing when really bad people kill themselves?2
> 4-which is more ethical: standing on principle or compromising?1
> 5-how does one make good life choices?5
> 6-how effective is sensitivity training?3
> 7-is food becoming a chore in America?
> how does one make good life choices?
Values form the framework by which one can evaluate his/her life,
starting from childhood.
When those values are compatible w/actual human nature, they make the
difference between living a life that
or attempting unsuccessfully to live a life according to an external
Good values are overwhelmingly those that focus on resilience (i. e.
fighting back against injustice), self-reliance, selfishness,
individual initiative, critical thinking/humility. Those values
emphasize harnessing one's
primal instincts (including aggressive
instincts) and intellectual self in a controlled fashion to achieve
Bad values are overwhelmingly those that focus on "love thy neighbor",
dependence on others for support, blind obedience to authority, rote
learning (i. e. good grades = success), dogmatic arrogance, and most
of all, (deistic) religion. Those values emphasize SUPPRESSING one's
primal and intellectual self to achieve success. It never works.
> Tor: college undergraduates typically don't have a
clue as to what they
> ought to study for. I was a student advisor
for years and came to hate the
> "Strong interest test". Ellen Watts said we have to do from day one what we
> love to do, shunning all other options. Taking a job one hates in the
> meantime is wrong. You will find like-minded people if you stick with what
> inspires you, so it won't be long until you're a leader in this field. This
> is how consultants come into being. Since my days as advisor
I met some of
> those former students, some say they wish they'd listened to me, or they
> fall around my neck in gratitude for having listened. I don't know how
> generalizable this anecdotal data is. But i believe if we love something, we
> won't tire of it. It's the "Devil's Ladder" = and endless ladder and if one
> loves the steps up it, you won't mind the endlessness.
> Rachel: what if
what one loves to do something but doesn't have the capacity
> to succeed, or, capacity or no, they just don't succeed?
> Tor: they will find a way. They may not become a great athlete but they will
> become a great coach. As to capacity, this is the problem with schools.
> Schools ought to primarily seek to expand individual capacity instead of our
> present mass approach.
> Rachel: don't we need a base level of education?
> Tor: that's a tiny piece of and endless universe of things to learn. Treat
> teachers with gratitude and respect. We don't ask lawyers' clients to rate
> the but we do rate our teachers!
> Rachel: oh, come on, we rate each other all the time!
> Tor: it's easiest to spot a child's interests when they are youngest,
> Kindergarten. In a market economy having a variety of teachers is better
> than central planning. I
see a future for us of an explosion of innovation
> and productivity. A school system that's out of step with changes happening
> in society is doing more harm than good.
> Eric: if my life choice was to teach, not ending doing that means something
> isn't right. I do feel a lot of my skills aren't being used. My volunteer
> work does better employ my strengths. As much as I want to teach, the system
> doesn't want me to teach. If the system holds one back, how do we get past
> it? I'm scared to death to take more tests.
> Because of my student loan debt I sometimes wonder if it was worth it, after
> all is said and done.
> Rachel: are you happy?
> Eric: happy enough. And I do hope to yet find my niche. The problem is how
> do we work around bad systems?
> Jon: I'm reading Michel Foucault's sociology text Discipline and Punish: the
history of the prison. The section I'm reading now deals with the
> relationship between how we deal with criminals and how we deal with each
> other. He argues that fundamentally it's the same thing. That society today
> is test based, evaluation based, investigation based. That the West has
> simultaneously developed capitalism and societal structures need to expand
> that economic system via efficiencies, productivities
, maximizing individual
> potential via accurate examination of individual skill sets. I describe this
> here tonight to suggest that perhaps this dynamic isn't necessarily always
> good. In my case, the times of my life that were most productive were when I
> studied Art. My time was largely unstructured and I mostly did what I wanted
> to do. As a result I felt fully engaged with what took my interest. I felt
> responsible for using my time well so my
discipline was much better than
> now. Foucault's described categorization which is needed to best deal with
> both criminals and workers does not respond kindly to someone like me. I
> have nowhere to go in order to work in the way I work best. It doesn't exist
> here and now. Lastly, to Rachel's points, I once read Bill Gates told an
> interviewer that if he'd been born in the 1800s he would not have had the
> impact he's had now because his skill set -- perfectly suited to our current
> technological age -- would likely only have made him a good accountant in
> Mike: I take a long view on US education. We started it here in the 1700s
> with nothing and we overtook the rest of the world in short order. We did
> it. It was due to the fact that we have a meritocracy. Then, more and more
> outsiders and agenda types began to influence the system in the name of
Fairness and Righteousness. We find ourselves now in the situation where
> jobs are disappearing (robots!!). In a meritocracy it's a kind of evolution,
> life finds a way. We need fewer workers, more innovators. Like our two young
> guests here tonight wasting their teen time hanging out with us because they
> know it will do them some good.
> Jon: can you imagine a gifted person being unable to reach their potential
> for reasons beyond their control?
> Mike: that's called "too bad!" We need only a tiny number of people anyway.
> If one's
born on third base you still have to pass through rings of fire. We
> ought not regulate meritocracy.
> Rachel: pursuit to advance oneself doesn't mean one will reach their
> potential, or have an upward trajectory. Some of us have ample supports.
> Implied in the question is whether the end goal is to be
> working within existing power structures. Ideally we are happy there, but
> just because something makes one happy doesn't mean one ought to pursue it.
> Just because we want to doesn't mean we get to. Being content is good. Being
> able to enjoy life to our best. When we start out our capacity is foremost
> in our minds. Being encouraged to follow our skill sets, etc. is a good.
> Jack: this seems to be about picking what one enjoys vs. what's practical.
> Our changing technology is indeed changing our work force. Naturally we each
> have our own interests but if the jobs are not in line with these interests,
> then what?
> [well, as Mike put it, it's Too Bad!]
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