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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Fostering of Self-Absorption

What's up, my peeps!?  

Today let's chat about the shrinking world view of many, specifically those born and raised in the U.S. of A.  Now I'm not saying that people in other countries aren't self-centered, I'm sure they are.  But there's this proliferation and pride that comes with it in the United States that I believe may not be comparable anywhere else.

First - let's talk about language and domination.  Anywhere in the history of the world where there was successful takeover and invasion, the language changed to the group of power in order to foster a growth of the new culture.  The deep desire for power and for acceptance drove the rest of the masses toward adopting that dominating language and culture, making those who stick with their original language fall toward becoming obsolete.  (This is not in every historical instance, but there is a pattern that can't be ignored.)  This unites a larger group, making the original takeover power able to consolidate their power and continue to spread.

What percent of natural-born Americans (when I say "Americans", I mean "United Statesians".  America is a huge place that encompasses North, Central and South America, but I am using the term loosely to make it easier.) speak more than one language?  More than two languages?  As far as a second language in general (meaning anyone born here or elsewhere: a.k.a. more likely to learn English as a second language), we're up to around 18-20%.  In Europe, the statistics look more like 52-56%.  Now I totally get it - in Europe, you've got a smaller land area per country and each country (for the most part) speaks a different language, so just to get around and get along, you've got to figure something out.  And if you're in India, you've got to be trilingual at minimum to make it work, it seems.  

What happens in America?  People figure, "Aww, if peeps wanna talk to me, they gotta speak English."  And you can forget about having an accent.  People are going to strain their eyes, crinkle their brows, and get their undies all up in a bunch about it if they can't catch you clearly.  Then they're gonna be all, "Aww MAAAAN!  Why can't people just freakin' speak English!?"  Ahem.  Way to go.

Great jeaorb.  (-Coach Z)

Second - the traditional approach to history and social studies in the education system within the United States proliferates a small-minded, self-centered view. When kidlets start off in preschool as little 3 and 4 and 5 year olds, their well-meaning teachers instruct them about their communities and social studies topics are things like "community helpers" (a.k.a. let's talk about what a fireman and a librarian are).  

I know that most people think that little kids are dumbo heads, but if you think twice about it, you know that they actually are little sponges.  Teach them good stuff!  Teach them about the beginning of this story of our world and how we're just the latest chapter in a very long novel.   In the education system of the United States, once students get past their own small community, they learn about their area, then by the time they hit 3rd or 4th grade, they learn about their state.  After that, it's a free for all in repeating the history of the United States from about 1775 and a half to present.  

Thus, according to our education system, the world pretty much did not exist before 1770.  And not only that, but there aren't any other countries out there except for those that deal with us in a major way.  This is so utterly absurd and hideous that for the most part, most students barf when they think of history and don't want to go further and think about the rest of the world.  They lack in geography skills (think of Jay Leno asking Americans to point things out on a world map and they can't do it) because all they need to know about anything related to a map is the directions to a mall and they've got an app for that on their iphone.

As seen in Martha Stewart's Everyday Living this month: kinda funny,
except for the part that there are some people out there who
might not actually know this is a joke. 

  What is the remedy?  I submit that a cure might just be classical education.  

Students learn Latin starting at 3rd grade (for the most part), and from 1st grade they begin learning about the start of our world in a chronological order, weaving histories together into a beautiful and logical tapestry.  They are given tools they need to break up and make sense of classical books and literature through learning grammar (including diagramming of sentences, yay!).  Grammar is the base of learning other languages by facilitating the development of necessary foundational building blocks and the understanding of those foreign languages.  Classical texts are chosen for review and thought, exposing students to beautiful and thoughtful works instead of fluffy puffy brain crack (stuff along the lines of Goosebumps, Sweet Valley Twins, and other high fructose corn syrup for the mind).  

And p.s., I'm all for reading for fun, but let's not have everything be akin to fluffy puff marshmallows (which I'm sure Homestar totally loves).  

Anyway, my whole point is that I think there's something lacking and fostering a child's already self-centered mentality is probably going to end up somehow to their (or another's) detriment.  Breeding an entire generation and nation of such thinkers might just flush us straight down the toilet.  Good thing that's not at all where we're headed.

What do you think?  Have you ever explored classical education?  How many languages do you speak fluently and how many have you studied somewhat?  Are you able to label a map of Europe, the states within the United States, the continents and most countries around the globe?  

It's not too late to learn.  Go on, get out there, expand your mind.  (Not in an LSD kind of way.)

And while you're at it, have a sip of kombucha.  You'll feel so awesomesauce you might  almost want to explode.  

Peace, love, and here's to using our brains,
Ms. Daisy  

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