Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Bigger the Bolus, the Better the Brain: education as Trivial Pursuit

“Many a man fails to become a thinker only because his memory is too good.” -- F. Nietzsche
In the name of school reform, millions of students spend more and more of their life swallowing down and regurgitating ever larger masses of "fact." To what end?

If our knowledge of the world distracts us from our knowledge of ourselves, what good is it? Really, other than a university medievalist, who cares that Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, A.D. 800? If our abilities at problem-solving enable us to "construct a reality" that is merely self-aggrandizing or self-flattering, what good is it?

Really, other than railroad engineers, who gives a damn about where one train starting in Chicago and traveling east at sixty miles per hour meets another starting in New York and traveling west at eighty miles per hour? In and of themselves, neither answer nor process nor "deep meaning" has any meaning at all.

To examine these issues further, see KNOWLEDGE IS GOOD: some misgivings

---- WAC