Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Universally Cultured

Universally Cultured
The Phenomena of Rhythmic Energy, Language, Music, the Arts
And their historical implications

Philosophical Exstasis: Linguisticism




Preface

***I have no fucking clue what I even really said in here. Well, I have an IDEA... but yeah. Hahahaha. Have fun. (Apparently I wrote in the grammar rules that fragmented sentences are encouraged & I use “it’s” regardless if it’s wrong or not.)***



The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of you can make of it whatever you wish.” Terence Mckenna
("Alien Dreamtime" a multimedia event recorded live. (27 February 1993)



I



Societies across the world exist because they are forced to by the innate need for Modern Man to procreate. Humans, like all animals that require other animals of their species are forced by nature to be Social. The glitch in this system doesn’t exceed the ability the human brain received by whatever unknown force that introduced it to primate evolution; to intellectualize. In other words, from the Dawn of Man in some historical models primate evolution was brought about by a slow gradual evolutionary curve that is the direct result of an unknowingly powerful cataclysmic blast that sent matter into the universe in completely random directions, only to find agreeable matter, exchange numbers, and copulate. Terence McKenna had the idea that the Big Bang is the least likely scenario, so the Big Bang is the empty canvas of which Philosophers, Scientists, Preachers, Professors and the like have been painting their ideas or models of what the Universe is on. This empty canvas of unlikely possibility. Without diving too deep into my specific opinion on Evolutionary theory and how it relates to the consequential events in History and ultimately our development as a species, I’ll conclude this tangential introduction to Music and Arts with a single statement, that I think makes sense. If music were ever perfect, there would no longer be a need for it. Music is the Universe, in that we create our own models of what we feel Music is out of the transdimensional clay of multi-conceivable perceptions of socio-environmental influence.
Music and the Arts is always a very intensely philosophical undertaking. Because in order to understand the Arts (which is what people of the past referred to as Magic, Witchery, “Ninjitsu,“ and the like) one must delve into the very depths of the Human spirit. This is not an original notion by any means, but the desire to restate this notion is just as strong as the desire one gets as an artist, to create. True artistry, whether wrapped in this guise of Capitalist greed or bound by the twine of responsibility that is seemingly it’s very nature; to question the Self and therefore to question each other. Questioning is the key to realizing any related truths that one may have missed on the first go-’round. George Carlin said, “It’s not important to get children to read, children who are going to want to learn to read are going to learn to read, it’s more important to get children to question what they read. Children should be taught to question everything…,” and I’ll narrow that down a bit… everything they think they find complete truth, must be questioned. The argument usually is, if you don’t accept something as true and always question it, you’ll never find the truth. The simple response to that argument is why is it required to define a questioning statement as a statement only released and received to fulfill present notions of personally desirable intentions to find Truth. The concept of true intentionality… so rather than question something because it seems like it doesn’t make sense; and like what William Cooper said, question the things you even think you believe are truth, because if you enter the realm of mysterious discovery with pre-conceived notions on what the truth is, you‘ll only find evidence to support or deny your claim and will never find the Truth. This is the Chief Cornerstone of human intellectual history, the Sword in the Stone, the Light of the World, the Blessing in Retrospective Disguise. This is Nature at it’s very hub. In doing so consciously for the first time or some time after you‘ve reflected a bit, you will find yourself realizing truths in such rapid fashion based on so many layers of predetermined understandings, that you will feel a sensation of “awakening,” every single time. This is Truth fused with Emotional Response. This is the pre-functioned reaction your body feels is perfect to balance you (as an energy-filled being) when you discover a Truth. This concept alone is difficult to embrace, but you have to deduce it even further than the standard conclusion often reached by lazy intellectuals and uninspired political hustlers who‘s Ends are only Justified by “Means,” (makes you think, ends are justified by Means… more than likely on an ever increasing average scale; which may be where statistical probability comes from)… the trendy conclusion. In so far as, this is the Crux of intellectual growth’s systematic design. When an entity realizes a Truth, even before it decides to question it, as has been stated prior should be actively taught and practiced as a healthy behavior, there is a real sensation of the physiological sort, always occurring right on the money upon the discovery of a Truth. And it’s one of the most positive feelings one can experience in the emotional spectrum. This implies, in an almost identical way the Reproductive Processes our bodies cycle through when we feel we need to get “on the prowl,” and attempt to mate and procreate. The Urge. The work. The formalities. The Finances and ruined carpet and over flowing ashtrays that never get emptied. We all know what it‘s like, but when you finally reach true Orgasm with that mate, after all the smoke clears, you’ve striven for a single thing, Creation (by nature this is true in it‘s most natural sense, regardless of what modern misconceptions exist about the psycho-physiology of the difference between Love and Lust). Ideally (or not… circumstance beckons…again), a child is born. And therefore in a single instance, evolution pushes forth. When one discovers a Truth, the sensation created is intellectual Orgasm, and out of that intense emotional (and physical, I might add) response comes eventual Understanding of that Truth. Just as out of the intense physical and emotional response of the Sexual Process comes eventual Creation of the Intention. In perhaps simpler terms, the Parallel rears it’s oddly misshapen head in this idea: To Create anything, one must experience a Process of Creation, in which seemingly by it’s very nature, causes the urge to be a Creator. This is where I usually try to draw you into the connection between the Unknowable Forces we all deduce (as Philosophers or Humans, you choose the word) in dissimilar orders as the same thing; and the urge (that is also quite indescribable and unknowable) to Understand what/where/why/how/who the Unknowable Forces are. In the wake of this very simple and impossibly hasty process, is one thing: Creation. Regardless if we as Intellectual Humans are stuck in this void of infinite misunderstanding or infinite understanding, there is still present that indescribable Urge to create. This idea rings true on almost every layer of Human Society, Human Nature, and Humanity in it‘s most basic general terms, and with each ring comes an even more abundant and psychedelic resonating effect. Think in terms of exponential mathematics. You learn a Truth, you “awaken,” your Urge to discover more Truth kicks into high gear (the metaphysical Adrenal Gland of the Creation process), and in (with fair confidence in this estimation) the wake of that single new Understanding of Truth comes an undeterminable ripple effect of more Understandings of more Truths. Evolution down to it’s very core is simply a series of exponentially increasing Creation, in relation to what is needed to understand, regardless of the dimensionality. This is where you get the infinitely pieced puzzle of the Universe, with Philosophy and Art crafting the Present’s most definable means to fill in the “blanks.” Philosophically, all this means is Hegelian Dialectics, Marxism, and Democratic ideals all fit together on this puzzle as a shape (conceptual resonance, perhaps) just as Buddhism, Metaphysics and Christianity can be welded together (rather forcefully, I must add) to add another Mass to the Paradigm Puzzle. The moment this piece is placed in Unison to the Puzzle a new Philosophical creation is unleashed and the entire Creative process then recycles, with no time enough to even measure with any sort of conceivable symbolic system of numbers, or letters. Then the Orgasmic feeling of “awakening,” is followed by that anomalous sense of Urgency to discover more! To Create more! To feel more Orgasmic awakenings! This may also be the very rudimentary engine structure that defines our Human susceptibility to addiction, of any kind. But regardless of that, this idea that Creation is the driving force behind evolution is not only a seemingly innate characteristic of Nature itself, but is cause AND effect, the Yin AND the Yang… it is every teaching of every true Seeker of Truth.
Societal cues and basic returned responses of those cues Create what McKenna and many other thinkers, Modern and otherwise, referred to as something like a filtration system (simply: opinion; to be even clearer and deduce even further) for perceived reality as we as humans drift on the Space/Time paradigm seeking refuge through the Doors of Perception. It’s like a child’s blanket which possesses such an intense intention to smother the inconceivable potential Understanding that child will inevitably come to. The most accurate term for this concept is Culture. I don’t have to force a young mind through a Culture 101 lecture for them to understand the concept of Culture. Culture is as innate as the Symbio-instinctual Human Genome. Culture is what lies on the other side of the Doors of Perception. The emergence of a seemingly natural conflict that is simultaneously agreed upon; as the Truth. Culture is the impermanent immortality of Human Intellectualism and Evolutionary Progression. Even the most radical idea in the most radical realm of radical thinking has a newly Created model of Culture. On a very basic level, Culture IS the Universe. The Universe is the substance in which we mold our Culture and our Culture is the substance in which our Universe takes root, to ultimately sprout under the glistening glory of the singular Light. I write with cryptic and pseudo-intellectual language; because I know, based on this understanding of the Creation of Culture and therefore the Creation of the Universe that my choice of words (subconscious, or not) Creates its own Culture. Perhaps the infinitely unbound urge of dependency is what that Urge to create derives from; and therefore it’s engine and its wheels, it’s Viola and it’s Pizzicato Cello Bass line, it’s Light Source and it’s Coloring utensil… all being Created exponentially anew on the canvas of the Universally Cultured.
My attempt to expand upon this concept of the Universally Cultured depends, co depends and is paradoxically independent on/from Culture and its resulting Language-produced Arts, Music and symbolically represented and deeply deduced perceptions of Truth; or Philosophy. If anyone tells you they have no interest in Philosophy, they are innately wrong. Just as a melting pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream, still bound by the poison of plastic imprisonment, is correct to keep melting under the sun in which it is foolishly and irresponsibly being allowed to post-exist. Get the point? There is no such thing as a non-deducible conclusion. Naturally, an outcome must resolve to result from this post-existing melting delight, and that result is the Ice Cream equivalent ‘Lingo,‘ or “tasty” language, The Music and the Arts. The first dimension of Culture that I focus on specifically and will probably conclude with should this writing ever reach an end, is Music and the Arts, and yes the two must be together as one inseparable entity of Creation. The Creation of Universally Cultured ideas are conceived in the Philosophical Mind’s Urge to Create. Creativity existed in original arts and languages, evolved riding the tail-saddle of the Jurassic clarity of indigenous stick figured attempts at modeling the Self, and persists as a Self serving co-independently encrypted and decrypted function of the Universally Cultured. One quick aside about Culture before I forget… Culture is undoubtedly one of the most important Natures or outcomes of Human Intellectualism, and it’s vastly rapid acceleration from Catapulting Cosmic pebbles and debris aimed for Crowned Jewels to Pellet Guns and Figurine disfigurement, or maybe… reconfiguration is the Historical symbolism we can tag the process with. Or maybe a more appropriate comparison; a stick with a sharp point to a cluster of bombs with energetic potential that exceeds the possibility for the arrogantly considered inevitability of Earthly regeneration.
Music and the Arts as a rhythmic mutually inclusive entity has been at the foundation of Human development pre-intellect and most likely before the initial sapiens’s evolution. The primate body, in it’s erect form is relatively taller, less aerodynamic, more strangely configured than many animals and still perfectly equipped for rhythm. Rhythm exists in the intertwining and overly bound fabric of Time. Plastic and trite more often than not; this Time concept. The black and the white duality is forced together by the dominant energy of rhythm. The need to move in space, the pre/sub/super-human addiction to procreation, the rhythmic nature of repeating specific actions to attain desired reactions/climaxes (sexual stimulation of exceeding and increasing pleasure and it’s explosive result; continuing evolution) and the Understanding that is the rippling of the tear drop, post impact, with the messy carpeted flooring in the pitch black yet completely familiar space; that costs way too much to spend a single month living in, much less multiple years. Digression aside, again… Rhythm is the boundless uninterruptible (except with the death of presently understood truths, which conceptually would just merge into a subsequent rhythmic-fractal of an identical nature) force… Rhythm is to the Energy of Music as Gravity is to the Lunar-Oceanic effects on Earth and it‘s perfect balance with the infinite Solar defined season change. Rhythm is the energy that creates the Universally Cultured. Rhythm and resonance is like the oil and gas compounds that drive Universal machinery. Returning to the notion of the Urge in hopes to close in on this idea in a more precise manner, the Urge to create is by nature a Rhythmic energy (sexual/musical rhythm). Out of this rhythmic energy, by-passing the obvious point where man discovered his ability to recognize the rhythm as a coherent and concrete abstraction and Creation of an innately simple physical action (tapping a tree with a hand, and the resulting sound, and the resulting Rhythmic resonation or the clicking of the teeth more than once in succession). So, finally music is born. Which came first, the rhythm or the music? Did Rhythm exist before Music… or is Music only the discovery of different ways to create newly perceived Rhythms? Sounds to me like this whole Human vs. God showdown is a little too closely associated to the Chicken and the Egg war that rages defiantly across the cosmos. Sounds like there’s way more to this Creation idea than is understandable.
This question of Rhythm’s existence before Music and vice versa is one of the many paramount dual-singularities that allow this concept of the Universally Cultured to be True without True understanding. Think of Rhythm as a True form of Energy. Think of how it is perceived. Energy is visually and spatially filtered. Visual representation of images and motion through gravitational space; that is Rhythmic Energy. Rhythm is to Universal acceptance as Music is to Cultural interpretation. Kind of like Energy is to Universal acceptance as Existence is to Cultural acceptance (or some variation, it really doesn’t matter how specifically focused this can get). I’ll remove this concept of the Music and Arts from the unrelenting vice grips of Philosophical thinking for a moment and merge the prose with a specific fundamental rhythmic tool. The rhyme. You know the sayings, the rhythm and rhyme, the rhyme and reason, etc… Does basic (or in my case, ridiculous) prose become music the instant it is Created as a Rhyming piece? Or is prose a different but equally powerful means of creating Music? Here’s the fundamental break in the bond that Rhythm and Music have, and it’s so deeply rooted into the Aesthetics of the written word (more evolutionary implications arise, of course). The writings we choose to use as English speakers, or Spanish speakers, or Arabic speakers, all differ, whether different in alpha-numerical ordering or simply the rearranging of the geometric shape creating tendencies. The aesthetic of this written word is based on a vast rule system and symbolic-structure; I think more than is even considered once a child is taught to write (the desk, the lame classroom, the white paper, all those lines, and the pencil that never sharpens efficiently enough so you have to keep trying to sharpen it until it breaks in half). Writing is symbolically Created to catalyze a “Linguipathy,” or linguistic pathology through time and space/matter and spirit. Culture is the system that this Linguipathy specifically filters through. Now return to your idea of what good music is supposed to be, keeping in mind the notion of Culture as a systematic machine that “Linguisticism” (Lingo-mysticism) forms itself around in order to nurture the system’s growth. The disconnection of Rhythm and Music as inseparable entities happens only in this fragment of conceptual deducibility. Prose is to linguistic pathology as Rhyming or Poetry is to Music. The ability to conceptualize that comparison without having to document the necessity for Rhythm in the equation is the discrepancy I’m talking about in fundamental logic. The Rhythm is the Universal Order and the Music is the Cultural Acceptance and Reciprocation of questioning one entity only, the only thing that drives music into infinite existence, Rhythm. Rewind now, go back a bit… Can Culture truly exist Universally without a concept of Universality? No. Can rhythm exist without Music? Yes. Can both Rhythm and Music exist as a Universal law and order then?, just as Demagogue-Fascist Republican Hegemonic Hierarchies can exist as Cultural laws and order? This gets the mind working, believe me! To say that Rhythm is the Energy that drives Music in a Universally Cultured predisposition for aesthetic desire or interpersonal achievement kind of just… I don’t know… line-dances its way out the back door. Let me be clear, this assumption is made with the utmost confidence and humbleness. Most certainly personal achievement is often fulfilled truly before, during, and after (in retrospect, always) the Creation process and most certainly Aesthetic desire (desire is a key word here in this realm of conceptualities). To desire an aesthetic is just as simple a notion as desiring a favorite decision that never fails you (what to eat at that obscure restaurant you’ve only been to a few times, or what song to listen to driving along your childhood streets) for your money or the fulfillment of an intense craving.
Urge: Enter stage center. Psychologically and even in the realm of Psychoanalysis, perhaps more Jungian than Freudian is the comparison of the Rhythm’s innate Energy characteristic and the Un/Subconscious Mind’s (Id, Ego… etc) reliance on the possibility of a Dream state to place semi-applicable standards for describing reality. Freud’s only error in thinking based on his strangely fitting model of the Universal Order from within the Human Mind is his failure to mention (look up later to confirm) the possibility that there still is an Unknowable Driving Force or Engine that we call Universe. So in conclusion to this particular relative tangent, the difference between Music and the Arts and the Universally Cultured is seemingly tangible evidence that Music and Art is a phenomenon anomalous to Modern Humanity (post primary intellectual enlightenment) and isn’t as deeply rooted into the Universe as Culture is as a whole and as the Rhythm/Energy singularity is a likely unit. The Music and Arts seems to me to be a specific tool utilized to stimulate not only infinitely expanding Creation (symmetrical completely to that Urge to procreate) but that Creative endeavor on a specie-continuing level being the same and yet completely unique to the Creative process being an actual extension of the Nature of Man and the Universe to further evolution of the Mind, and consequently the species. I’m trying to make a practical, clear distinction between the difference of these concepts relative to their relationship to each other‘s individual concepts and dualistic-singular connections. It’s a geometric tool of novelty that allows mass to exist based on well defined representations of matter. It’s a physics construct that determines what the most logical and mathematically influenced trajectory should result in… And that result is: further Urge to create.
Back into this theory bound by rules of linguistic or prosaic conceptual dualities. Anyone able to deduce this far through my writing is probably quite clear on a somewhat general concept of a species’ evolution, specifically ours. Regardless of belief in certain creeds or doctrines, if a Priest were to think about Evolutionary processes he could probably conceive of Humanity existing hundreds of thousands of years ago. He could then presume a clear understanding of Mankind’s substantial primary encounters with Music and the Arts and more specifically the changes that sheepishly worked their way into the line of all the other necessary actions needed to be taken to survive. Music and the Arts came after the Acceptance of the Instinct, logically. Then after realizing that Instinct will ensure a family their meat and water came a short burst of terribly non-liberating free-time. These people, living in Rhythm with their instinctual drives and their slow consideration of their predisposition for intellectual thought (that Urge) in the future, allowed for one or many persons to measure that Rhythm and shape that Rhythm into something coherent enough to learn from. Rhythm then is responsible for the creation of Language, even outside of Language being a necessity for intellectual growth (which is inarguable, even incomprehensible and indefinable languages still bridge the gap between needing to communicate with others and the actual methods and practices). Any Communications student will tell you one of the first things they learn in their studies is the importance and fundamental stability created in a human being in relation to his Body, and the language it emits. Before the first coherent spoken word that had the proper symbols and systems in place to advance it as cultural, Rhythm was the language and therefore the culture manifested itself from the rhythmic desire to have a multidimensional use for the tongue. The beating of the chest and shouting from the vocal depths created shapes of Rhythmic intention. Think of what this actually means, post-deduction and pre-acceptance as fact. Rhythm is language, and by the very nature of its existence is the only language with a rule system that encompasses the Universally Cultured model of the Universe-Culture. The Rhythmic Energy that composes the Universe by nature gave permission to a subset of primates to cross the threshold into true communication, and this entire process was a completely unique Cultural Creation. Again, this implies the exclusive need for Modern Man to have Rhythm and Culture, to have Energy and Universe. Language comes first creating culture, (every single time in evolutionary logic) and Rhythm is the power source. I’m sure you’ve noticed my failure to mention Music specifically so far… perhaps you wouldn’t have had I said anything, because the synonymous nature that Rhythm and Music agree by practically disguises the necessity for Music, as it‘s understood miracle by-product of Energy and Rhythm. Here’s my contention; Music is the Deity, Tyrant, Office Manager and Night Shift Janitor. Music is a post-linguistic by-product of Rhythmical Engineering tendencies. Music attempts to define Culture and the Universe. Music defines neither truly because it attaches like a prosthetic that Nature built adaptations for, into this Cultural Universal identity of the most dominantly evolving Intellectual species in evolutionary history, not excluding the Dinosaurs. They were large enough, instinctual enough, and definitely peaceful enough with each other being the clearly dominant species. But the Present Time explains only one thing, a completely different notion. They weren’t large enough, instinctual enough or quite smart enough to sustain. Did Dinosaurs have Music? Even relative to their inconceivable notion of what Music is or isn’t, could they have had Music outside of Nature’s Rhythmic Energy? Possibly they could have, but I’m leaning on the side of not a chance in hell. The onset of language in Man sent entire populations of people into uproars of musical fury and frenzy. And after that initial Urge to create was fulfilled, Language was created and gave rise to Music. Music has become the only Universal language that everyone on this planet, even those who live with no concept of what it’s like to hear it, still understand what Music is, what it means and what it’s for.
Music is the sole operator that separates the aesthetic cultural dynamic completely from the central synapse of the Energy/Rhythm complexities. Rhythm made Music a Language and therefore has created upon itself, in its own image; a Language of Music. Sounds a lot like God creating Man in his Image and Likeness. This is where I draw the line. I feel as though Philosophical thought is a necessary singular-duality in Human intellectualism. The only Philosophical line of thinking that fits into any model of Culture and Universe is this theory of Linguisto-rhythmic shifts in force and intensity… or Music, Creating Culture, Creating Universe, and using its own medium… Music…. to question and reinterpret both ideas in completely separate conceptual realities and paradigms, therefore instinctually Creating to fulfill that Urge for the means to do a single thing; not die. Music strives to prevent its own destruction at the hands of itself. Music strives to sustain, unlike Rhythm’s natural survival encoding, but more like the fossil records after a civilization is toppled, with the first explorers venturing across the newly created wasteland discovering boxes and vaults inches under the earth, and the months and years it takes for those small groups of people to pry open that impenetrable barrier of the past’s future gift for the Present, and those people emerge from the daily grind of which could have yielded any number of mysteries, with a new addition to their Culture. The difference is, Music is never forgotten, never buried, and even if intellectual thought dissipates from the planet for another billion years… the Rhythmic Energy of the Universe will be there Coaxing the Gods of the Music and Arts into reality, to mend and to invigorate; just as the Earth’s biosphere summons it’s denizens to uproot and topple foreign structures not kept clear by their keepers.



To never be continued…

Monday, October 12, 2015

Organizing Complexity; Aphorisms on Ultimate Reality

Our world is one of distractions. Interestingly, distractions are both necessary and restrictive. The human mind is a very powerful entity; it processes information at extraordinary speeds; it both directs behavior and stores information while simultaneously accessing that information to encourage the direction of behavior. It is a miracle in itself to suggest with confidence that we have collectively managed to construct a series of social organizations that influence behavior and provide information
Complex systems seem to require feedback loops of information processing and information utilization. In fact, it is less a requirement than it is simply the nature of the systems at work. An entity behaves due to the information it receives. Thus, information in itself operates on several layers of primacy. There isn't ultimate primacy as much as there is a system at work that engages all layers in tandem. However, an ultimate system must exist in what Kant called the noumenal realm; or the space in which all entities within a system only access at the most fundamental levels. The primary laws that dictate what is allowed in a system are determined by whatever the parameters are. Certain parameters are not amenable; that is to say, because the largest majority (indeed, all things) seem to operate within certain unavoidable parameters, whatever exists in the noumenal realm must define the parameters. However, human understanding is also limited by a set of parameters. There is thus an outstanding and unavoidable paradox. We are reliant upon a certain Logic; that Logic constructs a Iimit for itself to operate. Within that limit, one might argue that such a limit is simply a product of the limits of the system that engages that logic. If a concept like evolution can thus emerge from a limited logical system, there must exist a system beyond the scope of the logic-understander that at the very least encourages the probable nature of potentiality. In this crevice we might encounter notions of God. However, it is not necessary to reduce that which we do not understand to a limited idea. Doing so might lead to an unnecessary limiting factor. The last thing a complex information system wants is a condition that limits it's ability to utilize information beyond what it requires to operate in a normal state. Indeed, novelty undermines the notion of any limiting feature, because any entity that defines it's own parameters must give way to a set of instructions that can up root it's former construction. This is evolution. Evolution does not destroy God. In reality it enables it as an open ended necessary condition. That is, it is a mistake to constrict God to a subset of rule systems that it's already limited creations define for it. A system does not operate if it's agents dictate it's rules, and it also does not operate if it's rule systems are not malleable in the face of novelty.
Systems require agents at work. Work, it turns out is the inherent product of opposing and complimentary forces. Common parlance understands work in sociocultural environments

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The ISIS Initiative

Russian determination in Syria leaves us with a serious opportunity for self reflection. It is impossible to ignore what is once again becoming a clear indictment of American foreign policy; as a power intent on policing international law, it is alarmingly clear that the United States is the power exacting any real violation of the law. America has been largely irresponsible in the middle east in this regard, for it places it's own interests ahead of any established rules of international engagement. The question of whether any power is justified invading the sovereignty of another nation without sufficient cause is again on the forefront of debate. Russia is correct in this instance; it has been law abiding and very vocal against the contrary. Putin has responded to Assad's request for assistance. The United States has been complicit in bolstering the very elements that it currently finds itself opposed in the region. Interestingly, Washington remains silent about this fact and only emphasizes it's intent to intervene so as to encourage the ouster of Assad. This should remind us of the errors America committed in Iraq. This should also remind us that those infractions were largely catalysts for what is now a greater threat than Hussein was to begin with. Perhaps a larger question ought to be considered: is the international community prepared to get behind a Russian initiative against ISIS regardless of any hidden agenda Putin and his government might also be advancing? The propaganda machine so visible in the west cannot continue ignoring this question with impunity. Evidence continues to mount that whatever strategy the United States is undertaking has either failed, or what the United States has told us simply isn't what it actually wants. If the goal is to beat back the ISIS advance, it isn't clear that opposing Assad does anything other than impede that agenda. Assad is faced with an impossible threat; an already faltering regime encroached upon by a multitude of factions, some supported by the west, others seemingly isolated from any coalition beyond what the ISIS leaders dictate. It is also unclear if western intelligence has a real beat on the organization of ISIS, what other subversive interests it might have and how far it is willing to extend its influence.

Friday, December 19, 2014

That's Just a Mental Health Issue

So many times this year we have encountered situations that have caused us to invoke the causal claim that, instead of pointing to something external from the source, or outside of the perpetrator's consciousness, we just say (to cover ourselves) "it's a mental health issue," and thus it must be ridiculous to suggest any contrary causal claim. Individual consciousness is a fragile thing; it doesn't take very much at all to cause upheaval in what is intended to be a "normal" development pattern.

If a college outcast lashes out against a house full of party goers, because, maybe he resents the pleasure and fun that those more socially accepted, popular kids are having, instead of pointing to the social caste system that inherently develops throughout the teenage years into early adulthood (for example), we just say... "well, it's a mental health issue." It is an interesting paradigm, one in which we are expected to understand the behavior of individuals based on a normative mental health condition. Are we even equipped to understand what a concept like mental health means? We live in a world where arbitrary norms are created based on qualities that society deems acceptable at the time. At some other time in history that normative claim was probably fundamentally different. Think women's rights and civil rights in general.

Are societal norms objective or normative claims, or are they arbitrary based on the current but ever changing zeitgeist? If social norms are arbitrarily created based on perceived value, then we are, without consideration, excluding large swathes of people from this "club" because they don't perceive societal norms in the same way. Then we are shocked when something extreme happens. We are so shocked that instead of trying to understand what might have caused the "issue" we marginalize the perpetrator and reduce the problem to "mental health."

When are we going to stop and ask the hard question... WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH? What does it mean to be mentally healthy? Once we ask that question, we are going to have to confront some of the fundamental societal claims that just might turn out to be fundamentally problematic. We expect people to adhere to norms, then we turn around and exclude them from the very systems that exude those rules as norms in the first place. Undoubtedly, we can learn a great deal about what is wrong with society when we first examine the marginalized and undervalued. Some are there because of true mental health problems, indeed. Brain chemistry is a complex paradigm. But brain chemistry isn't a paradigm that exists in a vacuum. We aren't all, in an absolute sense, responsible for our brain's chemical and neuronal development.

Mass shootings, for instance, are horrific events that consume public consciousness when public consciousness is made aware of them. Many times, the causes are reduced to "mental health." Maladjusted people lash out against society because they weren't nurtured or prepared for societal interaction. But what does it mean to be prepared for social interaction? If there is even one discontinuous thread in a person's consciousness that causes them to resent society for ANY reason, it doesn't seem farfetched that even that one thread could cause an extreme reaction when there is so much inequity and materialistic shortsightedness to react to. We live in a society where the mainstream media forces down our throats what people ought to be doing with their lives, what they ought to look like, and what they ought to believe. Millions of people spend their entire lives unhappy because they are forced to try to live up to the exceptionalism portrayed by money mongers and media groups. Public consciousness is saturated by a capitalistic media culture that deliberately marginalizes large groups of people based on perceived normative value claims. Interestingly, we are then shocked when someone who doesn't fit the criteria for exceptional humanness lashes out against society because they never saw an outcome that would yield them that kind of acceptance. If all it takes is one thread of discontinuous development to cause an extreme reaction, then why is it a surprise when someone goes off the rails and unleashes hell on some socially accepted venue?

We are so quick to invoke "mental health" as the issue without defining what mental health consists of in the first place. For example, we live in a society where marriage is considered a social norm. As a result, everyone makes it their dream of young adulthood to find a partner to marry. Indeed, there are many financial and social benefits to marriage. But isn't there something awry, when marriages by a large percentage end up dysfunctional, and end up as a result in divorce? It doesn't take much time to examine the "mental health" literature to come to the conclusion that broken homes and split parentage is large cause of psychological dysfunction in children and young adults. This is just one primary example of what might cause a discontinuity in mental health, and yet, this is a social norm that we, as a whole, stress as a good thing; indeed, an admirable thing.

What of poverty? Societal inequality is a huge issue today, because it is becoming increasingly clear that a society driven by capitalistic incentives creates unreasonable demands on such a competitive society. As a result, there are large swathes of people that are left out of this incentive structure and are forced into potentially detrimental psychological territory. Again, if all it takes is one traumatic event for a psychological complex to react unfavorably to the society, then indeed, the marginalized and disgruntled are certainly prime for such extreme reactions.

I don't want to get caught in the trap of reductionism. It's very easy to reduce causal claims to outliers and extremes. Mental health is much too complex and dynamic than that as an issue. There are, indeed, cases where individuals grow up in what appear to be perfect developmental conditions, but end up on the wrong side of the normative value divide. What explains these cases? If a single trauma can cause upheaval in mental development, then it isn't enough to reduce all extreme issues to mental health, without pointing to the problem of mental health and specifically attempting to understand the cause.

The brain is so much more complex than our ideological biases can ever imagine. If one thinks society should be a certain way at the expense of certain people, it might be time to examine more closely what one calls "normal." And if one cannot agree on what normal is, then the onus is on all of us to think more closely and clearly before we start invoking the causal claim for ANYTHING as "mental health."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stuck in the Loop: Pragmatic Idealism

When I was a young child, my perspective on life was very limited. Like most of us, I was focused on the things that made me happy. Because I was fortunate enough to have been planted in the socioeconomic dynamic that I was, I was able to exist in both a pragmatic and an idealistic paradigm. In some cases, a child is able to do what is necessary, and that necessity is the achievement of a kind of blind happiness. Adulthood turns this paradigm into a negative feedback loop for people like myself. Necessity as dictated by society does not make me happy, and yet, I am forced to engage in the loop in order to achieve some sort of happiness.

I continue to find it unacceptable that just because society deems it so, I must engage in what I consider ridiculous "work," primarily because that which I consider "work" is distinct in a very important way from the orthodoxy. Much like my youthful self, I am eager to merge the two paradigms, for happiness would just then be around the corner. When happiness becomes the necessity by virtue of achieving both goals, that is the both the ideal and the pragmatic working in tandem. I am not content to be a man of specific talent... a robotic self serving some external agenda by becoming locked into a mechanistic function. My utmost desire is to engage in what Emerson called Man Thinking, where the dictates of my actions serve and are served by the rigor of both my intellect and my activities as a human being in society. Society does not desire this sort of thing; indeed, this antiquated vocation has been forced into the abyss of academia; back into the underground corridors beneath the ivory towers; where above, those who desired something similar as myself find themselves shuffling about in the same mechanistic fashion as everyone else in the capitalistic drudgery. Yet, I find myself leaning in that direction, in spite of the hypocrisy afoot, because there is nothing else in the society that rewards one with the necessary dollar for something akin to Man Thinking.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Conversations with MV


2/4


TH: 
Is our system a system that expedites true specialization; or do we need a system that facilitates flexibility in thinking and knowledge, due to the pace of change in society?
It’s a question of the importance of specialization/non-specialization. The current paradigm is specialization driven. Is our system one of increasing specialization? Or, and this is what I’m thinking, it’s a way to help facilitate that flexibility in thinking while still orienting students toward what they have aptitude for/what the society “needs” at the time.

Indeed, I don’t think moving away from specialization in education is counter to our “idea.” I think it might actually be the crux of our idea.

My problem with this is simple: isn't it the case that precisely because the work force is changing, specialized degrees are ultimately counter-productive; wouldn't it be beneficial for the education system to facilitate developmental foundations and increasing understanding of personal aptitude, rather than in every field offer specialized degrees? Of course were going to need specialists in medicine for example, perhaps… but my job does NOT need a specialized degree. Your job doesn't necessarily need a specialized degree, but the overall ability to manipulate abstractions and understand patterns that operate within a certain legal framework. That doesn't require a specialized degree, necessarily. 

I don’t know… this all depends upon one’s view of the current system. I definitely think that it doesn't prepare people for the job market, because there is no incentive structure built into the education system from day one; rather, when people are interested in something that doesn't necessarily “pay,” they are discouraged and sent off to do something they would rather not do. I think the system should be oriented to help children and learners be helped along their path of aptitude to give them better understanding of their options when they are forced to choose a specialized path.

But we need to define what we mean by specialized. Because an education path that caters to something very specific, as you said, could become futile with a chance technological innovation. Perhaps the primary MAJORS in our system should be the general foundational majors, and the specializations should be addendums that utilize the virtues of the general majors.

I think the system requires reform. It’s a potential paradox: specialization is a difficult problem. I’m torn on how I feel about this. In one respect, the system is effective in sculpting people into agents with specific functions; though I’m not so sure increased specialization is the answer. However, there seems to be some intuitive problem with the way the system gives people too much freedom to choose degree programs and specializations that the society either does not want or does not need. 

How do we balance? On the one extreme, we force people into specializations. On the other, people are given complete freedom. (There are many questions here, obviously). We fall in the middle, recognizing that specialization is necessary, but we are arguing for a more efficient way to train people into fitting into specializations that the market might be pulling them towards.

I still agree with our system’s structural principle. There needs to be a better way of creating an informed, effectively influential populace. The system should work to improve itself, not degrade under the weight of the burden of too much freedom. It’s an odd paradox: complete freedom is too extreme. Our early childhood education should be a process to facilitate aptitude, to lead learners through a process toward specialization that they can be passionate about. 

Yeah… after reflection, it’s a drastically more difficult problem than I imagined initially. But I still think it is worth exploring this idea; of reforming the education system to allow for more wherewithal for the kids. More awareness of their own strengths not thrust into a world of almost randomness. 


MV: 
I think our system increases specialization in some capacity.  The issue I've been debating in my head today is how well our system would work with a changing work force.  Our system is designed around the idea of getting rid of generic degrees.  So instead of being an English major, you major in some major field (legal document writing) and then minor in English.  What happens if legal document writing becomes automated then?  The specific degree is now completely worthless......while a more ambiguous, generic degree in English would retain value.  Perhaps.  However, the argument for our system is that once you are an experienced worker - your degree means less and less anyway.  So someone with an English degree and 10 years of specialized work experience is essentially pigeon holed anyway.  The specificity of the education does amplify this which creates a lack of flexibility in the work force which can create economic problems at a macro level under certain circumstances.  

It is an interesting discussion.  Specific education would help our current situation because it would help get you into a job.  However, specific education would have killed the economic boom of the 90's.  So when designing a system, we must consider far more than our current situation.  

Well, aptitude and education are separate.....and then they are not.  Upon reading your thoughts I immediately thought - well, if we had a reliable means with which to gauge aptitude then why do we need advanced education at all?  If you major in something broad, then a business will have to train you to teach you the specifics.  What is the point of the degree then?  Why not just have the business hire based on aptitude and teach the specifics that it would otherwise have to teach anyway?  

It seems to me that the major function of education, in the current system, is to rank people.  I can judge a person’s aptitude based on how highly ranked their school is and their GPA.  I know a person who majors in finance will have a higher aptitude with numbers than a person who majored in English.  The current system allows for that type of thinking, from the perspective of the hiring agent.  The hiring agent can also assume a basic understanding of the specific systems in place.  I know a finance major will understand a few basic principles that an English major probably won't have knowledge of.  So aside from ranking people, a degree provides some very basic value.  But it seems like the primary point is the rank people. 

Perhaps the question then is, when you say that our current system doesn't prepare someone for the job market - how would a less specialized system do any better?  It seems to me that the only way to prepare someone for the job market more efficiently is to become MORE specialized......which then runs the risk of being incapable of adaptation to technology.  

Also - while our jobs don't need degrees.....someone with a finance degree would be significantly more likely to have an aptitude for my job than someone with a different degree.  There are exceptions, but hiring is based on probability.  The problem with higher education is that there are degrees where aptitude is unclear and probabilities are impossible so these majors are often ignored.  An English major might have aptitude in what?  Organization of ideas?  Creativity?  Operating within a defined rule set (grammar)?  Reading comprehension?  It is too vague of a concept.  Finance is more concrete so it is easier for hiring agents to understand it.  The problem still remains, to help an English major and a hiring agent find some kind of link where they understand each other - you have to make the degree less vague and therefore more specialized.  

The basic link is that hiring agents want a specific skill set (or aptitude in a specific area) so they are looking for education that speaks to that specific skill set (or aptitude).  The specificity of employment demand seems to warrant MORE specific education.  

To create less specific education would create a more adaptable work force; however it would make the problem of hiring even more of a problem.  A balance must be struck between the two ideas.  You need a work force with specific knowledge but also flexible enough to survive innovation.  

I still argue that solving the problems of today would require more specialization.......however I also think this would cause problems in the future.   

So I am less convinced today that our idea is a good one.  

Well maybe not.  Our system would guide people of a certain aptitude into a customized education that fits their skill set (intellectual strengths).  This would make the assumptions that employers already make increasingly accurate.  

At the back end (the college level), the idea would be to get rid of majors that have no employable value.  However, building that curriculum into majors that have employable value.  For instance, business school does this already.  You go into a business school because you think you like business admin - you end up specializing in marketing, finance, accounting, strategy etc. The degree is both broad and focused at the same time. 

I guess social science majors would have to get pulled into the appropriate degree (teaching, econ and perhaps a handful of others) and then what we know now as English, Philosophy, history etc. will be more meaningful minors.  So you will end up with a specialized degree because the minor will have meaning, but the degree will remain broad because of the major. So someone with a degree in Econ with a minor in history will have a broad understanding of econ with a solid basis in history.  This isn't really any different than today's system, however we are basically guiding students better and getting rid of degrees with no employable value.  

Perhaps the weakness in today's high school system is that someone with an aptitude for social science does not have access to more employable subject matter.  There are really no econ classes in high school so a student might fall into an English major simply because they haven't had the exposure to econ or another subject that the same aptitude levels would apply towards.  

However, by limiting the choices of college degrees......we are forcing some level of specialization; however it isn't so specialized that it is restrictive.  We know that econ will be a meaningful degree as long as humans engage in exchange of goods (the foreseeable future).  English is a broader degree, but it is too broad.  

I don’t know, maybe the current system isn't so bad as long as we simply got rid of the degrees that have no employable value and improved the k-12 experience.  

2/5:
TH:
Such an interesting discussion yesterday.

I have many thoughts, though hashing them out in any structured way will be difficult. First of all; why are we intent on reforming the education system in the first place? Does it not work as it is? I don’t think it works as it could work. Further, what evidence is there that suggests the current system doesn’t work as well as it could? Is the evidence based on assumptions we are making about society at large? I think that is probably a large part of it. However, our views on the way society functions are probably fairly different, though they converge on many points. My problem right now is that I can’t stop my brain from zooming way out and looking “down” over the system; the problem area(s) start with education; but why? Because it seems there are way too many futile, unproductive people in the world. Part of that is because of the system. The system gives people the freedom to pursue their own ends. If their ends do not conform to the goals of the system, their ends are often out of reach; the primary example of this problem is what you’ve focused on already: degrees. Fruitless degrees yield no fruit; not because in and of themselves they are fruitless, but because the system is oriented in such a way as to not reward people for the skills they obtain from those degrees. This is a systemic problem; the problem thus, for me, is simply this: the system is a material condition of great complexity that is determined by what it desires… production and sustainability. Whatever the results of those desires are (greater efficiency in manufacturing, better technology, better service industry, etc etc); people pursue degrees to fit into a structure that ideally facilitates some goal within that paradigm. If that is the only paradigm, then the education system must be restructured to facilitate that goal.

However, perhaps society needs reformation on a very general level. Perhaps productivity and sustainability are going through a paradigm shift; with increases in technology (as we’ve mentioned), many jobs are no longer in existence. The demand for specialization will maintain itself, but the specialization needs to be more “broad” in scope; that is, people need to be prepared to work many types of jobs over time, and perhaps no longer think in terms of long term, single job lives. Degree programs should specialize in creating a broad skillset that focuses on certain disciplines. Our major/minor distinction is important here; if, for example, an individual emerges from our new education system with a focus in finance and economics; his skills should also have developed in such a way as to orient him toward policy implementation and political ethics/morality. Education shouldn’t mold someone into a niche, because society is necessarily a changing entity; in virtue of its complexity, and the drastic increase in technology advancement, our understanding of the world is shifting. People should be trained to be flexible, to be able to work many kinds of jobs.

I’ve run out of time, but yeah…  


MV:
Well, one thought I suppose is that the education system is not the issue.  People are the issue so therefore to fix the "problem", which will need to become a defined term, we will need to somehow provide means with which to fix people. 

I think I've used this line of thinking before - but economics majors and business majors are a great example.  There are econ/biz majors that land in those fields simply "because", and those people typically land in low paying, meaningless jobs.  Then there are econ/biz majors that have a true passion for the field and they end up with more meaningful and better paying work.  There are multiple layers to this of course.  People with "passion" could simply be harder workers or less lazy or more intelligent or from the right background with the right parents and the list goes on and on.  That is the complexity to this.  How do you disect that onion and determine what factors are the difference between the person with "passion" and the person without?  And then how do you manipulate those factors to increase the pool of people who have a "passion"?

A seperate issue is the issue of people having a passion for education that has no employable value.  You are the prime example of that.  Philosophy has no employable value when compared to other majors, however you are gifted with it and have a passion for it.  So how did the system fail here?  Is it a failure that a philosophy degree exists?  Perhaps there is a failure of expectations.  People who major in degrees such as this should be warned quite severely that the employability of the degree is essentially zero.  The degree can exist for people who have the time and money to pursue it, not for people who are primarily focused on education as a means into the work force. 

However, I'm willing to bet that another failure is present in the system in regards to these types of degrees.  I'm thinking that many individuals who end up in these degrees are people who end up "lost" in the system.  You gravitate towards something that you find comfortable.  English.  History.  Philosophy.  Art.  These are things that could easily be hobbies for many people and there is a comfort there.  Comfort does not neccesarily mean a level of aptitude.  However, if you are a mediocire highschool student that enjoys writing then you may just wind up as an english major because that is your comfort zone.  It also does not exclude aptitude.  These degrees seem aptidudely ambigious to me.  There are infinite reasons for people to gravitate towards "comfort" degrees.  ADHD, depression, lack of guidance, lack of exposure to other subjects, lack of understanding of one's own self, lack of understanding of the job market etc etc etc.  Having a system that addresses these problems is also infinitely challenging. 

HOWEVER - it seems to me that one of the biggest areas of concern is the lack of guidance provided to young people.  This might be a paradigm shift.  In the past - the family was a stronger core unit and it seems to me that it is possible that the responsability of guidance is shifting from the household to the "system".  I'm biased towards my own life of course.  I received a lot of guidance from my parents/brothers/relatives/friends/friends parents etc.  It is most likely that this social structure I grew up in is what fostered my mentality towards work and education.  I'm driven towards things because I've been focused on them since a young age and that focus derived from the environment I grew up in.  It seems more and more likely that this environment must be provided by the "system" because the family is no longer capable of providing this is many cases. 
Which leads is into more of a political science and philosophy (with perhaps law and history) discussion of the role of government and society?  I'm not really interested in going down that path because it seems less practical (by means of being more outside our level of influence).  The point is that I'm becoming less convinced that the education structure is the root issue.  There seems to be more of a macro-societal inefficiency.  The question then is - is the inefficiency a chronic problem or is it just the result of constant change?  Whenever there is change there will be inefficiency.  It is inherent and acceptable.  We went through massive change as a society in the past 20 years and I think society is struggling to evolve.  The issue for us then is what ideas do we have to aid that evolution?  What future do we envision and what type of tactical actions are neccesary to ensure a safe transition into the future?  

TH: 
Very nice.

All very good points. It is a truism that the people are the problem – That is always the case, simply because people make up the society. This is my biggest focal point in philosophy of society, etc… The system is comprised of people, and people influence the system. However, we are at a point in history, if you will, in which the system is so entrenched that it is very difficult for the people, in the strict sense, to alter its course; rather, it is now bound up by the influence of larger, more influential entities. These are obvious points to make; but it is important to acknowledge that the education system is one of those entrenched institutions that pushes back hard against change precisely because those “larger entities of influence” have their grips on it.

Education as a system is perhaps the wrong way to go about it then, or rather, the wrong lens through which to examine the problem and offer a solution. Perhaps education ought to encompass a wide range of learning that, as you mentioned, pervades the home and the family, and creates conditions for people who didn’t grow up with rich family influence (rich in the qualitative sense… not money). However, we encounter the issue of the age old debate; freedom vs government/institutional intervention. It’s a problem with the kind of complexity that inherently exists in the system.

We grew up in completely different situations. I grew up with no direction whatsoever. I was allowed to make my own way without the kind of guidance that facilitated good, preparatory decisions. And I’m dealing with the consequences of my upbringing every single day. You’re right though; regardless of the environment, in some sense, aptitude is often able to persevere through influence; it’s just that the aptitude of an individual can be utilized in ways that do not facilitate sustainability for the individual and thus, right on down the generational line. Of course there are ways to break that chain, but yes, that is most definitely the issue in our society. Families no longer, in a broad sense, “guide” their children along a certain path, but rather, for many sociological reasons--parents work more and harder, are more distracted by media and technology, are also products of the same kinds of families that didn’t guide their children… etc—and as a result there are generations of children in the same boat as me, and, perhaps these are too broadly generalized to be verifiable, but perhaps not as many children like you who grew up with that rich family influence that guided you to where you are.

You’re right, these are very complex philosophical and sociological problems. Indeed, all social science disciplines are needed to understand these problems. Which brings me to my next point:

If the problem is inherent in the system, and the system is composed of families who do not facilitate the kind of developmental setting that helps children become “agents,” as it were, and as such people find themselves in degree programs that either don’t satisfy them existentially, and thus create wealth but not health, or they find themselves in the job market with “unemployable” degrees, and perhaps do not have the material conditions necessary to facilitate happiness and wealth; then there is something to be said about these unemployable degrees that ought to be used to help explore and understand the conditions through which these problems emerged. In a lot of ways, we encounter a negative feedback loop – because our system demands the kind of degrees that in a lot of ways, sustain the very problems – more work to obtain more specialized degrees, more hours on the job, less family time--- etc etc.

Yeah… I wish I had more time to sustain my trains of thought, but I’m constantly interrupted due to my unfulfilling job that I have only to make money that my unemployable degree landed me.

MV: 
Look at you defending your unemployable degree haha.  Well played sir. 

I think the family vs society thing is the real issue.  Arielle has an associates degree and finds herself in a very "employable" state of being.  She also had that rich family upbringing that you discussed.  It seems based on this microcasm that the upbringing trumps the degree, regardless of degree type or field. 

It should also be noted that we are making very broad sweeping generalizations.  A specialized degree does not neccesarily mean more time spent at work and less family time.  I think we may be both putting too much weight on degrees in general.  You spend 4 years in college and 40+ years working.  The degree leads to a job and acts as a first step down a path, however there are countless other steps in a human life. 

Specifically - I'm thinking about the problem you brought up.  The system demands degrees that do not focus on adjustments to the system.  However - it seems to me that a 4 year degree could not possibly prepare someone to make adjustments to the system.  It is more likely that someone would have to spend 20 years studying the system to really understand it.  These types of people would likely have advanced degrees + advanced work experience. 

So my new question - when weighing the grand scale of a human's life - how important is the degree choice?  


TH:
Good questions.

Interesting. This goes back to how our discussion began in College Park. The assumptions we make based on value determine whether or not something has any inherent “worth” to society. Quite literally too; if the market devalues something, it’s because the “agents” that act within the market determine that valuation assumption. So weighting degree choices on a subjective spectrum influenced by sociocultural/sociopolitical/market-driven assumptions is difficult to do beyond merely pointing what dominates the professional milieu.

The grand scale of a human life includes how one is oriented professionally, personally, etc and their attitude/feeling in regards to that orientation. A degree, in our society, either situates someone effectively toward pursuing some goal (namely, income which allows for the pursuit of basic needs), or does not situate them effectively at all toward those goals. The way the system exists now, it seems obvious. But I guess it depends on your view of our society, politically/culturally. Is it successful? Is the economic crisis evidence that it is not successful/efficient?

All these factors and more play into it. So a reformation of the education system might be a process worth considering depending on where you fall intellectually in this labyrinth of conditionals.

Yeah. So we may not have anything to contribute at all; regardless, thinking about social well being and political efficacy and cultural success through the lens of education reform is interesting. 

MV:
I think this discussion is more interesting from the lens of "how did we get to where we are now?".  And it seems, efficient or not, the system makes sense based on the questions we are asking.  It makes sense in the sense that it seems to have followed a logical evolutionary path, not in the sense that it is the best system one could imagine.  There is this constant balancing act between financial motivation and intellectual motivation.  Between specialization and generalization.  Between the demand for jobs and the demand for quality of life.  The balancing act, when looked at through the lens of education, is seen fairly clearly which is why I agree that it is an interesting lens.  Seeing something clearly doesn't make it any less complex of course, but it does seem helpful in understanding the system. 

I think education is somewhere in the middle of the "process" of a human life, which is why it provides a nice 360 degree view.  Your childhood environment will, to a certain degree, dictate what field you choose to study in.  All the numerous factors, your parents occupation, your friends, your lifestyle, your income bracket.....those will dictate your interests.  Of course - at the macro level, there are always exceptions.  So your environment --> education --> career.  Education being in the middle gives a solid understanding of the push/pull between all other facets of life.  The system essentially enables/inhibits the flow of one human through this process.  In theory, the best system would ensure the best environment, allowing one to have the most effecient education and go on to have the most meaningful career (based on self actualized value, not money). 

The difficulty lies in how vast the system is.  Having a bad relationship can throw off this process.  Should the system account for that somehow?  Having a child, having a car accident, having a death in the family, moving, etc etc.  There are so many variables.  It can be reasonably said that it is impossible for a system to account for all of them.......so therefore the system must decide which variables it should/can control and which it should/can ignore. 

This brings us back to the role of government, simply because in our current situation it seems likely that government is the only agent powerful enough to effect the system.  Of course, the government agent is an agent made up of many agents.  To become one of those agents you must go through the system, which seems to bias certain environments, educations and careers into the path towards agency.  Therefore, our agents (assuming they act morally), are making decisions based on their own biased, limited knowledge of the system which is likely to have a complete lack of diversity in thought and background. 

So the original idea, at the macro level, was to find a kink in the system that would throw society out of this negative feedback loop.  Changing the environment is unlikely, because it requires agents to choose to do so and the negative feedback loop blocks this.  This CAN be done at a micro level by motivated individuals and groups, but would likely be more grassroots than systemic.  Education could do this, however we run into the problem of the balancing act (paragraph 1). 

Perhaps, instead of having specialized education accross the board......we have a focused plan for civil service.  We identify individuals who have certain aptitude towards the skill set required in policy making and allow them an option that provides a clear path into government.  Ideally, we create a government agent that is representative of the population as a whole. 




No-Place Like Utopia

This is a world of microcosmic obscurity and macrocosmic uncertainty. On the one hand, we can analyze the specific workings of a minor institution, determine why it is necessary, what it's purpose is supposed to be, how it functions, and whether or not it fulfills that purpose. On the other, we can examine the grandiose, and see patterns supposedly emerge from overwhelming data sets quantized by super computers and monitors.
In both cases, we are bewildered to find that numbers at the same time do not lie, and lack the virtue of true prescience. Yet, we proceed to make bold assumptions concerning very liberty-sensitive subjects. How can we do this confidently? Are we so bold?

A utopia would require, first of all, a technological infrastructure that comes as close as possible to that prescience virtue mentioned above. Secondly, it would require a means through which to enable positive eugenics without humanitarian atrocities. These two demands are inescapable problems, but at least with respect to the former, we can somewhat safely bring that condition to life as a thought experiment. Regarding the second notion, well, we must be so bold as to posit a system that enables eugenics... It's as simple as that.

One must keep in mind that Utopia is a word that really means "no-place," and to proceed with the abundant cognition that such no-place can never come to pass as long as it portends to express true utopianism is paramount, so long as the utopian writer desires to "try out" controversial ideas in the societies.

A concern to be addressed is the fact that utopianism is an ideal set of conditions hinged on ideological constructs. Such constructs are both the necessary enabling conditions and the major factors of conflict in any diversified society. One cannot make the claim that eugenics is necessary without some notion of the "pure" or actual elite person. One must acknowledge the ideological ruse a utopian espouses when his ideas encroach upon human heterogeneity. There are some preferred features the utopian requires in order to trust his agents in his no-place. Those features will necessarily exclude large swaths of people. As a result, the interested reader must be willing to render very real ethical problems into the abstract, see them as problems to be solved in a later iteration of the system and allow the ideas themselves to come together.

We all exist within boxes, connected to clusters of other boxes that we either voluntarily participate in or involuntarily are associated with simply in virtue of our existence. It is thus impossible to attempt a utopia without attempting to maintain a universe within which those boxes are allowed to persist. We mustn't do away with our ethical sensibilities, but we must be able to do away with certain "beliefs-because-they've-always-been-the-case." Ideology is both dangerous and inevitable, we must account for its influence in such a way that assumes it's effect on agents in the society, and engineer an approach to directing that effectiveness.