Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fertilized Freedom 5/02/09

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

Malcolm Forbes
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Good day to you.
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One of the strangest and most dangerous human aberrations is the inability to listen to an idea outside of one's prejudice without becoming enraged. Unfortunately we have seen a lot of that lately on the public political scene. I have also seen it in my private life.

When I was in high school we were told which textbooks to buy for the various classes, as was normal. Being a good student I carefully studied those books, on government, history and literature, believing I was reading a legitimate, unbiased account of those topics. As a grew up, got out into the world and heard and read other points of view, my mind broadened to accept the possibility of different ideas. Decades went by and one day I came across some of those high school texts that had somehow ended up in my sister's library. I read through them again and was stunned to find how one sided much of the writing was and how viciously the authors attacked the ideas they didn't agree with, some of which I had come to accept. The editorial content of the textbooks simply expressed the prejudices of my teachers. I went back further to consider what I had carried over from my sub-standard elementary school, remembering the scornful remarks of some of those teachers about certain ideas. It seems that my education was narrow minded, not open minded. My thinking had been closed up in a box, and I didn't know it. Fortunately I survived it, I hope. Some don't.

For over a year I have been making daily observations in this journal about ideas, events and human life. If I express my own opinion, I say so. Last year a friend of mine, an actor who I had worked with a few times and who I thought was a good guy, asked if he could be included on my list of those who receive my daily dollops of delight. So I did. But immediately he began responding to them in a very rude and scornful manner. He simply did not want to read anything that didn't conform to his vew of the world nor what he was convinced was the only truth. He finally said "Don't send me this crap." So I stopped.

The purpose of my journal has been all along to allow myself and others to think about things, to ponder and consider with an open, active mind the ideas that come across my desk. My motive has been out of respect and appreciation for the infinite and fascinating complexities of the universe of human thought. The reason for reading anything written by a thinking person (and I humbly consider myself one of those) is to provide nourishment for the heart, mind and soul. To disagree is healthy provided it comes from careful thinking and articulated with respect. But to a priori slam the door in the face of an opposing idea no matter how clear and thoughtful it is makes one a dangerous fool, in my opinion.

DB The Vagabond
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Suddenly it's June. Imagine that.
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6 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

Yes, it is hard to imagine it is June ... amazing how time flies isn't it?

Some way smarter cat once said that to think is one of the most difficult things a man can do ... which is why so few actually do it.

That is why you have bloviator spouting their rhetoric and coming across as authority, because who wants to actually read and listen to what people are saying?

I will never get tired of telling people that 'I don't watch the news that they are watching', because in between the breathless commentary, is something else, and that is what I hear.

So I try to make up my mind before I let you do it. And when I let you, it is with the full understanding that I did not choose to think, and that I am trusting in someones judgement. That is something else that is hard for people to do.

Beth said...

It's really a shame that your "friend" felt that way about it. I think you do a great job here of getting us all to think a little beyond our usual limits. That's a very good thing, in my book. Speaking of books (nice segue!), I have an Indiana history textbook from about a century ago, and it's astounding to read some of the lessons in there, and to realize that was what was taught. Scary. Hugs, Beth

Rose said...

I feel sorry for your friend that he can't appreciate your writings. You definitely provide nourishment for my heart, mind and soul.

Hugs, Rose

Gerry said...

I think biased text books have confused a lot of young students, sometimes for life, because if that student does not continue to read and learn, the view of reality they got in high school which had been doctored to fit 'educators' idea of what was good for the young to know or think was the truth, then that is where these students may be stuck for life. Which to me is why distorting history can be so damaging. I saw this happen in my own state to a large degree where everything tended to be shaped to support the religion that dominated Utah. So that was a very formidable brainwashing to throw off, and when students were encouraged to read only church approved books questioning such views of reality was not going to happen. I am sure this has happened many times down through history when a religion was completely dominant and to disagree with such views became dangerous. Gerry

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Intersting perspective on what was contained in our text books. Very scary that :o)

I agree that you provide us with thought provoking entries, and if someone cannot appreciate that, then, the heck with them....

DB said...
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