Sunday, September 19, 2010

S And T

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain
One of the surprises awaiting you as you grow older is to realize that a day comes when most of the people in the world are younger than you are. I don't know if age secures what can genuinely be called wisdom, but at the very least it provides experience and hopefully the ability to see with broader vision the affairs of life.

The famous saying "There's no fool like an old fool" is certainly true. If you are a fool at 18 you may be criticized for it though it is essentially forgivable, But an 80 year old fool has no excuse.

I remember very little of what I learned in school. There were some theories of math and science, something about the time line of world events and an awakening, like the spreading of a peacocks tail, of the realities of great literature from an inspiring English teacher. Otherwise it was just bits of information that caught my attention and sent my imagination blasting off in one direction or another. What I didn't retain was easily rediscovered whenever I wanted or needed it.

One of the things I have seen to my chagrin as my education has developed is the younger generations inability to look at a broad picture of the world's doings. People will quote the U.S. Constitution (usually incorrectly) without having read it and knowing what it says in its totality. Freedom of speech applies to my ideas but not yours. Freedom of worship applies to my religion but not yours because yours is using up resources and convincing people erroneously. Freedom of assembly means that the members of even the most peaceful demonstration against the majority opinion should be reported to the FBI.

People will take a phrase out of context to prove someone is wrong when they're not. People will doctor videos to make it appear as if someone said something they didn't and other people will believe it. And it's all done in the false name of righteousness.

Years ago I read a book written by an American Army general about strategy and tactics and the difference between them. What is an actor doing reading a book about military theory, you ask? I don't know but I enjoyed it. (A former girlfriend thought I was reading it to learn how to win arguments with her. I left her behind with her arguments.) What that book taught me was that there are always tactics involved but they must be measured against an overall stated strategy. It also taught me that some strategies were valuable and progressive and others were not. These days most people just look at the tactics and misread them.

When General Sherman tore up rail lines, burned fields and left a trail of utter destruction on his march through the South it wasn't because he was an evil man, in spite of what some people said and still say. It was a tactic. The strategy was to cut off the Confederate Army's supplies and communication in order to weaken and demoralize it so that General Grant could win the war for the Union side. As a result we became one nation, indivisible.

If you want to win an election to beat or unseat your opponent then that's your strategy. That's it. And you will use whatever tactics, overhand or underhand, to do it. But if your strategy is to put yourself where you can effectively provide valuable and progressive changes for your country then winning the election is just one of your tactics. Why is it so many people can't see the difference? You don't learn about this stuff in school, evidentially.

DB - The Vagabond


Let us now praise middle names.

These are the middle names of some famous and infamous wh dwellers.
Who are they?


Good luck


pacifica62 said...

Save for a few basic math functions, some tidbits from science, my typing skills and perhaps a geography reference or two, I have not used much of what I learned in school either. My best teacher has been life and it has taken a few years under my belt to be able to see this and admit it. In university it was said to me that the only thing a degree told the world was that I knew how to look up information and where. You know, there is a lot of truth in that as a degree does not make one any kind of "expert" or "authority" on anything. The old saying that "a litle learning is a dangerous thing" certainly is very evident today. Often it appears that there is no strategy, only questionable tactics that are both devious and malicious. The wisdom of old age allows me to discern the true motives and note the lack of any genuine strategy.

DB said...

Very well put Pacifica.

Beth said...

I like your take on this. Some people focus on winning an election because they want the power and the position. Once they get there, they don't have a vision about what they want to do with it!

As for school, I did use much of what I learned throughout my career. I've forgotten some of it, of course, because if you don't use it every day, you lose it. Some of the more interesting things I've learned took place after school and have nothing to do with my career. I think the most important thing is to keep learning, no matter what it might be. It's what keeps us going!