Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It’s Never Been About Effort

Conditioning for the 20th century, was conditioning for the assembly-line world of work and life of the pre-personal computer age. Before there was the personal computer, there were large scale computer or data processing systems -- probably best represented by the key punch cards that the most recent generations can’t even envision as having anything to do with daily life. Work was often tedious -- and so the conditioning machine of the treadmill was an appropriate metaphor. One simply conditioned themselves mindlessly to go through the motions, compartmentalizing that activity while one’s mind and interests drifted elsewhere.

With the increasing popularity of the personal computers, the processing capabilities could be individually programmed anyway one wanted to use them -- and so the critical process was the learning experience of doing something for the first time -- and then setting one’s preferences to do that same routine over again each time, without further extraordinary effort.

However, the conditioning (education) of the past, especially in the hands of unthinking instructors, was to confuse the effort, as the value in itself -- so that the more one struggled, the more pain one endured, the more one was miserable -- was the good in itself. We realize now, that was a misunderstanding of the real value; it was not because we were miserable that we become better people, but because of simply adopting better behaviors directly -- rather than the need to overcome bad ones -- and in this confusion, creating problems for ourselves to overcome.

The conditioning as well as the personalities of that emerging consciousness, could not shake off the conditioning of centuries in response to the challenge of real problems -- and so its initial reaction, when it was physically freed from those problems, was to create and maintain them in the heads, for the lack of a new way of regarding life -- that is the great challenge and task of this century to re-create.

In a society of affluence and leisure, what does one do because they want to do -- and not because they have to do it. This is so revolutionary a notion that most people’s immediate response is to insist on recounting all the things they feel they have to do -- and so have no time to consider what it is they truly want to do, or would do if they were actually free. People living in dire circumstances hundreds of years ago, already had a notion that they were/could be free, and here we are living in times of virtually unlimited choices -- regarding that we have no freedom.

So the perception needs to be brought in line with the actuality of contemporary life -- rather than in convincing ourselves that no matter how much we have, we still need more to be happy, rich and free. The tactic usually used in conditioning programs is to convince one of their deficiencies -- to motivate them to become other than the person they are -- without first discovering the person they are, who may actually be far more talented than the assessor ever imagined a person could be -- because he can only assess talent less than themselves.

Immense talent, will always exceed anyone else’s ability to recognize or judge those abilities -- because they’ve never encountered them before and couldn't imagine anybody else having them. They have been conditioned to think that what they know, is all that can be known.


At March 29, 2007 12:50 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It’s having real choices, and not just theoretical ones that can never be exercised, that is freedom. The choices is the freedom -- and not simply, the choice to conform to the only choice allowed, approved or “politically correct.” In authoritarian societies, that difference is confused and obscured -- deliberately. This is done through the propaganda machinery of which the press is not an innocent bystander -- but often has the biggest stake to gain. Since their product is presumably information as the antidote to ignorance and misinformation, if those do not presently exist, it is seen as entirely necessary to create them.

At March 30, 2007 11:57 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The critical development in computing was the movement from sequential processing on centralized data processing machines to random access (real-time) processing of individual users.

Most people do not have a critical need to send a manned flight to the moon -- but are greatly empowered with a minimal boost to their computing (data processing) capabilities as we saw at the end of the pocket calculator boom.

That first revolution, made math easily accessible and usable to large numbers of people who loathed math for any number of good reasons -- of which the most common was bad teaching.

The second great revolution was in enabling many people to become writers -- because of the ease with which computerized word processors made them so. But even then, there were still many imposing unnecessary barriers to writing with their own -imposed limitations on how writing should be.

That is true in just about every field -- but notoriously so in instructors of science, math, engineering and technology -- not inherently because those disciplines are that difficult but because many choose those paths to avoid relating effectively with others socially. So the problem is notoriously poor communication skills -- rather than the difficulty of any subject.

That's why the soft subjects of the liberal arts seem much easier to many -- because it is entirely about molding the other person into one's way of thinking -- often without any real content.

One just knows that they are "correct" -- because their instructor graded them so. And so, for the rest of their lives. that is what they think truth is -- whatever anybody else tells them it is, and will reward them for repeating dutifully. They also get to call themselves "liberals," "enlightened" or "progressives." Arriving at "consensus" is of paramount importance -- rather than determining any truth. In fact, they feel that the majority makes anything "right" or "true."

But a few may have been so fortunate as to run into "teachers" who suggested, that the real value was not simply in being "right," but discovering the truth of anything for oneself -- thinking for oneself, as the actualization and fulfillment of the meaning and purpose of their life.


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