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Are Americans hostile to knowledge?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Connemara, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    In my experience and the exp. of most of my colleagues, the worst are the business majors.
    They only want to know what they think will make them money.


    The difference between this in an Education major vs. a business major is that the business major is not trying to set themselves up to promulgate this with society's young 'uns.

    For disclosure, I was not a major in either field in undergrad.
     
  2. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    I'm all for business. But not so much at the undergrad level. I'm more for the broad, liberal arts (free your mind!) education, and for narrow training in a field in grad school, whether that be business, education, etc. It's true that not everyone can go to grad school. But there is something to be said for on-the-job training and for practical experience. I majored in int'l relations bec. I thought it would give me the broadest education, but some chose it bec. they wanted a career in it.
     
  3. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    That's silly; one has to know what to spend the money on once one makes it.

    Jon.


    [​IMG] Exactly. Business classes don't tell you what to spend money on. That's what SF was for.
     
  4. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    We make sure to beat that "wonder" crap out of them before college. Actually, before middle school if possible.

    How does this happen? Dull, uninteresting teachers, what?

    My perception on most everything in America is that we are fed the showy, but shallow, and that the initial surge of reaction to that spectacle constantly dulls an understanding of the subtle, the sublime, and the sententious. The quieter yet greater joys can't compete; where life, like television shows, constantly has it's commercial breaks, people lack the attention span necessary to feel the depth available; it doesn't get as many synapses firing fast enough.

    Where, then, is wonder without depth? How can one understand a chautauqua when one gets bored too fast to get lost in it?


    It's like the revelation I had with cocktails and the lesson of a maraschino cherry. The cherries Americans are used to are a dayglo red, stripped of color and flavors by bleach, plumped by calcium salts, and recolored with synthetic, showy red and flavored with super sweet synthetic almond. A cherry? Where'd it go? All that's left is this showy thing sounding one overblown note of color and flavor. No subtlety, no depth. A real maraschino is a wild sour cherry, soaked in brine of it's own juice, some moderate spices and a little sugar. It's color is dark unto black, and a cacophony of flavors and textures spill from it. It's all subtlety that gives back such a layered experience. But it's harder.

    So true. In my world, wonder is holiness. We need to pay attention to that natural desire to know.

    What do you do?

    In my experience the worst of these types were Education majors.


    Oh, I don't know about that. I suppose it is true for many though I have known some Ed. majors who fired my thirst for the journey.


    ~ Huntsman
     
  5. King Francis

    King Francis Senior member

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    Not necessarily a new theme; Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life won the Pulitzer in 1963.
    +1 Although it sucks to be surrounded by willfully ignorant people, it's even worse to have to deal with pseudointellectuals -- by which I mean all stripes of same, from those wrongheadedly convinced of the rightness of their judgements to the ones who make terms like "global consciousness" and "social justice" both common and meaningless to the preening self-labeled artistes and sophisticates. I once knew a guy who couldn't have a conversation without indulging in at least one non sequitur meant to enhance the listener's appreciation of his so-called intelligence. For this reason I had to suffer references, in garden-variety conversation, to various literary works, artists, historical events, and religious trivia. His come-ons to my ex, who unceremoniously rebuffed him, never helped matters between us. Finally, I tired of his company, and cut him out of my life. So I'd say it goes: wise people > intelligent, knowledgeable people > average decent folk > ignorant people > willfully ignorant people > pseudointellectuals who should know better assuming all the while that wisdom and intelligence don't preclude good character.
     
  6. KenR

    KenR Member

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    What is your definition of wise? Is it knowledge + experience? Or is it more?
     
  7. Rome

    Rome Senior member

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    I'm no intellectual or nothing so I suppose thats why I dont already know the answer to this question. What is all this intellectualism supposed to bring about? Are we we expected to be able to have some kind of paradigm shift because some people read some books and got to thinking? I dont think there is a shortage of smart/knowledgeable people and the masses has just about always been judged by the weakest link. Enough with the discussing Priori v. Posterior at the coffee shop - 10yrs from now all that shit wont matter.
     
  8. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    What do you do?

    Teach theology at a Jesuit school.

    The underlying thought is that God is ultimate being, truth, etc.,
    so the desire to know is the desire for God. And as the old Jesuit motto goes,
    we should be "finding God in all things," we should want to know everything about everything.
     
  9. Dedalus

    Dedalus Senior member

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    What is all this intellectualism supposed to bring about?
    Hopefully, better decision making, both on personal and larger political levels.
    It's been known to happen.
    Why not? Are we all going to be dead? EDIT: Goddammit, I think I fell for some bait.
     
  10. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    There's a difference between being an intellectual and being knowledgeable.

    Intellectuals often have only a tenuous grasp on reality. Their view of the world is defined by ideology, rather than fact. In some ways, they are more like religious fundamentalists than anything else.

    On the other hand, knowledgeable people are long in facts and have some modicum of intelligence and common sense to analyze those facts.

    Tha majority of Americans are too lazy to fall into either category.
     
  11. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Well said again, D. When are you going to give in to your true calling?
     
  12. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Intellectuals often have only a tenuous grasp on reality. Their view of the world is defined by ideology, rather than fact.

    Sounds like an ideology to me. [​IMG]

    I'll grant you that intellectuals often have a tenuous grasp on the whole of reality, but that's because they specialize in studying and knowing very well as small part of reality.

    But really, don't we all specialize in knowing a small part of reality? Does the average lawyer, doctor, truck driver, soccer player, etc., know only a piece of the whole? Real renaissance people are rare, but I would think that a fair amount of them are academics.
     
  13. Dedalus

    Dedalus Senior member

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    When are you going to give in to your true calling?

    After my wife gives me permission to quit my job and become a porn star.
     
  14. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Just think of the creative titles you could come up with if you combined the two.
     
  15. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    There's a difference between being an intellectual and being knowledgeable.

    Intellectuals often have only a tenuous grasp on reality. Their view of the world is defined by ideology, rather than fact. In some ways, they are more like religious fundamentalists than anything else.

    On the other hand, knowledgeable people are long in facts and have some modicum of intelligence and common sense to analyze those facts.

    Tha majority of Americans are too lazy to fall into either category.


    Please define intellectual, I think you're referring to academics, not that I agree with you. BTW I hope you're aware that you're a perfect example of the irrational dislike of intellectuals that is being discussed in this thread.
     
  16. celery

    celery Senior member

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    Although there are obviously many factors that go into this, the main culprits are:

    1. A goverment controlled by big business that wants to keep people stupid . . . because stupid people are easier to control and manipulate.

    2. Going after the green. Money money money. Educational institutions focus less on what makes us human and instead practice utilitarianism.

    Ever notice how music and art programs are the first to go? Math and science are the way to go!!!

    How about the amount of attention given to school athletics? Yeah, sports make money.



    Humans really only need shelter and food to live. Everything else that we "utilize" is simply for comfort and health. But the one truth is that, our humanity and identity comes from culture, which is developed through the arts.

    I'm certainely not saying that everyone is, or should be an artist. But rather, our collective desire for wealth has led us to an empty world of money chasing. And because of our single mindedness, we can easily be controlled by corporate America and the media.
     
  17. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Is this truly a big problem?


    I don't know. Piss off.
     

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