Modern Education: Failure is Success – Part III
What is true? By definition, true or truth is that which is not false. Truth can legally and ostensibly be obtained by a general consensus. By that logic, if a group of experts arrives at a conclusion, suddenly, that conclusion becomes a truth. Who can argue with experts save other experts? Look at the consensus style pronouncements coming out of the psychological community concerning what is and what is not a mental disorder or disease. Who can argue with the experts on the subject of human behavior? Even if not all of them agree, a consensus of majority is enough to invent a new disorder. If they were all educated to the same standard (standards, by the way, are accepted truths), and those not likewise educated are considered unlearned, no one can refute this new truth.
This is the purpose for the scientific method. The scientific method is described as, “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”(2)
The scientific method, when properly employed, begins with a question. What if? And ends only when all avenues of proving the question false are exhausted. True science begins by attempting to prove itself wrong. Why on earth would one intend to prove himself wrong? The simple answer is laziness (which is also the mother of invention). If one intends to find a truth, any fact disproving the theory invalidates the theory, thereby stopping the process. Put simply, as soon as it isn’t true, we can stop digging. When a child learns that the magic of the refrigerator light isn’t magic at all, he ceases to investigate it.
But what about a truth that challenges a truth which has been accepted for many years? New truth in pure science forces the reevaluation of old truth. It is only when dogma interferes that new truth is ignored. What is “dogma” you ask? Dogma is defined by Webster as “a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.”(3) This definition is poignant.
Is there any such animal as scientific dogma? Absolutely. Scientists with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (or inventing a new one) will cling to outdated facts for years. They also have been known fabricate new facts in an effort to avoid looking like idiots (or to begin looking like heroes). In more recent times, pure science has given way to the “truth for sale” industry. Releasing study information which is contradictory to the wishes of the source of a scientist’s funding is tantamount to Nicholas Copernicus announcing that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Many readers may recall that Nicholas Copernicus was burned alive by an extremely dogmatic church for refusing to retract his statement, a statement which challenged the very foundations of the church.
This is the result of dogma, now and forever. It results in the bravest among us being maligned and ostracized. How do we combat dogma? It isn’t easy, because those who believe that they are right, and “the facts be damned,” are a difficult nut to crack. Being humble to present truth is rare when pride and prejudice are the watchwords of the day. It would seem that only Taoists can suspend knowledge long enough to hear a new idea. The goal of Taoism is the unlearning of everything.
Dogma is only defeated by a humble admission that we, as a species, only know a tiny, nearly insignificant sliver of all that is to be known. Modern science and religion are quick to point out all that they know. They are, by the same token, loathe to admit that the stack of facts amounting to the known barely registers next to the stack of unknowns. Should we admit that we are idiots, hazarding our way through life with only a slight glimmer of hope for real enlightenment? At the risk of sounding religious, I quote the apostle Paul in saying “God forbid.”
New discoveries are being made daily, and at a rapidly quickening pace. The masses learn of only a few of them, and only the ones which are the most significant (or relevant to a military / industrial / entertainment driven society) are ever announced.
So, we arrive at the conclusion of the stream of thought. How do we guarantee that even the ludicrous will be believed by the masses? We teach them facts with no capacity to analyze those facts. We feed them “truth” through a straw. We limit their vocabulary to a few thousand words in an effort to make them feel inferior when they read our works, and to cause comprehension to elude them. We distract them with the mundane in an effort to make them forget that they had words to research (or other responsibilities). We keep them “entertained” while we work our magic. We limit the availability of works of literature which hint at the nature of true thought, and most of all, we never acknowledge that any of this is happening.
These are the seeds of effective propaganda, and the basis of modern “education.”