death of the mind.

dan michaels feedbackdroids at
Mon Jul 12 13:09:15 EST 2004

"John Hasenkam" <johnh at faraway.> wrote in message news:<40f25d70 at>...

> > > Anyone who thinks education doesn't entail a good degree of
>  indoctrination
> > > must be un-conscious.
> >
> >
> > Of course, the only real question is .... to what extent?
> Yes, that is important. We can always indoctrinate others to make them think
> well. The student can transcend the teacher, it's just bloody hard work.

Best that you had not used the word indoctrination here in the first
place. That shows a somewhat callous perspective towards education.
Like you, life has dealt me a few blows - eg, auto transmission went
out this past week, on and on - but like Socrates, I choose not to be
entrapped by raw materialism.

And of course, to the enlightened teacher, as opposed to the
egotistical self-same teacher, transcension is the entire point of
education. Only a very poor teacher would say ... "... now students,
I'm going to tell you the truth, and you must never waver from the
path, or else you will become as idiots ...". Now, that IS

Always better to talk about education in terms of opening students'
minds, in order that they may learn to think for themselves, rather
than closing them, by passing the gas of "absolute anything".

> >
> > There is nothing intrinsically wrong with
> > > indoctrination, it saves a lot of time and trouble for the individual
>  and in
> > > various occupations it saves lives.
> >
> >
> > Now, you're getting very wierd. The ends do justify the means - ??? Of
> > course, I "grew up" in the church with this tradition. Ever hear of
> > Augustine and the concept of "compell them to enter"?
> We're in the army now ... . Indoctrination is practised in many disciplines,
> it saves lives. Okay, I overstated my case. What I do find interesting
> though is how we often point at others being indoctrinated and so
> brainwashed yet fail to realise that to some degree we all share that fate.
> I have no easy outs on this Dan, I really don't know how to think about this
> any further.

Well, IF you're in the army, then you MUST accept the army way - else
you and your comrades will face quick extinction. But, out here, we
don't have to accept those terms. Hardly. How do we play the
prisoner's dilemma?

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around

And of course, there are no easy outs in life. We should not expect
them. As a famous philosopher once said ... life is tough and then you
die. The trick is to enjoy it while it plays, rather than to turn into
a grumpy old fart [like my father, for instance] because it doesn't go
the way we wanted, and blame everything else for our problems.

> > You might also want to take a look at Freedom Evolves by Dennett. It
> > is to 2004 what BFAD was to 1954. Don't miss the part about the
> > spectre of creeping exculpation. It's not my fault. My car broke down.
> > The bus was late. I didn't have taxi fare. My bicycle had a flat tire.
> > The plane couldn't leave the gate. The air controllers were on strike.
> > We circled for 6 hours over Chicago. My brain cells went on strike.
> > Amyloid is dogging my tracks. My sympathetic nervous system is out of
> > wack. And so it goes.
> Point taken. However, even if I don't believe I am in control of my life to
> the maximal extent I still take responsibility for my actions. I do not
> excuse my failures by reference to some deterministic and\or fatalistic
> stance. 

Congrats, and welcome to Dennett's world of sun and games ;-).

Of course, no one is in total control of anything, but that doesn't
mean you have to submit to domination by others either, does it. All
responsibility inheres to the environment, there is nothing for
autonomous man to take responsibility for. Total horseshit.

The question is always ... to what extent. And the word for today is
.... balance.

Not sure how to approach this problem at the abstract level, except
> to suggest that no matter what point of view we hold, we must still take
> responsibility for our actions because our philosophical position is
> invariably an assumption. Purely pragmatic, I think that once we start to
> use philosophy to excuse our failings we are in deep trouble. Pragmatism
> works, we focus on actions and outcomes. Once we get into murky waters about
> locus of control etc, well one just has to see how the legal world gets into
> a real muddle as a result. Difficult stuff.
> You're making my brain hurt.

Yes, I'm sure. [that's sarcasm, BTW].
Society doesn't work if the members cannot be held responsible for
their personal actions - at least to some extent. The Sumerians were
the first to codify this. 5000 years later, it's still the only good
way to run a society. Primitive man, Enkidu in the wilderness can do
what he wants. Utopia is just a fantasy in a philosopher's mind. The
rest of us have to think before we act.

If you spend 24 hours a day worrying about philosophy, then you have 0
hours left to live a life. It's your choice. I'd say the proper blend
is 2% devoted to philosophy, 98% to living.

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