September 29, 2005

 

Brain-stapling for the masses.

I've written before about edicts I intend to issue should I become supreme dictator of Earth. Or, more humbly, simply supreme dictator of a chunk of it. I still figure the most likely way that course of events would come about would be to find out I'm the Antichrist and be made the head of the UN following the Rapture, but there are probably other avenues to supreme power. Either way, I want to be prepared. No one likes a lame-duck dictator.

The earlier edicts on language reform would of course still stand. They're actually a subset of the Peoples' Democratic Republic-Commonwealth of Our Dear Leader Gar Drastic, Overlord, Overman, and Jolly Good Fellow educational policy. Further educational reforms:

I don't need a full syllabus broken down by ages for any of this, by dint of the position I'll be dictating them from. That's part of the beauty of it.

At higher levels there will of course be Mad Science classes and similar, but they'll mostly be electives. Good fundamentals first.

posted by Gar @ 11:40 AM
You can instill a love of learning to some degree, but you can't teach people to think, meaning that you can't grant an individual a sense of curiosity about the world around him. They either develop it on their own, or don't. And that's not to say that once you develop that sense, you never go back. I think that people wander in and out of those two camps at different times in their lives and for different reasons.

If I might make a request, I'd like to a see a class specifically devoted to "The Unknown" and what we really know about it. Which is to say, very little, because it's unknown. So there. Point of said class would be to jumpstart a little bit of skepticism in the kids, introducing it by means of weird shit, which is always enjoyable. UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts .. people have a natural curiosity (to varying degrees) about that stuff, and it's a good way to hook them into, well, not BEING SKEPTICAL, but rather, BEING A SKEPTIC, if you get my drift. Skepticism as a way of thinking and a default position, not just a stance on a given topic at a given time. Easier said than done. Took me a while to figure that difference out. Also, for the angsty teens, making sure they understand the difference between being a skeptic and being a cynic.

I suggest that first day off we make them watch Penn and Teller: Bullshit! for 12 hours straight. If we find that the attention span is failing, just have them count how many times Penn says "fuck" or "and then there's THIS asshole." That'll wake 'em up.
 
Regarding your point on riflery, those who are unfamiliar with firearms to the point to mythologizing them would be known as "hoplophobes," that is, one who has an irrational fear of weapons, or more specifically, firearms. You won't find this word in Webster's quite yet, but it's gaining wider use.

Hoplophobia (pronounced HOP-li-fobia), from the Greek hoplon, or weapon, is a phobia identified by firearms instructor Colonel Jeff Cooper(10 May 1920– ) in 1962. Jeff Cooper is recognized as the father of what is commonly referred to as "The Modern Techniques of Shooting". Born John Dean Cooper, but known to his friends as "Jeff", Cooper is a former Marine Lt. Colonel who served in World War II and Korea. In addition to his experise in firearms, he is also a history professor, philosopher, adventurer and author.

His intent was to satirically use a clinical term to bring public recognition of the irrational fear of firearms. He stated that "the most common manifestation of hoplophobia is the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user". Hoplophobia is deemed to be a cultural side effect of those who engage in the primordial human belief systems that anthropologists refer to as "Animism", or the belief that inanimate objects can hold spirits that can effect human actions.

In other words, the gun didn't "discharge," killing Connie. Instead, "Bob" unsafely and irresponsibly discharged the gun, killing Connie. As is well known, "Bob" keeps all his guns locked in a large steel safe, but with them going off on their own all the time, it's like a freaking war zone in there each night. Hell, the other night "Bob" told me that his collection went through six boxes of ammo on its own.
 
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