Higher Learning
in the 20th Century

There was a mass disaffection within the 1960's of wizards within the collegiate environment. Many, of course, were simply rebellious wizards who rejected all systems out of hand within the cultural revolutions of disassociation with prior establishment policies.

But what about the great number of wizards who sought higher learning and couldn't find it? What if they found teachers who couldn't teach, and couldn't learn - and all because a degree, or certification, is what told one wizard he was an authority, while the same degree (or lack thereof) suddenly invalidated wizards who'd had life experience in the subject being tested?

One thing wizards cannot stand is dogma. They can tolerate belief, but what drives them nuts is when people behave as if opinion is belief, and belief is fact. Wizards are the most tolerant of people, they accept abuse and intolerance like no other sane group of humans would, but, present a closed mind, and suddenly the wizards are up in arms. They react to this like a Venus fly-trap does to a tickle upon its spine. WHAP! Crunch crunch crunch.

What might surprise you, in this parallel, is how accurate it is. If Venus fly-traps eat fool insects that dance upon its spines, then this is how wizards feel about ignorance - especially accredited, academically recognized teachers with merit badges of academia that can't hold their own in a true arena of Thought.

Wizards are almost driven by a need to eat the deliberately ignorant, the willfully absent-minded, and the criminally-insensitive teachers. What fool insects and bad teachers have in common is they are both unthinking parasites, and there are certain entities within Nature that have the Divine right to devour them.

There are many, many wizards in our society who tend to believe that the burden of education is shifting from the state to the individual, home-based training. They look upon this with a sense of relief, and hope that a positive trend is emerging.

I tell you, it is not. What is emerging is not a higher solution to a personal problem (namely, how to educate your kids with a sense of quality education); what is emerging is a system of educating our kids independently in spite of the school system. Secondly, (and I don't have the statistics on this) much of the stimulus for home-education is as much about religious conflicts as it is about coming up with a universal core of knowledge and understanding. What this says is that the American education system has become so fractured that it has actually become a faith issue, when it should never have been a faith issue in the first place. 

This country, America, is supposed to be great because it theoretically grants the right to education for all, yet, in the bureaucratic effort to make everyone happy, has made many miserable.

Why is this?

For precisely the reason mentioned above. By trying to throw something in for everybody, we now have a melting pot of obsolescence. By having an education system that speaks for everyone, we also find it speaks for no one. In other words, we might call it homogenized education. Everything is distilled to be universally acceptable, but there is no real taste, either.

This thing called PC, or "politically correct" is on the verge of destroying this country faster than any other ideological parasite we can think of. This "PC" terminology, thinking, approach, rationale, or whatever, is becoming the next big authorized "cancer" within academic society because it is teaching students what NOT to think of.

The old-fashioned way of teaching was to state how things were, how they are, and how they could be. This mode of education went a long way toward teaching people how to think. It was like teaching a pre-school child, "Our living room has four walls." Children learned the parameters of their environment. They learned that if they threw themselves against the walls, as kids will do, corners really hurt. They will eventually quit throwing themselves in corners. For those who have devout faith that all children do grow up to be human beings, this should be comforting.

This "PC" teaching, on the other hand, is sending the message of NO NO NO: the intent of the training is well-meaning, but we haven't seen it be effective, yet. If we're not letting our kids throw themselves into corners and learn for themselves that this is not a comfortable reality, then we are in the position of waiting until they become adults to try such experiments. We find that possibility more frightening.

 Why don't we give our kids credit for being as smart as, if not smarter, than we were? Where did our generation get this idea that if we're all so smart as humans we can train following generations to believe they can be super-human and perfect, because we want them to be? It's like we believe we can transfer our intellect at a young age. No matter how smart a two-year old might be, he's still in diapers. No matter how smart a two-year old is, he still has to be restrained from overly examining the contents of his diapers - which he may well find the most fascinating subject of perusal, contemplation - and digestion, without restraint.

This NO NO NO training that children are getting, on a politically-correct level, is what subjects children to be afraid at an early age. Given that many of these children are the offspring of intelligent, educated people who consciously or unconsciously think of themselves as superior, there is parental responsibility in taking it for granted your child is so smart, that you think he'll know the difference between right and wrong.

NO NO NO tends to teach a WHAT WHAT WHAT response. By telling your children no, and telling them there are certain things they can't think about, like racism, sexism, and other ugly human conditions that already exist in the world, what this does is raise their curiosity level, and as soon as they are old enough, they will ask why. After all, you were super-smart, and took it for granted your kid would be.

Morality isn't passed on. It's taught.

It's not a wizard's job to define what's in the world, but simply to recognize it.

Where does this leave us on the question of higher education? I'm sorry to say, hit or miss. This is where we've been since we schooled ourselves. Johnny and Abigail Adams home-schooled their son John Quincy, who eventually became one of the American Presidents. I could be mistaken, but I believe Abraham Lincoln was also home-schooled. There have been others, but I think those were two that took pride in their home-schooling heritage.

Higher learning, then, is for self-educated wizards to check themselves. Since we can never really get a degree for "Life Experience" than a wizard can use the educational system to simply verify that (accepted) facts are facts, and logic is logic.

America, as famous as it is for producing the smartest, fastest and best of athletes, and as we smugly affirm our intellectual achievements as a whole, and give ourselves credit for prolific-ness in the arts and creative sciences, have truly few famous people (at least within this culture) credited with having changed the world. America, as a culture, claims credit for having changed the world, but very few individuals are credited with having done so.

This is interesting.

Love, Galadriel