Re: virus: Re: Virus: Sociological Change (fwd)

ken sartor (
Fri, 20 Dec 1996 15:02:36 -0600

At 01:47 PM 12/20/96 -0600, wrote:
>On Fri, 20 Dec 1996, ken sartor wrote:
>> At 10:17 AM 12/20/96 -0600, wrote:
>> snip...
>> >This is plausible. There is reasonably solid evidence that U.S.
>> >Kindergarten actively instructs students to act unintelligent, and that
>> >this behavior is *difficult* to unlearn.
>> I thought kindergarten teaches kids how to 1) sit still; 2) listen
>> while an adult speaks to a _group_ of children; 3) play (relatively)
>> nicely with other children; 4) sing and do simple artwork; 5) perhaps
>> learn to read (if not known yet). (This seems to be what happened
>> with my children, at least.)
>> What about kindergarten "instructs students to act unintelligent"?
>> Is it a plan or ?bad? teachers? Or?
>> ken
>Items 1..5 are also correct; I would say 1, 2, 3, and 5 are essential in
>any literate culture. I suspect it's an unintended side-effect that is
>ill-known [I got it from a senior in education who had been sifting
>abstracts for one of his papers....] of the usual plans. ?Bad?
>teachers would aggravate this side-effect.
>The ability to laterally think plummets markedly after 2 semesters of
>exposure, *without* a concurrent increase in linear/conventional thinking
>ability. While it is a good idea to become used to linear thinking as a
>problem-solving metaphor, axing the other metaphor cannot be neglected as
>a factor in the absence of *obvious* geniuses born after 1920 or so.

I am still unsure of what you are asserting... are items 1-5 the
cause of the lack of the ability to think laterally? Is this
asserted inability to think laterally the cause of the lack of
*obvious* geniuses born since 1920 or so? If so, are you also
asserting that items 1-5 were not taught in school before 1920
or that perhaps they were taught, but at a later age (i presume
that everyone has learned these things for at least several
hundred years, especially the *obvious* geniuses)?

There are some exercises in my daughters' second grade that i
believe are meant to teach non-linear thinking. For instance,
in one exercise they are given a piece of paper with a few marks
on it. From that, they are supposed to construct a picture that
they think no one else would. Then they write a brief story
about the picture... (perhaps in the higher grades they may
do more analytical stuff).


PS - i wanted to dispute your claim about *obvious* geniuses not
being born after about 1920 but was unable to come up with any
great examples... alot of those guys were older than i thought.
Of course, this may be just that once you have discovered the
fundamental underpinnings of the universe, what else can you
do but embellish them a bit... ;)

PPS - A xmas puzzle - can you connect all of the following x's
with 4 straight lines without lifting your pen from the paper?
It can, of course, be done.

x x x

x x x

x x x