Saturday, October 16, 2010

Passing it Forward

A friend of mine recently posted something called 'Improved Communication:Improved Outcome', and it suddenly struck me how much I adore generalizing, which of course, led me to see that this very specious notion, that of desired improvement in communication, is exactly what is wrong with the human species.

How, you ask, can improved communication be a bad thing? Let me answer that for you.

The basic problem is that we are inherently stupid, yet choose to believe that we are smarter than dogs, which is clearly not the case. We perceive ourselves to be more intelligent than every other creature, yet we describe our world as dog-eat-dog. I'm thinking that if we ate everyone we killed, we might be closer to who we are actually supposed to be. Imagine if we asked our soldiers to survive on Afghan-kebabs. Seems and feels just! And they could survive on GI Bourguignon. But I digress, as this post is supposed to be about general stupidity; not my own.

As I have clearly stated before, our prolonged state of stupidity is evidenced by several of our chosen beliefs; i.e. that alien abductions only occur in the Ozarks, that the virgin Mary only appears in western European towns beginning with 'f', and that we continue to learn and grow after the age of five. This was clearly shown in the classic book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, in which the author demonstrates our insistence of extricating every shred of creativity from our children's minds. There are several reasons for this phenomenon. The first, that creativity has never served the parent in any useful way, and the second, that most parents are completely unable to envision where the world is headed. I proved this to myself recently, as I tried to impart the wonder of Fibonacci numbers to my 12-year old son, knowing full well that I could no longer see the wonder in them myself.

Passing along our genes is a primal human requisite, but no more powerful than our need to pass along what we think we know; but what we think we know in no way serves our children. Let me illustrate. It was the contention of some famous guy that if we fail to learn from history, then we are doomed to repeat it. Well clearly, we have not learned anything from history, as we continue to engage in 'dooming' behaviors. We demand that our children excel in a series of standardized tests, designed to insure that they get the facts straight, but the truth is that those 'facts' that we deem important excise any creative solutions from their little minds and bodies. They prohibit them from growing forward, retard them into a vision of life that is no different than our own, and hence, we fail to evolve.

Sir Ken Robinson tells a telling story in one of his talks on TED. A young girl is drawing a picture during class, and the teacher asks her what she is doing.

"I'm drawing a picture of God"

"But no one knows what God looks like"

"They will in a minute"

Children see the world wide open, as we did before we were taught to 'know' things. They imagine things, intuit things, uncorrupted with 'knowledge'. And they actually know how to love. We teach love right out of them, trying to shape it in our own failed image. Wives are always asking for better communication, but what they are really asking for is some sort of reinforcement for what they think they know. (OK, they probably DO know more, but they also are firmly resistant to what they don't know). What they are really asking for is connection, but that is taught out of us very early on. We can no longer imagine connection. Children don't need to imagine it. It is simply a part of being a child. Yet we choose to teach them a static world, while they would simply continue to live in a dynamic world.

It's time to admit that you are not smarter than a fifth grader; to understand that what you 'know' should not be taught. You should teach what you learn...not back then...but right now. Our role should be to allow. If you learn nothing else from this post, learn this. Your children were born better...than what you have become; that what we 'communicate' is actually 'communicable', like a disease.

No comments: