Monday, September 15, 2014

Educate Me Plenty

As mentioned in the previous post, my schedule started getting denser not so long ago. Two weeks prior today, I also graduated with a bachelor's degree. The whole unnecessary ceremony crowned the two-year struggle with my research paper, which was inspired by the increasing problems in education at large. Although it dealt with an issue into which I invest a lot of interest, the thesis in itself was just a mandatory proof of my capabilities stuck in a frame of demands. In this entry, I am to approach the question of schooling reform devoid of wanting to live up to any expectations, except perhaps those of having a sensible proposal in mind.

A few things have to be cleared first. My theoretical proposition is more of an outline to a whole system that cannot and shouldn't be developed by one or just a few individuals. To make it work, many other powerful political structures also have to be rearranged if we desire to survive our own advancement, and such an effort takes time more than anything. Our society succumbed to the depths it is in now throughout known history and we cannot possibly expect to arise from here in just a few years. Huge changes can require generations. I will also avoid criticizing the current system, as it is simple to point fingers at what we dislike around us. There is a fair amount of debate on the subject to be found on the internet, so I would rather write about a concept I see in my mind.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Into the Land of the Molded

A lot was going on for me last week. One of the events that occurred is that I started a one-year volunteering program in the Netherlands. To celebrate it in a way, I thought of writing about volunteerism. It was fairly easy finding info which praises the communal and personal benefits of being a volunteer, but that's not the whole story. At least not the way I see it.

During the last couple of months, I had the chance to observe how people (at least those from the country I was born in) react to the idea of volunteering. Our worldwide economic system is not economical anymore and as such it shapes certain expectations we have in our lives. Let's call these conforming expectations social molds, which make us feel the need to shape everyone and Their lives (including our own) into a predictable sequence of incidents. One of the most recognizable and encompassing of social molds is probably the one which sponsors the following pattern:

1. Be born.
2. Learn. Go to school. Get molded.
3. Find a partner for life.
4. Get a job.
5. Buy a house, loan Yourself for life in the process.
6. Et cetera...

The list goes on, of course, but the rest is irrelevant for the purpose of this post. Anyway, when people asked me about my plans in life, I replied that I was going abroad. Then, without exception, They all got excited. There were two common questions which I received: "are you going there to find a job" or "are continuing Your studies there?"

The answer to both of those questions needs a bit of explaining, because yes, I did come here to work and also to learn and improve my skills. The problem is that these two questions have a molding agenda: they expect certain answers ("everything is going according to plan") with obvious contextual assumptions (that I'm getting paid and/or receiving a title along with a diploma here). Obviously, replying to these questions would have required higher efforts if I didn't want to mislead my conversational partners. I usually replied with: "I'm going there to be a volunteer." In the moments that followed my answer, I could typically see the sparkles of interest fade away from Their eyes.

Monday, September 01, 2014

They Say Rumor Has It

Restlessness smites me when it comes to rumors. I know about them, I had learned how they work and how ridiculous and even harmful they can get. They form a separate domain, one that is completely made up, a weird world consisting of abstract scopes of illusive ideas. Let me introduce You to the parallel reality of Rumorealm:

This conceptual realm, in which we live day by day, is built upon real-world data. The silhouettes of understanding which we can sense here are much different, though. They are intriguing replacements for uncertainty. As we walk through this place, our focus is captivated by how interesting the whole thing feels and authentic it seems. The real-world data which we're sure of (like time, places and people in them) make this illusory location ever so believable. It makes sense and that makes us feel good. Only two things matter here: insecurity of facts and the notability of the substitutes we make up for that insecurity. The progression of Rumorealm, however could easily fall apart if either of these two building blocks was missing (i.e. if events derived from real-world data were unambiguous, or the replacement rumors were unimportant) - except that we are pretty much wired to creating believable facade to cover up any plotholes in our narrative.

Events here are mostly spontaneous, but they can also be generated willfully by the gods of deception, who reign supreme. We are avatars of these gods. By absorbing the data from Rumorealm, we mediate them onward and rebuild its phony fabric. We rearrange it to be simpler and shorter. We never forget the strong messages we received, but we make them easier for further tattling. Sometimes we can be met with correctional measures and are presented with true facts that debunk falsehood, yet we might forget the debunking proof in favour of a what it tried to debunk − caused by effects known as the misinformation effect and the backfire effectTo find out more, check the WikiPedia Aticle on biased memory, and this and this research paper.. The essence of Rumorealm is to add our own little piece of distortion: we assimilate and emphasize information with our own understandings and fill in the gaps.