Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Bell Curve Possibility

It's been my experience, much of it from observation, that different schools of child rearing are handed down through families. Some of us have actually had different experiences than "because I said so" and the parental attitudes that often go with it. I am inclined to wonder sometimes how important that parenting experience is in setting up the way we expect the world to be for us, and how we will approach it after with that initial, formative experience.

But that aside, there are times when a parent does need to be concerned with a child's safety, and even the most nurturant parent should recognize the necessity of invoking a "command moment" I would think. And who hasn't felt frustration on a "bad" day and invoked the "almighty" voice?

I also agree that much concern should result in noticing that our educational institutions do concern themselves with enforcing obedience to authority in that same vein. I'm aware that for some, it does not provoke concern, but a sense of satisfaction.

Yes, indeed, you are patronizingly reassured, as your thin little body sits in the huge wooden chair across the desk from the rather large and imposing stern vice principal
in the office to which you've been summoned once again, you are free as long as you stay within these carefully drawn lines. No questions outside the box, please (with no hint of please in the stern voice). Otherwise, without this training, people may not be quite so willing to run out and find jobs once they escape from the torture chambers of squirming daily in rows of those hard, slippery wooden desks while an authority preaches, teaches.

It's my perception that these institutions invoke methods of ingestion, regurgitation and then take regular measurements of quantities of regurgitation. The methodologies of teaching ingestion and and invoking regurgitation often rely on behavior modification enforced pain and pleasure principles, all together of which creates an institutional atmosphere whereby students can be measured and sorted, sifted and stacked, and which also offers verification of that controversial
Bell Curve possibility is in fact...


On the other hand, awakening another form of intelligence, the open-ended, therefore non measurable ability to creatively question, is not really something that can be taught, just as teaching the proverbial horse to feel thirst is not an option. So you won't find any troublesome methods of that nature anywhere in there.

But... and this is an important "but" for an itinerant rambler to a vice principal's office like myself... an intellectual "thirst" to simply "find out" can be systemically suppressed in a population through its institutions. I at least believe that much. I also believe each of us faces a challenge to overcome that on our own, daily, if indeed it does occur as I seem to experience it. I find that possibility very exciting to imagine, but then I get out and about and talk to people, and my excitement sort of just dwindles away. As Linda Hunt asks Kevin Kline across the bar at the Midnight Star in Sliverado, "What's wrong with us?" And then she gives him that look and that sly smile.

Laurie Anderson Lyrics
Baby Doll Lyrics


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