Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
Ray Peat said:Education can either activate or suppress mental energy. If it is mainly obedience training, it suppresses energy. If it creates social dislocations, it disturbs mental and emotional energy.
Stress early in life can impair learning, cause aggressive or compulsive behavior, learned helplessness, shyness, alcoholism, and other problems.
Some educators say that their purpose is to socialize and indoctrinate the students into their discipline, others believe their purpose is to help their students to develop their minds. Both of these approaches may operate within the idea that “the culture” is something like a museum, and that students should become curators of the collection, or of some part of it. If we see the culture metaphorically as a mixture of madhouse, prison, factory, and theater, the idea of “developing the student's mind” will suggest very different methods and different attitudes toward “the curriculum”
In a world run by corporation executives, university presidents (“football is central to the university's mission”), congressmen, bankers, oilmen, and agency bureaucrats, people with the intelligence of an ant (a warm ant) might seem outlandishly intelligent. This is because the benighted self-interest of the self-appointed ruling class recognizes that objective reality is always a threat to their interests. If people, for example, realized that estrogen therapy and serotonin-active drugs and x-rays and nuclear power and atomic bomb tests were beneficial only to those whose wealth and power derive from them, the whole system would lose stability. Feigned stupidity becomes real stupidity.
But apart from ideologically institutionalized stupidity, there are real variations in the ability to learn, to remember and to apply knowledge, and to solve problems. These variations are generally metabolic differences, and so will change according to circumstances that affect metabolism. Everyday social experiences affect metabolism, stimulating and supporting some kinds of brain activity, suppressing and punishing others. All of the activities in the child's environment are educational, in one way or another...
In conventional schools (as in conventional society) 10,000 questions go unanswered, not only because a teacher with many students has no time to answer them, but also because most teachers wouldn't know most of the answers...
When questions are answered, curiosity is rewarded, and the person is enlivened. In school, when following instructions and conforming to a routine is the main business, many questions must go unanswered, and curiosity is punished by the dulling emptiness of the routine.
Asimov said:My friends grandpa always said "A college degree just proves you're trainable."
Whether he meant that as a positive, or a negative, I'll never know. The last impression I want my resume to give is that I'm "trainable."
Ray Peat said:“More than 50 years ago, I realized that the US culture had become effectively totalitarian, with decorations, and even the decorations were being fixed by the specialists (the Congress for Cultural Freedom, for example). I went through a series of graduate studies and projects looking for places where reality could influence the culture, rather than being obliterated by it. The academic culture, though, was rapidly changing for the worse. Over a period of a few years I happened to see a few people recover immediately from what doctors had considered incurable problems, using simple and inexpensive methods, and then I realized that some people were willing to discard their old ideas when those conflicted with useful facts, especially when the useful facts could save their life. I started doing evening and weekend classes in nutrition and endocrinology, seeing health as a way to get reality into the culture. My newsletter grew out of the classes, and that led to answering mail, which is cheaper and easier on the internet.”
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