Leisure And Desire Required For Intelligence, Knowledge And Progress

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    As many of you know, back in the 1970s Peat established something called Blake College in Mexico. Its goal was to provide an environment for true learning, free form the the constraints and dogmatism of modern academia driven by commercial and political interests. In one of his articles, Peat mentioned that the learning mechanism in the college was centered around friendly and leisurely discourse, focused on seeing and accepting the differences in other people's opinions and creating a synthesis that tried to incorporate all views. This method is also central in the approach of the Synectics movement, which started in the late 1960s and Peat mentioned in a few of his articles. Fast-forward 40 years into the future and these approaches seem completely forgotten in modern academia. Universities have now become mostly a mouthpiece of a specific industry. They now produce nothing but exhausted, robotized, and largely uneducated masses ready to assume a soul-crushing, competitive position that usually makes no use of the "knowledge" they acquired as students.
    Well, it seems that some people are noticing that this process is antithetical to the very idea of "schooling", which had its origins in leisurely and pleasurable communal activities that allow people to not only acquire true knowledge but also experience a true drive/desire to learn. Without that desire to learn, without joy and playful activity, education (and intelligence) is doomed. It is reduced to pointless and useless memorization rituals designed to simply mask the fact that neither teacher, not student accomplish much in this process that costs (in the US at least) trillions of dollars every year. The only "beneficiary" of such mindless process is the business world, but even that world is now suffering the consequences of creating generations of dumb drones with no desire/ability to learn anything new, which ultimately makes their intrinsic value to any business a fat zero. Interestingly enough, the author of the article is also a teacher of phenomenology, which Peat mentioned in a a few of his articles as a good approach to the acquisition of knowledge and life in general.

    Full text of "Mind And Tissue Ray Peat"
    "...A Western tradition, phenomenology, associated mainly with Vienna, has also made good use of Aristotle's knowledge: Brentano and Husserl used the concept of "intentionality" to explain perception and knowledge. Kurt Goldstein's organismic studies of the nervous system were influential in the development of the phenomenological views of Carl Rogers, Merleau-Ponty, and Abraham Maslow (best known for his popularization of Goldstein's "self-actualization”idea). Because of the Aristotelian content, phenomenology is most widely accepted in Latin countries, especially France and Latin America. Ukhtomskii's idea of the "dominant" shouldn't be interpreted as "just an earlier form of Gestalt psychology," which of course is one of the forms of phenomenology. Some forms of Gestalt theory are practically identical to Ukhtomskii's theory, in emphasizing the ability of the organism to form new unities: Goldstein and Merleau-Ponty are in this group. But another school of Gestalt Psychology, and phenomenology, stays closer to Husserl and the neo-Kantians, in emphasizing intrinsic forms of knowing, as opposed to empirical forms. Symbol thinking and inborn limits to knowledge are doctrines of this school: These Gestalt subjectivists accept the theories of Cassirer, Chomsky, Piaget, and Monod/Stent, and are antithetical to the "Ukhtomskii school." It should also be pointed out that Carl Rogers' version of phenomenology denies objective conflicts of interest, and as a result is popular among United States business leaders: Rogers has argued, for example, that there is no real conflict between workers and owners, and that "good communication” will lead to resolution of conflicts, rather than to the understanding that wages and profits are really opposed. The fact of power is ignored. The theory of generality isn't typically a strong point of Gestalt psychology and phenomenology; their focus is on the here and now."

    Let's hope that this author is not the only one seeing that the current approach to learning/knowledge is nothing but a recipe for ruining the entire world.

    Countering the Achievement Society

    "...It has almost become a cliché to characterize the time in which we live as the Age of Burnout. An increasing number of books, articles, and opinion editorials are being written on the subject of “the epidemic of vital exhaustion” (see for example, The Guardian’s recent piece,How Burnout Became a Sinister and Insidious Epidemic”). My own interest and research into fatigue stems in large part from my work and observations in a university setting, where a common complaint (or perhaps boast?) of faculty, staff, administrators, and students is how exhausted we are. But fatigue is often linked to a host of other problems, including depression and anxiety, physical ailments, addiction issues, and in general, joylessness and a sense of alienation from one’s family, friends, community, and from oneself as a whole person. Students are frequently the focus of a university’s efforts to (re)invigorate energies, prove the institution’s vitality, and increase the measurable outcomes for “success,” against the persistent threats of depletion of motivation, withdrawal, and perceived (or real) failure. Many of the attempts to enhance “student success” are technical or technological, like new software programs to track students’ grades, to analyze other “predictors” of their “outcomes,” and to send them automatic notifications indicating their grade-slippage in classes (as if regularly alerting them to their deficiencies will somehow generate greater motivation to achieve). I would propose a more radical solution for cultivating successful students in our Burnout Age. Recalling that ‘radical’ stems from the Latin radicalis, ‘of or having roots’, my proposal is one that returns to fundamental roots of our humanity and of learning. It is also radical in the sense that it sounds quite simple, minimalist, and non-technological: I want to attend to leisure and its central place in the humane university."

    "...Consider these words from the 20th century French philosopher-social activist-mystic, Simone Weil, whom I have spent much of my academic career thinking and writing about. In an essay on school studies, she wrote: ''The intelligence can only be led by desire. For there to be desire, there must be pleasure and joy in the work. The intelligence only grows and bears fruit in joy. The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running. Where it is lacking there are no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their apprenticeship, will not even have a trade.''

    "...Unfortunately, from the many conversations I’ve had with students over the past 15 years, inside and outside of class, in addition to the many Chronicle of Higher Education articles devoted to the subject, I have concluded that many university students today do not experience much desire, pleasure, or joy in relation to their studies. Rather, they report being consumed with stress, economic and social anxiety, and fatigue in the face of countless and growing demands."

    "...Not surprisingly, the (inevitable) inability to accomplish everything (and at the highest quality and the quickest pace) in a university setting leads to despondency, “self-reproach and auto-aggression”, joylessness, and a thoroughly exhausted and eventually dehumanised student whose resulting struggles in her classes only compounds her anxiety. As theorists of work have pointed out, there is a paradox inhabiting the body of one who is overworked: s/he becomes unable to rest after being consumed by excessive activity for so long. Exhaustion is frequently characterised by sleeping disorders, and students who are deeply fatigued can not only lose the ability to rest, but also to focus, to enjoy life, and to foster and maintain connections with others. At best, as Theodor Adorno argued, ‘free time’ becomes an escapist and superficial sort of ‘winding down,’ already structured by the forces from which we’re trying to escape (e.g., consumerist, or scheduled, or staring at screens). And this 'free time' is merely recuperating us for the recommencement of work. As a result, our bodies are colonised and shaped to the point where we become incapable of “true leisure” which, for Adorno “represents that sweet ‘oasis of unmediated life’ in which people detach from economic demands and become genuinely free for the world and its culture”.

    "...The origin of the word school is quite instructive: we get our word from the Greek scholē, which meant “leisure” or “spare time” or “learned conversation,” and eventually came to mean “a place for such leisurely discussion.” What could we discover from thinking of school as leisure? I would like to suggest four major components of scholē that might also be core values of a humane university. First, there is a temporal and spatial dimension to scholē. Leisure means ‘spare time,’ and a ‘place for learned discussion' that is not colonised by the utilitarian or by the world of business. In fact, the ancient Greeks saw business as a-scholia or ‘un-leisure.’ We might recall Adorno’s characterisation of leisure as the “oasis of unmediated life.” Scholē, then, requires that we embrace the slow, the artisanal… that we linger, savour, and take our time."

    "...This brings us to the third component of scholē: it is an autotelic activity, that is, one in which the goal is the full exercise of itself, for its own sake, and one that is inherently joyful and playful. In autotelic activities, conditions are achieved that are active (not passive), beautiful (not merely useful), and “perfecting of our humanity, not merely exploitative of it”, as Giamatti said. This means that scholē is about happiness. When students approach school instrumentally, it is often because they are being treated instrumentally—numbers in a classroom needed to justify this expansion of X program, or workers-in-training to contribute to the local economy. We have become so accustomed to ‘making a case’ for the economic usefulness of liberal arts that we fail to see that we strip schooling of its potency as an adventure with an undetermined end, an artistic exploration demanding experimentation and play, a joyful journey of discovery…and in the process of failing to remember all this, we also prepare students to be self-exploiting animal laborans who will chase ever-elusive performance benchmarks into their unfreedom. This is a cruel pedagogy."

    "...Finally, scholē is communal. Giamatti describes: “Leisure as an ideal was a state of unforced harmony with others; it was, ideally, to live fully amidst activity, which activity has the characteristic of free time” . While Giamatti depicts American games that bring people together in leisure, like baseball, we can easily think of the activities of the university as necessitating community, with the common pleasures of being taken out of oneself through engagement with diverse perspectives. Harmony in scholē does not mean homogeneity, though; a harmony consists of different notes that can come together. Whereas in the context of sport, we might witness what seems to be a superhuman feat by a star athlete, in schooling-as-leisure, we might jointly encounter an idea, an image, a sound, or a passage that has a similar transcendent quality and effect. It is a moment in which “we are all free of all constraints of all kinds,” enriched by both the rituals of our shared community and by the ideals that are ennobling. I have attempted, in my own teaching, to foster student success through implementing what could be considered practices of scholē. To begin, I recall from my own days of being a student that the antidote to leisure in learning is busywork: work that is assigned, seemingly to generate more “points” or to take up more time. In some cases busywork manifests as a set of arbitrarily constructed obstacles through which a trained and docile student must pass (like a show horse) to get to the finish line. That is, many hurdles have been historically created for students and assumed to be continuing assurances of quality; but too often, those tests suffer from inattention and lack of updating—they become (or always were) meaningless, irrelevant “hoops” to jump through. Wherever I can identify those hoops, I try to eliminate them, as they frequently cause a sense of drudgery for students, as well as for faculty and staff. "

    "...But meaningful challenges are a different thing altogether, and I think they can be a primary source of joy for students (and faculty). In various classes of mine, I have sought to bring the ideas of the philosophers/theorists to life by asking students to engage in experiments with me. In my Phenomenology classes, for example, after we read about how to shift visual perception to see phenomena in radically new ways, we visit our art museum on campus. There, we take in the latest exhibit, but we avoid looking at the title and description plates, so that what we perceive won’t be skewed. We all write down our initial impressions, and then I ask my students to alter their perception by standing very close or very far away from the work, for example. The point is to recognise how, given more time and by deliberately taking up different stances, a phenomenon can be read in multiple ways, challenging our initial knee-jerk interpretations. This exercise takes practice and is a disciplined, though play-full, mode of perception that can be translated to how we encounter the world at large. We talk about how this openness can be helpful in listening to others, or in holding back pre-judgments, or in simply having more fulfilling aesthetic experiences."

    "...I will conclude with a word of caution: If we, individually or institutionally, pursue scholē as a praxis of liberation, we must be careful to ensure that our cultivated leisure, openness, joy, and play do not come at the expense of another’s humanity or well-being. A humane university must be centered on an inclusive politics that is attentive to the situations of those who are less protected, more vulnerable, and liable to exploitation. Feminist philosopher Sara Ahmed writes, “If the freeing up of time and energy depends on other people’s labor, we are simply passing our exhaustion on to others”. If leisure in my life and in my classes means that my part-time, adjunct colleagues must take on more work, then I must seek a different instantiation of scholē that does not displace burdens, exacerbate disparities, or ask others to be more “resilient.” We should also be wary of the exhaustion of the privileged, and be able to recognise when upset is due to the needed dismantling of unchecked and insensitive power. We need to educate ourselves and our students for this discernment between privilege as an energy-saving device (not having to think about certain things that affect others), and scholē as a reorientation of energy that generates a caring community founded on open, learned and critical dialogue."
     
  2. aguilaroja

    aguilaroja Member

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    One resource is Boston College professor Peter Gray, who has researched and discussed play and self-direction in learning for decades. I do not necessarily agree with all his points. He has been making the case for more generative learning for decades, including his book, “Free to Learn”. He blogs regularly.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...y-our-coercive-system-schooling-should-topple
     
  3. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Nice. Glad to see more people are becoming aware that universities these days do nothing but destroy education and humanity in general.
     
  4. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    I think it is interesting to note that PhD students and people with PhDs striving to be professors are worked to the bone. Which might explain why most of them don't really seem all that bright despite the fact that they should be our most intelligent people.
     
  5. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    If intelligence requires thyroid/ATP then it is not at all surprising that exhausted people can't be very bright, regardless of their levels of education. Given that leisure in academia is basically a sacrilege (e.g. "publish or perish" rule) the only other option available to these poor souls is pharma drugs to keep the slave labor going. As such, stimulant drugs like Ritalin and AdderAll are most abused in higher education. The sad thing is that even with those drugs it is a losing proposition from the start because they destroy the brain with continued use to the people using them have to stay on them for life or quickly turn into mindless zombies upon stopping. If the current trend continues I think there will be a wave of suicides in academia similar to the homicidal wave caused by SSRI drugs.
     
  6. Regina

    Regina Member

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    Yeah, it's a fantastic article.
    Our culture really fosters the worst kind of inter-relations. If it is only a dominance hierarchy than it is a gypsy society based on whomever games the system the best "wins."
    Won what!?!?
     
  7. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    The "privilege" to control the fate of others...which even under current twisted/fraudulent psychiatric guidelines is straight up within the psychopathic spectrum of disorders.
     
  8. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    Maybe the bet is that you establish yourself before you break down. Or more likely stress causes myopia and they just do what is needed to make it to the next day.

    I might not have felt so alone had I known how many people struggle with mental health issues in academia. A 2015 study at the University of California Berkeley found that 47% of graduate students suffer from depression, following a previous 2005 study that showed 10% had contemplated suicide. A 2003 Australian study found that that the rate of mental illness in academic staff was three to four times higher than in the general population, according to a New Scientist article. The same article notes that the percentage of academics with mental illness in the United Kingdom has been estimated at 53%.
    There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about

    Once you graduate, you might just be doomed to low wage jobs with enormous student debt. Assuming you graduate, that is. I could not find any research on PhD suicide rate, but I would guess it is pretty high. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that these really are some of the most capable people our societies produce and the academia grinds them up. People getting PhDs are going to be more capable than I am, and really should not be making the sort of studies even I can see are wrong.
     
  9. lampofred

    lampofred Member

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    Well what can we do? With how difficult it is to get a job now, you don't quit a job or decide not to go to college just because it's "boring." The choice is between having food and a place to stay vs starving. Unless of course you're a super genius like Peat and can make enough to live via donations only.
     
  10. Peater Piper

    Peater Piper Member

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    Yup. Entrepreneurs may be able to avoid going the traditional route, but the successful ones still tend to work their butts off.
     
  11. Regina

    Regina Member

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    Exactly. Rather than strengthening the "muscle" of the mind, it leads to a mental rut. A sado-masochistic psychopathological rut that is depraved of moral inner guidance. The "great self-esteem" ultimately leads to zero self respect. Resentful and mediocre whilst infusing the grandiosity gap with pedagogical theories.
     
  12. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    The problem is that even compliance in the name of food would eventually be self-defeating. Since this corrupt system does not really result in accumulation/generation of useful knowledge, following its rules will eventually also result in unemployment because a company needs to produce something valuable in order for people to buy it. If all employees eventually become mindless drones capable of nothing but "factory thinking" companies won't be producing much value and when profits go down there will be massive layoffs. There is evidence that this process is well underway in many industries. One of the "biomarkers" for this zombification is the level of government (and government contractor) employment as a ratio to total employment. It has been rising ever since the early 2000s. When things get rough and society gets dumber, the government becomes the only employer that can step in and (temporarily) remedy the situation by hiring people nobody else will. It is happening not only in US but around the world in countries like Greece, UK, Japan, India, etc. There is good evidence that the population in most Western countries has been getting dumber over the last 30 years, and government employment has been steadily rising in very good correlation with this idiotification of Western societies.
    So, if people are going to starve either way, might as well try to change something in the system for better.
     
  13. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    Kids used to be taught the Trivium, how to think and apply logic. Now they are taught what to think and false logic.
    By design by the inbreds at the pyramid's top.

    Also as the workforce gets dumber, you replace them with robots. Then you have the majority on welfare relying on government handouts. Of course, then they have to jump through hoops for handouts, such as mandatory vaccines and eventually microchipping of themselves and kids. Then non-compliance leads to RFID being deactivated.
    Game over.

    Its all planned and is progressing rather rapidly these days.
     
  14. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Yeah, and here is a new article I came upon today that offers more evidence for this dumbification - i.e. the number of temporary jobs (aka "gigs") has been growing since the 1970s, which is when the general decline in intelligence started in most Western countries. Just like the government jobs, the gigs are indication of a growing number of people who are unhirable. Yes, it is also an indication of a changing definition of work, but also of lack of other opportunities (possibly due to lack of skills or aptitude) as the article below aptly explains.
    Silicon Valley has been treating workers ‘miserably’ since the 1970s
    "..."Uber is the waste product of the service economy," Hyman said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, a podcast. "It relies on a bunch of people who don't have an alternative." Hyman told Recode that the number of people who have to rely on temporary, freelance or other "alternative work arrangements" has been growing since the 1970s, when the era of bloated corporations gave way to businesses that optimized for short-term profits and began treating workers as disposable. "The alternative to driving for Uber is not a good job in a factory with a union wage or working in a stable office job, it's slinging coffee at a Starbucks where you may or may not get the hours you need," he said. "That is what people are shoring up. They're shoring up getting enough hours, trying to make ends meet. Oftentimes, people talk about the gig economy as 'supplementary income' ... It's not supplemental if you need it to pay for your kids' braces, or food, or rent." Hyman argued that this phenomenon could be traced back to the legions of undocumented migrant laborers who built early computers, before those manufacturing jobs moved overseas."
     
  15. Herbie

    Herbie Member

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    I agree with this, I drove a couple of doctor/specialists.. "Um I don't know why all of these women are having this problem with bone density in their pelvis's, is it low progesterone or estrogen," "Oh I'm not sure we will test them but I don't think it could be the progesterone oh but it could be the estrogen because they are on low dose estrogen, we could up the estrogen medication dosage."

    They came across that they do not know a thing about the hormones themselves but only know about testing and results and are they within the levels they were taught were the correct ones.

    Doesn't sound very intelligent..
     
  16. bzmazu

    bzmazu Member

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    Our education system is screwed...it hurts me to see my 13 year old daughter stressing because of it...
     
  17. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    Teach her some of the trivium, such as the logical fallacies. I teach my kids to play along with the ruse, but advance their intelligence at home. The ability to critically think is more important than the data. No need for her to stress. Gibe her some progesterone and adamantane. It will lower the stress.
     
  18. nwo2012

    nwo2012 Member

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    Yes, they have lost the ability to critically analyze. They are doctors of trivia, of 'facts' and figures, nothing more. Quiz masters if you will, not intelligent people.
     
  19. Herbie

    Herbie Member

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    It was uncanny to hear the word progesterone in the real world, I read so much about it in my secret life.
     
  20. Hugh Johnson

    Hugh Johnson Member

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    Get her to watch JTG videos. Hopefully she'll stop caring too much.
     
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