Lack of imagination + unquestioned assumptions = this stupid world

If I had to sum up my frustration with the world, our governments and the way people view them, it might be encapsulated in this story. A choice quotation:

People get so caught up in “the way things are done” that they can’t possibly comprehend any other way of doing things. Therefore, when you show them a child learning faster than his or her peers, the focus is not on how fantastic it is, but on how we’ll be able to keep that child in the same class as other kids their age. Why is it necessary to group kids by age? Because it’s just what we do. When a child is bumped up a grade, why do we do it for all subjects at once, instead of each subject separately? Because it’s just what we do. The educational system was created to teach children; now it exists to perpetuate the current educational system.

People get quite cross when I ask them, “Why do you think that?” after they make a statement that is very much up for debate. I am genuinely curious as to why they believe what they believe. But they often think I am making fun of them, because to them, it should be “obvious” why they believe that X should be the law and Y should be the desired outcome. But questioning assumptions is something we each need to do, always – it’s not a nice to have. As Chris Rhodes writes:

If we ever want our institutions to serve us rather than serve themselves, it’s time to focus on what we had hoped to gain from them in the first place, and to question every assumption that underlies them.


6 thoughts on “Lack of imagination + unquestioned assumptions = this stupid world

  1. Should add that they might also get cross because perhaps I am ever so slightly condescending when I ask this question. I try not to be, but I am kind of a jerk.

    1. … but ever such a lovely one! Hope things are good in your world xxx

      1. Catriona, you are far too kind! I miss you. Popping over to London tomorrow and Tuesday next, but just for one or two days bookending a trip to Spain. Wish I could come down Swindon way to see you, Simon and the bairns! xx

  2. Asking “why” is one of your best qualities. And you’ve never been a jerk when asking me that question!

  3. My habit of questioning assumptions has pissed off more than a few people. I find that the people who it angers aren’t usually worth dealing with anyway.

  4. When I was in school in a third world country, now a market du jour, “double promotions” were allowed. If each double promotion I received was allowed to stand and not forcibly normalised by a new school, I would have hit the barriers of University admissions that demand age 17 to enter, whereas I would have been 11 or, at max, 12. Leaving University would have been a little easy except I would still have been a minor, and my dad would have had to go with me to the city where I took up a job.

    My point is two-fold:

    (a) change has to be wholesale and not piecemeal especially in the example you cite in the quotation

    (b) the “system”, any system, caters to the averages and not to outliers for whom other outlets are available. To paraphrase Mark Twain badly, the point of the education system is not to limit the educating of children to schools, but to ensure that affordable and high quality activities to develop their specific talent are available. Parents play a key role in the process and that is not said loudly or often enough except (at least in the UK) to point out how rich parents can afford everything etc.

    (FWIW the trend continued till as in my 20s I gave up fighting against men in their 40s and their politics, and although I loved the content and freedom in what I did, gave up the “corporate jobbing” life in favour of something I still do and enjoy.)

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