Friday, May 21, 2010

Teach Yourself

Recently the Texas government voted to alter history books to downplay slavery and evolution, and play up the role of creationism in the thoughts and actions of the founding fathers. The resulting uproar was understandable. However, the biggest problem confronting the US today is not in the writing of government funded, revisionist history, and textbook fabrication. The biggest problem is in the failure of Postmodernist philosophy to promote education as a way of life, rather than simply a means to employment.

Prior to Rousseau, Enlightment philosophy valued learning and rational application of learning, on its own merit. But when he and later Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, etc., began attacking reality as an irrelevant aspect of the human experience, they in turn began the devaluation of learning in society. Today we have a western civilization that believes that you go to school simply because it is your duty. But graduation from school should not be the ending of education, but rather the beginning.

I have long thought that enlightenment ethics and philosophy should be taught as a course in high schools nationwide, but seeing as even among my many talented teachers, few seemed to understand these concepts, I can't imagine who would teach the course. Most educators teach how to learn, but they often do not teach you how to think. You are on your own for that one. In the absence of any rational philosophical instruction, most people fall back on the only pseudo-philosophy they have ever encountered, namely religion. However, I have learned much more since school, by forming my own curriculum, than I ever did when I was in school, about how the mind works, how systems work, how economics function, and so many other things.

Recommended Reading:
"Explaining Postmodernism" by Stephen R.C. Hicks
"Economics In One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt
"End the Fed" by Ron Paul
"For the New Intellectual" by Ayn Rand
"The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand
"Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Ayn Rand
"Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" by Ayn Rand

I'm still working my way up to Ludwig Von Mises, Adam Smith Isaac Newton and John Locke, but I suspect I would recommend them too. Take your education into your own hands. If you would work out your body to keep it fit, why would you not also work out your mind? A self-directed, life-long commitment to your own education is the only sane choice for a rational mind.