Problems in our education

Are all due to “stultifying presentations of information” argues Bruce Eckel:

After an hour of listening to this intensity, you’re hungry for another one. It makes you realize that most of the problems in our education system come from taking information and presenting it in the most stultifying way possible. In contrast, you could listen to Radiolab-style lectures all the time. The big problem with this show, as Seth Godin points out, is that they don’t make them fast enough and that I’m going to run out of back episodes soon. But I don’t care, I can’t stop.

Radiolab gives you a steady stream of golf balls to the forehead. There’s a downside, as people who have come to open-spaces conferences can attest: it ruins you for the old, tedious way of doing things. I suspect you just become aware that you live bored, but this awareness is disruptive and you can’t un-open the can of worms. Go in with your eyes open.

I had a big golf ball to the forehead during the writing workshop. I will probably process this insight for years. It came during a rapid-writing exercise, where one of the things that appeared on my page was this:

We are irrational. Proof: We believe we are rational.

I’ve been unconsciously struggling with this issue for a long time. Why don’t we just behave sensibly? Every time I see people — including and especially myself — do dumb things, the same question comes up: we know the right answers, or at least how to find them, why do we adamantly continue down the path of stupid?

If you assume people are rational creatures, then our behavior is crazy and frustrating. But why did there need to be a “dawn of reason?” And just because we have discovered reason and the scientific method, does that mean that it permeates our brains?

It turns out that we are not really wired for reason per se. It’s not the way we absorb and internalize information, or make decisions.

Take a look!


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