Monday, 13 April 2015

On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 15/16

15. Education and indoctrination

The bottom up thinker sees education as being exactly what the word's Latin root says: leading out the potential of each individual. And he knows that assimilating new facts and ideas into our mental picture of reality is natural to human beings. That is, learning is a bottom up process. This becomes obvious to him when he watches young children exploring their surroundings, or hears them incessantly asking “Why?”

Furthermore, he sees the goal of education as to teach people how to learn. For anyone, who has mastered the art of learning new things from the bottom up, has the tools to enable them to continue to learn for the rest of their lives. (In the same way, someone who learned to read through phonics has the tools to continue to learn new words for the rest of their lives.) Thus, bottom up education will tend to produce bottom up thinkers.

The top down thinker, on the other hand, sees education, at best, as a process of preparing an individual for life in a particular culture. So, like the look-say trainer, the top down educator looks to stuff his pupils’ minds with information. He seeks to impart top down rote knowledge, rather than the tools which enable bottom up learning. And so, he is likely to turn his pupils into top down thinkers like him.

Worse, the top down educator will usually seek to instil into his pupils the current politically correct views. Thus, he will often discard truth and honesty in favour of lies, misdirection and promotion of Causes. So, top down schooling easily descends even further into indoctrination.

16. Information and propaganda

It isn’t just in our early years that we are all subjected to a barrage of top down disinformation. Watch any TV news programme – preferably with the sound off! – or skim through any newspaper. You will quickly see that virtually everything today’s media spout is no more than a promotion for some Cause or other.

And most of it seems intended to be scary. Our CO2 emissions will fry us all! The oil is running out! Putin is about to start world war three! The government needs to spy on our e-mails so it can “protect” us! Every Muslim you see on the street is a probable terrorist! It’s hard to avoid agreeing with H.L.Mencken that all this is a ruse “to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

The bottom up thinker wants to be informed. So, he doesn’t always shut the media out entirely. But, with practice, he finds it increasingly easy to tell when what ought to be information has sunk into lies and propaganda. And he gives such stuff – and those that parrot it – no respect at all.

In contrast, the top down thinker is too often emotionally swayed by propaganda. And he becomes inclined to support whatever Cause or Causes it promotes.

No comments: