Category Archives: Culture Gone Wrong
I feel like this post is so cliche, but at the same time, I will remember how to hate myself, if I don’t write it. I had no intentions of writing another blog post until I returned, once again, to the topic of Sex Trafficking and wrote a blog commissioned by my good friend Tiffany Beard. It was this article, however, that propelled me into writing this post. For so many reasons, I feel like Seth does in this article. While I am not bisexual, I find myself feeling much of his pain. I constantly find myself in situations where I am supposed to choose a side. In most things in life, I do. That is not my problem. What hurts is when the people you love tell you, or at least imply, for a myriad of reasons, to dislike, or hate another person that they are done with. I found myself in that situation once again tonight. I was to text a person, whom I was supposed to be hating, to gain information, and instead found myself consoling this persons broken heart. It was then that I realized I had forgotten how to hate.
While the above situation may seem childish and petty, and in many ways it is, it is only a minor example of a growing problem. Sitting here, listening to Fever Ray, I realized that this was just a minor slice of a larger symptom I find in life. Time and again, people, institutions, culture, society, tell me who and what I should hate, but I realize hate has left me. It’s a strange mercy, but one I am grateful for. I often find that even the priesthood of open-mindness and those who claim unconditional love, have group they too hate. I am not taking up the argument of is hate learned or innate, but I do know one thing. We can all forget how to hate.
I have nothing more profound. No pictures, no more links. I am not even going to give the reader a challenge to forget how to hate. Do that has to be something that one comes to on their own terms on their own time. I simply say think about forgetting.
I am one of the millions of people the Western model of education has failed. When talking about Myer-Briggs classification of Jungian personality types, I come out to INFP (Introverted, iNtutive, Feeler, Perceiver). This is not important except for a few quick facts I would like to mention.
1. INFP is one of the rarest of the 16 personality combinations. It is also the personality type that has the greatest amount of gifted people.
2. It is not until later in life this giftedness is realized. In fact, I think as a type in general, we are all late at seeing the unique things we bring to the table. The Western model of education (especially since the passage of No Child Left Behind in America) relies heavily on standardized testing. We do not do well on tests. (This is something that is general of most Introverts of any type). It is not until we develop life experiences outside the classroom that we find our gifts.
I did not understand myself for much of my life so far, and many others have had a hard time understanding me as well. I thought I was certifiably crazy until I picked up this book a few weeks ago:
The problem was not that I was crazy. The problem is that I am an introvert living in an extrovert world, and since I was different, I automatically assumed something was terribly wrong with me. Now I understand myself, and realize that I am not crazy at all. This book was not the only thing I picked up. I also managed to pick up a copy O Magazine.
When it comes to my schooling, I will admit I have been quite the slacker. Both due to the fact that I do not learn in the way most of my educators have presented material to me and also because I felt I was stupid, and therefore should not try. There were other reasons too, but these are the main two. It wasn’t until I found myself in grad school that I started to think maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all, and maybe if I could figure out what I really wanted to study and do with life, school would be fun again.
Over the course of a year and a half, I have started enjoying school, and life again. I realize now that what I had to do was unlearn much about what I knew. I have recently unlearned a lot by reading The Introvert Advantage. I have unlearned from many other sources as well. My life has often progressed topsy-turvy and backwards, but for me, it has been the only way that has made any sense.
With all these things I have talked about so far in mind, imagine the smile of my soul when I came across this page while flipping through O magazine:
The text is hard to read in this picture, but it simple reads: “I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. -Georgia O’Keefe.” Meditate on this thought for a minute. On starting over by stripping away what one has been taught.
Only minutes later, I found myself wasting time on
This is the heart of what I wanted to say in this post. I don’t agree necessarily that the future is unwritten. In many ways, it has already been carved out. The thought occurred to me, however, the the future can be changed. The way to do this is by unwriting it, and to unwrite it, we must start anew, stripping away what we have been taught.
INFP’s are called the Idealist Healers. We are a set of people who wish to change the world for the better and often, each in our own way, do. I wish to do so, but before I can, I must unlearn to unwrite. After that, I will have a blank page on which to create the world how I wish it to be.
So I leave you with this final thought: What do you need to unlearn in order to unwrite the future that is waiting for you in order to have a clean page on which to write the future you wish to create?
Confession: Until a few days ago, I had never thought, much less cared, about the Cultural Sustainability of America. It was not something I was losing sleep over. Now, I am looking at getting a possible future degree in it. What am I talking about and why do you care? Well, It’s like this…
I was recently reading a wonderful essay called “Language Evolution and the Transformative Language Arts” by my dear friend Tiffany Beard. In this essay, she devoted a part to talk about the lexicon changes America is presently undergoing. It was this particular passage the inspired the thoughts I am about to share:
“Americans have become somewhat lazy in their use of language, despite communicating more often than ever. The ease of communication via email, text messages, has not increased intelligent use of words. Mainstream social groups with cell phones have adapted a simplification of spelling and abbreviation of phrases to as few letters as possible. LOL is now in Merriam Webster’s dictionary. But this may not be a positive lexical change. Teachers in elementary school must now battle with students using terms like “bc” instead of because in research papers” (Beard, 6).
The wheels in my head started to spin, and I grabbed a legal pad and pen to start jotting down my thoughts. The first things I wrote was:
“America is quickly becoming a dictatorship, a repressed country, because the popular culture is propelling itself into what I call, for the lack of a better term, a devolution. There is a widening gap between those who posses intelligence and those who actually use it.”
Now, it was not just because of the shift in language that I made this statement, and on it’s own, seems an overly harsh thing to say, so before I go into further discussion, I will share down the second thought I wrote.
“Technology, our greatest form of cultural advancement, is actually working against us by creating a culture that cannot be sustained. We have become so dependent in America, and dare I say world-wide, on machines to do everything for us. Many (and especially in the younger generations, America’s future) are not learning to think, much less anything else, for themselves, so when those who have created the technology are no longer here, there will be no one to maintain, much less advance it, thereby causing a cultural crash of epic proportions. The science fiction writers and conspiracy theorist were right all along. we live in a world run by machines, they just did not imagine that this is what it would look like and instead of fighting against it, we have not only wholeheartedly embraced this lifestyle, but celebrate it by calling it progress and innovation.”
I realize that sounds harsh, and that this proverbial crash is not coming anytime in the near future, I do think the gist of the message is true, however. Technology is not something that is easily culturally sustainable. Most of this, however, has nothing to do with technology itself, but the (failed) education system in America (more on this topic to come). If the children of this nation don’t get a better quality education in math and science, there will be no one, in this culture, who can keep this demand for new innovation in technology going, which means that America will become solely (as I do realize we are already partial) dependent on other countries and cultures to advance ours, in which case we are no longer our own but under the power of another country and thus the very thing that keeps America going with be the very thing that stops it from going anywhere and will destroy the America we know.
I would like to say that I am an idealist. I do not want to be right about the way in which I see my nation progressing if we keep at the pace of technology and ways of education that are currently being experienced in this country, and I still believe that Bill Clinton was right when he said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America.” The only way that America is going to fix this problem, however, is by facing the harsh reality of what it will become if we don’t address our problems. That then becomes the challenge my friends. Not only repair the educations system, but don’t forget how to live life in such a way that you can go on living a sustainable life even if all your technology was taken away. The first step to fix any problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem, and that is what this is about. Looking at the problem and giving it a name.
Beard, Tiffany M. “Language Evolution and the Transformative Language Arts”. Critical Paper. Goddard College, 2011.
Check out Tiffany here: http://www.examiner.com/urban-arts-in-washington-dc/tiffany-beard and here http://alwaysalreadyalright.blogspot.com