Indoctrinaction of kids is not easy

A lot of noise has gotten around Venezuela about the indoctrination intentions of the Chavista government. These fears have been rampant since day ones (as have the ones were we became communists, nationalized banks, and were denied exit from the country), but they have resurged lately thanks to a school publishing some videos from the Education Secretary Office. Now, I've always say that indoctrination is not as easy as people believe. Look at the failure rate of religious schools, it is abysmal. Clearly not worth the effort. But now there is scientific proof that kids are pretty good detecting whether something is true or bullshit.


Posted by   www
on November 18, 2006, 12:57 pm
Alfredo, thank you for posting it. I watched just the first video and found it most interesting.

I could not disagree with the first part of the presentation. What the lady presented as problems of the education system, are problems indeed, not only in Venezuela. The fact that the system is based on providing knowledge rather than developing potential is true. The fact that the specificities of every individual are not taken into account by the system is true. The fact that in Venezuela people are educated so that people are not proud of their work, and perceive it just like a way to ean their living, it is true.

There are two points, however, I disagree with the lady: first is that at one point in time, developing the potential is not enough. One needs specialized knowledge.

The second thing is, of course, her equation of the failure/success of the system with a political option. The remedy, according to them is to create "bolivarian bins" where each individual will be inserted in order to fulfill a political aim.

That is where they fail. IMHO a successful education system is based on producing competent individuals that are free to think and create.

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Posted by   www
on November 18, 2006, 1:03 pm
As for the religion education that you mentioned....they have not failed because their aim was not that we became religious people.

I feel that the religious education that I got was to give me a set of values and knowledge that I could use if I wanted to. But, at the end of the day, I was educated to be a free thinker, so much that I could completely reject the religious education.

In that respect, religious education has been a great success.

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Posted by aoctavio  
on November 18, 2006, 1:23 pm
I disagree. The stated objective of religious groups by providing education was to allow them to teach religion. I agree with you that they did a good service, most of the time, providing adequate education, but that was a side benefit. Their intention was that you became, let me guess, a good catholic... Are you one? Do you go to mass every Sunday? Do you contribute money to the church? If you answer no to any of these questions, they have failed their stated purpose.

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Posted by  
on November 23, 2006, 1:16 pm
You are both wrong. Ideology is so subtle that you view it as a type of 'commonsense'. It is that little man inside your head that tells you what is correct behavior.

The blatant dogma is most pro-forma--a preformative function that is intended to undergird the pretty conservative domga that people regulate themselves through. This is how culture is maintained and reproduced.

Of course the religious/theological docterine is incredibly contradictory and hypocritical--this allows empires to murder and oligarchs to exploit the slaves with relative impunity. Very much unlike what we read about the mythological character called Jesus of Nazareth.

Thinking deeper about these issues is dangerous. These contradictions, so the little man in our heads tells us, are best left unchallenged.

What is utterly lacking from school cirriculeum is anything having to do with critical thinking and political philosophy. History always has imprimatuer of the ruling groups in any society.

In general, the more money we have, the less that we can imagine that the world could be in any way different.

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Posted by aoctavio  
on November 23, 2006, 3:06 pm
Thanks for that intelligent comment Swampus! I'll think about it, but what you are saying makes sense, actually.

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Posted by  
on November 23, 2006, 10:26 pm
Don't mention it Alfredo--these ideas are just an unorganized mish-mash of lines of thinking from people much more astute and historically informed than I am.

Marcuse, Veblen, B. Russell, ect--there are so many great, interesting thinkers that are ignored by the punditocracy and mainstream academics. "The Responsiblity of Intellectuals", an essay by Noam Chomsky, had an enormous impact on the way I interpret the world.

All ignorance has a willful compontent to it--and we all filter thoughts, information, and ideas that conflict with our deeper believes and/or desires and goals.

Reguarding the pathological problems we face as collective humans at this juncture: remember, our 'best' thinking got us to this point.

There are destructive patterns that repeat in human behavior. If we are to save ourselves, we need to escape the oscillation that we seem trapped in.

But, I will reiterate: an quality, liberatory education also involves confronting our indoctrination. Even the best private school education tends to mold our attitudes.

When I finally had the opprotunity for a university education, I made the most of it: I questioned how I was being encouraged toward certain thinkers. I strived to dig deeper, to imbibe the thinking of the philosophers and critical thinkers that were given short shrift.

After all, universities are about primarily reproducing the status quo. These ideological patterns are etched deeply into our habits of thinking. These deep patterns are the 'little man inside our heads' that I refered to in the last post.

Why do most 'revolutionary' movements devolve back into hierarchially ordered, illegitimate tyrannies?

This should be a question that invites much thought. And it has, Marcuse and Adorno were on to it fifty years ago. Lesser minds became pathetic dupes for the worst tryannies offered up by captialist and communist governments.

After a fashion, authentic education is an individual quest--and it is never finished. Such a quest always necessarily entails a rebellion against the father, the little guy in our head. This is not to say that we rebell against being ethical, just humans--to the contrary, rebelling against the little man ensures that we are not carried along with the oppressive imperatives that reproduce the very pathologies (war, for example) that will see us all dead.

But, hey, these are just some off the cuff thoughts. Rationalism has its limits also--and it comes to the cultural forefront in binary opposition to habits of religious or non-rational thoughts. Without the non-rational we wouldn't have any of the arts.

Go Blue indeed!

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