Sunday, 22 November 2015

matriculation or the kids are alright

When it was first published in September of this year, I really assayed and digested the lengthy and circumspect piece by The Atlantic called The Coddling of the American Mind, however the gravity of the situation remained in some higher orbital—to me—at least until recently through an interview with an American zookeeper to a British and international that zoos in the US, while preserving their educational utility as a destination for field-trips, strongly tended to shy away from displaying exhibits that suggested evolution and climate change for fear of causing offence. I realise that the transition from being students, participations and citizens to being consumers of educational and democratic experience is not exclusively an American problem and has no respect for borders or other enshrined approaches—though happily there’s still pushback, but obviously the American sandbox is the best environment to try to understand how this situation—the creation of pockets of refuge, whole institutionalised swaths of up-and-coming society that go coddled and unchallenged—came about and what consequences it could have.
The solution is not clear, I thought, and could only be described in terms of greater polemics, disparaging wealth gaps upheld with one’s all, and the fact we’ve grown accustomed to the passive recruitment of what resounds with us (what we’d like to hear re-enforced at the expense of dissenting alternatives) and the fact it’s never been easier to enlist in any crusade with only a modicum of personal discomfort—also never easier to condemn heretics and traitors to the cause. Of course, there has always been charismatics, people who fancy themselves above being challenged and certain mouthpieces for campaigning, and the whole of American society is far from sheltered and protected from the affronts of the Classics and the micro-aggressors, but never was there the fostering of a culture that would construct that best of all possible worlds. Not to suggest that organised religion is fully exonerated, but such a mindset seems to me to be partly responsible for the success in indoctrinating and the follow-on radicalisation of many individuals, who are unable to see further than than these familiar horizons. One of the greatest dangers and fount of all sorrows is the expectation that the world conforms to our our standards. The brilliant science-fiction writer Douglas Adams, in his Salmon of Doubt, puts this paradox another way—rather succinctly, with a self-aware puddle, at first in awe and rather self-sure because the hole it finds itself in fits the puddle perfectly and then in panic as the puddle realises that its universe is shrinking, along with the puddle itself.