Book Review: The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse | #SmartReads

TheVanishingAmericanAdult
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 19, 2017

Wide in scope, and methodical in its examination, The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse is not only a dire warning, but a call to action for those who are seeing the decline of modern adults and the transmutation and erosion of adulthood in modern times, and the erosions of Freedoms as well.

Examining a veritable panoply of issues, the author centers upon myriad issues in modern schooling such as age segregation, over-consumption, lack of knowledge or literary skills, and also the incomplete view on what Freedom really is and all that it entails, and more.

Speaking about the glaring disrespect for Freedom and all that it took the gain, the author incisively notes:

“Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has created the tragically apt phrase “unlearning liberty” for the troubling turn from freedom of expression and academic freedom toward political correctness and speech codes on our elite campuses.

“Let’s state it clearly: This is nearly the opposite of hat American Revolution as fought for.  America declared independence from Great Britain in pursuit of liberty, not “safe spaces.”  Freedom, and particularly freedom of discourse and debate about the big ideas of life, death, and meaning, is the foundation of the American idea.  Fleeting notions of psychological safety from having to considering competing ideas are quite nearly the opposite.”[1]

Such is what takes place when people are raised wrapped in bubble wrap, and are only allowed to experience a fraction of the totality that the world holds.  Worse, these actions are antithetical to Freedom since they aim to castrate others of the very views Freedom aims to protect, even if they are unpopular.

At one point, the author centers upon the work of award-winning teacher, John Taylor Gatto, who has done yeomen’s work in sounding the alarm regarding the insidious nature of public schooling.  In his landmark book, Dumbing Us Down, the author notes that:

“…seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood,” in our cookie-cutter schools.  The main consequences for students are: emotional confusion, social class disparity indifference, passivity, intellectual dependency on experts, conditional self-esteem, and surveillance by those in charge.”[2]

In such a system that seeks to conform, Is it a wonder that many are merely shadows of what they are fully capable of?

That said, there are two contentions to note with the book.  The first contention centers upon footnotes.  Although the author has a bibliography, and does in fact does address why the footnotes are missing, it still leaves a lot to be desired.  Given that this book aimed to cover a large scope of information, for those wanting to not only verify the information given, but wanting to research it further, footnotes are black pearls, they are essentially priceless.  One can only construct the present out of the roadmap of the past, and without a roadmap, one is unable to know where to go.  One would have to spend hours trying to stitch together the book’s sourced material in an attempt to ascertain which statement correlates with what book in the Bibliography, and there in you STILL don’t know what page that statement came from.  Had he given the page in the bibliography this would have been alright, but such was not the case.

The second contention with the book is that although the author does note some of the incisive issues that are taking place within society, and rightly so, the author doesn’t go far enough and only does a cursory examination.  One could make a sound argument that a large portion of issues stems from the social engineering in education, which is wholly verifiable if one takes the time to look.  It’s certainly not the only reason, but a leading one.

In fact, the very work that the author cited of John Taylor Gatto, throughout his books shows at length many references for the system having been engineered this way.  It wasn’t random that America’s education is failing, and that critical thinking skills have been lost – It was meant to BE that way.  Gatto’s work is a crucial start to glean this.  Moreover, the work of whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt, who was a former Senior Policy Adviser for the Office Of Education Research & Improvement in the Reagan Administration adds more fuel to the fire, and sheds more light onto the darkness.  Her intriguing book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America, is a phenomenal foray into the insidious roots of this broken system.

Also noteworthy is a gentleman who came out pulling no punches on this very topic named Professor Patrick Deneen.  In fact, in a lucid article entitled “How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture,” he states the following:

“We have fallen into the bad and unquestioned habit of thinking that our educational system is broken, but it is working on all cylinders.  What our education system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free process and unexamined buzz-words like “critical thinking,” “diversity,” “ways of knowing,” “social justice,” and “cultural competence.”  Our education system produces solipsistic, self-contained selves whose only public commitment is an absence of commitment to public, a common culture, a shared history.  They are perfectly hollowed vessels, receptive and obedient without any real obligations or devotions.”[3]

Such is the true nature of the beast.   Not only is society being dumbed down, but culture as a whole is being eviscerated, one child at a time.

In any case, Sasse does provide some solutions to these problems and they are worthy of consideration.  The solutions that the author offers are not only practical, but much-needed.

It would be prudent for those seeking to understand more thoroughly how all these issues came to be to not only read The vanishing American Adult but also to read up on the work of Gatto, Iserbyt, and Deneen.  Complement this piece not only with the prior authors’ work, but also with Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s and Gary Lawrence’s Rotten To The Common Core, and Gatto’s books called Weapons Of Mass Instruction, A Different Kind Of Teacher, The Underground History Of America, and John Holt’s How Children Learn, and one will begin to have a firm foundation upon which to grasp the totality an depth of this disturbing issue and even some possible solutions.

The myriad ramifications of this book abound, and should be ruminated upon at length.  If the America of the future is to have a firm foundation, at present, action needs to take place, with an ironclad education at the vanguard.  All individuals that value Freedom need to realize their fullest potential in mind, body and soul.  The future that awaits seems rather bleak, and it will remain bleak as long as ignorance remains.

That is why being proactive should be a daily priority.  Change starts with the individual – every single one of us.  Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  For if we don’t take time to teach our children, kit and kin about the lessons of life, a great majority will arrive at life’s end having learned nothing.

__________________________________________
Footnotes:

[1] Ben Sasse, The Vanishing American Adult, p. 250.
[2] Ibid., p. 71.
[3] Professor Patrick Deneen, How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Advertisements

Conformity Crisis: Curiosity Vs. Conformity

Conformity
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 11, 2017

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism.  It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved.  It is a type of confidence.  And it is fragile.  It can be blackened by fear and superstition.”
– Bernard Beckett

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.”
– Edmund Burke

Children are the most inherently curious people on earth by far.  This is in their very nature, like breathing is to people.  Watching a youngling carry on and about, asking questions about everything in sight is a wondrous sight.  It matters not what lies in front of them, there is no mountain to high, or not valley to low.  They are capable, because their curiosity hasn’t been dampened by society.  In their nascent stages, a child’s imagination is boundless; this prompts children to see reality itself as boundless, which allows them live in a world of vibrant stories and endless journeys which have not been stultified.  In fact, they believe they are so capable they often get themselves in trouble, as we have come to know.

Because children are inherently curious, they act as little sages, they are like little philosophers.  Ironically, philosophy means the love of wisdom.  Children, by using their curiosity as a platform for understanding the world, are attempting to gain wisdom of reality and its inherent intricacies.   There is much to be learned about that.

From the full breadth and scope of human history, two of the best philosophers to learn from Socrates and Descartes.  The former is known as “the Father of Philosophy” and represents best classical philosophy; the latter is known as “the Father of Modern Philosophy” and represents best of modern philosophy.

What all children have in common with these two great minds is their ability to question.  Just like Socrates and Descartes employed the ability to question everything, so do children.  This is a great gift, because it yields many results in gaining knowledge of the world, and more importantly, of the self.

Unfortunately, later in life, children’s curiosity gets shoved brashly aside.  One could even go as far to say that curiosity is surgically removed from the individual’s repertoire and only a ghost of curiosity’s former self remains.  Whether by parents, public schooling, church, or any other way, children are asked to: [1] conform to standards imposed on them stifling their uniqueness and creativity, [2] to trust authority unquestioningly, and by trusting authority they are ‘taught’ [which in other vernacular is called indoctrinated] into [3] not questioning authority.  That triumvirate of nonsense [sn] leaves kids, like a ship with a busted rudder unable to sail in the sea, unable to be free in mind as they would be if they weren’t forced to conform.  Moreover, these children grow into adults that are incapable of questioning anything because they do not have the curiosity that’s the fuel for seeking truth and employing critical thinking.  We also know that critical thinking does not get taught in public schooling.

All of these above issues cause a great imbalance, because the individual forfeits their natural path that they would have originally followed had they not been stultified

While adults have a much harder time posing questions beyond superficial ones, if they even do so at all, children are vastly capable until their creativity is corralled.  Before the creative consciousness of individual gets sealed away in a vault, it’s important not to allow that ever to take place.   Curiosity needs to be fostered and cared for in continuous fashion.  It’s the inherent curiosity that children feature which the adult world lacks in droves.

Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, in their quintessential How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, put it best:

The child is a natural questioner.  It is not the number of questions he asks but their character that distinguishes him from the adult.  Adults do not lose the curiosity that seems to be a native trait, but their curiosity deteriorates in qualityThey want to know whether something is so, not why.  But children’s questions are not limited to the sort that can be answered by an encyclopedia.[Bold Emphasis Added][1][Emphasis Added]

Adults, however, seem to lack this very type of curiosity, the boundless type.  Admittedly, adults are ‘curious’ about the weather, or about other superficial issues, but it’s not even close to the same magnitude.   Part of the reason is because as adults, we have been taught not to question and we have been indoctrinated to follow orders and always follow authority.  Trust authority is something that gets hammered in our youth, like nails.  This is why adults follow orders en mass in modern days, even though over a century ago this wasn’t always so.

What makes it worse is that when adults see other people ask questions and get reamed by for it, as if questioning authority is a deadly sin, the learn to retreat into a state of fear and conformity falling back into ‘official reality’ – the one in which you must not question.  Continuous conformity continues to tow the party line of via this mass societal engineering with nigh no end in sight.

Regardless of how people ended up losing curiosity and end up conforming, if an individual never leaves the confining, restrictive and stultifying part of the system, the individual will never be able to become an incisive, questioning, critical thinking individual.  And those who never arrive at their full potential will only living life at a fraction of their capabilities when compared to the full breadth and scope that is to be had if an individual is robust and self sufficient.

We should seek to go beyond the confines of conformity and be our own very inherent authentic selves.

The individual needs to be open-minded enough to see when someone is trying to put them in a box, and brave enough to stop those that seek to halt their conscious awareness of issues, no matter who it is.

Only through achieving unbounded awareness of what one is capable of are individuals to free themselves from the confines of conformity and reimplement the original constitution of curiosity they were endowed with.  Then, and only then, will individuals follow their inherent curiosities into new journeys, into a new life.

If individuals are to master themselves, if they are to be able to get in tune with their deepest self, they will need to be allowed to make their own mistakes – children and adults equally.  If individuals are not allowed the opportunity to make mistakes and go through obstacles opportunities for growth, they will never master themselves. 

The only way to breakaway into conscious creativity with curiosity is through the employment of imagination and ceaseless curiosity.

Via imagination, life becomes boundless – an ocean to be traveled upon.  Thereafter, the embers of curiosity are reignited, and the ideas start to take place, possibilities ensue – wonder begins .

From there, an inquiring individual can go through life, searching, willing, and able to journey on their path in search for life’s hidden treasures, venturing towards their personal mysteries.  Or they can remained stultified just as the system has made many become.

Curiosity or conformity.

Freedom, or societal subjugation.

The beauty of this conundrum is, it’s merely a choice.  One way or another, everyone always decides.

Every.  Single. Day.
___________________________________________________________

[1] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book, p. 264.
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.