Book Review: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheFountainhead
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 7, 2017

There are writers.  And then there’s Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand was a very unique individual; an individual that isn’t afraid to stand by her convictions, no matter what anyone said.  That’s what made her so beloved and hated.  Even more so, that’s why people were so bifurcated about her books.

Knowing that, then it isn’t shocking to realize that The Fountainhead was written with her very own ideals embedded within every page, within every character, within every thought.  In that sense, she is rather unique because not only did she create an amazing story, as many authors have, but she went a step beyond and used the book with the essence of her philosophy, which was, and will always be, a  truly daring endeavor for any writer.

The Fountainhead has been described in many ways, but at its core it is about The Individual vs. The Collective; about Freedom vs. Conformity.

With characters that are gripping, settings that are par excellence, and dialogue that displays incredible depth, the book is a well rounded synthesis about the nature of individualism and what it means to be human.

The leading characters all flow through their roles seamlessly, and whether you love them or hate them, you can feel the realism in them, even if at times they are the epitome of Rand’s ideal.

Anyone who values individuality will value this book.  Those that seek to conform will undoubtedly hate it.  That’s the nature of the beast, and always will be.  What Rand did though, perhaps better than anyone else, is show both sides of the coin – Individualism vs. Conformity – in a manner that nobody else had brought about through fiction.  This is why the book is so engaging, because you hate the villains as much as you love the characters you gravitate towards.  It is rare when a book has you personally invested in nigh every character failing or succeeding, but this book accomplishes that in spades.

Ayn Ran went to war for the Individual against The Collective in a torrential manner in a way almost nobody does.  Through her characters, Rand did a salient job of showing the wide range of latitudes within human nature.   All of this was, of course, was to highlight the importance of Individualism.

As Rand herself elucidates in the following passages, the last of the three which is in her own words, the prior two through her characters:

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their vision.  Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, their vision unborrowed, and the response they received – hatred.  The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time.  Every great new thought was opposed.  Every great ne invention was denounced.  The first motor was considered foolish.  The airplane was considered impossible.  The power loom was considered vicious.  Anesthesia was considered sinful.  But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid.  But they won.”[1]

“From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.”[2]

“And for the benefit of those who consider relevance to one’s own time as of crucial importance, I will add, in regard to our age, that never has there been a time when men have so desperately needed a projection of things as they ought to be.”[3]

Rand stated those words decades ago, and they apply even more so now.  Given that humanity keeps snowballing down a hill in a world where morality, common sense and virtues keep getting swept under the rug, such statements and their ramifications should be pondered at length.

Whether you love the book or you hate it, it will give you much to ponder about, especially if you value Freedom and Individuality in any way shape or form.

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Sources:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, p. 710.
[2] Ibid., p. 711.
[3] Ibid., p. vii.  Written in the Author’s Introduction to the 1968 Edition.

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This article is free and open source. You 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.

The Gift Of Truth, The Gift Of Friendship

TheRoadTruthFriendship

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 17, 2017

“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”
– Socrates

It certainly seems these days that not a moment goes by without someone having some sort of disagreement.  Not that people should always agree about everything, that’s not the point.  Disagreements come in all shapes and forms, just like people do.  With that said, it seems like a lot of the disagreements that abound nowadays regard a certain section of the populace’s ceaseless push to inculcate their beliefs on others, regardless of the consequences.

There seems to be two prevailing schools of thought out there regarding how to handle these situations.  When aiding others in their search for truth, the initial school of thought [non-conformists] doesn’t mind when other individuals ask them questions about beliefs and ideas discussed.   The second group [conformists] takes downright offense to anyone questioning them on anything.  The former seeks to help the individual arrive at their own truth; the latter seeks to be the high priest, just like those of ancient times, who controlled the free flow of certain information.

This particular trend of individuals not wanting to be questioned seems to be growing in quite a few circles.  Individuals who do wish to carry out further inquiry to seek firmer ground have nigh no options when speaking to closed-minded conformists because ultimately with a conformist, it’s their way or the highway.  Ironically, what is happening to those who seek firmer ground is not unlike what happened to the “Father of Philosophy,” Socrates, over two millennia ago.

Socrates was feared because he wasn’t afraid of questioning an individual’s beliefs about any given subject, similar to individuals today who question the official narrative on myriad issues.  In parallel fashion to modern conformists, in Socrates’ time the ultimate conformists of the time – as with much of history – was the state.  This see saw bout of ideals that took place back then still takes place now as we can see.  For all intents and purposes, because of his very ideals, Socrates is the Godfather of Non-conformity.  Socrates is the living definition of a question mark.

With the Socratic Method – of querying deeply into the subject – Socrates would begin to dissect an individual’s paradigm and those inherent flaws if any, usually in the realms of justice and goodness.  Because of Socrates’ method, many times the paradigms individuals had – inculcated by the state and by religion – would drastically shift or disintegrate altogether, and begin something anew.  This lead the state to lash out against him for questioning the system, particularly the “might makes right” the state was notorious known for, and eventually got him executed.

The state feared that the changes Socrates’ was bringing about in the populace would continue to spread, and from their tyrannical point of view they could not allow that.  Thankfully though, most of what he was able to accomplish still echoes to this day – even to this very post, thousands of years later.

In similar fashion, nowadays, people who push conformity are doing themselves and the other individuals a great disservice.  This is because individuals pushing conformity are: [1] not being open minded, thus [2] not allowing themselves to grow by being able to see another individual’s point of view, whether it is true or not.  Further, by attempting to force conformity on others they are [3] taking away a terrific learning opportunity from individuals truly seeking answers to poignant questions, and [4] in the worst case, these conformists are even losing relationships because of fear of the ego being overridden, as well as their beliefs possibly being shown to be made of hot air.  All of this stands against the very nature of free-flowing inquiry.

Keen conversations of proactive mental discernment should have a certain flow, like a see saw, a back and forth between [like or unlike] minds.  However, what is taking place is far from such a common sense and proactive approach.  The talks that are taking place currently between conformists and non-conformists echo a societal instability brought about by the conformist that will only exacerbate with time.

Intricately, this particular issue is touched upon in the thought-provoking book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki, who cautions individuals on this very subject:

“Try not to force your idea on someone but rather think about it with him.  If you feel you have won the discussion, that is also the wrong attitude.  Try not to win in the argument; just listen to it; but it is also wrong to behave as if you had lost.  Usually when we say something, we are apt to try to sell our teaching or force our idea.”[1]

In other words, allow others the freedom to make choices, to find their own path – to make mistakes.  That is one of the best ways individuals grow, by learning from their choices. However, forcing opinions and/or beliefs on others is diametrically opposed to all that is good and sensible.    Moreover, not only is overriding someone’s freedoms rather inhuman, or conformist to say the least, but it goes directly against the very idea of Freedom and its downright tyrannical.  In contrast, if conformists would opt to listen to others, as happens in free-flowing conversations of open-minded individuals, those pushing their beliefs and agendas would come to an understanding as to why the other individual feels reticent to the particular issue.  That simple step can help magnitudes in understanding where another person is coming from and why the other person feels as they feel.  A conformist’s conversations never even get that far.  Ironically, that would also be the place where arguably most progress could be made.

If inquiring individuals who wish to engage in mental discernment are not allowed their own personal moment of clarity – of piercing through the veil – they will not own the moment – know the truth – but merely borrow another person’s footsteps as their own.  Such an instance robs the individuals of making great progress in their strides for the truth and thus leaves them at square one.

When someone is forced to intellectually conform they are not allowed the freedom to philosophize – to seek wisdom.  Philosophy is crucial, for it literally means the love of wisdom.  How is an individual ever going to gain insights, journey to wisdom, unless they are allowed or even urged to ask questions?

As modern philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D. warned in his Philosophy 101 By Socrates:

“If we do not philosophize, if we do not question appearances, if we are satisfied with whatever makes us feel happy, we will never know whether we are being deceived about who we are and what level of our being is being satisfied.”[2]

An individual that is not allowed to hone their senses and polish their intuition will not have the opportunity to learn to see the forest for the trees.  If said individual merely accepts the authoritarian conformist’s attitudes they will suffer in many ways.  These inquiring individuals will have a harder time – or nigh impossible time – figuring out deception [as we are seeing nowadays]; these individuals won’t be able to figure out a well argued argument based on facts and logic from outright speculation or downright lies; these genuinely curious individuals will also not be able to become as robust and self sufficient as possible as they could be in this coming age of [dis]information.  Such an individual will be just like a boat in the ocean with a busted sail that is drifting aimlessly directly into an eternal storm.

That is why it’s imperative as individuals to help others realize their full potential as they seek truth and growth within our world.  As other individuals grow, they will share what made them change in positive fashion.  And as we learn from them, we can learn as well, and it begins a self reinforcing process in which the rising tide lifts all ships.

Ruminating a bit deeper into this entire conundrum, maybe this issue is about more than truth though.  Perhaps there’s more on the line than meets the eye.  What seems to be missing to some extent, in some individuals at least, is simply the ability for them to be caring human beings, regardless of beliefs.  A truly caring, wholesome individual will not simply railroad someone else because they believe something different or refuse to believe them.

It seems that following a personal philosophy of seeking personal growth through an attempted mastery of your mental and spiritual wellbeing seems like a prudent choice to say the least.  And personal growth involves more than just attaining truth or strengthening beliefs.

Observing the words of Kreeft once more:

“Wisdom is more than knowledge.  Knowing all facts in a library does not make you wise.  Wisdom is a knowledge not just of facts but of values, of what is humanly important; and it is a knowledge that is a lived, that is learned by experience and lived out in experience.”[3]

When conformists push their ideals and beliefs onto inquiring individuals, they take away the opportunity for those individuals to have meaningful experiences for growth and self-development, which includes more than simple truths or beliefs.  Those instances may never take place again. Individuals that are not allowed to live to their fullest extent will only realize a fraction of the capability they would otherwise be able to achieve if they were allowed to venture upon their personal road less traveled – their individual journey.

Those who are allowed to gain personal insights on their road to self mastery will not only grow profoundly but will also develop a more robust Socratic Philosophy, just like the Greeks did in ancient times.

In ancient times:

“The Greeks became the world’s greatest philosophers partly because…they learned to question appearances to find something more, some hidden reality behind the appearances.”[4]

Such is the reason why appearances, beliefs and supposed facts must always be questioned.  For if they are not, what might be hidden will never rise to the surface and will not be able to be seen in pure darkness.  Truth is the only light beam that disintegrates the shadows.  And the only way to attain truth is for individuals to hone their inner fire, their inner light.

Touching upon this very concern, award winning teacher, advocate of self-directed learning and of individual freedom, John Taylor Gatto urged in his landmark book Dumbing Us Down:

“People have to be allowed to make their own mistakes or to try again, or they will never master themselves, although they may well seem to be competent when they have in fact only memorized or imitated someone else’s performance.  Success in my practice involves challenging many comfortable assumptions about what is worth learning and out of what material a good life is fashioned.”[5]

Questioning our conformable assumptions – our beliefs – about what is worth learning – for each individual – and bring about most growth is what this entire conundrum is about.  That is why it is crucial that:

“One should not present others with ready-made answers, preach to them, or only make them memorize things.  One needs to activate them.  They should figure things out.  The ambition can even be to liberate them.”[6]

To help individuals achieve total freedom – physically, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and mentally – they need to be encouraged to walk their own path, learn their own lessons – find their own wisdom.

If individuals aren’t allowed to grow, or choose not to, their mental faculties will atrophy, like someone who uses crutches constantly has their muscles atrophy from disuse.

As friends, colleagues, or simply caring human beings, perhaps it is imperative not to worry only about our subjective ideas, beliefs, or even outright facts.  What’s important is helping the other individual wherever they may need help, along their road, so they can then better understand whatever it is that they seek knowledge in.  What got them to their current point in life is vastly different to what got you to yours.  In like fashion, what gets them to the truth will most likely be vastly different than what got you to it.

Allowing other individuals the opportunity for growth is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another human being in their journey.  Along this journey, other individuals may at times need help.  Walk along side them, as long as they need, and help them when possible.  But remember, their life is their journey.

While your paths may cross time and again, ultimately an individual’s journey will be a rather unique and authentic experience.  Along this path, the side of the road will surely be rife with random rocks lacking meaning.  But now and again, among/amidst the ruble, an individual’s curiosities will be sparked by sparkles of truth, and they will find gratifying gems.  These are the very gems of wisdom that will push individuals further down their path to intellectual treasure, further towards their adventure for truth – towards individual growth.

Ultimately, what another individual does is up to them, for its their life, their freedom, their choice.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help them along that journey. Just help them in any way you can, especially if they implore you for help.  That’s what friendship is all about. That’s what being a caring human being is all about.

And maybe, just maybe, one day these individuals will realize that it was you whose left some of those gems along their road, and that they’ve been given a gift, and that it’s been there all along, just waiting for the right moment.

And the right moment is now.

Give them that gift.
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Footnotes:

[1] Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, p. 108.
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introductory To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology, p. 74.
[3] Ibid., p. 10.
[4] Ibid., p. 19.
[5] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling, p. xxxv.
[6] Tommi Juhani Hanhijarvi Ph.D., Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx, p. 32.
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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.

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.
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[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.

The Individual: The Foundation Of Society

Individual2
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 26, 2017

“They [conformists] think society wiser than their soul, and know not that one soul, and their soul, is wiser than the whole world…Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members….Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist…. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The collective is often promulgated as the vanguard of society – the gears that keep society moving forward.  Truth be told, nothing could be further from the truth.  This is because any collective, or any group, is nothing without the individual – it doesn’t even exist.  It can’t even exist.

At society’s core, the individual is the main gear that makes the world go round.  Like imagination is the foundation of creativity, the individual is the foundation of society.

It’s crucial to comprehend this concept of Collectivism Vs. Individualism, because it’s not something pondered deeply in society nowadays.  Individuals are often given a bad rap, as if wanting to be your own being is a bad thing.  The term ‘lone wolf’ is often bandied about in negative light regarding individuals.  But individuality is not about living life alone, but about maintaining your identity – your individuality, what makes you distinct from everyone else.

No matter what societal structure, job, or group the individual is in, the individual that maintains their identity will be one step ahead of the curve because they will hold the ability to think like an individual, rather than forgo their mental faculties for the group.  This is vital, because many times the mental faculties of individuals wither within groups, which is rather deleterious.

For instance, we all have heard of group brainstorming, the epitome of collectivism.  Group brainstorming is one form of collectivist structure that seeks creation ‘by the group’ at the expense of the individual.  However, this tool is fraught with issues.

Focusing on why brainstorming often fails, author and psychology researcher Susan Cain explains in her milestone book, Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking:

“Psychologists usually offer three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming.  The first is social loafing: in a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work.  The second is production blocking: only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively.  And the third is evaluation apprehension, meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one’s peers.”[1][Bold Emphasis added, Italics Emphasis In Original]

How many individuals suffer from such a system?  It’s certainly not optimal, although the illusion of it is always pushed as such.  Furthermore, due to all those reasons, the imagination and creativity individuals could employ otherwise remain stagnant, rarely if ever used except in rare circumstances.

Moreover, the larger the group becomes, the less efficient it is.  This, of course, makes individuals mere cogs in a machine when they could be harnessing their own endless creative potential.

Regarding large group inefficiency, Cain further notes:

“…some forty years of research has researched the same startling conclusion.  Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: groups of nine generate fewer and poorer ideas compared to groups of six, which do worse than groups of four.   The “evidence from science suggests that business must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” writes the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham.  “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity and efficiency is the highest priority.”[2][Emphasis added]

Furnham’s words boil down this particular issue to the individual.  It’s at that level that individuals shine the brightest.

Hearkening back to issues regarding individuals taking part in groups, Malcom Gladwell, author of the book The Tipping Point, states:

“…when people are asked to consider evidence or make decisions in a group, they come to very different conclusions than when they are asked the same questions by themselves.  Once we’re part of a group, we’re susceptible to peer pressure and social norms and any other number of other kinds of influence…”[3][Bold Emphasis Added]

As we can gather, the collective is not where an individual’s maximum potential lies.

When the individual becomes part of the collective, creativity suffers, and thus, his imagination.

That is why it’s up to the individual to make sure they retain their identity if they are ever forced to work in a group, such as in school or work.

Ultimately, what choices an individual makes are dictated by what they see available.  When the availability of choices is forcefully narrowed down, the path the individual walks on is limited rather than boundless, and the individual’s choices are less than optimal to say the least. 

There is a great saying: “Knowledge is power. Lack of knowledge is lack of power.” A corollary to this would be: Individual potential is based on choices; lack of choices create lack of power.  The most significant ways an individual will lack power is when they merge with a group, as the example above detail.  As we have learned, brainstorming sessions in large groups are not terribly efficient.

Furthermore, as the individual identifies with the group, they tend to merge with the group mind and rarely ever voice their opinion, for various reasons. This is also highly inefficient because the whole point of group work is to cultivate idea and possibilities.

The ironic part is that group brainstorming, on paper, is about imagination, and yet group brainstorming is antithetical to it since it doesn’t maximize on the potential imagination of every individual and only employs a fraction of it.  On the opposite side of that spectrum stands the individual and their maximum potential, every single time.

Individuals which use imagination are self-sufficient in many ways.  The Individual that uses imagination not only seeks solutions, but creates them.  They don’t take anything at face value.  They check, recheck – they research.  Why?  Because individuals realize they control their own path and are responsible for it.  They live a better life, a healthier life, because they imagine better possibilities and put them into action.

These individuals don’t allow themselves to be stopped because they’re incapable of being stopped.  That’s not within their DNA.  It’s not part of their reality structure

Curiously, the proclivity to create is so ubiquitous in creative individuals that not creating seems rather foreign.  They always seek create beyond the lines, outside ‘the box’ – always in action, always creating.  This is why ultimately the individual is the foundation of society.

The canvas of endless possibilities is there for everyone.  It requires the desire to create to the nth degree coupled with conscious action for the canvas to become something more than a mere possibility.

What would happen if we all realized our canvas is reality itself?

As the philosopher Sun Tzu once intimated:

“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”

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Footnotes:

[1] Susan Cain, Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, pg. 89.
[2] Ibid., pg. 88-89.
[3] Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, pg. 171.

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This article is free and open source. You 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.
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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.

Common Core Crisis [Part 4]

educationsystem
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 20, 2017

“In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.
We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply
.  The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”[John Taylor Gatto, quoting John D. Rockefeller Sr., Occasional Letter Number One, General Education Board 1906, In Weapons Of Mass Destruction, p. 8]

John Taylor Gatto has been doing yeomen’s work in the field of education for quite some time, and with good reason.  Gatto has fiercely spoken out at length countless times about the systematic issues that are inherent within the bowels of the corrupt public schooling system.

The passage that follows is from his incisive book, Weapons Of Mass Instruction, which details one of these very disturbing and growing issues.

In his words:

“I remember the shock I felt the first time I discovered, quite by accident, that I could personally negotiate larger discounts on book purchases (or anything else) than the school district could.  It didn’t seem to make sense.  The most personally troubling occasion was the moment I decided to use my own funds to purchase classroom sets of good books for student use rather than rely on the “approved” list of books for which school funds could’ve used, and which required many months, if not a full year, to pass through the acquisition protocols to be shipped.  Traveling to a book wholesaler, open to anybody, to secure its standard 40% discount, as I stood at the cash register with a hundred copies of Moby Dick and a hundred copies of Shakespeare’s Plays in shopping carts, the checkout clerk asked me, “Are you a school teacher?”  Without thinking I nodded affirmatively, after which she rang the books up at 25% discount.

“You’ve made a mistake,” I told her.  “The discount is 40%.”

Not for schoolteachers,” she replied curtly.  And when I bellowed in angry protest, she became indignant.  “Look,” she said, “that’s the discount your Board of Education negotiated.  If you don’t like it, take it up with them.”

Now why on Earth would my employer sell out my rights to a standard discount?  Can you think of any reason that isn’t crooked?  And, of course, it wasn’t only my right to full discount the school authorities had stolen, but every teacher’s right in New York City.  Perhaps, this will help you understand why I tilted this chapter “Everything You Know About Schools Is Wrong.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Not only is modern public schooling about indoctrination, conformity and downright nonsense [as we can see in previous example #1, example #2, example #3] but as seen above, it’s also about lining the pockets of Big Business with money.  After all, why else would you not allow school personnel the right to purchase products at discount, and force those people to forgo their rights?  That doesn’t even begin to cover all the other moral implications.

There is so much wrong with this, that much more can be said.  We will digress for now, however, as more examples will follow in the upcoming days.

For additional reading about this disturbing trend please research the following books reviewed below from teachers that are either still working within the public schooling system, or worked within the public school system at one time:

Book Review: Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Book Review: Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Book Review: A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Book Review: Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Book Review: Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

The following books are crucial tools for individuals who wish to become autodidacts & self-directed learners, homeschoolers and anyone else interested in learning valuable skills not mandatory in public schooling:

Book Review: Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Book Review: How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammer & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.

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[1] John Taylor Gatto, Weapons Of Mass Instruction, pp. 20-21.
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This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

Common Core Crisis #3

studying
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 8, 2017

In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.  We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply.  The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”
– [John D. Rockefeller Sr., Occasional Letter Number One, General Education Board

In previous posts [here and here] were shown the downright nonsense that students have to go through.  Below, additional evidence is shown illustrating why children’s test scores and intelligence keeps plummeting [as shown here], and its rather troublesome to say the least.

The example stems from the book, Drilling To The Core, which details a wide-ranging set of issues revolving around Common Core:

“In 1995, a student-teacher of fifth graders in Minneapolis wrote a letter to the editor of the Star-Tribune complaining about radically dumbed-down curriculum.  She wrote that 113 years earlier fifth-graders in Minneapolis were reading William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Caroll, Thomas Jefferson, and others like them in the Appletone School Reader, but that today:

I  was told children are not to be expected to spell the following words correctly: black, big, call, came, can, day, did, dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it, like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off, our, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some, soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very, water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc.  Is this nuts?”[1]

What’s stated above can be verified.  This was part of what older curriculums of true education – TRUE EDUCATION – involved, rather than what the facsimile of what we have now.

Education a century ago involved much higher standards than it does now, and its showing.  Not only have new studies shown the US Ranks 31 out of 35 developed nations in Math, but it also ranks 24th in reading literacy and 25th in science.

If the trend doesn’t change, all future generations will not only be stupid, but intellectually destitute, which is its true purpose, as can be seen here.

The only way to change that is now.

And the only way that will change is with individuals becoming proactive.

Don’t let your children settle for the parody of education we have now, for there are better alternatives. 

The only way individuals will reach excellence, is by pursuing excellence.

It’s been done before, and in much harsher conditions, and with much less information available.

Why not start now?

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Sources & References:

[1] Sandra Stotsky & Contributors,  Drilling To The Core, pp. 11-12.

The True Purpose Of Modern Schooling

conformity2
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 6, 2017

There are individuals out there that whittle facing the storm, and there are those who challenge the storm.  John Taylor Gatto is one of the latter.

John Taylor Gatto is the former NY City and NY State Teacher of the year [1991], where he inspired his students to achieve some amazing results through his nontraditional methods of instruction.

Not only has Gatto been relentless in detailing many of the inherent issues within the public school system for quite some time now, but he’s had the courage to take it a step further and detail that all of the issues within public schooling are not mistakes, it is done by design.

To illustrate this, an excerpt of John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons Of Mass Instruction will follow below.

Within Weapons Of Mass Instruction, John Taylor Gatto breaks down Alexander Inglis’s book Principles of Secondary Education, which “..makes it perfectly clear that compulsory schooling on this continent was intended to be just what it had been for Prussia in the 1820s: a fifth column into the burgeoning democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants and the proletarians a voice at the bargaining table.  Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means, and it was unlikely that the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood, would ever re-integrated into a dangerous whole.”[xviii][Bold Emphasis Added]

Furthermore, as author notes that Inglis, who has an honor lecture in education named for him in Harvard, breaks down the natural purpose of schooling into 6 basic functions,” which are as follows:

1.  The adjective or adaptive function.  Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority…It is also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can’t test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

2.  The integrating function.  This might well be called “the conformity function,” because its intention is to make children as alike as possiblePeople who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a larger labor force.

3.  The diagnostic and directive function.  School is meant to determine each student’s proper role in society.

4.  The differentiating function.  Once the social role has been “diagnosed,” children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits – and not one step further.  So much for making kids their personal best.

5.  The selective function.  This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin’s theory of natural selection as applied to what he called “the favored races…Schools are meant to tag the unfit – with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments – clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes.  That’s what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.

6.  The propaedeutic function.  The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers.  To that end, a small fraction of the kids will be quietly taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.” [xviii-xix][Bold Emphasis Added]

And just in case some wonder that Inglis was alone in these thoughts, he was not.  Horace Mann, James Bryant Conant, George Peabody, and many others shared the same sentiments.

Expressed above and incisive, and yet disturbing words is nothing more than Social Engineering from the bottom up, at a national scale, beginning with the most malleable minds in the land – those of children.  It doesn’t get any more cut and dry.

John Taylor Gatto is one of the few individuals out there whose wisdom seeps into all societal strata.  His words should be heeded, because the issue is only exacerbating [link] year after year.

In life, an individual can choose to write their own script, or be part of someone else’s.

And as we can see, if those in control of the system carry out their plans of mass conformity and control, children, an all future generations, will never write their own authentic scripts unless they breakaway from those proverbial shackles.

Education, true classical education, and not the facsimile society is being sold, is the only way out.  Everything else is merely a parody, and by public schooling’s repeated failures this is shown to be true.

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Sources & References:

[1] John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons Of Mass Instruction, pp. xviii
[2] Ibid., pp. xviii-xix.