Book Review: The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

BenjaminFranklinAutoBiography

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 14, 2017

Having John Taylor Gatto recommend this book in one of his interviews, it felt natural to want to avail myself of this historical information and its insights.

The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin is an overarching glance  at the inner ruminations and significant instances of Franklin’s life, but not all.

Although smaller in size than most hardcover books, the book still feels like a high quality book to boot.

Offering a map to most of the intriguing areas of Franklin’s life, though not all, this autobiography  offers anecdotes of all types within his life.  In one of these instances Franklin mentions how his father used to have guests over for dinner and conversation, and how that offered immense value to him.  As the following passage alludes:

“At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.  By this means he turned our attention to what was good and just, and prudent in conduct of life…”[1]

Not only did Franklin learn in such a manner, but he also learned from watching others partake in their craft quite often.  Beyond that, Franklin also sought many a book to sharpen his mental faculties.

Fortuitously, during a discussion about writing with his father, Franklin was told by him that although Franklin was quite proficient in spelling and such, he still fell quite short in “elegance of expression”.  Realizing this to be true, the help his father gave allowed Franklin to become more attentive and polished in writing.

Soon thereafter, Franklin found a volume of Spectator which provided the impetus for Franklin to employ self-learning at a scale he had not undertaken before.  This in effect lead to Franklin creating a system of deliberate practice that allowed him to become proficient in writing.

To observe how precisely Franklin accomplish this, please note what Geoff Golvin stated in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else:

“Significantly, he [Franklin] did not try to become a better essay writer by sitting down and writing essays.  Instead, like a top-ranked athlete or musician, he worked over and over on those specific aspects that needed improvement.  First came sentence structure which he attacked precisely in accord with deliberate practice principles.  His method of summarizing and reformulating Spectator sentences y one by one was designed ingeniously for that purpose.  He repeated that routine at high volume…and he got immediate feedback by comparing his sentences to the original.  When he decided to work on another element of performance, vocabulary, he again designed a brilliant practice structure, versification, with high volume and immediate feedback. “[2]

Following that, knowing that he lacked a wide-ranging vocabulary, Franklin showed is intellectual versatility  when he chose to employ poetry to increase his writing repertoire.

The fact that Franklin used self-teaching to achieve unparalleled self-sufficiency in this regard shouldn’t be glossed over because there’s much to glean from it !!!!! considering that that is a keen quality to have but which public schools and even Universities fail to teach.

Another intricate aspect of Franklin’s life was how he employed  persuasion.  In respect to this, Franklin delves into his insights in persuasion and argumentation, which  allowed him to speak to others in various disputes and conversations in a way that helped him foster sound judgment and more profitable interactions with other individuals.

Besides his youth, Franklin also covers his desire to master virtues of self-mastery  in order to increase his quality of consciousness, and even designed a small system of implementation for himself in order to bring it about.  And although Franklin continued growing as an individual, he still was savvy enough to realize he was still quite proud, and even then sought to attain more humility, even though it at times seemed paradoxical.

For instance:

“In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”[3]

Such a passage will go show that although Franklin had much pride, he still sought to attain humility as much as possible, even if he might never quite attain it.

Even though Franklin covers some successes in life such as business, some of his philosophy, and even idea of individuals attaining freedom through the employment of handwork and wisdom, the book doesn’t extend into his life during the Revolution.  That was quite unfortunate for his ruminations on that would have been valuable.

Another point not covered by Franklin is his membership to the Freemasons.  This would have also been significant, but it’s also not surprising that he did not cover it.  That said, the book to a large extent covers what Franklin saw as valuable at the time at key junctures of his life.  Franklin’s insights into virtues and dealings with other individuals and his creation of a system of deliberate practice shows this best.  To some extent, the book almost reads like a self-help book, but not quite so.

Irrespective of all that, the book does have some bite to it, but it’s not the end-all be-all of Benjamin Franklin’s life.  As an introductory volume in understanding the man in his own words, it’s quite invaluable, if garrulous at times.

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Sources:

[1] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 9.
[2] Geoff Golvin, in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, p. 107.
[3] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 99.
___________________________________________________________
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.

Common Core Crisis [Part 6] – The Seven Lesson School Teacher

conformity2
TheBreakaway
| BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 20, 2017

Continuing on our series in which we are taking an increasingly widening glance into the true nature of public schooling, what follows will be a snippet of the information covered in Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto.

Gatto has come out speaking at length about many of the pervasive and troubling issues that young [and future] generations have to contend with, and the information which proceeds will shed light into how this has come to be.

Within the curriculum of public schooling, Gatto states the following lessons are “universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills  They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what it is.”[1]

Gatto, in his own words states public schooling teaches:

#1: Confusion[2]

Throughout his books, Gatto has touched upon how confusion is installed into the minds of the young – thorough the fragmentation of education.  This fragmenting of education and teaching things out of context is what’s responsible for the inculcation of what is unnatural to the mind, which only cover superficial narratives and never anything of substance.

School doesn’t teach things that are in perfect harmony with each other – a natural order.  This issue prevents kids, who turn into adults, from connecting the dots, from synthesizing information.  And this goes to explain how people cannot understand how two separate issues such as Genetically Modified Foods [that continue to be banned in dozens of countries] could ever be connected with health issues.  That’s just the beginning, though.

#2:  Class Position[3]

Class position leads to an acquiescence to conformity ideals, even though in life people of all ages, types, creeds and religions connect and interact with people from all over the spectrum.  There’s no hindering structure of conformity anywhere in nature.  This takes place only in public schooling and sections of society.

As Gatto notes:

“If I do my job well, the kids can’t even imagine themselves somewhere else because I’ve shown them how to envy and fear the better classes and how to have contempt for the dumb classes.  Under this efficient discipline the class mostly polices itself into good marching order.  That’s the real lesson of any rigged competition like school.  You come to know your place.”[4]

And then people wonder where the seeds of division are sewn.    If that were it, that would be bad enough, but school also teaches…

#3:  Indifference [5]

This is accomplished by the way subjects are taught by mere cursory glances instead of an in depth approach.  This further pulverizes possible education into fragments of disciplines and knowledge, rather than building a robust set of ideas that can help the individual connect dots see what matters.  As Gatto notes:

“…[students] must turn own and off like a light switch.  Nothing important is finished in class nor in any class I know of.  Students never have a complete experience except on the installment plan.”[6]

When you only experience slivers of knowledge, how can complete pictures of life ever be grasped?  How can one come to a meaningful understanding to the depth that life harbors?  One cannot.  Such instances lead to nothing of importance ever being learned, which of course naturally leads to the pervasive indifference part of society has been indoctrinated with.

#4:  Emotional Dependency [7]

Gatto intimates that:

“Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority without appeal, because rights do not exist inside a school – not even the right to free speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled – unless school authorities say they do.”[8]

If children can depend on themselves, who can they ‘depend’ on?  The high priests of education of public schooling, predictably.

#5:  Intellectual Dependency [9]

This issue is best encapsulated by the following statement:

“Good students wait for a teacher to tell them what to do.  This is the most important lesson of them all; we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives.  The expert makes all the important choices; Only I, the teacher, can determine what my kids must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions, which I then reinforce.”[10]

This couples into mindless consumption, which the system is build upon.  Gatto minces no words:

“It is hardly an exaggeration to say that ten entire economy depends upon this lesson being learned.”[11]

What else could one expect when dependency is taught at the outset, and people learn to are indoctrinated to seek experts and not think for themselves?

Most importantly:

“We’ve build a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don’t know how to tell themselves what to do.  It’s one of the biggest lessons I teach.”[12]

#6:  Provisional Self Esteem[13]

Simply stated:

“A monthly report, impressive in its provision, is sent into a student’s home to elicit approval or mark exactly, down to a single percentage point, how dissatisfied with the child a parent should be.  The ecology of “Good” schooling depends on perpetuating dissatisfaction, just as the commercial economy depends on the same fertilizer…the cumulative weight of these objective-seeming documents establishes a profile that compels children to arrive at certain decisions about themselves and their future based on the casual judgment of strangers.   Self-evaluation, the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet, is never considered a factor.  The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials.  People need to be told what they are worth.”[14]

Unfortunately, much of society echoes this without a second thought down to the letter.

#7:  You Can’t Hide[15]

In school children are taught that there is no privacy, and you are under constant surveillance.  Personal independence and self sufficiency have no place in school.

“I teach students that they are always watched, that each is under constant surveillance by me and my colleagues.  There are no private spaces for children; there is no private time…Students are encouraged to tattle on each other or even to tattle on their parents.  Of course, I encourage parents to file reports about their child’s waywardness too.”[16] If that’s not a system that breeds a SpyCulture – the very one we’re seeing right now – I don’t know what is.

Moreover:

“The meaning of constant surveillance and denial of privacy is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate.”[17]

Once pondered, the above statements reverberate deep into the psyche.  Such are the seeds from which much of the pervasive issues society is dealing with stem from.  The lack of respect for privacy, dependence on the government, materialism, empty concept of the future, lack of critical skills, the conformity crisis, class distinction, and more, all have the inception within the nascent stages of public schooling.

This coalescence of societal issues cannot change unless that which casts the foundation – public schooling – changes.  And Public Schooling has never shown any meaningful changes coming from the inside, which is why individuals need to learn to become self-directed learners and autodidacts in order to be better prepared for the world that we live in.

The world that we live in has much more to offer than what we are taught it does.  Even so, a limited understanding off an individual’s ability will only yield a limited point of view in life, like seeing life with perpetual tunnel vision.

Only by breaking away from that marginalized reality will the individual see life for what it is, and only by asserting your power will you be able to control your path.

Then and only then can true unbounded freedom and education be had.

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Footnotes:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Public Schooling, p. 1.
[2] Ibid., p. 2.
[3] Ibid., p. 4.
[4] Ibid., pp. 4-5.
[5] Ibid., p. 5.
[6] Ibid., p. 6.
[7] Ibid., p. 6.
[8] Ibid., p. 6.
[9] Ibid., p. 7.
[10] Ibid., p. 7.
[11] Ibid., p. 8.
[12] Ibid., p. 9.
[14] Ibid., pp. 9-10.
[15] ibid., p. 10.
[16] Ibid., p. 10.
[17] Ibid., p. 11.
___________________________________________________________
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.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies 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.

___________________________________________________________
Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
Socratic Logic V3.1
by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi
Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

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

Common Core Crisis [Part 5] – What Led To Award Winning Teacher John Taylor Gatto To Quit Public Schooling

breakaway3
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 3, 2017

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
– Aristotle

“Wherever a man desires to know, that is the place proper for his education; whenever he desires to know, that is the time proper for his instruction.”
– Socrates

The last few weeks we have begun to catalog many disturbing aspects of common core within public schooling.  Not only is American education on a catastrophic decline [see here], but as has been documented by insiders such as John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Iserbyt, and others, that’s exactly what the system aims to do.

For those that might react in an askance manner to such statements, in previous posts [Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4] we have begun to slowly construct much of the downright nonsense individuals have to deal with within the corrupt public school system.

Continuing along the same lines, below follows a passage taken from award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto, which was shared by him in his phenomenal Underground History Of American Education.

Gatto states why he chose to resign from the corrupt system in 1991, and the troubling reasons follow below:

Gatto decided to throw in the towel in 1991, and the reasons for this follow below:

“In the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century during my thirtieth year as a school teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district, crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me, after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and terminated covertly once while I was on medical leave of absence, after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in the Education Department (and the faculty rating handbook published by the Student Council gave me the highest ratings in the department my last three years), after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history, after placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service, after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, after securing over a thousand apprenticeships, directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries, after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality, I quit.

I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in. To test my resolve I sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled “I Quit, I Think.” In it I explained my reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though I had no savings and not the slightest idea what else I might do in my mid-fifties to pay the rent. In its entirety it read like this:

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its “scientific” presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be “re-formed.” It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel “learning disabled” and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, “special education” fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.

In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Coming to terms with all of the above, can you really blame Gatto?  And to think, this took place over two decades ago.  The public schooling system has only gotten worse.

Those facts lead Gatto to speak over 750 times throughout the world in the following years to discuss the inherent issues within public schooling.  And he hasn’t stopped, thankfully.

Gatto found that individuals from all over the world were beginning to see the shadows of the system for what it was, and are were beginning to speak out, and rightly so.

The only way to avoid the conformity crisis is to breakaway from the system that makes you conform from the ground up.  Gatto and many others have spoken about this at length.

Seek to learn and teach children [and adults!] not only how to think critically [which school doesn’t teach], but how to employ logic [which modern schooling also doesn’t teach, although was taught for centuries in classical education].  Don’t allow others to make you, nor your children conform.  Strive to live life to the fullest extent, learning from moments – every single one of them, especially the bad ones – rather than by disciplines, or worse, methods. 

Life has everything you need to learn.  It only takes open eyes and an open mind to take it all in and use every day as a teaching platform as every opportunity is ruminated upon, pondered, learned from, and digested at length.

Anyone can teach another person something, and it happens on a day by day basis.

It’s just that we don’t get hammered to see those experiences as teaching.  The curious part is that, life lessons happen ALL the time, and it doesn’t take a public school system to teach that.  Not that schools teach that anyways.

Learn from every moment.

Learn from every person.

Learn from yourself.

And teach others what you have learned.

Then and only then are we going to begin creating a new system, from the ground up.

And all it takes is individuals rising up, as they have throughout history.

Don’t hold back.  Education is too important to forgo, or to leave to others.

Change starts with you.  Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  For if we don’t take time to teach ourselves about the lessons of life, we will arrive at life’s end having learned nothing.

_________________________________________________________
Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

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

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Underground History Of American Education, pp. xv-xvi.

January Book Haul

bookhauljanuary
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2017

At to risk of sounding out of touch with reality, just recently saw my first book haul of my life on someone’s wordpress.  YES, REALLY.  It’s all good, you can laugh.  It’s like someone that loves gaming never hearing of a Playstation, no?

It really shows what happens when you ensconce yourself in a hobbit hole for-beyond-ever.  How does a bibliophile end up not knowing about other people’s bibliophiliness? [If THAT could ever be a word!] Well, by being a book-a-holic de jour, of course.

All jest aside, as someone who reads books like they’re going out of style, figured it would be interesting/different to try one of these out and am going to attempt to do these monthly as well.

In any case, what follows are the titles of each of the books, and a short reason as to why these books were picked up.

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Wilson

Making my way through The Hobbit and Lords Of The Rings for a second time, this seemed like a natural adjunct to The Hobbit, and it does not disappoint.  If you love Tolkien’s work, particularly The Hobbit, you will LOVE this.  The breadth and scope that Tolkien employed in The Hobbit was vastly more phenomenal than you could imagine.  But don’t take my word for it, do your own research.

Underground History Of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

Having read Gatto’s landmark books Dumbing Us Down [Review Here], A Different Kind Of Teacher [Review Here], and Weapons Of Mass Instruction [Review coming soon], this seemed like a nice way to round out my research into public schooling, particularly the historical side.  Of course, Gatto not only calls it how it is, but he’s methodical and precise in sourcing his material, showing how those within the establishment – in their own words – have wanted to dumb down education and create an enormous engine of conformity for over a century.  And it’s worked in spades, as can be seen here.  This book should really be a zinger.

Dark Matter, Missing Planets & New Comets by Tom Van Flandern

Having read Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s Cosmic War – Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics And Ancient Texts, getting Tom Van Flandern’s book seemed essential to understanding the exploded planet hypothesis that Dr. Farrell discusses in his book.

LONG story short, the hypothesis is that where the asteroid belt now resides, there used to be a planet and it was destroyed.  Van Flander did research into this, and found strong evidence for this particular theory.  Furthermore, there’s also evidence that this event was deliberate and not natural.  Ironically enough, for those that might think that idea sounds ludicrous, check this out:

British Scientists To Lead Hunt For Fragments Of ‘Dead Planets’ Hidden In Antarctica

How ‘bout them apples asteroids?

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Having not been taught nigh anything of the founding fathers in school, this was a must read.  One of those topics that doesn’t get enough coverage, and it’s because most of the populace are ignorant of it, mainly because public schooling is all but removing any semblance of true history from school.

Ask yourself, why don’t schools – high schools / colleges / universities – have any courses in Freedom?  For a country that loves to parade freedom around, it’s quite troublesome that its one main tenet isn’t ever discussed…

Am also planning on getting Franklin’s short autobiography soon, but all in due time.

Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, And Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick by Lynn Payer

After reading this particular link, getting this book was a must.  As an individual who’s always sharing information about the growing and rampant issues of Big Pharma in order to educate others, this book seemed indispensable.  Although a bit dated, am hopping the book still holds plenty of information valuable enough to share.

Before I Go – Letters To Our Children About What Really Matters by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

It took a long time for me to find a philosopher/individual that not only talked about classical philosophy in a manner one can learn from, but also many other unsung topics within that realm, which are still vital nonetheless.  Enter philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D.  Why did Kreeft like a natural fit for me, when there are countless people out there?

Kreeft is methodical, logical, precise, not overly complex, isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, uses simplicity quite often, and thinks in an analogical manner.  If there was EVER someone who would have been awesome as a professor, at least from my point of view, this person would be it.  Heck, Kreeft’s range in thought/discourse is so wide that even has a book on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Philosophy, called The Philosophy Of Tolkien: The Worldview Of Lord Of The Rings, which is on the way as we speak.

In any case, having reading Kreeft’s Socratic Logic [review here], and Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction To Philosophy via Plato’s Apology [review here], which are two indispensable books, mind you, am making it a point of getting all of his books that appeal to me, and the book above fit within those parameters.

Reading has become a mainstay in my life, and am finding that am learning magnitudes more than ever thought possible when compared to public schooling, which was a complete waste of time and didn’t yield anything of substance that couldn’t have been taught by people in homeschooling or by private tutoring.  That’s why am making it a point to continue being an autodidact, while also researching topics that will be of interest to myself, but might also help others in the process.

Have any of you done any bookhauls?  If you’ve done any, please share them below as it would be great to see what books individuals have gotten – or are considering for that matter – these last few months.

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.

_____________________________________________________________
Sources & References:

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

13 Great Reasons To Study Logic

logic3
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 1, 2017

In age where the public dumbing down is reaching new lows [Read Here For More], a much more proactive approach to an individuals education is vitally needed.  This will certainly aid them in gravitating away from the crumbling education paradigm that keeps failing us, because, as John Taylor Gatto stated in A Different Kind Of Teacher [Review Here]:

Schools were designed by Horace Mann, E.L. Thorndike, and others to be instruments of scientific management of a mass populationSchools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlledTo a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

In other words, school system is about social engineering the masses, and not producing educated individuals.

Furthermore, as Professor Patrick Deneen shared in his landmark piece, How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture:

“Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings”[2][Emphasis Added]

It isn’t by accident that the school system has reached the state of decline it has.

Knowing that, what’s an individual to do?  Go back to the roots.

For this, there is no better place to go but to the realm of logic.

Why is Logic so vital?

To answer this poignant question, let’s take a look at the work of Philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D has to to say.  Kreeft, in his phenemonal book called Socratic Logic [Review Here] outlines the many reasons why logic is important to an individuals growth.

Kreeft minces no words in stating that in the past, most students were privy to was called “the old logic”.  Due to this, those individuals were much better prepared to “think, read, write, organize, and argue much better than they can today”.[3]

Getting back to classical education, which employed The Trivium – composed of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric – is what will ultimately help individuals break away from the downward avalanche public schooling is manifesting.  And Logic undoubtedly is an integral component of The Trivium.

Please ruminate at length regarding what follows.  It shows how and why logic seeps into all areas of life.

Below follow salient reasons why to study Logic:

13 Good Reason Why You Should Study Logic

1. Logic brings order.

Logic builds the mental habit of thinking in an orderly way.

No course is more practical than logic, for no matter what you are thinking about, you are thinking, and logic orders and clarifies your thinking.  No matter what your thought’s content, it will be clearer when it has a more logical form.  The principles of thinking logically can be applied to all thinking and to every field.

2.  Logic brings power.  Logic brings the power of proof and persuasion.

The power of logic comes from the fact that it is the science and art of argument.  Any power can be either rightly used or abused.  This power of logic is rightly used to win the truth and defeat error; it is wrongly used to win the argument and defeat your opponent.

3.  Logic helps reading. Logic will help you in education and learning, for “logic will help you to read any book more clearly and effectively.  And you are always going to be reading books; books are the single most effective technological invention in the history of education.

On the basis of over 40 years of full time college teaching of almost 20,000 students at 20 different schools, I am convinced that one of the reasons for the steep decline in students’ reading ability is the decline in the teaching of traditional logic.

4.  Logic helps writing.  Logic will also help you to write more clearly and effectively, for clear writing and clear thinking are a “package deal”: the presence or absence of either one brings the presence or absence of the other.  Muddled writing fosters muddled thinking, and muddled thinking fosters muddled writing.  Clear writing fosters clear thinking, and clear thinking fosters clear writing.  Common sense expects this, and scientific studies confirm it.  Writing skills have declined dramatically in the 40 years or so since symbolic logic has replaced Aristotelian logic, and I am convinced this is no coincidence.

It is simply impossible to communicate clearly and effectively without thinking clearly and effectively.  And that means logic.”

5.  Logic brings happiness.  In a small but significant way, logic can even help you attain happiness.  We all seek happiness all the time because no matter what else we seek, we seek it because we think it will be a means to happiness, or a part of happiness, either for ourselves or for those we love.  And no one seeks happiness for any other end; no one says he wants to be happy in order to be rich, or wise, or healthy.  But we seek riches, or wisdom, or health, in order to be happier.

How can logic help us attain happiness?  Here is a very logical answer to that question:

(1)  When we attain what we desire, we are happy
(2)  And whatever we desire, whether Heaven or a hamburger, it is more likely that we will attain if it we think more clearly.
(3)  And logic helps us to think more clearly.
(4)  Therefore logic helps us to be happy.

Even fantasy is not illogical.  In fact, according to the greatest master of this art, J.R.R. Tolkien, “Fantasy is a rational, not an irrational, activity…creative fantasy is founded upon a hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it.  So upon logic was founded the nonsense that displays itself in the tales and rhymes of Lewis Carroll.  If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy stories about frog-kings would not have arisen.”

6.  Logic helps with religious faith.  Even religion, though it goes beyond logic, cannot go against it; if it did, it would literally be unbelievable.  Some wit defined “faith” as “believing what you know isn’t true.”  But we simply cannot believe an idea to be true that we know that has been proven to be false by a valid logical proof.

It is true that faith goes beyond what can be proved by logical reasoning alone.  That is why believing in any religion is a free personal choice, and some make that choice while others do not, while logical reasoning is equally compelling for all.  However, logic can add faith in at least three ways.

First, logic can often clarify what is believed, and define it.

Second, logic can deduce the necessary consequences of the belief and apply it to difficult situations.

Third, even if logical arguments cannot prove all that faith believes, they can give firmer reasons for faith than feeling, desire, mood, fashion, family or social pressure, conformity, or inertia.

7.  Logic helps attain wisdom.  “Philosophy” means “the love of wisdom.”  Although logic alone cannot make you wise, it can help.  For logic is one of philosophy’s main instruments.  Logic is to philosophy what telescopes are to astronomy or microscopes to biology or math to physics.

8.  Democracy.  There are even crucial social and political reasons for studying logic.  As a best-selling modern logic text says, “the success of democracy depends, in the end, on the reliability of the judgments we citizens make, and hence upon our capacity and determination to weigh arguments and evidence rationally.”  As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be lead by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reason becomes of the first importance.”[Copi & Cohen, Logic, 10th edition, Prentice-Hall, 1998.).

9.  Defining logic’s limits.  Does logic have limits?  Yes, but we need logic to recognize and definite logic’s limits.  Logic has severe limits.  We need much more than logic even in our thinking.  For instance, we need intuition, too.  But logic helps us recognize this distinction.

10.  Logic helps in testing authority.  We need authorities because no individual can discover everything autonomously  We do in fact rely on the human community, and therefore on the authority of others – parents, teachers, textbooks, “experts,” friends, history, and tradition – for a surprising large portion of what we know – perhaps up to 99%, if it can be quantified.  And that is another reason we need logic: we need to have good reasons for believing our authorities, for in the end it is you the individual who must decide which authorities to trust.

11.  Logic helps recognizing contradictions.  Logic teaches us which ideas contradict each other.  If we are confused about that, we will either be too exclusive (that is, we will think beliefs logically exclude each other when they do not) or too inclusive (that is, we will believe two things that cannot both be true).

12.  Logic brings certainty.  Logic has “outer limits”; there are many things it can’t give you.  But logic has no “inner limits”: like math, it never breaks down.  Just as 2 plus 2 are unfailingly 4, so if A is B and B is C, then A is unfailingly C, Logic is timeless and unchangeable.  It is certain.

And logic never becomes obsolete. The principles of logic are timelessly true.

13.  Logic helps one attain truth.  Logic helps us to find truth, and truth is its own end: it is worth knowing for its own sake.

Logic helps us to find truth, though it is not sufficient of itself to find truth.  It helps us especially (1) by demanding that we define our terms so that we understand what we mean, and (2) by demanding that we give good reasons, arguments, proofs.[4]

In the age of information, ignorance is no excuse.

And Logic, more than anything else, helps eviscerate that ignorance in a way that nothing else can.

That’s exactly why its been removed from the public school system, and exactly why all individuals need to employ it into their repertoire.

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Sources & References:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 16.
[2] Professor Patrick Deneen, How A Generation Lost Its Culture
[3] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Socratic Logic, p. 1.
[4] Ibid., pp. 1-7.

Book Review: A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto

a-different-kind-of-teacher
BreakawayConsciousness
Zy Marquiez
January 16, 2017

John Taylor Gatto is an award winning teacher and recipient of the New York State Teacher Of The Year Award with over 30 years experience within the public school system.  Many of the lessons he’s learned are expounded upon at length in his books, which continue to gain popularity with every passing year.

For me, A Different Kind Of Teacher follows a reading of Gatto’s book Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling.  In it Gatto did a phenomenal job of outlining many of the most insidious issues taking place with the current public school system.  The precision and pull-no-punches approach of Gatto’s work is what made Dumbing Us Down so notable, especially considering that he most pulled no punches when he stated that the main agenda of the public school system is to indoctrinate individuals how to follow orders so they can become unthinking cogs in the machine.

A snippet of some of Gatto’s most important points in Dumbing Us Down are:

“…schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet.  No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes.  The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.”[1]

Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.”[2]

It is absurd and anti-life to be part of the system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class.  That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does.”[3]

Scathing remarks such as the above leave no doubt Gatto’s quest for individuals is that of true education, and not the facsimile of it as we’ve been sold over time.

With that said, his other phenomenal book, A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gato is a fierce examination into not only public schooling and its many inherent flaws, but also what type of steps are required to be carried out by individuals in order to transcend the current bankrupt/corrupt system from its current miserable state and into a more robust, grounded and resonant system that doesn’t sell out to corporate/government interests.

One intricate notion Gatto explores regards education in the past, which was considerably different than what it is now.  For instance, in Colonial America literacy rates were exceedingly high with no compulsory schooling whatsoever.  The same cannot be said of now.  In fact, one theme that Gatto convincingly explores is the damage inflicted on the human psyche through the many years of compulsory schooling.

When the reader reflects on how such actions instill the conditioning of the mind, and force it not to think but simply accept what it’s told, one arrives at the understanding of how a large part of society in this country continue to willingly accept the idea of public schools as a good thing

Thankfully, not everyone is following that pattern.  With more and more families continuing to homeschool their children, and individuals seeking to become autodidacts, considerable change is taking place at the grassroots level.

And much of that change is taking place in large part by individuals such as John Taylor Gatto, who are relentless in not only mincing no words in calling the system for what it is, but also by offering solutions to individuals seeking such.

Regardless, each of one of us are inherently responsible for our own continuing education.  When we pass that responsibility to the state, such as John Taylor Gatto has showed, we come to terms with the desolate fact of the education system’s cataclysmic decline.

The only way to stop such a system from continuing in tsunami-like fashion sweeping over everyone and everything is at the grass roots level, at the local level.

If we don’t, the country our forefathers conquered will be a ghost of the past, barely a facsimile of its former self, and the future will prove to be even murkier than now.

As Gatto elucidates:

“Figure out what matters.  Do it yourself; work hard at it; no one else can do it for you.  Relying on others in this regard or ignoring the necessity will ruin you thought you sit surrounded by machines in a rich school watching videos of spaceships.  Each of us has a design problem to solve:  to create from the raw material around us the curriculum for a good life.  It isn’t easy and it isn’t the same for any two people.  If you think you can buy it, look around you at the shambles my own generation has made of communal life and family life by trying to buy it or fashion it with machinery.”[4]

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Sources:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling, pg. 21.
[2] Ibid., pg. 23.
[3] Ibid., pg. 24.
[4] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, pg. 208.