My ultra-boring life

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Intellectual Inbreeding

While viewing my blog stats (who is this Google Robot guy? He must LOVE me! ;b) I saw my post re: inbreeding which reminded me of an old theory I've had that I just need to share.

Basically, I think that too much school leads to what I call intellectual inbreeding. That is, after many 'generations' of scholars being taught by scholars who only learn from scholars, the knowledge becomes 'mutated' and no longer is an accurate reflection of reality. Now, don't get me wrong, because I LOVE school and I can't recommend it enough. And there are certain realms of pure scientific research which can only be studied from a scholastic perspective, which can only be tainted in terms of perceived relevance and importance of the work. But certain realms, such as psychology, literature, political science, etc., become tainted and mutated with the inbreeding and other mutations caused by opinions taught (either by affecting which information is taught, how information is taught, or even affecting the information itself) by influential, respected, or a conglomorate of professors. For instance, I like good books. I have my opinions on which books I like best, and I know that there are certain rules that help make a book better. But when series of professors start changing the list of 'good' books according to new rules, or, more perniciously, according to some sort of political agenda, it mutates the perceptions of 'good' and 'bad' according to the beliefs of the professor rather than the actual rules. Some professors are really extreme about this, but most just have tiny tainting opinions slipping in that become magnified mutations over the years. Because, after all, when it comes to things like literature, how can you even really define a line where objective parameters for quality become subjective opinions? Thus most mutations are subtly and slowly pernicious as they draw the subject matter far from the unwashed proletariat masses, becoming less and less relevant. Now, no matter how uneducated or even stupid the proletariat may be, they are the body of the people and that from which basic understanding must spring. There must be SOME level of practicality or relevance in that which we study, or else it becomes nothing but pompous self-aggrandizement, wherein we train our worshippers to value us and our ideas rather than the relevant value of knowledge itself.
The only idea for anything approaching a practical solution is grants or scholarships for students returning to any of these areas of study after a number of years in the 'real world'. This wouldn't change the entire makeup, but hopefully it would add enough conflicting opinion and real information that we can limit the mutations.

And no, I'm not just saying this because I want money to go back to grad school. :b

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