The following article is republished in slightly edited form from an earlier posting on this blog.
Children are Born with Primed Brains
In the real world, babies are born with brains primed to learn and enjoy using language, movement, elements of music, visual and conceptual patterns, and symbolic art. This is in stark opposition to a leftist belief in “the blank slate (PDF)” or tabula rasa view of the human brain.
For example, the baby’s brain is predisposed to a rapid learning of language — even multiple languages — and music, movement, pattern, and simple art. Such learning commences quite early, proceeding in a playful manner until the early lessons are learnt well enough to build upon. The playful element of learning for young humans is obvious from the beginning.
The brain is most sensitive to particular types of learning at different stages of development. Good habits and emotional control should be learned in the early years, no later than 5 or 6 years. These are particularly important traits for later learning — particularly self-monitored learning.
Language and music should be learned early — and together. Multiple languages are best learned before the age of 9 or 10. Music cognition complements language cognition, just as language learning can be combined with music learning in songs and rhymes.
Music learning likewise complements spatial and number / size learning — so that music learning can be an important forerunner to maths learning. Keyboards and fretboards are spatial in nature, and counting and “sizing” of intervals are part of learning such instruments.
Dance movement and other rhythmic movements have been linked to improved executive function in young children. Dancing can be learned even before walking, with a bit of assistance and gravity mitigation. Rhythmic and choreographed movements involved in playful dancing are good training for the cerebellum and basal ganglia of the brain, as well as for insular cortex training.
Visual art is fun and excellent eye-hand training. The development of artistic judgment and perspective boosts spatial development while giving the child a sense of confidence in creating something that others can appreciate. Children are intrigued by dynamic art such as mobiles, and very much enjoy the tactile aspect of art.
Pattern is implicit within art, music, language, and movement — and leads naturally into pre-mathematical foundational concepts, best experienced through play.
All of these playful activities for infants and toddlers are full of opportunities for learning creativity. Art and music should be innately creative, as the child’s senses of vision and hearing develop. But dance and language can be equally as creative if allowed to be.
The early years also present a preview into the child’s later strengths and preferences. If a child is a budding prodigy of art, music, language, or movement, it will be difficult for him to conceal his talent if it has been allowed to develop in a playful, creative manner.
The child should have the opportunity to observe skilled adult musicians, artists, writers, dancers, and craftsmen at work. It is never too early to begin to set goals. But the child’s efforts should be appreciated for what they are, as long as he has put his heart into them.
A human brain is not fully developed until around the middle of the third decade, and remains in its prime for only about ten years before beginning to subtly lose ground. The earlier a child can find a strong talent for independent learning and skills-building, the longer the part of his life that he can develop and exercise that talent.
A television will not do much to help a young child, nor will a computer — at least as computers are currently made and programmed. Children need to see that human beings create music, art, stories, and dance. If a child is particularly talented in a given area, he should be encouraged and given opportunities to pursue development of the talent. In this area it is best not to force the child along any one path. If the motivation is not there, forcing the child will only prevent him from finding a talent he is willing to develop.
Play is the strongest motivator for younger children. During the early period of childhood, children crave the company of their parents and other family members. It is the period of greatest opportunity for self-development and foundation-building for the child. If this time is squandered by day care and television watching, it can never be retrieved.
Once simple play has lost its appeal, and once the child no longer craves a parent’s company, if the child has not learned good habits and self-control, a parent’s ability to guide the child becomes severely limited. Hasta la vista, baby.
This is important: A young child’s mind is a sponge. Be very careful what you allow it to soak in. You cannot take it back, once it is absorbed.
Dangerous Children are Both Playful and Inquisitive
Asking questions is one of the most important ways that children learn. Ordinary preschool children ask about 100 questions per day. But by the time they reach middle school they have essentially stopped asking questions.
This is one of the tragedies of modern schooling and child-raising. Something happens when children go to conventional schools, which stamps almost all the inquisitiveness out of them. The suppression of inquisitiveness in children goes a long way toward making sure that they will grow obsolete far too quickly.
The world and workplace of the future will demand that its workers and entrepreneurs be observant, nimble, and able to anticipate important trends and changes that are likely to take place. If children and youth never learned to ask the important questions about things and events happening around them, they will be lost and at the mercy of prevailing powers.
Five Basic Questions
Children can learn any number of ways to approach new phenomena, but to begin with it is best to give them a simple checklist of questions to ask, and make sure they acquire sufficient practise to make it a skillful habit.
Evidence: How do we know what’s true or false? What evidence counts? Viewpoint: How might this look if we stepped into other shoes, or looked at it from a different direction? Connection: Is there a pattern? Have we seen something like this before? Conjecture: What if it were different? Relevance: Why does this matter? __ From Chapter 1 in “A More Beautiful Question,” by Warren Berger
The graph above from a Gallup study reveals the steady decline in student engagement over time. This says more about teaching methods in conventional schools than it does about the students themselves.
Along with Inquisitiveness, A Sense of Playfulness is Indispensable
Play is central to the learning processes of very young children. And even as children grow older, play is a key component to learning foundational skills and for developing latent talents.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena discovered that recent engineering hires who were meant to replace older engineers who were retiring, did not know how to solve basic engineering problems with which they were confronted on the job. After investigating the reasons for this disturbing shortcoming of new engineers, they discovered something important about the type of engineers they needed to hire:
The JPL managers went back to look at their … retiring engineers… They found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The younger engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kind of problem solving that management sought. Those that hadn’t, generally were not. __ From “Play” by Stuart Brown MD with Christopher Vaughan
The same problem with new hires and recent graduates is being seen in workplaces across the US as young people who were never given the experience of creative play and tinkering are hitting the workplace. People who developed the skills of improvising and tinkering in their youth will never forget these playful forms of problem-solving. Those who passed through their youthful years without developing these skills are at a serious practical disadvantage in a world of accelerating change, with newer unconventional problems popping up regularly.
[Nate] Jones ran a machine shop that specialized in precision racing and Formula One tires, and he had noticed that many of the new kids coming to work in the shop were … not able to problem solve… After questioning the new kids and older employees, Jones found that those who had worked and played with their hands as they were growing up were able to “see solutions” that those who hadn’t worked with their hands could not. __ Play
We know that children pass through windows of sensitive neurological development as they grow older. If certain “connections” in the brain are not made during these sensitive periods of development, it will be more difficult — if not impossible — for many of these young people to make these important connections when they are older.
Asking the Right Questions Meshes with Skillful Improvisation
Solving problems in the real world is altogether different from scoring points on multiple choice exams in school. Improvisational problem-solving facilitated by asking the right questions makes a worker or an entrepreneur far more valuable and sought after in the real world — especially in a world of accelerating change where novel problems are always appearing.
Children and youth who develop the skills of asking good questions combined with competent and playful improvisation will find themselves in demand. And if these youth and young adults have also learned how to manage their finances, they are likely to eventually fined themselves reasonable well off financially.
Dangerous Children learn to master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. Besides having multiple skills that are sought after in the marketplace, they have also learned to manage the finances of a household and of multiple small businesses by that same age.
But that is just the beginning of what makes Dangerous Children skilled and nimble in this world or virtually any other human world. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood, but the sooner begun, the better.
Whether a child grows to be a dangerous child or just a ditzy party girl (or worse) depends largely upon the choices to which she is exposed during her formative years. Very few children will lie dormant all those years. Give them the opportunities to learn about the world and their unique interests in the world, and set them up to run with the knowledge and skills they will acquire.
The brain is a hungry hunter. The growing, developing brain is a particularly hungry hunter which is capable of feeding upon a wide range of conceptual fodder. The mind grows up to resemble the things it ingests, digests, and incorporates into the mental machinery.
12 years is plenty of time for a child to begin to become very dangerous — in many good ways. Don’t waste that time.
In 2004, college professor Susan Wise Bauer and her schoolteacher mother Jesse Wise, published a book describing their new approach to a powerful homeschooling curriculum. Bringing the classical education of the 1800s and early 1900s full circle, Susan and Jesse adapted the time-proven classical trivium to a resurgent homeschooling movement.
Following are some excerpts from their book, “The Well Trained Mind.” Even parents of children already studying a curriculum that seems to be working, can find some useful and energising ideas in the work of this mother-daughter team.
“… I was nervous when I went away to college. Although I’d done well on standardized exams, I’d never really sat in a regular classroom, facing inflexible deadlines. I was used to taking exams from my mother.
I shouldn’t have worried. I tested out of thirty hours’ worth of college courses; by my second semestor I was taking 400-level courses. I had a host of strange skills: I could diagram sentences; I could read Latin; I knew enough logic to know if an assertion was true or faulty. And I was surrounded by 18 year olds who couldn’t write, didn’t want to read, and couldn’t reason…
… I was ahead of them when I was their age — not because of superior mental abilities, but because I’d been equipped with a closet full of mental tools. My mother taught us the way she’d been taught at home. Our education was language-centered, not image-centered; We read and listened and wrote, but we rarely watched. She spent the early years of our education giving us facts, systematically laying the foundation for advanced study. She taught us to think through arguments, and then she taught us to express ourselves.
This is the classical pattern of the trivium, the three-part process of training the mind.
The history of the classical trivium goes back to the middle ages. It was meant to form the foundation for later learning and achievement.
The trivium is the lower division of the seven liberal arts and comprises grammar, logic, and rhetoric (input, process, and output).
Grammar teaches the mechanics of language to the student. This is the step where the student “comes to terms,” defining the objects and information perceived by the five senses. Hence, the Law of Identity: a tree is a tree, and not a cat.
Logic (also dialectic) is the “mechanics” of thought and of analysis, the process of identifying fallacious arguments and statements and so systematically removing contradictions, thereby producing factual knowledge that can be trusted.
Rhetoric is the application of language in order to instruct and to persuade the listener and the reader. It is the knowledge (grammar) now understood (logic) and being transmitted outwards as wisdom (rhetoric). __ Wikipedia “Trivium”
The trivium was never meant to be the totality of learning, merely the indispensable foundation. Today’s schools have rejected a solid foundation for learning in favor of trendier and more politically correct approaches. The end result of that rejection can be seen in low achievement rates in primary education, and high failure rates in secondary education and college. It can be seen in the catastrophically high college loan levels in the US, with dangerous default rates. Worst of all, it can be seen in the mobs of young people who either drop out of college without useful skills, or who actually graduate with degrees that make them even more incompetent for dealing with the real world than if they had never attended college at all.
More from The Well-Trained Mind
The first years of schooling are called “the grammar stage”— not because four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are being laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — grades 1 through 4 — the mind is ready to absorb information. Since children at this age actually find memorization fun, during this period education involves … the learning of facts and training in basic thinking skills: rules of phonics and spelling and how to use them, rules of grammar and understanding good sentence structure, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, how numbers work and the basics of mathematical thinking — the list goes on.
Somewhere around fourth or fifth grade, children begin to think more analytically. Middle-school students are less interested in learning facts than in finding out “Why?” The second phase of the classical education, “the logic stage,” is a time when the child begins to pay attention to cause and effect, to the relationships among different fields of knowledge, to the way facts fit together into a logical framework.
… when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature … the student begins the study of algebra and applies mathematical reasoning to real-life situations. She studies the rules of logic and begins to apply logic to all academic subjects…
The final stage of a classical education, “the rhetoric stage,” builds on the first two. At this stage the high-school student begins to write and speak with force and originality… The student also begins to specialize in whatever branch of knowledge attracts her. These are the years for [special purpose] camps, [college level] courses, foreign travel, apprenticeships, and other forms of specialized training. __ The Well-Trained Mind by Wise and Bauer
This approach to the classical trivium — as applied to homeschooling — should be seen as an excellent approach to the “core curriculum,” but not as a complete education for a Dangerous Child. Dangerous Child training preferably begins at birth — if not before — and continues throughout a person’s lifetime.
While curricula such as the Robinson Curriculum and the Classical Trivium provide excellent core knowledge, and are appropriate to a wide range of children and families, the Dangerous Child requires much additional training and attention — particularly for developing physical competencies and financial/economic skills.
The Dangerous Child masters at least three ways of supporting himself financially by the age of 18 years. None of the popular homeschooling or bricks and mortar schooling curricula that I have seen provides a child with that head start.
The other peculiar aspects of Dangerous Child training — as explained in the FAQs and the “About” page — reveal why Dangerous Children require so much training time, at least in the early stages before they largely take over their own educational planning for themselves.
The Dangerous Child Method is best known for its emphasis on early financial independence and the development of self-discipline along with martial skills. But the mental training of the Dangerous Child should not be overlooked.
In fact, the most Dangerous thing about the Dangerous Child is his mind. Very early in his training the Dangerous Child becomes self-taught and soon thereafter becomes self-guided. This leads to an independence of thought and attitude that is rare in today’s pampered/sheltered children and youth. Just as importantly, Dangerous Children are given mind-tools that make them nearly impervious to the atmosphere of mass-brainwashing that predominates at many schools and across the popular media.
Among the mind-tools provided to Dangerous Children are constructive values, fact-based logical skills, practical skills of intuitive creativity, powerful tools of self-calming and self-centering, and an uncanny ability to focus on the tasks and matters at hand.
Any parents who select Dangerous Child Training for their children, will necessarily embody the constructive values which young children’s minds require as a foundation. Likewise, a parent would never have discovered the Dangerous Child Method unless their logic of thinking was powerful enough to see through the mainstream smokescreens.
Skills training for the building of intuition and creativity, of self-centering, and of the development of a laser-sharp focus of attention, are integral to Dangerous Child training. Toward that goal, both meditation and hypnosis are important ingredients of DC training, along with Lateral Thinking and other forms of intuition training.
Meditation and Hypnosis are Opposite Sides of the Mind Coin
Meditation is a type of “floodlight,” while hypnosis is more of a “spotlight.” The mind in meditation can be open to new ideas on many levels, while a mind in hypnotic trance is more likely to be focused and highly selective in what it allows to reach conscious levels.
Dangerous Children are trained to utilise tools of both “mind expansion” and “focused selectivity of awareness,” since a mastery of each tool can prove life saving in many situations.
But there is a dark side to hypnosis. And if Dangerous Children are not prepared to take the reins of their own “trance inductions,” they — along with the rest of their age cohorts — would be almost powerless to resist the mainstream indoctrination that envelops virtually every mind that comes down the conveyor belt.
The best defences against the dysfunctional trances and habitual mind traps of the mainstream, are typically religious in nature. But religion itself is to a large degree just another form of group entrancement. It is simply a powerful enough entrancement to allow children to resist other, more destructive forms of entrancement, such as what one finds in public schools and in popular entertainments.
In DC training, religion is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Such choices are left up to the parents, although Dangerous Children generally find ways to make their own ways quite early in life.
Instead of religion, DC training promotes mindfulness (and other) meditation, practical hypnosis self-mastery, an irreverent practical creativity, and a merciless logic that leaves no opinion or point of view unscathed. In addition, neurofeedback is often utilised for specific purposes where actual brain modification is required, when parents and their DC wish to avoid or minimise pharmaceuticals.
Popular Entertainments are Full of Violence and Cruelty
Television and movies for children — even very young children — are full of cruel and violent images. These images are absorbed into young minds, and treated with as much gravity — or more — than most of the things that parents try to teach them. The discrepancy between the values and life lessons that parents would like their children to learn — and the lessons they actually learn — grow greater with each passing year.
Today’s children tend to be pampered and overindulged, while at the same time they are sheltered from meaningful responsibility or exposure to real life lessons which might save them a life’s load of grief in later years. To top it off, they are indoctrinated into the most vile forms of groupthink in schools and by their entertainments.
Once the child’s mind has been habituated to gratuitous nonsense and the practise of finding more and more ways to waste time and money, a continual battle will be fought inside the cranium between the forces of lazy habit and the few forces for constructive accomplishment that may have somehow wormed their way into the young child’s mind.
Dangerous Children Have Their Work Cut Out for Them
Dangerous Children will not have a hundred or a thousand votes in order to compensate for the decline of the age cohorts. Democracy has fallen on hard times — if the age distribution of recent voting is any judge — and a government dominated by decadent groupthink is likely to be more of a burden, hindrance, and nuisance than ever before.
DCs will need to be fiercely independent, and capable of succeeding largely on their own and in small groups. They are likely to represent islands of competence in a sea of cultural decline. Such independence will require strong minds — preferably minds well-fortified with the best tools of self-mastery, self-discipline, and self-teaching that can be devised.
The homeschool curriculum devised by Arthur Robinson, PhD., prepares children and youth to excel in the challenging modern world of rapidly advancing science and technology. By teaching children to teach themselves, the Robinson Curriculum gives them the powerful thinking and self-disciplinary tools they need to learn virtually any subject on their own.
The six Robinson children were the prototype students in the early development of the curriculum. Each of the 6 children was taking college physics and math courses by age 16 — if not before — and each typically took only 2 years on-campus to finish undergraduate classwork. Source
Think of the Robinson Curriculum as an Excellent “Learning Core”
Parents who wish to raise Dangerous Children can choose between any number of “learning cores,” or basic learning curricula. The Robinson Curriculum seems to be quite good in its preparation for the modern world of rapidly changing science, math, and technology. The central theme of “teaching them to teach themselves,” in particular, represents an invaluable gift to every child and youth who must face a world of rapid changes.
Dangerous Children Require More
The skills and knowledge provided by the Robinson Curriculum are priceless. Any child would benefit from such powerful core knowledge and skilled learning disciplines of self-teaching. Dangerous Children can use those things, but they will require additional training in particular areas if they are to be truly prepared for what they are likely to face as adults.
Particular Skills of Dangerous Children
Mastery of at least 3 means of financial independence by age 18
High levels of competence in business and financial skills
Skilled proficiency in firearms operation, maintenance, and tactics
Navigation and travel skills on land, sea, air
Proficiency in rescue and first aid
Experience in forming and running multiple businesses before age 18
Competence in maintaining equipment and infrastructure of a basic household inside or outside of city environs
Basic prepping and survival skills for various time scales
Competence in forming a competent and resilient community
Competence in networking multiple competent and resilient communities
Much more is involved in becoming a Dangerous Child, and as you can imagine, such children have quite full days. The family is central to the life of a Dangerous Child, although as the child grows older, his powers of independence and self-direction will grow.
Paradoxically, Dangerous Children learn to deal skillfully with a wide range of personalities, persons of multiple social and educational levels, and many different cultures. They are fluent in at least three languages besides their native tongue, and should have little trouble traveling through almost any neighborhood, environment, or climate.
Vision and Advanced Preparation are Key
The conventional method of child-raising seems to be one of “benign neglect,” somehow assuming that a child can fritter away his childhood with trivial amusements and mass production education/indoctrination, and somehow be ready for competent adulthood in a treacherous world, when he comes of age.
Conventional wisdom is quite stupid in that regard, and a parent would be wise to go his own way far apart from mainstream methods.
There are many other excellent core curricular methods available to parents, so that it is not necessary for them to reinvent the wheel in order to evade the common rot that pervades government schools and many private schools. Close scrutiny is always required in the choice.
Dangerous Child training is not for every child, of course. But for those who make that choice, it is important to provide a strong core of learning and discipline around which one can build a sound multi-competent and well-skilled young life.
The well-known failure of modern schools has been explored by many scholars, including the respected Yale professor of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, Roger Schank. The quoted excerpts below come from Schank’s online e-book, “Engines for Educators.” In his book, Professor Schank exposes the problem, then describes a few steps toward possible solutions.
Small children love to learn, at least before they get to school. No two-year-old has ever taken a walking class, yet any physically healthy two-year-old can walk. No three-year-old has ever taken a talking class, yet every physically healthy three-year-old can talk. No four-year-old has ever taken a course in geography or planning, yet every physically healthy four-year-old can find a room in his home, knows his neighborhood, and can navigate around in his own environment.
Children are little information sponges. They gulp down information because they want to become full-fledged members of the “secret society” of grownups, who seem to know what they are doing.
Children are little learning machines. Before they ever reach school, they manage to progress from newborns with innate abilities and minimal knowledge to children with an enormous amount of knowledge about the physical, social, and mental worlds in which they live. They accomplish this feat without classrooms, lessons, curricula, examinations, or grades. They are set up for learning before they enter this world. It is the job of parents to help them learn by protecting them from danger and exposing them to new situations. This should be the job of teachers in school as well, but we have long since lost the model of education that would allow it to happen.
Preschool infants and toddlers are avid learners — because they want to learn! They are desperate to learn to do the things they see older people doing so effortlessly. They want to belong!
In their natural state, that is, prior to school, children do not have motivation problems. Excited by learning, they are eager to try new things, and are in no way self-conscious about failure. We never see a two-year-old who is depressed about how his talking is progressing and so has decided to quit trying to improve. We never see a two-year-old who has decided that learning to walk is too difficult and thus has decided to not try to get beyond crawling. For almost every child, the love of exploration, the excitement of learning something new, the eagerness for new experiences, continues until he or she is about six years old.
Like busy beavers working on a tree trunk, young pre-school learners keep chipping away at the tree of knowledge, desperately striving to internalise the action secrets that make grownups the powerful people they seem to be.
The natural learning mechanisms children employ are not much more sophisticated than experimentation, and reflection, with a small amount of instruction thrown in when they are in the mood to listen. They try new things, and when they fail to get what they want, they either try an alternative or are helped out by an adult whom they then attempt to copy. Children learn by trying to do something, by failing, and by being told about or by copying some new behavior that has better results. This perspective is founded on the simple but central insight that children are trying to do something rather than to know something. In other words, they are learning by doing. Doing, and attempting to do, is at the heart of children’s natural acquisition of knowledge. They see things they want to play with and learn to grasp. They see places they want to go and learn to walk. They feel the need to communicate and they learn to talk. Learning is driven by the natural need to do. Knowing is driven by doing. Children learn facts about the world because they feel the need to know them, often because these facts will help them do something they want to do. It isn’t until school that knowing becomes uncoupled from doing.
Children do not know in advance what will be helpful in later life, so they delve into all kinds of things they encounter — until they tire of them, or until an older person unhelpfully “disinterests them” in the matter. When everything is new, many more things are curious and interesting. Particularly if the thing seems to be something that will help the child become more like an all-powerful, all-knowing grownup.
As the brain develops through infancy and the toddler years, and as the child approaches puberty, his brain matures to become more capable of thinking abstractly. The brain becomes more able to “know” separate from “doing,” as it develops. Thus it often acquires a love of knowledge (usually of particular kinds) just for the sake of knowledge. But for most people of any age, knowledge that is of immediate or intermediate use is more powerfully sought after than is knowledge of uncertain use into the indefinite future.
The Development of a Self-Teaching Method is Key to Lifelong Learning
Schools do not teach children to teach themselves. Such a thing would represent a threat to the school system itself. But children who can map their own course through the knowledge labyrinths of the world have a distinct advantage over those children and youth who remain ever-dependent upon authority figures to chart their path.
And thus the need for the Dangerous Child Method. Dangerous Children learn to teach themselves at a very early stage. Beyond the core learning of topics that are closely related to useful real world applications, Dangerous Children began to chart their own courses very early — including running their own businesses and developing their own general curricula.
Children reveal their identities quite early, if allowed to do so. If ample opportunities for experimentation and exploration are incorporated into early training in movement, pattern, language, music, navigation, and narrative, the child will unconsciously reveal his own optimal learning pathways as he grows.
If a Dangerous Child masters at least 3 different ways of financial independence by the age of 18 years, it is clear that he will not likely be wasting a lot of time in conventional classrooms.
Mental tension occupies the mind with worry and stress-producing anxiety. All of this interferes with learning which can only occur in what we call “in the now,” or the present moment. Thinking out can only occur in the now. So all tension, mental and physical interferes with learning. Tension drains attention and the ability to focus. And physical tension drains energy. Anything that diverts attention and energy will adversely affect learning.
… Tension is an unconscious response to a stressful environment. Remove the stress in the environment and the tension will disappear… tension within the traditional system is based on certain learning modalities which are inherent in the system: on cramming for tests, on memorizing, on rote learning and on home work.
… within the traditional dis-educational system™, students come to class with tension, with expectations and with anxieties, all of which create more tension. There is an immediate association created of “I’ll try.” or “I don’t know if it will work, but I’ll try anyway.” Thus, with expectation and anxiety there is tension, made more intense by trying; and the tension is saying “not to relax.”
… The wonder of the subconscious mind is that it acts like an eternal sponge, soaking in everything, encoding it in the mind forever. Any tension, however, will close rather quickly the doors to the subconscious mind. __ The Future of Learning
The excerpts above describe a revolutionary approach to learning developed by a former member of the French Resistance in WWII, a man named Michel Thomas. In his life’s work after the aftermath of the war, Thomas applied his method to the accelerated teaching of foreign languages. Some of his many students included celebrities such as Mel Gibson, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, Emma Thompson, Melanie Griffith, and Pierce Brosnan, among others.
Although Thomas died over a decade ago, his method lives on in books, audiotapes, and video documentaries of his work. And the relevance of his approach to learning will only grow stronger with each passing year.
Language Learning is Relatively Easy for Children Compared to Adults
The minds of young children are indeed like sponges. Children are impatient to learn and to know, and as long as they see results they are content to chip away at a learning task day by day, year by year. If their efforts are well directed and the feedback they get is honest and relevant to their goals, they get better and better.
Children can accomplish wonders in the world of learning — including the learning of multiple languages — if given the opportunity and a good enough reason. For example, if multiple languages are spoken actively within the child’s own home, the child will want to join in so as not to be left out.
For children growing up in monolingual households, it will take just a bit more effort to establish mail or electronic “pen pal” connections or “skype language learning partners.” Beyond exposing the child to the possibility of enlarging his world and using due diligence in monitoring the exposure, monolingual adults are likely to find themselves being pulled into the learning experience.
In the absence of unusual stress, young children gulp in knowledge like a drowning person gulps in air. Adults, being typically under considerable stress, do not learn so easily. But under the right conditions, adults could learn so much more.
For Adults, Learning Foreign Languages is Too Often an Exercise in Futility
Many adults try to learn languages, but fail repeatedly. With each failure, a bit more of the initial enthusiasm and confidence is eroded. Eventually, most people tend to give up on ever becoming fluent in multiple languages. But what if it is the learning and training systems that are at fault, rather than the person’s age and maturity?
Now Adults Can Master a Foreign Language in Just 3 Days!
No, actually that would be fantasy. What the revolutionary language instructor Michel Thomas actually provided was a solid basis for competence in a language. This “nuts and bolts” level competence provided a solid foundation on which learners should have no problem building into the future.
Thomas claimed that his students could “achieve in three days what is not achieved in two to three years at any college” (“three days” meaning sessions as long as eight or ten hours per day, although students claimed not to experience the lessons as over-intensive, but actually enjoyable and exciting), and that the students would be conversationally proficient. ___ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Thomas_Method
Who Was Michel Thomas?
Born Moniek Kroskoff in Poland, he later adopted the code name “Michel Thomas” as his own, while working with the French resistance in WWII France and later with US Army counter intelligence. After the war he worked with American intelligence ferreting out secret nests of Nazi SS officers hiding in Europe from justice. After that, he moved to the US and developed “The Michel Thomas Method” for teaching foreign languages.
Michel Thomas (born Moniek Kroskof, February 3, 1914 – January 8, 2005) was a polyglot linguist, and decorated war veteran. He survived imprisonment in several different Nazi concentration camps after serving in the Maquis of the French Resistance and worked with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps during World War II. After the war, Thomas emigrated to the United States, where he developed a language-teaching system known as the Michel Thomas Method. __ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Thomas
The Michel Thomas Method of learning is laid out in the book, The Future of Learning: The Michel Thomas Method. While the primary application for the Michel Thomas Method has been for language learning, the principles involved can be applied to any subject area.
Stress is toxic to the deep mental processes that are involved in the levels of understanding that lead to long lasting and generative knowledge formation. Since most parts of modern education are built upon stressful traditions and experiences, it is no wonder that most “school knowledge” is superficial, and easily forgotten. This is as true for school-taught foreign language courses as it is for most subjects taught using conventional curricular methods.
The only comfort we can derive from the dysfunctional systems of education that predominate today, is that modern brainwashing and indoctrinating are also likely to be forgotten eventually. Unfortunately, the very real stunting of young minds that accompanies the modern indoctrination process is largely irreversible. The sin is more one of omission than commission.
Many Adults Will Not Regain the Enthusiasm of Early Learning
Even if a relatively stress-free environment can be provided for adults — for sufficient periods of time to learn — most adults will have been stripped and battered by earlier education experiences. They will find it hard to muster the energy to work the learning experience again and again, until progress is made.
This is the tragedy of most modern approaches to education and child-raising. Out of ignorance, neglect, and ideological misguidedness, meaningful learning and personal growth are postponed — while meaningless and destructive past-times and habits are instilled or allowed to insinuate themselves. Stressful methods of indoctrination replace what could have been effective pathways to rapid growth and understanding. By the time a child or youth reaches college age, much of his potential will have been lost. And no one will ever know what might have been.
The Pathetic State of Universities, Newsrooms, and Popular Culture Illustrate the Problem
It is growing more and more obvious that societal elites — the “better educated” portions of society who shape popular culture and public policies — have followed a twisted and dysfunctional pathway to become who they are. The tragedy is that such elites are allowed to publicly promote themselves on very large stages, as examples of what young people should strive to become.
Such a travesty can only proceed successfully if modern children and youth are being raised and trained to lack independent competence and confidence within themselves. And that can only occur if the formative years (full of sensitive windows of development) are not filled with opportunities for learning, experimentation, skills development, and confidence building throught the development of personal competence.
Michel Thomas was only one person who noticed the problem of dysfunctional mainstream education, and attempted to do his own small part to push back. Many other people have made similar attempts, but the big money has always been behind the dysfunctional mainstream.
Few people are paying attention, because one of the main purposes of the modern interlocking systems of indoctrination is to distract the masses from anything important.
Perhaps the best we can hope for is to help build networked islands of competence in an ocean of dysfunction. But then again, who expected a popular political backlash in the US against the mainstream presidential candidate in 2016? Nothing may come of this populist “pushback against the elites,” but every day that the control of the elites is partially limited, is a day that people will live in relatively greater freedom. And who knows what may come from that?
Or Why Lesson 1 and Lesson 15 Must Often Be Taught as One
The minds of infants are ejected into the world with no sequential lesson plan. Immersed in a turbulent cauldron of sensations and ideas — alternately startled, alarmed, and fascinated. Their emotions strained to the breaking point, their newborn powers of reasoning constantly twisted like painful pretzels. Breaking all the proper rules of pedagogy, it is how we all learned as babies, as toddlers, as young children.
There is no step by step, logically sequential plan for growing up and learning how to think and how to live. If we are lucky, we are exposed to a wide range of badly diced, sliced, and mangled lesson plans with no logical connection to each other — which our minds must then try to make sense of. For the most part, tiny brains do amazingly well.
Real Education is More Like a Perpetual Stew Than a 12 Course Meal
Modern school curricula are laid out as logical step by step sequences of knowledge acquisition. Each content module follows another, like building blocks each supporting the next. But some lessons cannot be adequately understood until one first digests the ideas hiding inside lessons that will not come for weeks, months, or years in the future.
The human brain often retains disconnected pieces of poorly formed knowledge fragments long enough to make later connections with other knowledge fragments — which is how baby brains are often able to bootstrap themselves into the mastery of language, movement, pattern, and social connections.
Trying Too Hard to Fit a Sequential Lesson Plan to the Child Will Backfire
Because we cannot see into the minds of small children, we can never really know what has been left out and what has been incorporated in latent form. Wiser persons of experience learn how to probe for knowledge fragments, and how to supplement them with often-useful supplementary concepts and experiences. But there are always missing pieces needing to be supplied, before a satisfying comprehension can emerge.
If we want to make a child’s mind into a rickety and brittle structure — unable to stand up to the inevitable stresses of the real world — we should probably just keep doing what school systems are doing.
Politically Correct Educations are Criminally Incomplete Educations
Teachers who force students to endure politically correct indoctrinations — and who filter all educational materials through the lens of politically correct dogma — are starving children of crucial concepts and factual information which will be of critical importance at later stages of life. Too much crucial information is left out of a politically correct curriculum.
Life is Never Fair
Because life itself can never be entirely sensitive, equal, or nurturing, every child’s feelings will be hurt. Every child will sooner or later be treated unfairly, or will fall short of others on his own merits — in one area of measurement or another. Children must learn how to deal with the inevitable inequities and injustices of life as early as possible.
The modern approach of attempting to shelter children from scraped elbows or bruised egos is ultimately crippling. Rather than training children to be sensitive to every imagined insult or injustice, a real life education would train them to formulate meaningful goals and to sustain a reasonable focus on those goals — at least until they have learned the lessons the goals were meant to teach, and usually a lot more.
Where other children rank on the infinitude of measurements utilised in schools should be largely irrelevant. Particularly irrelevant are any perceived insults or non-PC attitudes displayed by classmates or others in the child’s environment. It is a waste of time for a goal-oriented child to stop his advancement in order to attempt to bring an insensitive cohort to heel. He should have better things to do, farther places to go.
If You Wait Until College to Teach Them, It Will Be Too Late
In many school systems, classrooms below the college level have become glorified daycare holding cells. Reading and teaching materials are carefully screened and dumbed down to fit with the dominant political themes of the system. Sensitive periods of development come and go without having been primed by the necessary experiences and concepts which would have allowed for a fuller development of body and mind. By the time the child grows to a college aged youth, many of the crucial components of careful and meaningfully creative thought will be missing.
Unfortunately, even in college education today, politically correct constrictions deprive students of vital ideas, facts, and experiences needed before the youth can become a responsible and responsive adult in the real world — as opposed to the incoherent fantasy world which professors and administrators are attempting to build.
You can observe in the video clip below how the absurdity has come full circle, to consume its own:
There may be no better argument for homeschool than the real world environment that one finds on campuses of mainstream politically correct schools — from K thru university.
And So We See the Circularity of Life and Mind
We miss a lot of things the first time around. How can we help it, we are only babies? But we keep coming around again in a cycle — as embodied in the daily sleep-wake cycle, in the cycle of the seasons, and ultimately in the cycle of life we observe in shorter-lived species and in the others of our kind who pass away before us.
But we keep coming around, being given second – third – fifteenth — and hundredth chances to learn more completely what we learned only partially in earlier attempts. And by reading the experiences of many generations of historical figures, communities, and societies, we can experience many cycles of learning by proxy.
Children and youth who are indoctrinated in politically correct or religiously correct mindsets will have many of their mind-windows shuttered and nailed closed. We can see that in the video above, and we can see it in the way that people keep returning to failed ideologies of the past without any insight into their ongoing self-sabotage. In the minds of modern systems of education, it has become anathema to build strong, independent, well rounded minds, capable of deciding things on their own merits without guidance from a central committee’s daily talking points.
Real Life and the Human Brain Are Not Politically Correct
And reality as it is incorporated into the brain is neither tame nor sequential. It is cyclical and wild. The sooner we learn to equip our young to deal with the evolving world as it is — rather than an idealised world of fantasy mongers — the better.
A Dangerous Child will master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. And that is just the beginning. Dangerous Children continue to learn and master new skills and competencies their entire lives, in order to be able to ride the shifting currents of creative destruction in the larger world.
Versatility in Thinking is Just as Important
Being able to thrive financially is important for adults of all ages from 18 to 108. Just as important is the ability to adapt to new ideas and ways of thinking, as we gain experience.
If we indoctrinate the young person in an elaborate set of fixed beliefs, we are ensuring his early obsolescence. [It is important to] develop skills, attitudes, habits of mind and the kinds of knowledge and understanding that will be the instruments of continuous change and growth on the part of the young person. __ Chapter 3 in Self-Renewal by John W. Gardner
The Dangerous Child movement grew from the realisation that if humans are ever to move beyond the current levels of thinking and living, that a better — more competent and self-aware — substrate of humanity is needed.
Albert Einstein understood that humans needed to move to different levels of thinking in order to solve many new problems which were cropping up.
The above quote is often phrased: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Goodreads) .
It is safe to say that most people rarely contemplate the different levels of thought which they — and others — may use in the course of making plans, solving problems, and working through their days.
It is unfair to expect everyone to be able to change their ways of thinking, at whatever point in their lives they have reached. But children are something else, and Dangerous Children are something else yet again.
While ordinary and extraordinary children will inevitably think somewhat differently from their parents, Dangerous Children are trained specially to be flexible and versatile thinkers and doers.
The versatility of thinking displayed by Dangerous Children goes far beyond their broad base of skills, competence, and resourcefulness in the practical world. Dangerous Children are flexible thinkers, and are trained to review key assumptions in their thinking and planning at regular intervals. This is necessary because much will have been experienced by the child directly and indirectly over time, which may induce him to modify some of his basic assumptions. He must have a sound and effective way of making whatever changes are necessary in his conscious (and sometimes unconscious) foundations of thought and action.
Habits Rule us All
The specialist is more susceptible to falling into the rut of rote responses to stimuli, over time, due to the limited scope of problems he typically faces. Generalists must necessarily be more flexible, since they face a wider range of problems.
But even generalists can be forced into rote patterns of thought and response. That is why periodic reviews of personal and professional axioms, premises, and assumptions are necessary.
Habits are good insofar as they allow us to function productively in a more efficient way — freeing us up for greater achievement and enjoyment. But habits must be questioned from time to time, and changed as necessary.
The Dangerous Child is Usually a Mixture of Specialist and Generalist
In human societies there is no reason whatever why specialists should not retain the capacity to function as generalists. __ John W. Gardner in Self-Renewal
We are born into generalism and must function as generalists as we learn to walk, talk, read, and get along with others. Dangerous Children are immersed much more deeply into versatile generalism in the course of developing their broad base of skills and competencies. But many Dangerous Children will launch themselves from the springboard of early financial independence into more specialised careers and businesses — until they are ready to move on to something more challenging.
Modern human societies are based upon the specialisation of labour, and would not be nearly as prosperous without it. But specialists too often find themselves out on a limb as times change, and the world seems to move forward and leave their now-obsolete specialty behind.
For the health of the individual as well as for society as a whole, versatility is crucial.
But that is not what happens in public schools and other conventional US schools. Everyone is crammed together in the same can — like sardines — and forced to soak in the same mind-numbing routine of programmed conformity, regardless of the child’s innate ability and interests.
… because the system arbitrarily separates students by age, students of varying academic abilities get put on the same track. The low performers remain consistently behind, in a constant struggle to play catch-up. And they’re the ones who get the majority of the attention of today’s schools and education reformers.
It is even worse for boys and very active girls, whose innate need for physical activity is subjugated to the career ambitions of professional educationalists from the US Department of Education, to university schools of education, to foundations, to thinktanks, to lower level school systems. Every professional educationalist wants to leave his mark on an already hopelessly convoluted and dysfunctional school system.
A recent Johns Hopkins University study reveals a dirty secret that threatens to overturn the entire basis of the US K-12 school system. It seems that large numbers of young US students score at or above the next higher grade level. In other words, kids are being forced by the system to endure an education that is “dumbed down” below their ability to learn and comprehend.
Table 1. Percentage of Wisconsin Students Scoring One or More Years Above Grade Level17
The table above reports findings from Wisconsin, but similar results were discovered from California testing, Florida testing, and multi-state testing including students from 30 states.
Very large percentages of students are performing above grade level.
Five different data sets from five distinct assessment administrations provide consistent evidence that many students perform above grade level. Based on the Wisconsin and California Smarter Balanced, Florida FSA, and multistate MAP data, we estimate that 20-40% of elementary and middle school students perform at least one grade level above their current grade in reading, with 11-30% scoring at least one grade level above in math. __ http://edpolicy.education.jhu.edu/?p=153
It is the policy of Dangerous Child training — and other forms of self-teaching and unschooling — to teach children to teach themselves at a very early age. After this is accomplished, children can move forward at their own pace and in their own unique combinations of learning directions — with only limited supervision necessary.
The Dangerous Child must demonstrate mastery over particular core areas of learning — including maths, effective reading, clear and reasoned writing, basic money handling – investment – and business practise, practical biology, and the child’s self-directed learning in music, art, movement (usually a mixture of dance and martial arts), and a quantitative approach to geography and history.
The Robinson Curriculum is a popular example of a self-teaching approach to homeschooling children. It allows children to proceed at their own pace, while making sure the child is prepared for accelerated higher education if that is the direction he chooses.
Many parents are choosing internet-based homeschool curricula, then adding extra features considered important by the family and culture.
Parents of Dangerous Children can choose any number of homeschool approaches. But the additional “dangerous skills” and business skills of Dangerous Children must be incorporated within the best capacities and judgment of parents, mentors, and coaches.
Remember: A Dangerous Child masters at least three means to financial independence by the age of 18 years. The earlier the child is given the foundations and practise in developing the necessary skills and competencies, the better — as long as necessary supervision and safe methods are used.
It should be obvious that a “one size fits all” educational system is just as damaging as a Procrustean Bed. Heads and legs too often are cut off in the pursuit of a uniform result.
Dangerous Children study and practise investing and small business entrepreneurship from the age of 8 or earlier. Doing deals is at the heart of the human enterprise, whenever one human interacts with another. The Dangerous Child Method is all about creating Dangerous Entrepreneurs, as well as other dangerous types of humans.
An entrepreneur is anyone who is independent, creative, inventive, and willing to take risks… Most great entrepreneurs simply love what they do — whether it’s problem-solving, building something from the ground up, or a passion for their product or service. __ Sam Zell in “Am I Being Too Subtle?”
Dangerous Children are inventive risk-takers, independent and contrarian to the core. As such they do not fit in very well at today’s groupthink universities, government agencies, conformist media conglomerates, or the rent-seeking echo choirs of most corporate cultures eager to feast on government contracts.
Today’s societal compulsion to “send every child to college” is cutting the legs out from under future innovation and business skills, not to mention its damaging effects on the crafts and trades. With a college loan debt in excess of $1 trillion, the US is beginning to suffer from this financial (and human) misallocation in a significant way.
College is not necessary for one to become a successful entrepreneur — and in many cases it is an active impediment. Entrepreneurial skills can be best learned by an on-the-job learn as you go approach.
Hard core entrepreneurs tend to come up with their own ways of matching supply with demand, and meeting their customers’ and clients’ needs. But sometimes a would-be entrepreneur needs to borrow an idea to get started. There are a number of franchises with entry fees of less than $4,000.
Dangerous Children master at least three ways of financial independence by the age of 18. Whatever skills or types of expertise they develop, business skills will increase the profitability of those skills.
Once a youth achieves financial independence, he can choose and navigate his own pathway through life — through a wide range of businesses, through the professions, via creative arts, through science and technical occupations — or even in government work if absolutely necessary.
Entrepreneurs are inherently dangerous to top-heavy societies such as one finds in Europe and the Anglosphere. This is why most unprincipled politicians (Obama, Clintons, etc.) seem to reduce overall opportunities in society by diverting massive amounts of funds to parasitic rent-seeking political allies.
Things are even worse in corrupt states of the emerging and third worlds such as Russia, China, India, Brasil, the African dictatorships, etc., entrepreneurs must be prepared to pay large bribes at different levels of government just to get started. Successful entrepreneurs that are not deeply connected to top level government officials walk around with a bulls-eye on their backs. Entrepreneurs in Russia who refuse to pay the mafia are typically shot down as examples to others.
If you can imagine a society mostly composed of independent entrepreneurs and their skilled and resourceful employees, you can imagine a society with fewer problems with unemployment, drugs, crime, and government corruption. Imagine a society where even the least-paid labourer can earn a living income at least three different ways, and you can imagine a society with far less insecurity and anxiety.
For that to happen, changes must take place at both the top and the bottom. At the top, taxes and regulations must be streamlined severely, and tailored to small businesses, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and tradesmen.
At the bottom, children must be taught to teach themselves, discipline themselves to follow self-developed plans, to understand money and business, and to be independent, creative, contrarian, thinkers and doers.
In the middle are the people who raise the children and who run the businesses, do the work, and invent new ways of doing things.
Such a society is immersed in creative destruction and disruptive innovation. It is, by definition, “dangerous” to the current elites who maintain their wealth and influence via rent-seeking.
Understanding Your Child’s Mental and Emotional Development in Real Time
We want to raise children who grow up to feel confident and free to walk their own paths through life. Unfortunately too many children, youth, and young adults become twisted up and paralysed by the dominant messages of anxiety, fear, hatred, insecurity, and hostility which pervade media, academia, and other cultural institutions.
The best way to prevent your child from being programmed by the destructive emotional ambience of modern societies is to limit his exposure to mainstream nonsense and to follow his emotional development on a regular basis. Then it will be possible to intervene with useful projects and exercises the moment it seems the child is losing his self-direction to an invasive cultural meme attack of mass destruction.
How Many Ways Do Things Go Wrong?
David Burns MD, in the 4 million-copy bestseller “Feeling Good,” lists 10 common cognitive distortions which are often at the heart of modern misery and dysfunction. We are all prone to falling under the spell of one or more of these distortions. The sooner a child comes to recognise these mental parasites and how to deal with them, the better.
All or Nothing Thinking —
Anything less than perfect is a complete failure
Overgeneralization — a few negative events are seen as a never ending pattern of defeat
Mental Filter — Everything is seen through a filter of negativity
Disqualifying the Positive — Positive attributes are discounted when tallying the personal accounts
Jumping to Conclusions — This can take the form of “mind-reading” and “telling the future,” believing strongly in negative attitudes in the minds of others and bad outcomes in the future, that cannot really be known
Magnification or Minimization — Undesirable qualities are magnified and desirable qualities are minimized
Emotional Reasoning — Allowing our feelings to define our reality
“Should” statements — “should statements” involve many assumptions which are probably either not true or grossly exaggerated
Labeling and Mislabeling — Attaching harsh labels to oneself or others which emotionally loads how one reacts to that person
Personalization — You see yourself as responsible for something you are not responsible for; eg, a child feels responsible for the divorce of his parents.
The alternative to following the emotional and mental development of your children closely — and being ready with playful but effective interventions when needed — is to watch your child slowly become wrapped up in the contradictory and paralysing insecurities and hostilities of parent societies and their institutions.
Best Ways to Intervene?
David Burns has written several books for laymen and therapists alike, describing interventions that he has found helpful over the course of his career for helping clients out of the ditches they dig for themselves. The book “Feeling Good” is the best starting point for most people — including prospective parents of Dangerous Children.
I am not aware of any work by Burns that is applicable solely to children and child-raising. But any parent clever enough to raise a Dangerous Child, will also be clever enough to adapt the ideas in “Feeling Good” to the circumstances of his own family and child.
The David Burns Method Uses 50 Strategies
In order to “untwist” the distortions caused by the above 10 self-made delusions, David Burns utilises 50 methods to untie the knots of misery and dysfunction. Here is a short list of the first 10 out of the 50 strategies:
Identify the Distortions
Double Standard Technique
Examine the Evidence
The average psychotherapist may use no more than 4 or 5 out of the 50 strategies in an average week of practise. And no one can expect a parent to study all 50 methods on the off chance that his child may require one of the less frequently used techniques. But it is good to be aware of the depth of possibilities when one is thrust into the psychotherapy profession — even as an amateur.
Observe Your Child Closely; Be Prepared to Intervene in a Timely and Responsive Manner
A child of 3 is different from a child at 6. Likewise, children change radically between the ages of 10 and 18. A failure to monitor mental and emotional changes of your children as they happen is like leaving your dream car in a back alley in Harlem unlocked with its keys in the ignition. Too many people are ready and willing to hijack the complex processes of self-development which your Dangerous Child is undergoing, to neglect regular close and thoughtful interaction with your child.
Sometimes an Outsider Can Spot Developments Which a Parent Overlooks
If it can be arranged, it is good to have friends and associates on the Dangerous Child path who are involved in effective methods of psychotherapy as a profession. Informal outings where such people can casually observe your Dangerous Children can yield important insights and avenues of change and self-empowerment which many parents might not see on their own, if an honest interchange of ideas is allowed to be comfortable and non-threatening.
Dangerous Children Are More Effective When Well Balanced
It is crucial that parents allow their children to develop the strength of character and emotional balance which allows them to make their own way through life according to a well informed set of maps, including opportunities and cautions.
U. of Toronto’s Jordan Peterson has a series of class videos titled “Maps of Meaning” which provides an interesting foundation of concepts for helping university students to assemble a functional set of personal beliefs which facilitate meaningful action for their own benefit and enrichment.
Here at the Al Fin Institute for The Dangerous Child, we always say that if you wait to educate the child until he reaches university age, you have waited too late. On the other hand, at university age not all of the windows of development have closed irrevocably. Much can still be salvaged, although much is also lost by that time, if not already somewhat developed.
Dangerous Children need to understand the crucial basics for a large number of fields of science, technology, the trades, and much more. Here, MIT graduate, author, and technical theoretician Eric Drexler suggests ways for anyone to jump into science and technology research, and through steady and painless immersion learn to absorb the important details that will help you fit it all together — at least for the range of fields you are working on.
This “immersion approach” is how young children naturally learn. Each bit and stage of knowledge is used as a scaffolding from which one can reach the next level of knowledge. It is an approach that can be re-discovered by youth and adults for getting a grasp on new fields that may seem too difficult to comprehend at first glance. Here is what Eric recommends:
Tips from Polymath Eric Drexler on Broad-Based Learning
Note that the title above isn’t “how to learn everything”, but “how to learn about everything”. The distinction I have in mind is between knowing the inside of a topic in deep detail — many facts and problem-solving skills — and knowing the structure and context of a topic: essential facts, what problems can be solved by the skilled, and how the topic fits with others…
… Knowing about, in this sense, is crucial to understanding a new problem and what must be learned in more depth in order to solve it. The cross-disciplinary reach of nanotechnology almost demands this as a condition of competence.
Studying to learn about everything
Read and skim journals and textbooks that (at the moment) you only half understand. Include Science and Nature.
Don’t halt, dig a hole, and study a particular subject as if you had to pass a test on it.
Don’t avoid a subject because it seems beyond you — instead, read other half-understandable journals and textbooks to absorb more vocabulary, perspective, and context, then circle back.
Notice that concepts make more sense when you revisit a topic.
Notice which topics link in all directions, and provide keys to many others. Consider taking a class.
Continue until almost everything you encounter in Science and Nature makes sense as a contribution to a field you know something about.
You learned your native language by immersion, not by swallowing and regurgitating spoonfuls of grammar and vocabulary. With comprehension of words and the unstructured curriculum of life came what we call “common sense”.
The aim of what I’ve described is to learn an expanded language and to develop what amounts to common sense, but about an uncommonly broad slice of the world. Immersion and gradual comprehension work, and I don’t know of any other way. __ Eric Drexler in Metamodern
Drexler is the author of several books on nanotechnology, including the free online ebook, Engines of Creation (EOC). EOC is a comprehensible — and visionary — look at some of the future potential of molecular assemblers as applied to nanotechnological manufacture.
Immersion is An Important Form of “Self-Teaching”
As we have said before, self-teaching is a crucial component of The Dangerous Child Method, and an integral ingredient in The Robinson Curriculum and other homeschooling approaches. All effective forms of homeschooling and unschooling will involve some elements of coaching and apprenticeship by mentors and parents. But the child himself is the one who is always present. He is ultimately the responsible party when it comes to life outcomes.
Besides the great advantage of developing good study habits and thinking ability, self—teaching also has immediate practical advantages. Many children should be able, through Advanced Placement examinations, to skip over one or more years of college. The great saving in time and expense from this is self—evident. These and other comparable accomplishments await most children who learn to self—teach and then apply this skill to their home education.
Even children of lesser ability can, by means of self—teaching and good study habits, achieve far more than they otherwise would have accomplished by the more ordinary techniques. __ Teach Them to Teach Themselves
In learning to walk, talk, ride a bike, and participate socially in families and other groups, a child naturally uses observation from an immersed position. Self-teaching in more individual and formal types of learning should naturally follow, if the child is given good pointers at the right stages. By doing so, parents and mentors will liberate the child to shape his own paths to his own goals.
College is a place where young people go to binge, fornicate, receive an academic lobotomy, and become burdened by insurmountable debt — all in the quest for increasingly worthless diplomas. __ Al Fin
Wage Advantage from College Diploma Shrinking
Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-09 recession, according to an unpublished analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington using Census bureau figures. Young job-seekers appear to be the biggest losers.
Even in crucial fields such as engineering, physical sciences, health sciences, computer science, and agriculture, wages for college grads have been dropping.
Some majors are bucking the wage-stagnation trend. An experienced petroleum engineering major earned $179,000 a year on average in 2015, up $46,000 from five years prior, according to the Georgetown analysis. Beyond those with special technical skills, philosophy and public policy majors have also seen their earnings rise. __ Bloomberg
Meanwhile, student loan debt across society soars:
The Real World Needs Competent People with Applicable Skills
This doesn’t mean that all young people should be shunted toward blue collar and mid-level jobs and professions. That is not what Dangerous Child training is about. Instead, Dangerous Child training is aimed at training competent and confident young people who are equipped to shape their own futures from the onset of adulthood. Some Dangerous Children will go into the trades, some will choose higher education — some may even choose government work! The goal of Dangerous Child training is to give the ownership of that choice to the child himself, along with plenty of backdoors in case the first choice doesn’t work out. And all of that without a mountain of debt!
Dangerous Children master at least three ways of achieving financial independence by the time they turn 18 yo. Not all of them will earn him $100,000 a year off the bat. But by combining practical competence with business and entrepreneurial skills — that are also learned before turning 18 — Dangerous Children are capable of building businesses that can earn well over a $million a year.
Sure, businesses have to pay taxes, labour, rents, and so forth, but Dangerous Children learn how to economise on such expenses by the age of 12. Most of them get plenty of practise at running a small business by the time they reach 18 years, so they are ready to start building a future out of the gate.
A Dangerous Childhood Depends Upon a Child’s Ability to Teach Himself
Modern society too often looks at children as incompetent nuisances, who must be sheltered from the real world until they turn 18 — at which point they are thrown into a corrupt and undisciplined world completely unprepared for what they will face. The end result of such an approach is a growing herd of sheep-like young people who are still incompetent, and likely to stay that way. By default, these sheep are closely guided in their tastes, interests, and “relevant causes” by faux experts in media, academia, and government and by celebrity figures around the world.
A self-taught person who possesses both self discipline and self confidence will not be swayed by popular appeals to group status or celebrity appeal. He will be a contrarian thinker who works things out for himself, impervious to the herd mentality of a corrupt, groupthinking culture.
Thinking is a set of skills we learned at a very young age, in an automatic and mostly unconscious manner. We cannot remember how we learned to think the way we do, and so we are stuck with a large number of thinking “tics and foibles” that we might be better off without. This is unfortunate for us, and even the most intelligent of us must often struggle to compensate for our sub-optimal set of thinking skills.
If we started at the beginning, we could provide a better path to deep, powerful, and independent thinking for our children — if we only took the time and trouble to discover how. First, we need to learn to think better for ourselves. Then we can do a better job setting the stage for our Dangerous Children, in their adventures in thought and learning.
How Does One Learn How to Think (Better)?
If you do an internet search query: “How to Think,” the search engine response is likely to contain a large number of links to websites telling you how to think in particular ways. “How to think critically,” “How to think creatively,” “How to think logically,” etc. It can be difficult to find information on “how to think” in general. Almost all webpages from such a search are oriented toward adults — whose thinking is already set in concrete by this time.
Even so, some websites provide bits of interesting advice that may help youth and adults to think more effectively, within conventional boundaries. For example:
Thinking is something that happens naturally in each individual, but there are ways to deepen your thinking abilities. It takes time and practice to become a better thinker, but it’s a process you can hone all your life. Being a better thinker and keeping your mind sharp can help your mental and physical health in the long run!
__ More: How to Think
When I applied for my faculty job at the MIT Media Lab, I had to write a teaching statement. One of the things I proposed was to teach a class called “How to Think,” which would focus on how to be creative, thoughtful, and powerful in a world where problems are extremely complex, targets are continuously moving, and our brains often seem like nodes of enormous networks that constantly reconfigure. In the process of thinking about this, I composed 10 rules, which I sometimes share with students. I’ve listed them here, followed by some practical advice on implementation.
The short articles linked above contain some useful tips for improving one’s thinking skills. But even the most unconventional suggestions are still quite conventional. If we are to help to liberate the minds of future generations of Dangerous Children, we will need to unleash our own minds in some radical ways.
Making Radical Improvements in Thinking is Difficult After a Certain Age
De Bono has also written a book on teaching children how to think. The slide presentation below provides a quick introduction to the ideas in Teach Your Child How to Think.
We should keep in mind that thinking is a set of interlocking skills and processes, which work behind the scenes in most adults in an almost wholly unconscious manner. These skills were developed from a very early age, beginning in the womb. They were automatically bootstrapped onto the rapidly developing neural substrate of the developing fetus, neonate, and infant. The process of thinking skills acquisition continues in childhood, is knocked off the tracks in puberty, and settles more or less in place by early adulthood.
If you want your Dangerous Child to have the most powerful and independent mind he can have, certain approaches to child nurturing and child raising will work better than others. If a parent or caretaker waits until college age — or even high school age — to provide an environment conducive to developing thinking skills, it will be much too late.
Teaching a Child to Think is Teaching Him to Be
The Dangerous Child Method is based upon the development of creative skills in movement, language, music, art, and pattern. Because the foundations of these skills are built long before the child can walk, talk, and meaningfully converse — even before birth — the approach to guiding Dangerous Child development in skills competency (including thinking skills) must take a primarily nonverbal form.
By developing the latent patterns of space, time, language, music, and motion, the Dangerous Child is prepared for a fuller range of possible skills when his brain moves through the sensitive periods of development in childhood.
For a very young child, there is no difference between thinking and being. It is only later that he learns to deceive, and create a secret inner life. It is crucial to facilitate the development of powerful thinking skills in the formative years, before the child begins to feel the strong tug of popular, nonsense culture.
Children are Born Creative
It is not necessary to teach a child to be creative. Rather, it is necessary to restrain yourself from destroying the child’s innate creativity. Some discipline is always necessary, since the child’s basic needs must be met in spite of the turbulent impulses and inner demands that most children are prey to.
Give the child a wide range of opportunities to experiment and exercise his creativity. Children begin to reveal their aptitudes and inclinations from an early point in their existence. Look for particular strengths which can be utilised for growth, and look for particular weaknesses which will need to be either eliminated or compensated for.
At each state of development, the process of developing new thinking skills will evolve and take different forms — building on older skills and integrating themselves, new into old.
Coaches Must Understand How New Thinking Skills Fit In
Some skills, such as music, art, motion, and language, seem to progress in a logical fashion. The toddler is not so different from the olympic athlete, in basic neuromuscular function. The development from one to the other is a matter of qualitative refinement and quantitative progression over time — and entirely plausible.
The development of a world class mathematician or theoretical physicist from a babbling infant is a little more difficult to conceive, but the basic ingredients are all there. Most infants who have the latent potential to be productive mathematicians or theoretical physicists will never develop into those professions, for many reasons. One of the reasons for such a failure to evolve is that the necessary early forms of pattern experimentation and exploration were never attempted. And so the tools for personal evolution were not provided at the needed time — usually long before parents even have an inkling that any useful skills of such a nature exist.
Children must be nurtured, but allowed to experiment and fail. They must be supported, but also taught to develop natural skills of hard work and independence. They must be valued, but not be led to see themselves as the centre of the universe.
Eventually the child himself will teach himself to bootstrap his own thinking skill sets. The real world will provide plenty of challenges against which to test himself and his unique approach to thinking.
Fantasy Self of Superpowers vs. Genuine Self of Competence and Growth
Remember when tennis legend Andre Agassi was the poster child for “pretty-boy losers?” No matter how many times he said “Image is Everything,” his perfect image still lost tennis matches. Only after devoting himself to the hard work of becoming a better tennis player was he able to escape the “image trap” and develop the master inside of himself.
Although the popular culture of celebrities is all about the fantasy life, the “image is everything” life, the real world only has room for so many celebrities and artificial role models. For most people, a successful life would be better achieved through facing reality head on.
Genuine Self vs. Fantasy Self
Becoming a Dangerous Child is hard, but playful, work. The art of personal unfolding and self-realisation which all Dangerous Children must undergo leads naturally into a deliberate and self-guided ascent up the mountain to becoming a genuine — as opposed to fantasy — self. Genuine selves are aware that they are fallible, with faults and weaknesses. It is this awareness which allows genuine persons to push themselves to grow.
This is in stark contrast to the “fantasy self”:
Because the main goal [of the fantasy self] is the attainment of glory, he becomes uninterested in the process of learning, of doing, or of gaining step by step — indeed, tends to scorn it. He does not want to climb a mountain; he wants to be on the peak. Hence he loses the sense of what evolution or growth means, even though he may talk about it. Because, finally, the creation of the idealized self is possible only only at the expense of truth about himself, its actualization requires further distortions of the truth, imagination being a willing servant to this end. Thereby, to a greater or lesser extent, he loses in the process his interest in truth, and the sense for what is true and what is not true — a loss that, among others, accounts for his difficulty in distinguishing between genuine feelings, beliefs, strivings and their artificial equivalents (unconscious pretenses) in himself and in others. The emphasis shifts from being to appearing. __ “Human Growth” by Karen Horney
It is easy to recognise the modern perpetual adolescent in Karen Horney’s description above. Today’s university student may spend years exploring college coursework before finding a field of study which does not require too much exertion. Because they had always been told how “special” and “smart” they were, and how they could accomplish anything at all to which they set their minds — and because they had never learned how to work or to discipline themselves — today’s generations of psychological neotenates find themselves at a loss. As they move out of the respective wombs of their childhood homes and the artificial school environments, they become aware that the world that awaits them may not place as high a value on their abilities as they do themselves.
Limit Early Exposure to Supernatural Fantasies
Since very young minds are exquisitely impressionable to all ideas — no matter how unrealistic or absurd — Dangerous Children are not exposed to the concept of superheroes or perfect humans until they have acquired the character and self-discipline they need to teach and guide themselves through the difficult process of self-discovery. They must avoid groupthink and become natural independent contrarians.
In the young years, teaching the child to love working hard to achieve his own goals should take precedence over any religious concepts of “perfection through faith” or other ideas that could easily be taken as magical by very young minds. Children must grow from the stage where everything is done for them to later stages where they are able to do more and more for themselves and eventually for their own families. “Magical solutions to real problems” can become lifelong impediments to a child’s development of personal competence.
For this reason, Dangerous Children spend most of their early years experimenting and discovering their interests and aptitudes, developing grit and character (executive functions), and in establishing footholds for future learning and self-teaching. This is all done in a playful context, allowing for plentiful serendipity, but within a deliberate framework.
Modern Culture is a Cesspool of Mindless Fantasy
And this is why so many college graduates and college dropouts cannot pay their student loans, and are forced to live in their parents’ basements or garage bedrooms. This is why young men who should be working and starting families spend their lives playing video games, watching internet porn, and living in fantasy worlds imagining themselves as superheroes and superstuds.
When the early years are frittered away on television comics and fantasy tales, invaluable time is lost which should have been spent developing basic foundations of competence and character. When children are handed over to institutions run by persons who have no real interest in the child’s development of a genuine self — but prefer instead to mold the child into a groupthinking zombie mind to make things easy on the institution — opportunities for developing personal competence and individual mastery of aptitudes and skills are squandered.
Today’s Youth are Disappointed In Reality, but Helpless to Make Things Better
Because most modern youth have been pampered, sheltered, made to feel special even when they are not, and are never given meaningful foundations for learning, self-teaching, or common sense — they are apt to have trouble finding a place for themselves. Their genuine selves were never developed, so they are left with fantasy selves and overactive imaginations necessarily disconnected from reality.
The modern world is evolving rapidly as a result of disruptive innovations in science and technology. In addition, the foundations of modern societies are being eroded by unwise energy policies (green energy scams), scientific hoaxes perpetrated by political activists (climate apocalypse cult), suicidal debt levels, and a dysgenic undertow that threatens to carry everything away.
Modern youth have never been prepared for such a world of increasingly precarious foundations. They have not even been prepared for a normal world of real-life expectations. But this world? It is an impossible situation for them.
And So the Need for Raising Dangerous, Self-Teaching Children, Who Love Hard Work
The perfect is the enemy of the good. And the perfect — the Platonic ideal — does not exist in the real world. Dangerous Children understand this, and are taught early to learn the shade-tree engineer’s approach of optimising, rather than perfecting.
The real world is where things get done and where there is money to be made — as opposed to government, organised crime, and academia where there is money to be stolen and stripped away from the productive world of work and enterprise.
Dangerous Children Teach Themselves Money Skills and Entrepreneurship and Much More
There are dozens of $billionaire college dropouts and thousands of millionaires who never went to college or dropped out to participate in the real world. They are largely self-taught. Self-Teaching for Ordinary Adults
The Dangerous Child movement is about more than building a strong personal base of operations. It is about building a competent society, one Dangerous Child at a time. Dangerous Children go on to network with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and networked Dangerous Communities. As these networks of competent communities proliferate, they provide a safe redundancy for the larger society in case of disaster or catastrophe. If worse comes to worse, networked Dangerous Communities can provide the nuclei for a more robust, resilient, and anti-fragile society to come.
An abundant and expansive human future of free people is only possible if children grow into their genuine selves, rather than into the fantasy selves which today’s degenerate societies seem to prefer.
Hunting is About Far More than Killing Game Animals
Hunting teaches children lessons that would probably not otherwise be learned for decades — if ever. While hunting, children are exposed to real world realities of predators and prey, planning and self discipline, and human to human teamwork.
Not every child will have the temperament to kill game animals. But they can learn most of the lessons of the hunt from observing and learning the painstaking preparations and hunting/stalking techniques which good hunters utilise.
Here is a short list of benefits from teaching children to hunt, for both family and child:
One of the best things about teaching your child to hunt is the bonding time it gives the two of you. In today’s world where parents and children are often going in two different directions and have little time together, hunting gives you something to do together that can leave lasting memories.
You taking your son or daughter into the woods with you carries on that family tradition, as you teach them the same skills that were taught to you, your parents or your grandparents.
Teach them about harvesting only what they need and the balance of taking and giving. Explain the role of hunters in conservation and what we can do to ensure land and animals will still be available for their children when the time comes.
By taking them hunting and getting them involved, you’ll not only be teaching them skills and sport, but you’ll help keep hunting alive.
In a world where everything moves so fast and needs to be done so quickly, teaching your child to hunt can help them connect to the outdoors and teach them to slow down and enjoy simple moments in nature.
By taking your children with you hunting, you can help promote a physically fit lifestyle and show them alternatives to simply hitting the gym.
From discipline, to patience, to endurance, to learning to deal with disappointment, hunting helps develop skills in your children that will turn them into well-rounded adults.
By teaching them proper hunting skills and sportsmen etiquette, you’ll be teaching them responsibility that can spread into other aspects of their lives.
Watching the glee and excitement on your child’s face, knowing the work, patience and skill that all had to come together for that moment [first successful hunt] is priceless.
Without proper knowledge, people panic and react quickly with a gun in their hand, not knowing what to do. By teaching your children to hunt, you’ll be teaching them skills that will teach them to respect guns, not fear them.
Children learn much more than is printed on the above list, simply by spending time in the safe company of parents and mentors, in the wild. But much of what children learn is nonverbal. Building strength of character under a range of challenges, is one of many nonverbal skills that pays large dividends later in life.
My daughter has been going with me since she was 7. Just this past deer season, she took her first deer. Up until then she just went and sat with me, and we would talk about everything under the moon. Teaching her about the outdoors and the importance of hunting are and were very special times, and the memories will last a lifetime. Just her being there with me was satisfying, but when she said she actually wanted to hunt, that took it to a whole new level of enjoyment. __ How to Teach Kids Hunting
Not Every Child is Cut Out for Hunting
Respect for the Wild and Wildlife is Crucial for a Budding Hunter
Nature is neither cruel nor benign. It simply is, and it doesn’t care what we think about it.
If your boy shouts, “Wow, I killed him!” or something like that, there is nothing wrong with him–he is just a boy. But he should understand that what he just killed wanted to live as badly as he does, and that he should feel sorrow as well as triumph. Other children will not relish death. If they kill, they will likely be saddened by it. This is natural too. Some youngsters are horrified by death and by the prospect of causing it. They are not meant to be hunters.
Make it clear to your kids that if they are not willing to give their all to becoming competent with gun or bow, they have no business afield. Explain to them also that if they hunt enough, they are eventually going to wound something, and it is going to escape to suffer. It may take two seasons for this to happen, or 50, but it is going to happen. All they can do is work at becoming as skilled as possible and hope it doesn’t. __ Teaching Your Child to Kill
Learning the Skills Without Killing
Just as a master fisherman can practise “catch and release” methods without killing the fish, so can skilled hunters be satisfied with nothing more than great wildlife photos taken inside the natural range of his chosen prey. In the same manner, very skilled birders must learn all the skills of a good hunter to catch his most elusive prey on film or video.
Dangerous Children will need to learn to kill as part of their training. If the child can not actually bring himself to make the kill, he will have chosen a different branch in the road of Dangerous Child training — which will probably involve less training in the violent arts than most DCs obtain.
Here is another list of benefits to youth learning to hunt:
Self-reliance: When children know how to hunt, they’ll always have a way to feed themselves, even if the unthinkable happens. They will not be stuck, relying on others to obtain food. Food cycle: When kids learn to hunt, they gain an understanding of the food cycle. Without hunting, many children never connect the meat on their dinner plate to a living, breathing animal. Love of the outdoors: If hunting does anything for a child, it instills a love of outdoors and a wonder at the majesty of nature. It teaches them to respect and appreciate the woods, water, and fields. Rite of passage: For many hunting families, learning to hunt is a rite of passage. It may be the first time a child’s allowed at hunting camp during rifle season or that he has his own hunting gear. It’s an easy way to show a child you recognize he’s growing up and ready for more responsibility. Cost savings: Although there’s a start-up cost and a yearly license fee, eating meat you harvest through hunting is an affordable way to eat healthier and save money. Bonding: When you’re teaching children to hunt, it’s more about being together than hunting. You’re building memories, enjoying days spent together, and having experiences that can’t be found within city limits. Health benefits: Hunting gets you outdoors and spending time in nature does great things for both your body and mind. It’s known to reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, and lead to more mindfulness. Fitness and exercise: While you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy hunting, you do have to be relatively physically fit. You have to walk distances, climb through brush and up mountains, and drag large game with nothing but a rope. Getting children involved in hunting shows them the importance of staying fit and creates a fun way to exercise. Food safety: When it comes to what’s in commercial meat, it’s scary. Artificial preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics just top the list. But when children provide themselves with meat from a hunting harvest, they’re getting nothing but naturally fed meat. Life skills: Hunting is more than sport; it’s a lesson in life. It helps youth develop character strengths such as discipline, patience, confidence, and endurance. It also teaches children how to deal with disappointment and move on to try again. Unplugged: In this high-tech world, children are constantly plugged in. At school, they read on tablets. At home, it’s virtual reality games, and at the mall, it’s smart phones and iPods. Hunting gives children an escape from electronics and having to be in the know every minute of every day. It allows kids to unplug and just be.
The art of stalking and making a kill requires a heightened awareness of yourself and the environment around you. A hunter that is unaware of his surrounding may end up being the prey of a more deadly predator than himself. Or he may suffer a serious accident that was completely unnecessary.
As the child grows older, he learns that the world holds a lot more dangers than he might have been told about as a child. Recent vicious attacks by leftists against peaceful political rallies and public speakers reveals a hidden hostility and violence that dwells covertly inside persons of all societies and all classes. Journalists within the news and entertainment medias are beginning to display much of this previously hidden viciousness when pushed out of their ideological comfort zones.
It is not enough these days to simply avoid known danger zones and “no-go” areas. Trouble can follow you to your own front door, and beyond. Situational awareness, mastery of hunting skills, and physical fitness combined with quick reaction training are indispensible.
The US Government School System is Designed to Ruin Young Lives
But if some of the fatal bureaucracy can be dismantled long enough to insert some opportunity-boosting knowledge systems in place of the mind-destroying indoctrination centres, at least a few islands of competence may well spring up in unexpected places.
The Utica Shale Academy provides a unique and vigorous learning environment through a specialized academic program which responds to employers’ and industries’ current and emerging and changing global workforce needs and expectations through business/school partnerships.
The school’s overall goal is for students to develop work habits that foster independence, self-awareness, and commitment to personal growth, as well as achieve competency in industry and academic standards. USA’s mission statement is backed by their oil and gas industry centered curriculum. The following is an example of a course in the program:
Introduction to Well Control. This self-paced interactive multimedia program takes a rig hand through the basic concepts of well control in an easy to understand, straight-forward manner. Course objectives include: Well Control Equipment, Units of Measure, Hydrostatic Pressure, Pressure Balance, Causes of Kicks, Controlling the Well, and Restoring the Well.
Other sample courses, each with unique objectives, are:
IADC Rig Pass: A basic orientation of rig operations and safe work practices. (IADC RigPass certificate available).
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the upstream and downstream operations of the petroleum industry.
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT Drilling Focus: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the upstream operations of the petroleum industry with a focus on drilling.
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT Production Focus: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the downstream operations of the petroleum industry with a focus on production.
USA students graduate with a high school diploma, but the school’s specialized and other related courses lead students to a number of certifications necessary to enter the oil and gas marketplace. The photo at the top of the article shows USA students visiting a well site.
USA opened its doors in 2014 with an initial enrollment of 43 students; by its second year, 71 students had enrolled. The oil and gas industry is taking note of USA’s program, which was recently recognized by the trade publication, Pipelines Connection Magazine. More information on the Utica Shale Academy can be found on its website.
Another Ohio charter school, the Ohio Valley Energy Technology Academy (OVETA) in Jefferson County, is a year younger than USA, but has a similar education program tied to the oil and gas industry. In its 2015-2016 annual report, OVETA explains how it meets its educational challenges:
The structure of OVETA is very student driven and provides a blended learning atmosphere that incorporates core courses with added education to prepare students for the workforce…. Students punch a time clock and learn the importance of knowing and keeping a schedule just like on a job site.
OVETA held its first graduation ceremony in May 2016, when five seniors were awarded diplomas.
Practical Skills Training Prepares Youth for Immediate Substantive Income
Most US youth are subjected to a “college prep” curriculum, although only roughly 25% of them are suited for a rigorous 4 year college degree. We have revealed how well trained, competent 18 year old welders can make well over $100,000 a year from his 18th birthday onward. But welding is only one of the much-in-demand skills which do not require an expensive 4-year college degree, and which pay a high enough salary for a smart youth to begin investing for the future in earnest, from a relatively young age. Contrast such a positive start to adult life with the more common decades of debt that confront the average youth who attempts to complete a (worthless) 4 year degree for which he is not suited.
This Type of Program Should be the Rule, Not the Exception:
Jason Gresham has been shaping the lives and careers of high school students in DeSoto County for 15 years. Gresham averages between 30 and 40 high school students every school year. The students range in age from 16 to 18, with the majority of his class members either juniors or seniors looking for a career in industry-rich Mississippi.
He teaches the basics, starting students with stick welding and cutting torches because he believes a good foundation is the start to a career in welding. As the semester continues, the students progress into MIG and then TIG processes.
But in today’s multi-faceted world, his class does not end with welding alone. To ensure his students are sought-after prospects in the real world, Gresham’s high school class is a revamped collection of disciplines that include machine shop, sheet metal work and welding.
“We focus on these high school students to give them a real sense for what type of skills are marketable, what they must have in the workplace,” says Gresham. “Metal fabrication calls for more than one skill today, unlike what it used to be. We teach these kids how to do it all inside the Career Tech Center Metal Fabrication shop.” __ Source
Young people need to be given a foundation of competence as they set out to live their lives, not a foundation of debt and indoctrination. Government schools in the US destroy more lives than they help. This tragedy results from a corrupt ideological system of educational bureaucracy that has been badly in need of overhaul for the past 55 years. Perhaps a President Trump can “drain the swamp,” kill the bureaucratic zombies and lobbyists of DC, and begin to build a system that instills competence and earned confidence.
And now we have Trump. He was elected to drain the swamp. He may be our last hope to tip the Big Club over a cliff. __ Canadian Radical Press
Big Government Stifles Opportunity and Destroys the Future
The fear of big government is near a record high in the US, despite the election of populist presidential candidate Donald Trump.
As businessman Donald Trump prepares to become the nation’s 45th president, Americans continue to express more concern about the threat big government poses to the U.S. than big business or big labor. Two in three Americans (67%) identify big government as the country’s biggest threat. That is below the record high of 72% in 2013 but still on the higher end of the range since the mid-1960s. __ Mish
Big government siphons capital and talent out of the innovative and productive sectors into the stagnant quagmire of corrupt rent-seeking. This can only create long-term decay from massive debt and a decline of demographic quality — which is exactly what the US has been seeing under the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama cabal.
After many years of living under an overbearing nanny government system, populations become dependent — with many of their natural competencies atrophying and diminishing to mere vestiges. Eventually, these lifelong adolescents cannot live without the things big government supplies them.
Dangerous Children Can Live Without Big Government
From the earliest age, Dangerous Children are exposed to situations and environments which help them build their natural competencies. Beginning with the most basic and fundamental of skills, then branching into more sophisticated and powerful capacities to act, Dangerous Children learn to make their way in a world of their own devising.
Here are a Few Basic Skills Dangerous Children Must Learn Before the Age of 15 Years:
Some of the skills below involve interacting with other people, and others involve the mastery of the self. These are basic skills which must be mastered before the final three years of formal Dangerous Child training, which prepare youth for financial, intellectual, and emotional independence.
1. How to tell the truth
Be honest about your own mistakes and learn from them.
2. How to receive criticism
Accept criticism from your mentors humbly, even when you may feel there are mitigating circumstances. Grow beyond the defensive stage where you feel you must justify sub-par performance.
3. How to break the ice in unfamiliar situations
When asking “open-ended questions,” make sure not to be patronising or to feign simple-mindedness. Think first. Know when to be direct and when to take a more roundabout approach.
4. How to ask for something you want
If you don’t muster up the courage to request an opportunity, special training, or a spot on an expedition, you have no chance of getting it.
“The more you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the more likely you’ll decide they’re not that uncomfortable after all.”
5. How to keep your promises
Maybe you told a friend you’d show up to his birthday party, or maybe you agreed to finish an extra assignment for your coach/mentor. Whatever the situation, you should make good on your word.
“Break [your promise] and people lose trust and faith in you, which, over time, is very hard to mend,” Hoffman says.
6. How to communicate effectively
No matter your career field is to be, you can always improve the way you speak and write.
“Think about ways to challenge yourself and tweak how you write an email or behave in a meeting,” the anonymous user suggests.
Here’s an example: “During your next team meeting, resist talking about your idea or opinion right off the bat. Instead, count to five, and if you still feel like you have something relevant to contribute, speak up. On the flip side, if you’re shy, challenge yourself to say what you’re thinking, instead of remaining silent.”
7. How to be resilient
The rest of your life is bound to include setbacks, sadness, and frustration (in addition to joy and excitement!). Carolyn Cho says you should use your early adulthood to figure out how to recover from mishaps:
9. How to live within your means
Youth and young adults must think carefully about all their expenditures:
“Luxuries are a wonderful thing only if you can truly afford them. Don’t be a slave to funding a lifestyle that will not last. Learn to live modestly and save up, and then you will have earned the right to purchase yourself some treats, in moderation.”
10. How to deal with rejection
Life is full of challenges. Not every venture will work out. The only way to avoid rejection is to avoid risk, and that is not an option for Dangerous Children.
11. How to learn without a textbook
Studying shouldn’t be limited to your time in school. It “can be anywhere, anytime, and with anyone,” writes Lenny Kho. “Keep your mind wide open.”
You should always be seeking out new ways to expand your mind. Read books, practice speaking foreign languages, or take music lessons — whatever excites you most.
12. How to accept the possibility of change
Research by psychologist Dan Gilbert suggests that we have a hard time imagining how much we’ll change in the future.
So it makes sense that Choi says, “It’s near impossible to plan where you’ll be a few years from now.”
Choi uses his own trajectory as an example. During college he studied engineering, and he never imagined he’d move to rural Eastern Europe to harvest corn afterward — but he did. While living in Europe, he never thought he’d later move to a fancy building in New York City — but that’s exactly what happened.
Expect to be surprised by the future.
13. How to make a decision
Pretend somone’s holding a gun up to your head and giving you 15 seconds to make a decision. You’ll definitely be able to choose something — and it will release a lot of pressure.
14. How to sell yourself
This skill isn’t just for professional salespeople.
“Being able to sell yourself to others is a vital skill in any area of life,” writes Lukas Schwekendiek. “In the working business you have to sell yourself to clients and potential employers. In finding a partner you must sell yourself to the person and your potential benefit to their life.”
Try telling a story about yourself, since it will be easier for people to remember. And make sure that story sparks conversation among your listeners.
15. How to negotiate
One strategy is getting people to say “no” when you want them to ultimately say “yes.” For example, when you’re negotiating the terms of a job and not getting your way, you can ask the hiring manager, “Do you want me to fail?” The answer is, obviously, no — and from there, you can start pushing for what you need.
16. How to listen without speaking
M. Malhan writes: ‘By training yourself to be a better and ACTIVE LISTENER, you will be able to communicate more effectively and develop better relationships in life.”
As Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, previously told Business Insider, listening is the most important — and most underrated skill — in business and in life.
If you want to develop your own active listening skills, try “mindful conversation.” Two people pair up and one person speaks for a set time period while the other is completely silent. Then, the second person reflects on what the first person said until the first person feels satisfied. Finally, the two people switch roles.
The goal of mindful conversation is to have less superficial interactions, to instead have interactions that leave you feeling like you and your conversation partner really understood each other.
17. How to be patient
Take a tip from Steve Kobrin: “Good things simply do not happen overnight. They take time to nurture and cultivate. They take a lot of work. A lot of thought. A lot of trial and error, and learning from your mistakes.”
Note that the article excerpted and paraphrased above was written for young adults in their 20s. But as we never tire of saying, if you wait until a person is a young adult before teaching them to be generally and broadly competent, you have waited too late. Instead of a competent society, you will harvest a society of perpetual adolescents, psychological neotenates, academic lobotomates, and a general mass of people eternally lost at sea.
And with that kind of population, the best kind of government you can ever hope for is a corrupt and stifling nanny state, that will eventually collapse of its own incompetence — in other words, something like what the US was rapidly becoming under Obama, and would certainly have become under Ms. Hillary P. Clinton.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Life is inherently unpredictable. We must constantly act in the face of imperfect information, which means that we are always at risk of betting wrong — and failing. This is simply the nature of the universe, and the human condition. It is a reality that courageous humans learn to face head-on — but which cowardly rent-seekers attempt to evade by using the coercion of governments, gangs, and mobs.
Normal risk-taking ranges from the financial to the existential, and can be quite stressful unless a child is raised to carry a core of stability within himself. The development of such inner competencies are an essential part of Dangerous Child training.
Emotional Balance and the Sentic Cycles
Normal human emotions range across a broad and deep spectrum, and are experienced automatically in response to both internal and external events. These emotions can be pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant. In the Dangerous Child Method for training risk-takers, none of these normal emotions are denied or blocked. Instead, they are recognised and incorporated into everyday experience.
One of the most useful methods for utilising the broad range of emotions is called “Sentic Cycles,” developed by Dr. Manfred Clynes — a musician and neuroscientist. The Sentic Cycles are integrated into emotional exercises which persons regularly perform on their own, in order to better integrate and calibrate their emotions into their daily lives. More:
Sentic Cycles lets you generate and express your emotions in a series, as a spectrum, your emotion ‘symphony’, so you tend to become free from emotional rut – being stuck in one emotion
– and be in touch with your real self – not overwhelmed by single emotion (yet able to savour them all as in music).
It takes only 10 minutes to learn to do it – and then you may benefit from doing it anytime the rest of your life – as long as human nature does not change! Anyone can do it.
… We all tend to be prisoners of emotion more than we may wish to be. Emotions make life enjoyable and meaningful, but not if you are in an emotional rut, where a particular, most often negative, emotion takes over, and makes it hard to get out of, even temporarily. Often such negative emotions are suppressed, but still interfere with function and freedom of experience.
Sentic Cycles allow you to experience and express all such emotions more constructively, without being overwhelmed by them. Like music, like an artistic experience, the emotion becomes an example of your own humanity: it allows you to savour that emotion as one that is shared by humanity. At the end of the Sentic Cycle you may feel a sense of belonging, a sense of being glad to be alive.
It takes about 25 minutes to go through the entire cycle, if done according to the standard procedure developed by Dr. Clynes. As described on the website above, the Sentic Cycles are immensely useful for virtually everyone.
What is not always readily apprehended however, is that the cycles can be adapted for specific uses that are customised for each individual. This adaptibility to the individual is immensely useful for Dangerous Child training, since no two children are exactly alike, and no two trainings are precisely the same.
Here is an intriguing comment from Don O’Brien, a former trainer of Sentic Cycles, referring to the use of Sentic Cycles to treat addictions:
What causes any psychological addiction is unimportant. Perform Sentic Cycles at least five times. During the Hate phase hate every aspect about whatever addiction you want to stop. You will soon no longer have the urges, and will actually notice the absence of urges. As you continue to do cycles regularly, your mixed up emotions, often caused by lying to yourself, will sort themselves out very soon, too.
I worked for Manfred Clynes in Sydney in the eighties, and over the decades have taught dozens how to cure their own addiction quickly…without a relapse. While performing sentic cycles, you become your own best therapist, because you cannot lie to yourself comfortably while doing one.
Each phase is experienced on its own, in its own particular way. The phases are placed in their specific order for a purpose, which is better understood after one has practised the cycles over a period of weeks or longer.
By calibrating and integrating these human emotions into a Dangerous Child’s everyday experience, he learns how to utilise them in the course of performing essential tasks — including risk-taking activities which might otherwise prove overwhelming for most untrained children.
The Dangerous Child Method integrates a few more emotions than the basic list above — depending upon the child — but maintains the basic order of experience, which has proven extremely useful. As mentioned in Don O’Brien’s comment, each phase can be modified to achieve specific goals within that particular emotion’s domain.
Entrepreneurs are Universal Risk Takers
All Dangerous Children are trained in the entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurship is best considered as a behaviour: “judgmental decision making under uncertainty.” (Source Peter Klein Chapt 9)
Since virtually all decision-making is necessarily done under conditions of some uncertainty, virtually the whole of meaningful life involves entrepreneurial risk, with some emotional overtones. And thus the importance of training Dangerous Children in the experience of the wide range of emotions at a very young age — to insert a core of emotional stability within the Child’s heart, well before it would generally be considered necessary by conventional child psychologists or early childhood educators.
For children before the onset of puberty, the “sexual desire” emotion is replaced by a “physical excitement” emotion such as what is experienced on a roller coaster, a zip line, an elevated rope swing, etc. This substitution reflects the malleable nature of the sentic cycles, which allows them to be customised to suit particular needs and goals.
Skip forward to around 6:10 in the video above to the start of Adam Gazzaley’s (MD, PhD) talk on his quest to optimise the human mind using advanced tools of cognitive neuroscience.
Gazzaley’s lab at UCSF is working to enhance brain function using sophisticated technologies capable of observing the brain at work, and of helping individuals to achieve more with their brains than they currently can do.
The lab designs video games that are based upon real-time neurofeedback. The player’s brain reacts instantly to events in the game — and the game reacts to what is happening in the brain. Gazzaley describes this videogame neurofeedback learning process as a “closed loop system” (see image below).
Much of the experimentation with these neurofeedback videogames has focused on combat-oriented training, being funded by the US Pentagon. But a moment’s reflection suggests that this “closed loop neurofeedback videogame” approach to brain training could be readily applied — with appropriate adaptation — to humans at almost any age, for multiple purposes of enhanced development, enhanced performance, rehabilitation after injury or disease, or for mitigation of the effects of ageing and neurodegeneration.
Gazzaley’s published efforts are so far still quite primitive, but the possibilities for the future are impressive on many fronts.
Modern societies have grown stagnant and corrupted by a widespread philosophy of rent-seeking, of minimising risk for the sake of long-term security. This philosophy is the opposite of what we at the Dangerous Child Institutes train and teach. We train contrarian thinkers to develop a broad range of skills and competencies which build self-confidence. This self-confidence fuels innovative thinking and risk taking — which are what drives societies to be great.
We are on record as opposing passive popular entertainments for children such as mainstream television and cinema. The developing mind has enough to do without being stuffed full of the low-quality nonsense that movie and television producers crank out for popular consumption.
We are also not enthusiastic about most popular video games and the modern obsession with electronic social media, which takes away from time that would be better spent developing competence in movement, music, language, pattern, and practical skills of all kinds. Electronic gadgets also tend to alienate children from their immediate environments, which can be a deadly failing in many situations.
But real-time EEG and MRI neurofeedback — particularly when combined with sophisticated virtual reality — is different, and holds the potential for enhancing brain function for general learning and for perfecting specific types of tasks.
The brains of children are naturally attracted to play and games of all kinds. The danger that the child will become lost in some types of game-playing is quite real, in the modern age of abusive commercial and ideological child baiting. But if game-playing is used to drive learning and competence-building, the natural child’s drive to play can be used to motivate him to build parts of his brain that can bootstrap later learning which might have otherwise been very difficult to achieve.
Again, even videogames that are used in training skills and competencies should be used sparingly, so as not to create barriers between the child and the real world around him. The competence and confidence for working within the real world is what Dangerous Child training is meant to build.
Teachers, parents, mentors, and coaches cannot ignore developments in advanced applied cognitive neuroscience. Every child runs up against barriers to some subject area of learning or another. Clever and timely use of closed-loop videogame training can help move a child from one learning plateau to a higher plateau — enabling a new and higher world of competence on the road to mastery.
The children themselves are as cunning and good as possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking, running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started out for a night’s camping in their best the other day. A driving storm came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas. Ted’s playmates are George and Jack, Aleck Russell, who is in Princeton, and Ensign Hamner of the Sylph. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and fearless though very good-tempered little boy.
The Roosevelt children learned to swim, shoot, wrestle, box, boat, rough camp, and go on tough outdoor expeditions on their own at quite an early age.
The Roosevelt household was famously rambunctious…
All the Roosevelt boys learned to shoot from a relatively early age, and they became better shots than their big-game hunting father…
The Roosevelts were literary as well as outdoorsy. Father and all his children, if they were not gripping reins or a rifle, hiking or running, swimming or boxing, were probably reading…
… with the US declaration of war in April 1917… Roosevelt himself tried to [join the army] … every one of his sons took a commission. __ The Yanks are Coming
Two of the Roosevelt boys were seriously wounded in WWI, and the youngest, Quentin, was shot down and killed in an aerial dogfight, receiving the Croix de Guerre posthumously. Quentin had been fearless from his earliest childhood, and retained great courage and flair to his death at age 20.
The Cspan video below goes into more detail about Quentin and the Roosevelt children:
The three surviving Roosevelt sons also fought in WWII, with only Archibald surviving to see the final defeat of the Axis.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth was an ambassador for her father and later in life, a colorful Washington, D.C. doyenne who earned the moniker, “The Other Washington Monument”; Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt, Jr., born in 1887, was a noted political and business leader who fought in both the World Wars and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Utah Beach during the D-Day landings in World War II; Kermit Roosevelt, born in 1889, was an explorer, soldier, writer and businessman who joined his father on African safari and on the fateful River of Doubt expedition in Brazil; Ethel Roosevelt Derby, born in 1891, was a pioneering World War I nurse and Red Cross volunteer who later led the successful campaign to preserve Sagamore Hill; Archibald Roosevelt, born in 1893, was a distinguished Army officer who was seriously wounded in battle during both World Wars and also was a successful businessman; Quentin Roosevelt, born in 1897, said to be the child most like Roosevelt, dropped out of Harvard to volunteer as a pilot during World War I, and died heroically in battle at age 20. __ The Dangerous Family Man
The Dangerous Roosevelt Children died young and died old, happy and sad — just as the masses of humans die. But during their lifetimes they packed their time full of accomplishment and principled risk.
Were the Roosevelt Children Really Dangerous Children?
Perhaps it would be better to think of them as Dangerous Child prototypes, much like the real world heroic figures such as Davy Crockett, Ernest Shackleton, Sir Richard Burton, or Roald Amundsen. Such men lived in different times and faced different sets of challenges than will face the modern Dangerous Child. But they were made of similar grit, wit, and resilient toughness.
A thorough study of the lives of such men is an integral part of Dangerous Child training, from before the time the child takes his first step or his first leap off into the deep water. Such early immersion in real world courage will serve the child far better in the quest to find his own inner strength than the farcical “superhero” characters and magical mentors of childhood fiction that lead the delicate snowflakes into an extended “make believe world of perpetual childhood.”
Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the type of child-raising described above was rather common in Canada, the US, Australia, and other parts of the Anglosphere among almost all economic classes. Despite a growing prosperity, the pioneering spirit was still strong throughout most of these societies. From the lowest to the highest in society, a rough and ready — while also literate — upbringing was not considered out of the ordinary.
That is one reason why German military and political leaders were so surprised at the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the soldiers and marines from the Anglospheric diaspora, when they attacked German positions in large numbers in 1917. Although these youngsters had not been raised in the regimented Prussian manner of the German troops, they took to battle quite naturally and surprised the well-entrenched enemy with their fearlessness and deadly accuracy of aim.
The modern Dangerous Child requires more than the physical toughness, sharp mental independence, and broad range of knowledge and competence displayed by the Roosevelt children. He must know how things work at the deepest levels, and how to reach into the workings so as to make crucial changes at the proper times. The election of Donald Trump as US president-elect gives the rational world a bit more time and several less drastic options than would otherwise have been the case. But some difficult choices are coming for those with the will and the way to open pathways to a more abundant and expansive human future.
If you are young and not Dangerous, your dreams and passions are almost certainly pathetic shite. If you are not Dangerous, you have probably never been exposed to the full-spectrum world out there. So, here’s a word of advice: Don’t follow your passion. Discover the real world first, then you can start to work out how you might fit in that world.
Mike Rowe is a TV personality who championed the concept of “dirty jobs” — jobs that frighten or repel most people, need to be done, typically pay well, and are very low down on the list of most persons’ “dream jobs.”
Mike Rowe has a foundation, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting “skills jobs,” work that doesn’t require a 4 year college diploma — but instead requires real world competence and skills.
* A trillion dollars in student loans.
* Record high unemployment.
* Three million good jobs that no one seems to want.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started the Profoundly Disconnected® campaign to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all. Which is a long way of saying, we could use your help… __ MikeRowWORKS Foundation
Skilled workers are growing closer to retirement age. Farmers, welders, skilled construction workers, skilled maintenance workers, and a host of other pivotal “dirty jobs” requiring competence and expertise are growing older and retiring. They are not being replaced fast enough with good enough young replacements.
… the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff with skilled talent hasn’t been registered nurses or engineers or even web developers. It’s been the skilled trades – the welders, electricians, machinists, etc. that are so prevalent in manufacturing and construction.
But if these skilled-trades workers are difficult to find now, as Manpower MAN +2.25%’s survey indicates, just wait a few years. The skills gap is likely to become more acute.
In 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older, according to EMSI, and 18.6 percent were between the ages of 55 and 64. (We are using the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s definition of skilled trades, which encompasses 21 particular occupations.) __ Joshua Wright
Too many young people cannot focus on one thing long enough to develop competent expertise, cannot go long enough without using drugs to pass either a scheduled or a random urine test, and cannot be trusted with hazardous machinery, materials, or tools. But if young people were exposed to the real world of responsibilities and consequences early enough to understand what it takes to earn, save, and go independent — their attitudes might well undergo a significant adjustment for the better.
A lot of the “dirty-jobs” people that Rowe highlighted on his TV show were multi-millionaires. The money goes to where needs are filled, and glamour often doesn’t enter into it.
Rowe is an advocate for blue-collar workers and is the CEO of the MikeRoweWorks Foundation, which he started in 2008 to help connect people with skilled jobs. Rowe also uses it to challenge, what he calls, America’s “dysfunctional relationship with work.” __ Source
Mike Rowe has some unconventional ideas which could contribute to the improvement and prosperity of virtually any country’s educational policies. And he offers these ideas freely to every US president — whether Democrat or Republican.
“When the dust settles, and The White House gets a new tenant, I’ll make the same offer to President Trump that I did to President Obama — to assist as best I can in any attempt to reinvigorate the skilled trades, and shine a light on millions of good jobs that no one seems excited about pursuing,” he said. __ Variety
Mike Rowe wants to match people with jobs. But he also wants to improve skills training in the US, starting at the high school age level. Because of this and many of his other ideas, Rowe is light years ahead of most of his contemporaries in television and the entertainment media when it comes to contributing to useful change.
Mike Rowe goes beyond the surface fluff of politics, media, academia, and activism, and gets down and dirty in the real world. He is opening minds one by one. Perhaps if President-Elect Trump decides to give him a louder voice, he can open more minds and empower more people to develop practical skills and find ways of using them profitably. Still, there are a lot of things that Mike Rowe knows which he cannot easily communicate to modern youth and workers, raised as they have been in a milieu of short-attention-span frivolity and superficiality. But he does us all a service by continuing in what he is doing.
Dangerous Children Start Earlier and Go Much Farther
Dangerous Children know more than just blue collar skills, of course, although they cannot achieve their fullest potential without developing a wide range of practical skills and competencies — regardless of what careers, professions, vocations, and working pathways they may choose. And Dangerous Children have the utmost respect for other people who master practical skills, do dirty jobs, run their own businesses, and personally keep communities and societies running through their own competence.
But somebody needs to go beyond the way things are and how they could be better. Someone must understand how the larger workings might break and how to build the parallel infrastructures and disruptive intermeshing technologies that would allow societies to re-form and self-organise along more practical and self-sustaining and self-reforming avenues of development.
This is a higher level of the “dirty job” concept, but sooner or later it will be needed.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late (or early) to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Whales and dolphins live underwater but must come to the surface periodically to breathe. They cannot allow both hemispheres of their brains to drop into deep sleep, else they may not wake to surface in time. Similarly, many birds undergo long migrations and other flights of long duration when they are unable to fall into deep sleep for long periods of time. Their brains are adapted to allow one hemisphere to stay awake while the other hemisphere gets much needed rest.
Can Humans Sleep With Half Their Brain Open?
The human brain, it turns out, is endowed with a less dramatic form of the unihemispheric sleep found in birds and some mammals. For humans, familiarity with a place breeds a deep night’s sleep.
When humans are sleeping in a strange environment — which happens very regularly to people who travel as a matter of course — it seems the left hemisphere is more vigilant to the environment, allowing the right hemisphere to snooze more deeply. More
The sleep scientists who discovered this unilateral phenomenon used advanced brain scanners, which allowed subjects to sleep inside them all night long.
… they found that the sleeping brains showed asymmetrical patterns of sleep activity, with one hemisphere humming along while the other slept. And while the sprightly hemisphere wasn’t fully awake, it was much more active than the other—even responsive to external stimuli. Subjects in the study experiencing FNE, for example, were jolted awake by “deviant” sounds. A creaking door perhaps. Or a shrieking animal. For most of the subjects, the night watchman hemisphere of their brain was the left side, for inexplicable reasons. __ PopSci
Even during their awake time, animals — and humans — often move through the world “half asleep.” The image of dolphins above shows how the brain allots its sleep/wake time according to three general hemispheric states: L awake/R asleep, R awake/L asleep, and both L and R awake. As mentioned above, as a matter of survival for dolphins, both L and R cannot sleep simultaneously, except for very short time periods. This means that casual observers may not notice whether a dolphin is half awake, or fully awake.
You might think that humans do not have this problem, since humans can usually sleep with both hemispheres at specific, designated times, leaving both hemispheres fully awake to deal with the world at the proper time. Except, it doesn’t always work that way. Individual (left or right) human hemispheres can exhibit signs of sleep while a person is nominally awake, for short times. Most people — even those who have not been forced to stay alert for very long stretches, or for odd hours — will be able to recall brain misfires and somnambulations while awake which are very difficult to explain.
Is Anyone Ever Completely Awake?
The video clip above from the movie “Limitless” is entirely fictional, and yet . . . anyone who is curious and pays just a little attention to the world will have experienced epiphanies — startling moments of exceptional awareness that emerge unsolicited from the depths. How can we seem awake, and then suddenly find ourselves watching our worlds from one or more levels higher up?
These states never seem to last very long, but they suggest the existence of a higher and deeper ocean of experience, in which most of us have only managed to dip our toes.
It is easy to imagine unihemispheric sleep in humans when the two hemispheres have been surgically disconnected from each other — as in “split brain patients.” Patients with uncontrollable epilepsy were sometimes “cured” of global seizures by severing the corpus callosum. Once disconnected, the two hemispheres will often go in different directions, attending to different things.
After the right and left brain are separated, each hemisphere will have its own separate perception, concepts, and impulses to act. Having two “brains” in one body can create some interesting dilemmas. When one split-brain patient dressed himself, he sometimes pulled his pants up with one hand (that side of his brain wanted to get dressed) and down with the other (this side didn’t). Also, once he grabbed his wife with his left hand and shook her violently, so his right hand came to her aid and grabbed the aggressive left hand. However, such conflicts are actually rare. If a conflict arises, one hemisphere usually overrides the other. __ Wikipedia Split Brain
A fascinating topic to be sure, but something similar can take place even when all anatomical connections within the brain remain intact. Such interhemispheric asynchrony has been observed in hypnosis — and anything that happens under formal hypnosis may also tend to happen spontaneously in ordinary life.
The Corpus Callosum is Larger in Women than Men
The more strongly the two hemispheres are connected to each other, the less likely that they will act independently of each other. It has been found that the two brain hemispheres not as strongly connected in men as they are in women.
In the entire sample (n= 316), controlling for brain size and age, the average CCA [corpus callosum cross sectional area] was significantly (P< 0.03) larger in females. The difference favoring females was more pronounced in the young adults cohort (P< 0.0005). These results provide strong additional evidence that the CCA is larger in females after correcting for the confounding effect of brain size. ___ http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/08/09/cercor.bhs253.full
More, persons who are easily hypnotised — and can readily block pain perception under hypnosis — have been found to have larger corpus callosi, at least in the anterior portion.
Only the highly hypnotizable subjects (HHs) who eliminated pain perception were included in the present study. These HHs, who demonstrated more effective attentional and inhibitory capabilities, had a significantly (P < 0.003) larger (31.8%) rostrum, a corpus callosum area involved in the allocation of attention and transfer of information between prefrontal cortices, than low hypnotizable subjects (LHs). These results provide support to the neuropsychophysiological model that HHs have more effective frontal attentional systems implementing control, monitoring performance and inhibiting unwanted stimuli from conscious awareness, than LHs. __ http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/8/1741
Although superficial similarities between hypnosis and meditation are readily apparent, we should be aware of the important differences between the two things. Hypnosis can be thought of as a highly focused “spotlight,” while meditation more closely resembles a broadbeam “floodlight.” A hypnotic trance blanks out peripheral phenomena, including ordinary sensations such as pain, discomfort, or embarassment. Meditation — particularly mindfulness meditation — opens the portals of awareness to allow an “eagle’s eye view” of one’s internal and external setting.
Using hypnosis, one can “disconnect” different circuits of brain activity from each other, functionally, on a subconscious level. Mindfulness meditation enlarges the borders of consciousness to allow normally suppressed stimuli to reach mental awareness. At that point, the conscious mind can often sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and alter subsequent consciousness.
Who Wants to Bother with All This Hocus Pocus?
Very few people indeed. Most would rather pop a pill, swallow a draught, lose themselves in a social setting, or otherwise avoid the question of whether they are entirely sleepwalking through their lives — or only doing so halfway. But shouldn’t we want to train our children differently, to be less slaves of our trance states and more aware of their own decision making and life choices?
Fortunately, for the Tech-Oriented Parent, There is Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback uses brainwave and other neurofunctional real-time metrics to allow a person to shape the workings of his own brain. Neurofeedback has proven exceptionally effective for treating ADHD and for brain rehabilitation after injury. The technique has also been useful for treating addictions, depression, autism, migraines, and a range of other dysfunctional states.
And although there has not been much written on the use of neurofeedback for enlarging conscious awareness, a number of neuroresearchers are doing work on that very project. Although this is not exactly what I am referring to, consider:
A recent development in the field is a conceptual approach called the Coordinated Allocation of Resource Model (CAR) of brain functioning which states that specific cognitive abilities are a function of specific electrophysiological variables which can overlap across different cognitive tasks. The activation database guided EEG biofeedback approach initially involves evaluating the subject on a number of academically relevant cognitive tasks and compares the subject’s values on the QEEG measures to a normative database, in particular on the variables that are related to success at that task. __ Wikipedia Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback has also been used to improve the performances of musicians, dancers, actors, athletes, and other persons who make a living from highly focused skills.
Neurofeedback is readily distinguished from ordinary hypnosis and meditation by neurofeedback’s ability to monitor real-time brain activity in particular brain circuits and anatomical centres. “Conscious” influence on normally unconscious brain processes can then be observed and modified to suit the goals of clients and their parents.
The Objective is to Learn to Achieve States of Highly Functional Awareness
Dangerous Children learn to achieve heightened situational awareness (and mindfulness) as part of their training. This allows them to anticipate and deal with problems before they happen. The parents of many Dangerous Children in training may also opt for neurofeedback training, where it may be helpful.
The neurological signs of “sleeping while awake” can be too subtle for most available intruments used in everyday neurofeedback training. They also tend to be too fleeting and unpredictable to be easily addressed in most conventional programmes of neurofeedback.
But a careful human observer can usually catch another person who is falling into a trance, in most situations. That is where “life coaches,” parents, and mentors who have some training in Ericksonian hypnosis and similar trance-aware disciplines can make their mark on a Dangerous Child’s future ability to choose his own path on multiple time scales.
Parents of Dangerous Children Must Learn to Pay Attention
Raising a Dangerous Child is an exhausting prospect. Fortunately, Dangerous Children begin to take up the slack of their own training at a surprisingly early age. Even so, parents, coaches, mentors, and helpers need to keep their eyes open so as to be able to intervene at key developmental bifurcation points.