Friday, January 30, 2009

The Need For Jack Of All Trades

Today's society is far too specialized. We rely on the "specialists". Most of us rely on someone to fix our cars, to maintain our houses, to grow our food, to provide clean water, to make clothes, or to produce medicine.
What if, for some reason, we did not have these specialized people. What would you do if the grocery store had no food? Or, if there was no clean water coming from the faucet? What would you do if you had to re roof your house or make your own clothes?
I have heard stories about all the problems people encounter when the there is no electricity. Some people rely on their ATM cards but the ATM card machines do not work. How do you get gas for your car if you do not have money?

What we all need to become are Jack and Jills' of all trades, a "Universal man", or a "renaissance man". Leonardo Da Vinci was a Universal man and the Amish are Jack of all trades. I am not saying that we should all become Leonardo Da Vinci's or Amish, but what we should become are people who know how to survive.

We should know how to garden and keep at least a small garden.
We should know what wild plants are edible and are poisonous.
We should know how to purify water.
We should know medicinal plants.
We should know how give our cars oil changes.
We should know how to replace a window in our house.

These things are not hard to learn. There is tons of information on the Internet and at the libraries. We should rely more on books because they are still accessible without electricity. Though you may not think a collapse of civilization will happen (hopefully it will not), these skills and knowledges also save you money. It is so much cheaper to re roof your own house or put new windows in yourself. It is cheaper, healthier, and more environmentally friendly to grow your own organic food.

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences shows the different types of knowledge one can possess.

-Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
-Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
-Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
-Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
-Musical intelligence ("music smart")
-Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
-Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
-Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

We should be well rounded in all these intelligences. It is false when someone says they cannot do ______.

Each of these categories have many more categories within.
Why have we, for the majority in the 1st world, lost our variety of intelligence? The answer is because we do not have to have wholistic intelligence.

We do not need much linguistics because do not read as much as our forefathers.
We have calculators and cellphones to deal with numbers.
We have artists and interior designers to deal with spacial aspects.
We simply do not need to use our body because we can get a Segway or just walk on the flat sidewalk.
We do not need to be musical because we have IPods.
We don't have to know about other people since we don't even talk to them, we text them.
We leave knowledge about ourselves to psychologist and medical companies.
And lastly we don't need to know about nature because we don't ever have to set foot in nature.

With all of today's commodities we do not need to know very much. We leave intelligence to our technology.
This is unfortunate because we have become weak. We are at the will to the few elites.

Do you want to be weak?

I sure do not.

We can learn our linguistics by reading, preferably difficult and advanced literature. And communicating "face to face" with other people.

We can learn reasoning by simply asking a multitude of questions. Have you ever heard someone say "[He] asks too many questions"? You can never ask too many questions.

We can increase our spatial recognition by using our hands. Make some sculptures.

We can help our physical intelligence by going outside and having some recreational fun. Try something new like Mountain Biking , Parkour, Yoga, or Tree climbing.

We can find what music really is by getting an instrument and playing it. I recommend not going to conventional music lessons because the only way to know what music is, is to play from the mind. Pianos, guitars, or hand drums are easy to freeform.

We can learn about other people be getting a book on body language. Or better yet, go out and talk to people. Listen to other people, they actually say some interesting things.

We can learn about ourselves by learning psychology and philosophy. Meditation helps alot. Solitude and quietness also is essential to knowing ones self.

We can get to learn the often overlooked naturalist side of us by simply going out in virgin nature. Listen to the birds, the wind, the rain. Look at the beautifully colored lichen and the intricate trees. Smell the lightning storm. Feel the soft soil. Research wild biology, geology, and botany.

Our greatest passion should be learning of new things.

From six years of age we have been going to school. Unfortunately school is detrimental to the child's passion for learning. By the time we are out of elementary school most of us have a distaste for learning. The word learning brings up negative connotations in most all teens.
School's process of teaching fit few of the children. Some children's time has not come for certain knowledge and some children's time has already passed. Some children learn visually, some through listening, and some through physical involvement.
School is also immensely unnatural. It is unnatural for a human to follow such tight schedule. To be under florescent lights half the day. To sit down half the day. To be fed knowledge hour after hour after hour. To be around so many different people in a small room for so long. To abide by rules that should not apply to all students.

School is simply a warehouse for children.

You may think I advocate homeschooling.
Rather I have found that unschooling is the best way. The form of unschooling I suggest is where children learn basic writing, reading, and math (from their parents) to a point where they can teach themselves. The parents provide every possible material to aid in their children's learning. Parents provide a dictionary, books, answers to questions, the Internet, transportation, and support. They support all of their children's interest as long as it does not physically harm the individual or someone else. Often parents may have an objection to a child's interest. A parent will object to something like the research of other religions, ethics, politics, or "dangerous" things. As long as the child does not acquire a psychological problem like OCD, Neurosis, Psychosis, or Extreme Paranoia the parents should not intervene.
Children can get off track. Video games and TV are things that cause us to be literal zombies. The enforcement of no Video Games and little TV is an essential responsibility on the parents part. Friends can influence a child to have false ideas and knowledge. By bringing a child with you to just about everywhere they are exposed to the real world and to real adults. Their minds become mature and able.
The last, but not the least, thing that is important for an unschooling education is a true mutual respect between the child and the parent. The parents cannot expect respect if they do not give it and the children cannot expect respect if they do not give it.
A parent can earn the respect of their child when they answer all of their questions, bring them along, treat them like an equal adult, support their interests and passions, and have agreeable (as opposed to contrary) conversations on important relevent things. Find things you both agree on and converse about them. Demonstrate that you are much the same to them (because a parent is).

By: Joseph R.

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