The blank slate was once the doctrine of the day. It would be unfair to categorize The Blank Slate (2002) as complimentary as well as simply false. The Blank Slate was a wonderfully written book, one which started my thinking about education. With the act of learning, implied, minds are specifically adapted to think and reason. When the outcomes of memories overlap with the hegemony of educational institutions, learning is scalable. Or so we thought. Structured learning and pedagogic systems prevail as saviours to the poverty of ignorance but the transfer of information is downloadable to anyone with internet access. This changes the opportunities for many, the possibilities for all and the extreme upside for the few. Language is conceptually conveyed through words, spoken and written. The phoneme represents the passive input, sometimes conscious otherwise unaware. Personality is something we describe in our poetry, but populations of “variable individuals”, would be a unique in prose. Below is a The planksip® clock which again attempts to do something unique in prose. Movement on the clock is in fifty millisecond increments with a primus paeon rhythm. Also known as a quartus paeon or fourth paeon, this metrical foot was used for the rhythm of time is the same Greek term; peon and comes from Latin for foot soldier.
The meanings for paeon contain their own unique irony. A paeon (pronounced PEE-in or PEE-on) is a four-syllable metrical foot in prosody. Anyone who doesn’t analyze poetry will never have use for the word.
Tic Toc represents the averages of two converging instances of time for the representation of a second separated by the distance of time itself. Dirac would determine the next sequential possibility. On or off there is nothing in between besides probabilities.
“We intuitively understand living species as having essences, but the theory of evolution requires us to rethink them as populations of variable individuals.” Steven Pinker
Populations of variable individuals would be enhanced if these dynamic persons had skills in statistical critical thinking. Is “enhanced” measured by IQ? Memories are the point from which people pivot on their inferential reasoning. Teleb equates inferential reasoning with Black Swans. I think Teleb over reacts but he has some truth to his warnings that we are under preparing.
What’s the ultimate Black Swan? Mass extinction event.
We naturally assess probability by dredging up examples from memory, whereas real probability takes into account the number of occurrences and the number of opportunities. We are apt to think that people who disagree with us are stupid and stubborn, while we are overconfident and self-deluded about our own competence and honesty.
But human nature also gives educators the resources that allows students to overcome these infirmities. We can learn complex ideas so well that they become single cognitive chunks which then may be inserted as units inside increasingly complex assemblies. We can use analogies so that a familiar domain may be used as a model for an unfamiliar one. Communities can implement norms so that a willingness to consider opposing viewpoints, to submit one's ideas to empirical testing, and to change one's mind when the evidence warrants it, are perceived as virtues rather than weaknesses.
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