Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A thought-provoking article and blog post

Our friends at Al Fin recently published a post about the 'Kindergarchy', referencing this article by Joseph Epstein.

A snipped from the Al Fin post:

Even only children who are full of self-esteem and their own specialness, are in reality "quite insignificant." Sequestered in classrooms until their twenties or later, protected from any real responsibilities, prevented from being tested by the larger world, they are finally tossed into reality demanding everything but qualified for little or nothing.

These "special" children are turning into psychologically neotenised lawyers, politicians, journalists, judges, political activists, bureaucrats, educators, clerks, and any other occupation where they can frequently turn their feelings into a quasi-truth.

Heaven helped these poor children who fall into a field where they are actually tested against reality in a meaningful way. Working physicians, engineers, IT workers, technologists and technicians, military, ICU nurses, maintenance and construction workers, law enforcement, pilots, researchers and lab workers who are required to develop things "that work", EMS, business people who must "deliver the goods"--these are examples of people who have to go beyond their feelings and actually be competent.

There are many examples of psychologically neotenised people who got into "competence-tested" fields by mistake. They flew the plane drunk, killed or terrorized innocent people, operated on the patient under the influence of drugs. They fudged their data, produced sloppy code, and designed buildings that fell down.

Unfortunately, parents in developed societies are turning their few progeny into more and more psychologically neotenised princes and princesses. Full of self-esteem and a sense of entitlement, they are spilling out into all occupations and fields. What have they done? Nothing. What can they do? Nothing. What are they willing to learn to do? Almost nothing. What do they want? Everything!

Both links are very worthwhile reading, and highly recommended.


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