Sunday, June 25

Rant

Kids need to teach us about the age they live in, not the other way around. Us semi-adults come from an earlier age that can't comprehend the current age as intimately as those who have lived with it since they were born. The cultural motifs, philosophies and insights are transferred to younger children in their music, televison, film; in short, through all the culture they absorb. In a school, the teachers, who are older, have lived in an earlier era and therefore are necessarily out of date. This is, I believe, why students of all levels often feel what they are absorbing in the classroom is out of date and irrelevant, especially in the subjective fields such as English and other liberal arts.

It should be the children, the smart, wise children who can observe closely what they are experiencing in their world and who can communicate it effectively, who lead the discussion on any contemporary cultural study, including literature and the rest of the arts.

Our times change quickly. At the beginning of the last century, it was not entirely possible to say that each individual had their own perspective of reality, separate from all others, meaning there is no single perspective that was shared by all. The twentieth century saw a generation who died before encountering this idea, a generation who encountered this idea in the middle of life, and a generation who were born as this idea was widespread and to a degree universal. Who is more likely to have the most complete understanding of this postmodern idea, the young person, the student, who has grown up in a postmodern culture, absorbing the ramifications of this idea from advertisements, magazines, movies, books, music, visual art, design, architecture, food, and any other sense object you care to mention, or the middle-aged person, the teacher or the professor, who first encountered this idea through their own observations, through dicussion with other learned people, through reading forward-thinking books, or another one-degree-removed method, and who encountered it with a friendly - or possibly a hostile attitude?

What right do I have to think that down the road I could possibly teach someone twenty years younger something about life? My current postmodern mindset will be long out of date by my fiftieth birthday, to be replaced by a zeitgeist of such complexity it will be extraordinarily difficult for me, or any of my contemporaries to comprehend. If I want to know about the world 25 years from now, I must sit at the feet of a 5 year old or a 15 year old, and listen as they tell me about the music they hear and the movies they watch, listen as they tell me how they are touched and affected by the culture they take in.

2 Comments:

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Brandon said...

To Sam:
Nice website, but whoa! Do I ever disagree. I don't think that I have a terrible lot to teach youngsters - or anyone, for that matter - but I don't think that we should _devalue_ ourselves based on this. If I have no more to teach than your average five year-old, I have no less either; and a thought that I think is valuable and correct (and possibly even right), even if it's about contemporary culture, is no less so for coming from a member of the "older generation."
My two cents, for what it's worth - until next time,
Brandon

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Johnathan said...

Inverness 1649, During the Civil War the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser again took Inverness Castle.

yay, us!

 

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