Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We Are Our Own Barbarian Hoards

One of my biggest pet peeves about teaching is that I feel like the students think they know more than I do about the importance of being able to write and communicate ideas in a civil way.  How can I teach my students the importance of communicating as in a dialogue when it doesn't seem like anyone in the world is actually doing this?  It's no wonder than so many of my students are unreachable.  And I am not alone in this.  So many of my colleagues experience the same thing and feel the same way.

Glancing through forums, comments on articles, Youtube, etc, it seems like everyone is shouting out their opinions and no one is listening to each other.  Turn on the TV news and you get the same thing.  Why the Hell would you need to learn how to write an essay when people only pick what they want out of it, twist it, and start shouting how they feel about it instead of trying to create a dialogue?  It's no wonder our society, or even our civilization, is falling apart.  I look around, watch the news, look online, and it seems, more and more, like we are headed to a new dark age.  There is no such thing as common sense.  Or even sense.  Everyone is shouting and no one is listening.  One is ineffective without the other.

While I am probably overgeneralizing, as I am sure there are more people like me who are quietly watching everything unfold and are doing what little they can to make a difference--even though it is mostly not making a difference, or at least not any sort of noticeable difference fast enough to actually change anything--the fact is, society only works if there is some sort of social contract holding everyone is check, making sure that most people are following what they agree they should be doing, and that contract has been void for quite some time.  The only way to renew any sort of social contract is by having a dialogue, as a society, where all the disparate parts work together to communicate ideas, resolve differences, or at least agree to disagree, and figure out how to peaceably move forward in a way that mutually benefits everyone.  

But, looking around, seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, I don't feel like this is realistically possible as things are right now.  The only thing I see happening is chaos, like a cancer, stealing its way into every facet of society, sooner or later overtaking everyone and everything.  This is where we are headed.  Unlike the Roman Empire, we are not going to be invaded by barbarian hoards, we are our own barbarian hoards, and sooner or later, we are going to bring down our own Empire.

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