26 March 2010

Bits of Brains & The Fall of Civilization

No, my dears, this post isn't about zombies. Well, not really. And, ok, maybe "fall of civilization" is a bit melodramatic. Anyway.
In my psychology class, the professor handed out a packet on education in other countries; specifically Japan. The discussion was about how our educational system favors reading and mathematics so much and neglects music, the arts and physical education. There was a list showing the different hours per school year each subject got in a typical Japanese child's education from 1st to 6th grade. The hours for right-brain vs. left-brain activities balanced out pretty equally. The point was to illustrate something he was trying to tell us about creativity. Apparently, you can't be creative if you don't know anything, and the more rounded and extensive your education is, the more creative potential you have. Gah, what I would have given to be educated in Japan.
Similarly (or they seem similar to me, anyway), in my anthropology class a few sessions back, I got quite an interesting insight into the minds of my classmates. We were discussing the rise of civilization and the prof asked, "What do you think of when you think of civilization?" What answers she managed to squeeze out of us ranged from "Skyscrapers" to "Government" to "Highways" ... really. Exasperated, the professor asked, "What about the arts? What about science?"
What about the arts? What about science? Is this limited perception of civilization held by more people than just those in my anthropology class? A tall building, a long road and someone to tell you what to do. I don't know, maybe we are talking about zombies here.

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