Friday, 12 July 2013

Making the best of the coming Great Simplification

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The Great Simplification is a term adapted from the dystopian futuristic sci-fi novel A Canticle for Leibowitz (by Walter M Miller) in which an anti-intellectual know-nothing populism actively kills scholars and destroys books and the institutions for the transmission of knowledge...

But in the West exactly the same has been achieved by elite Leftist secularism.

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(As well, The Great Simplification is a necessary consequence of the substantial decline in average intelligence (hence creative genius) since the industrial revolution, which mostly results from secularism and Leftism.)

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So our civilization both will not and cannot sustain the level of complexity it peaked at several decades ago.

There will necessarily mean simplification, which means that the proper focus of intellectual life and work will change (should already have changed) from research to teaching, from discovery to preservation

- or rather, from research and discovery of greater complexity to research and discovery of greater simplicity which yet retains functionality.

Thus teachers will be engaged in a generation by generation simplification - and to do this optimally will entail discovering the optimal simplicity.

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To simplify well entails understanding.

(Simplification without understanding inflicts a double-whammy of damage, as can be seen from the recent mania for replacing complex individual skills with protocols imposed by ignorant and uncaring or frankly destructive management and politicians.)

And simplification must be to a level where the person who uses the simplification is fully able to understand it.

(There is no point in insufficient simplification since people will not, over the long term, follow a protocol they cannot understand - nor can they recover an incomprehensible protocol from errors nor make repairs to functionality nor adapt it to circumstances... People who are responsible have to know what they are doing and why...)

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All this entails a restoration of apprenticeship as the major method of post-mid-teens education - because the education must be tailored to the ability of the apprentice (which is unpredictable, but probably lower than the Master) - and the education must be connected to functionality (not primarily theoretical not abstract - which can drift far from functionality).

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So this is the opposite of popularization - popularized accounts typically take highly complex phenomena and make them entertaining (unrelated to functionality) - what is required is closer to self-help books...

(assuming such books really were used for self-help rather than education; and if such books were written by Masters of that which is professed, rather than by journalists; and if the value was continually tested against experience and achievement).

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So here is a task for skilled and knowledgeable persons! - to analyze their skill and knowledge to discover the core simple comprehensible and useful essence - and to transmit this to such of the next generation who are genuinely motivated to know and use it.

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