On The Nature of Indoctrination

An emotion is an automatic response to subconscious value judgments. When you experience an emotion it’s cause is an idea you happened to absorb by whatever means, rational or otherwise. Be it the ignorance of the necessity to look for ourselves or check the reasoning given that in childhood we all start out with (for we begin life ignorant of all things). Or be it the accompaniment of an idea by a warm smile from a face one trusts. One may acquire an idea simply because he would like it if it were true or by any other such non-rational method or combination of methods; accidental and unconscious or purposefully and consistently practiced. Your emotions may also be based on mistaken ideas left unknown and uncorrected. Absorption through error or personal appeal, as we will see, do not play a roll in indoctrination but are worth mentioning.

In light of all of this and whatever other such sources of emotions left unenumerated the fact that they cannot be used as a basis for knowledge is clear. (Although they still have value in their own proper realm.) Because of the nature of emotions as windows into our subconscious and not reflections of the actual word, if facts about the world is what one seeks, emotions are not to be taken as the standard of acceptance or rejection of an idea. That you want something to be true or that you find inspiration in an idea or that someone you cared about said it does not change its relationship to reality.

The possible classifications of an idea are worth discussing, but as I have covered them elsewhere I will quote myself here: “What is truth? And what are the alternatives to it?

“Truth is the status of an idea which reflects the identity of an existent. Truth is the recognition of fact. Fact is the existential identity of entities. Truth, as here differentiated from fact, is epistemological; an attribute of an idea. Fact then is metaphysical, an attribute of a thing; its being so.

“Falsehood is the status of an idea which contradicts the identity of an existent. A false idea clashes with the facts. Arbitrary is the status of an idea lacking relation to existents. The arbitrary is the realm of nonsense; utterances devoid of any real content; without a shred of evidence supporting its reflection of facts or its contradiction of them.

“An ideas status as an opinion is determined by a persons method of arriving at it; what makes an idea an opinion is its acceptance based on an assumption. Once an idea’s relationship to reality has been established its status changes from opinion to truth or falsehood. If an opinions lack a relation to reality they are then absurd.”

Absurdity, then, is the proper classification of an idea held without rational justification, an idea held for the sake of some emotion. Unless the idea clashes with the known facts; the evidence against it forcing it from the realm of the arbitrary to the realm of falsehood.

Faith is belief based on such non-rational methods. Emotion being the essence of every proposed means of knowledge other than reason from perceivable evidence, faith is what they all amount to as well. Faith, emotion based belief, as seen above can tell you nothing about reality other than the content of your own mind. But, as said above, we are all born ignorant of all things. We are not born knowing how to judge the validity of an argument or the truth or falsehood of an idea. That what he has been told may not be true must be discovered by the developing child. Faith is the default which has to be shed to whatever degree one is to become objective, to employ the means of discovering truth and to obtain actual knowledge.

To be truly understood an idea must rest on the ideas which support it down to the level of perceptual awareness. It must be seen to follow from, to be implied by earlier known ideas. We start with our sensations and come to know the things we can see, touch, smell. . . . We mentally isolate characteristics of the things we know to form abstractions and we form higher levels of abstraction by mentally isolating characteristics possessed by the instances of those lower level abstractions. Such is the hierarchical nature of our abstract knowledge.

Indoctrination is essentially a violation of the hierarchical nature of knowledge, which is to say ideas given to the child divorced from any reasoning or evidence for them. For to truly know something one must understand the referents of the idea down to perceivably.

Faith is essential to indoctrination. Faith is the method employed by indoctrination and the ignorance of a proper method of cognition in a child is what the whole process seeks to exploit. Indoctrination is exploitation of the trust of a child who has not yet learned that his teachers can be mistaken or even lying. Ideas devoid of evidence or rational justification are fed into minds that do not yet know to question them. But true ideas too, presented improperly, can be disadvantages to a developing mind. The undigested ideas given to the victim are taken on faith and can be trapped in the subconscious especially when presented with repetition. The true ideas taken this way causing the method to become automatic by increasing the practice of the method. True ideas taken on faith are harmful also by divorcing the idea from its foundation leaving it not truly understood. Emotional value can also be attached to ideas given to the very young in this way by subconsciously relating the idea to the person of origin making later questioning it more difficult or even painful depending on the value of the person of origin. This of course can lead to an intellectually evasive, self deceptive adult. The strong emotions experienced when trying to question the ideas driving the indoctrinated away from looking or believing what is found.

If indoctrination is giving abstract ideas to children without their justification then the proper approach to teaching would be to teach the principles of clear reasoning to the child by implication. To give the abstract principles of logic to a child unequipped to grasp them would be an odd form of indoctrination as you would cause those principles (which are antithetical to faith) to be taken on faith. The way to teach these principles by implication would be to teach the child hierarchically starting with the self evident, insuring he understands each step and reducing, in terms he can grasp, more abstract ideas to them. While giving the proofs of what you teach to the child it should also be conducive to use logical terms such as “therefor.” And present your proofs in such a style as to imply the structure of formal arguments. This method should allow the child to learn how to reason clearly by example. Learning about logic explicitly, in conscious terms can be of some value to the child at a further stage of development after the functional implicit method of reasoning has developed and he is properly equipped to grasp the principles down to their roots.

Indoctrination is the mechanism of perpetuating nonsense who’s origin is the time before people knew any better than to make assumptions or even wholly invent stories to explain what they did not yet know how to understand. For faith and all of its atrocity to endure for over two thousand three hundred years after the father of logic, Aristotle discovered the essence of a proper method of thinking took such a mechanism of brainwashing the innocent and its consequence in a weak mind of blinding one’s self to the facts in the name of emotion, evasion.

To clear the road to the future for human life on earth, for the progress of reason and freedom, would mean to end indoctrination. To stop destroying minds before they can develop and to reach the coherent parts of the not fully destroyed minds with the light of reason and prevent the further perpetuation.

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One thought on “On The Nature of Indoctrination

  1. Derek R

    (i believe i am misunderstanding what you put)

    Quoting:

    “That you want something to be true or that you find inspiration in an idea or that someone you cared about said it does not change its relationship to reality.”

    What about the emotions of hope, determination, honor, nearly any emotion may not change a relationship with reality, but such emotions (for ex. hope/determination) may and most likely have been a vital portion in the creation of airplanes, technology, advancement in knowledge, thereby creating (a) new relationship(s) in this reality.

    Almost for humor sakes though, when one conceives mean thoughts toward a tree (such as setting it on fire or cutting it down), the particles of the tree DO indeed respond to it, meaning that indeed, emotions do (in a way) change the relationship it has with reality.

    (The last part is a true test that Mythbusters did for one of its episodes)

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