Democracy’s Faustian Bargain: Never Facing Reality until…

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Offline coberst

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Democracy’s Faustian Bargain: Never Facing Reality until…

The fundamental weakness of democracy is that it rests upon the deep fallacy of human propensities: we pamper our self with delusion as long as possible.  We never make drastic changes until the abyss is tomorrow.

Quickie from wiki: “Something that is faustian refers to a wider interpretation of the events of Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In part one of Goethe's Faust, the central character's pact with the devil allows him to have energy, life and youth unless he becomes so entranced by the passing moment that he wishes that things will never change. When Faust stumbles unthinkingly into that wish, his world and his life are forfeit to Mephistopheles.”

St. Augustine’s plea: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”

We use technology to paint our self onto the precipice and then rely on technology to save us from falling into the abyss.

“The religious believer assigns dignity to whatever his religion holds sacred—a set of moral laws, a way of life, or particular objects of worship. He grows angry when the dignity of what he holds sacred is violated.” Quote from “The End of History and the Last Man” by Francis Fukuyama

To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality, upon what foundation does s/he stand? If the non believer does depend upon rationality for dignity how is it possible that so few know anything about rationality?

Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.

What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.

If today’s adult wishes to learn CT s/he must learn it on ‘their nickel’.  I think a good read to begin with is this one:


Offline Make it Lady

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Democracy’s Faustian Bargain: Never Facing Reality until…
« Reply #1 on: 03/11/2008 23:21:55 »
Hopefully today's adults will gain CT skills through maturity.

CT is part of the Global Citizenship initiative. As some people know, I am at present training teachers to bring these skills into the classroom. Actually CT goes further than "teach a man to fish" It actually looks at the reasons why the fish are getting harder to catch. Are the rivers being dammed? Is the water being redirected to irrigate land to grow intensive crops on arid land. Sorry, I know this was an analogy but it is shallow and overused. Behind all this is the concept of what is fair, what we need and what we want and finally how our actions impact on others around the world. 
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.