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Friday, October 7, 2016

Failures of our educational system

I believe that the rise of Trump (and others like him) is a failure of our education system. I would like to point towards one very specific aspect of this failure.

It's becoming more and more evident that our thinking can be flawed in numerous ways. We can make choices through emotions alone. We tend to overemphasize the needs of the immediate present over the future. We actively look for information that confirms our conclusions and disregard valid information that goes against them. Having disagreements and genuinely considering ideas we disagree with feels uncomfortable and we avoid it often. The list goes on and on. This is a small sample.

Now consider this; how many people are actually aware of these failures of thinking? How many people actually know about concepts such as cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias? How many people are aware of the findings that giving into our hatred, anger, fear, and demonizing the "others" actually FEELS good at a neuro-chemical level and gives us a hit of dopamine?

Essentially, how many people are aware (at even a very very basic level) that we can so easily be irrational and make poor decisions? We should create required courses in colleges and universities on how we can fail at thinking. We should have courses that teach us about irrationality and foster a basic level of self awareness about our thoughts and emotions.

Until we actually teach people to think about their thinking, the situation will not improve. People like Trump will rise again and again.

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