Author Topic: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt  (Read 1039464 times)

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Virg

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4875 on: September 18, 2012, 03:33:54 PM »
WillyNilly has it right about recent history.  Everything after WWII tends to be polarizing and controversial, so high school teachers shy away from it lest they end up with a blowup, either among students or due to parents.  There's a lot of history before WWII that gets skipped as well for exactly the same reason.  I spent several of my high school years in the Deep South, and discussions about Manifest Destiny or the Civil Rights Movement would regularly degenerate into fights to the point where the police were called more than once.  I expect I'll have to fill in a lot of gaps for my kids because of this, but that's to be expected.

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LazyDaisy

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4876 on: September 18, 2012, 03:57:45 PM »
I don't know if it's about controversy though. Sometimes it just takes society time to fully learn and understand what happened. A lot of the information society had about the Vietnam War during the 70s and 80s was incomplete until documents were released and eye witness accounts were told decades later. So I think text books and teachers shy away from recent subjects so they don't inadvertently teach something that turns out to be not true or leave out things that are. In the 70s and 80s Vietnam wasn't so much history as it was still the present.

The fascinating, and sometimes most frustrating thing about history is that there are really aren't "beginnings" or "endings" like it's taught in school or shown in movies. For education's sake I suppose, there are dates of beginning and ending generally assigned so when we are young we learn the basic Who, What and When. But as adults we usually learn that people and ideas don't just appear out of thin air and then are wiped clean. Vietnam both as a country and the troubles that caused America's involvement in a war there didn't start in the 60s and they didn't just disappear in the 70s even though the war had been declared over. The history of it is still being written and rewritten today depending on new information or eye witness accounts.

History is a continuum of interactions that involve human physiology, psychology, sociology, politics, economics, arts, religion, science, technology, and nature (which includes natural resources, phenomena, and disasters). Knowing that they interrelate and the general order of things is the answer to the the great WHY. Why we have the laws we have and why some are so controversial to different groups; why we have certain music/film/book/art genres and why they are so influential on different groups of people both for and against; why there are wars and why sometimes governments don't want to work toward peace; why some people are rich and some are poor and why the notion of equality in economics sounded so nice in theory but failed in practice; why economies thrive or fail; why there are famines and plagues and how they shaped the ethnic and economic make up of our world today; even why we have etiquette and why it isn't a static set of rules but changes over time. And when we know why we are who and what we are today -- we get a glimpse of what we will be in the future and can answer the next question of HOW to create it. Those that don't have any understanding of the past, can't understand the present, and can't help create the future.
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Cat-Fu

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4877 on: September 18, 2012, 04:31:41 PM »
How interesting! None of my pre-college courses ever made it past WWII besides the one I took that focused exclusively on dictators. Our teacher had to explain a lot of the history behind the Vietnam war before we could really learn about Pol Pot, because the majority of the class was pig-ignorant about it. It hurt my brain that no one had ever bothered to educate themselves about it, especially when you consider that a couple of the murals on the walls of my high school were painted during/in protest of the Vietnam war!
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MommyPenguin

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4878 on: September 18, 2012, 04:45:46 PM »
I remember the exact same thing in school!  A lot of times, the stuff was actually in my textbooks (by the 90s, at least), we just never got there, or by the time we did it was a quick skim-over and never went into detail.  The homeschool curriculum we're using actually sells a high school course that covers *just* 20th century history, and I think that's a really great idea, to cover history at the high school level that actually spends a whole year focused on the 20th century.  There's so much that happens and so much of it is still echoing today.

I also remember thinking the 20th century seemed really boring, up through modern times, and it wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized the reason I thought it was so boring.  Why?  Because pre-20th century history had illustrations that were paintings and artwork.  20th century history, they used photographs, and they were all black and white.  So I had a tendency to think of the times as being black and white as well.

WillyNilly

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4879 on: September 18, 2012, 04:49:16 PM »
How interesting! None of my pre-college courses ever made it past WWII besides the one I took that focused exclusively on dictators. Our teacher had to explain a lot of the history behind the Vietnam war before we could really learn about Pol Pot, because the majority of the class was pig-ignorant about it. It hurt my brain that no one had ever bothered to educate themselves about it, especially when you consider that a couple of the murals on the walls of my high school were painted during/in protest of the Vietnam war!

Well though, why would they?  How well do you know about the workings of a transmission?  But I bet you regularly either drive or ride in motor vehicles - does that make you "pig-ignorant"?  What about tax code - are you up on all that?  Because I bet you pay sales tax, and income tax and maybe even property taxes - by not studying tax code and just paying your bill do you consider yourself "pig-ignorant"?

People study and educate themselves on things they are interested in.  I know the Vietnam war happened.  I know a bit about the social controversies that it brought to light.  The majority of my knowledge comes from pop-culture movies.  And even then I'm not too well versed because I'm not interested in war. 

But I'm in no way ignorant.  I have a great grasp on grammar.  I can create a baking recipe from scratch and have it rise correctly - using soda or yeast.  I can distill water.  I can tie several types of knots and operate a lot of power tools.  I know the proper pitch one should use to install a sewage drain.  I made a point to educate myself on these things because these are things I care about.  War is not something I care to study.

Sure its important to be somewhat informed in general, and to know where & how to get more information if necessary and I'm glad some people are experts on the topic, but just because everyone doesn't know everything, I hardly consider people ignorant as a general term.

Elfmama

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4880 on: September 18, 2012, 04:50:35 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.

This is still true when I went to high school in the 90s.  I was so frustrated at how long we spent on the early history to WWII, and then only spent a week or two on post-WWII stuff.  I wish they balanced out better throughout the year.
In my high-school American History class, the teacher made it dull dull dull -- economic history of the US, if you please.  This recession, that depression, blahblahblah.  (And I LOVE history! :( ) He spent so long on the Great Depression of the 1930's that we didn't even have time for WWII.  It was summed up on the very last day of class: "There was another big war.  We won."
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4881 on: September 18, 2012, 04:56:37 PM »
Can we please move on from the history class discussions?
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

jpcher

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4882 on: September 18, 2012, 06:20:30 PM »

So I think a general framework is important, but that inexact knowledge of specific details is less important, except in one's own field.  It's an important part of being a good citizen, of having a knowledge of history that helps one make better decisions in the future, to hold intelligent conversations and be interesting to talk to, to discuss ideas and come up with your own, to influence others by expressing your beliefs with logic and reason, to be able to hold fast to your own principles because you know the basis for them and can defend it against argument, etc.

BINGO!

History grows old. (No pun intended ;D)

I mean that when I was growing up (born in 1960) we learned the old history of the US Constitution, revolutionary/civil war . . . these are important history lessons to anybody/everybody living in this country. The basis for freedom and all that.

But nowadays? How important is knowledge about WWI to our every day existence?

The college students that I know can easily go back 20-30 years. They can talk about the Vietnam war (which happened before they were born) and are able to liken/differ it to today's Afghanistan and Iraq. But they have no clue as to the Korean war and what that was all about.

They can talk about the impact of Facebook and what Mark Zuckerberg did for the computer networking innovation, but they have no clue as to when the first computer was invented.

I can talk about Lady Godiva and why WWI was started (not linking them together ;)) . . . but seriously, what does that knowledge do for me today?

You officially made my brain hurt!   ;D

Of course, "that knowledge" may not "do" anything for you today but it is certainly nice to know the context of our modern world.  It certainly helps you to be a well-rounded intelligent person to understand the past.  It also helps inform our future.  Plus, I'm a big believer in "knowledge is an end in itself, not a means to an end."  It is just cool to know.

Lots of stuff isn't important to know in our everyday existence--including who our grandparents were and how our bodies work.  But sheesh, I like to think that knowing something about our collective past (and our world) is what makes the human race so interesting, so different from other beasts.  We can read and write and thus remember what came before us and learn what others have experienced and learned.

BTW, WWI was a very, very important event (or series of events) in the 20th century.  As mentioned by other posters, WWII is hard to even understand without understanding WWI, but WWI is fascinating in and of itself.  During WWI, monarchies fell including the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire.  There was the Armenian massacre/genocide which still influences the history that region.  And on and on.  It is really interesting.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana

Maybe as individuals, we don't need this knowledge, but as a society, we  DEFINITELY do.  It must be preserved and shared and taken to heart.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

BB-VA -- that was very succinctly put.

Probably exactly what I was trying to get at when I posted, you just said it a whole lot better (and shorter, too.)

The poster that mentioned Marie Antoinette and the tourist that didn't know what happened to Marie Antoinette gave a great example. Just because I know what happened to Marie Antoinette doesn't mean that I'm smarter or more knowledgeable that the tourist.

At least we do have the historians that keep the records straight so that we can (as a society) learn from our mistakes. I agree that this is extremely important and that the history links past to present should never be lost.


I hope that makes sense.

(Sorry for the brain-hurty! ;D)





eta -- I posted this before I saw Mental Magpie's request. Sorry.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 06:28:29 PM by jpcher »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4883 on: September 18, 2012, 06:28:29 PM »
My high school had the regular year-long American history course covering up through WWII fairly thoroughly, and then kind of skimpy after that - but they had a one semester course to cover the post WWII events.

The problem with history courses being able to cover everything is that there is always more and more of it.

I'm amazed at some of these stories.  I graduated HS in 1983 and remember studying US history up to the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.  Not in as much detail as WWII but we did discuss the "why" of it and the impact it had on the US presidential election.

What I felt was missing in my history lessons was more about Asian history.  We learned a ton of US, Western Europe, and since I lived in Texas at least one year of Texas history.  But not much other than the highlights of Asia. 

Mental Magpie

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4884 on: September 18, 2012, 06:46:11 PM »
S'OK, jpcher.  I thought, "Mental Magpie didn't post that, I did!"  It took me a second to remember...hahaha, made my own brain hurt!
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kherbert05

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4885 on: September 18, 2012, 07:10:51 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.


That is an ongoing problem with US history. Generally it is Land bridge - Civil War; Civil war to WWII -- fly from End of WWII to today in 2 weeks at the end of the year. I can still see my HS history book on a 6 page spread they "covered"
Korean War
Civil Rights Movement
Kennedy Election and assassination
LBJ and Voting Rights act
Vietnam
Watergate
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lady_disdain

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4886 on: September 18, 2012, 07:38:44 PM »
How interesting! None of my pre-college courses ever made it past WWII besides the one I took that focused exclusively on dictators. Our teacher had to explain a lot of the history behind the Vietnam war before we could really learn about Pol Pot, because the majority of the class was pig-ignorant about it. It hurt my brain that no one had ever bothered to educate themselves about it, especially when you consider that a couple of the murals on the walls of my high school were painted during/in protest of the Vietnam war!

Well though, why would they?  How well do you know about the workings of a transmission?  But I bet you regularly either drive or ride in motor vehicles - does that make you "pig-ignorant"?  What about tax code - are you up on all that?  Because I bet you pay sales tax, and income tax and maybe even property taxes - by not studying tax code and just paying your bill do you consider yourself "pig-ignorant"?

People study and educate themselves on things they are interested in.  I know the Vietnam war happened.  I know a bit about the social controversies that it brought to light.  The majority of my knowledge comes from pop-culture movies.  And even then I'm not too well versed because I'm not interested in war. 

But I'm in no way ignorant.  I have a great grasp on grammar.  I can create a baking recipe from scratch and have it rise correctly - using soda or yeast.  I can distill water.  I can tie several types of knots and operate a lot of power tools.  I know the proper pitch one should use to install a sewage drain.  I made a point to educate myself on these things because these are things I care about.  War is not something I care to study.

Sure its important to be somewhat informed in general, and to know where & how to get more information if necessary and I'm glad some people are experts on the topic, but just because everyone doesn't know everything, I hardly consider people ignorant as a general term.

My Cat isn't saying that those students were ignorant in general, but very specifically "ignorant about it [Vietnam War]". She didn't use it as a general term at all, so there is no need for such a vehement response.

And, yes, I do consider myself ignorant about transmissions, the American tax code and sewage drain pitch. I am not ashamed about it and I am not proud of it either.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4887 on: September 18, 2012, 08:03:20 PM »
Seriously, please, can we move on from the "What we learned in history class and what other people don't know" topics?
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Nikko-chan

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4888 on: September 18, 2012, 08:09:00 PM »
I have a really brain hurty one.

So there is a girl that is in ASL club, who told me that we need to have reeelections. Even though everyone has actually only held positions for 6 weeks if that. She also in that conversation told me she wanted to be President. Not brain hurty, right? Except in a previous conversation where she told me she no longer had time for the club... so... is she going to be an absentee president?

Jocelyn

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4889 on: September 18, 2012, 08:40:04 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.
Cheer up; I never had a history teacher make it to the 20th century. I got a lot of Progressive Era history in grad school, but after that, I'm a little sketchy until we get to history my parents lived through and reminisced about. :)