An Epitaph for the Western Culture
The Western Culture came to America with the early settlers from western Europe, primarily the British Isles. It was predominantly based on the Christian religion with elements of English jurisprudence and commercial law. It was a productive and uniform culture which extended into the minute detail of human behavior. It was extremely successful in the development, in a space of only two centuries, of the United States from a small isolated community of pioneers to the productive, wealthy and powerful country that it is today. This culture is now under mortal attack, is severely wounded and will succumb in the near future. It has already lost over half of its supporters and its enemies have the high ground in the media, justice, governing, and education institutions. Its life expectancy is now less than two more generations through our public schools.
Real knowledge is knowledge that has been recorded, verified by measurement, or can otherwise be shown to be a measure of the real universe or a portion thereof.
Dogma is 'knowledge' obtained through hearsay, conjecture, imagination, introspection or reasoning based on such sources..
All of the behavioral elements within a culture are interdependent. If an element is changed, it effects all other elements. When a single behavioral rule is changed in a culture the culture becomes a new one, since the effect of that one change ripples through all of the other facets.
The human, by instinct, is strongly tribal (social), with emphasis on small groups. (See Evolution of Man) Group loyalty is inversely proportional to tribal size. This requirement for joining with others began four million years ago with Ramidus, a human ancestor who lived two million years before the first Homo. When this ape-that-walked ventured onto the forest floor, he found that with his stiff legs he could not take to the trees and out-climb the big cats. As a bipedal he could not stay on the forest floor and out-run them. He was not strong or ferocious enough to out-fight them on an individual basis. The pregnant females and the very young faced slaughter. Community cooperative defense was his only option. One of the strongest human social drives (instincts) is defense of tribe. It is at least four million years old.
It was then a short step to perform other tribal functions as group efforts. Such cooperation requires a set of behavioral rules (culture). Cooperation (social interaction) began long before the human developed intellectually. All of the social drives within the human are instinctive. (See An Introduction to Psychology) Conversely, all human instincts effect human culture (collective behavior). The human uses, and needs, social interaction as a means of survival. This social dependency within a species is common among the higher animals.
The human is tribally dependent. He will form tribes (subcultures) at the drop of a hat. A single human may consider himself a member of many social groups, often groups within groups (tiered subcultures). Some he joins for a livelihood, others for sport or recreation, and some are political in nature. The overall culture acts as a collective umbrella over all of these subcultures. All subcultures must meet the requirements in behavior of the next cultural level above.
The overall culture is the collective effort within a community to provide a satisfactory social climate. An ideal culture would result in a community with assets allowing a comfortable survival, safety from other groups of people, and a social atmosphere in which to peacefully work, raise a family and to otherwise seek personal fulfillment and happiness. The human behavior in the acquisition and maintenance of those assets is basic to human culture.
In the same sense that a census report details the demographics of a given community, a cultural description is the detail of the collective individual behaviors within a community. It expresses a community effort. It is the community which establishes the desired individual behavior and it is the community which enforces its requirements. If the misbehavior (disobedience to community behavior requirements) is serious it is considered a crime, lesser disobedience may be considered a misdemeanor, still lesser may be considered a community nuisance and the most minor may bring only censure from others in the community. Other individual behaviors deemed desirable are encouraged by the community through rewards, both real and social.
Not so, say the liberal/socialists. This definition is in opposition with theirs. Marxist philosophy, in its typical reversal of cause and effect in which the tail always wags the dog, insists that a culture is an oppressive controlling device forced on the public by evil class masters for the purposes of subjugation and exploitation. There may have been cases in history where this was true. It is certainly not true in the United States.
Value Systems and Virtuous Conduct
The rules of conduct within a culture establish the desired behavior of the individual. These rules are called the 'value system' within that culture. The individual then behaves in a manner which may be judged by the others within the community with respect to the cultural value system. If the individual conducts himself well, then his conduct is considered 'virtuous' with respect to that value system.
The culture of the United States at the time of its founding had been brought from Western Europe by the early settlers and was primarily based on the Christian religion. This culture included a strong work ethic, sexual discipline, individual independence, personal responsibility, a strict value system and virtuous conduct as behavioral elements. This culture was uniform across the early colonies. There was very little variation in individual behavior across class and geographical boundaries.
Many of these early people were fugitives from governmental religious persecution in Europe. In their fear of a repetition in their new country, it was decided early that in order to protect the churches from the state, their new government must have separation between church and state. This separation was demanded in order to protect religious worship from the government. There was no thought at that time of protecting the government from the church. This latter interpretation came much later and is the basis of much of the cultural change today. That interpretation also powers the ability of those who wish to destroy the original culture. In an amazing switch, a new interpretation of a cultural rule became the nemesis of the culture which established the rule.
The principle of separation of church and government wherein a government activity was protected from the church, was first applied with the advent of the public schools. It was heralded as a breakthrough. With all of the different sects clamoring for their views to be taught, the schools could not have possibly satisfied them all anyway. Even trying to do so would be far too wasteful of valuable teaching time. The idea that a school was a place to learn real knowledge instead of dogma and that religious matters were the responsibility of the family and church seemed logical.
The problem was that the idea was not carried far enough. If the dogma being banned had not been limited to only religious dogma but had been extended to all dogma, the desired result would have been attained. There were no other outstanding social dogmas in the US at the time, however, and so the error was not realized. Few recognize the error even today. Even if the ban had been extended to cover only religious and anti-religious dogma it would have at least left a level cultural playing field. But such was not the case. The field was left open to any other dogma, no matter how outrageous, to enter and dominate the education system, without opposition.
Socialism is a social (cultural) disease. Whereas free-enterprise and self-determination are known to be millions of years old in the human lineage, and therefore are instinctive in the human, socialism has absolutely no factual basis. It is an insidious and all-encompassing culture which claims it is not a culture at all. It has the same relationship with any other culture as HIV has to the human body. If unchained it swallows all other cultures. Although fragments of socialism have been known, and in some cases practiced since the city states of ancient Greece, the virulent strain now furnishing the ideology for the academic elite came from Karl Marx, a malcontent who spent his life devising a means to destroy his own culture. It is very likely, it seems, that he has succeeded.
The education system in the US is by design a closed loop positive feedback process (intellectual incest). (See Dynamics) It trains its own replacements. It judges itself. It produces the leaders for government, media and justice, who then in turn support the ideology they learned in the education system. Each generation of students through the system then provides children who are more receptive. Once Marxism gained voice in the education system, the rest is history. There was and is no known means of controlling it. There are no adversaries. The church is so busy trying to enforce its creationism and age of the earth interpretations of their bible that it offers no defense of its value system. In fact it will allow no non-religious defense of its value system.
Our culture has been decreed by the (socialist) academic elite to be a white man's culture (even the white women have deserted) and the white man has been isolated by law and public condemnation from forming any kind of collective resistance. And they should not be the only defenders.
The openly central intent of the education system is to destroy our mother culture and to replace it with socialist ideology. If not so pitiful, it would be amusing; since the first thing that a socialist government does when it comes into power is purge the academic elite.
Current Cultural Basis
Intelligent thought is of three parts: 1) the selection of one or more premises, 2) followed by one or more successive steps of evaluation of those premises in various forms and proportions and in various ways, and 3) the statement of one or more conclusions. Since the human intellect is a biological mechanism, it is not perfect in any of its functions. It may accept inputs and the knowledge received thereby may be near truth, but it can never be better than truth and in fact must always be less than truth. There is nothing magical or spiritual about the human neural system. It processes and acts on information. It cannot create anything. It may process the perceived truth into other forms but may not create knowledge during the process. Its data manipulation may develop more useful combinations and permutations of the knowledge contained in the premises, but in doing so there is always degradation in the process. It may quite accurately surmise the results of this manipulation, and these new combinations may be very useful, but there will always be something lost in the process. In short, the knowledge developed in the logical process never exceeds, and in fact must always be less than, that contained in the original premises. The output of the process may be no closer to truth than the input. Put another way: If the premises are faulty, the conclusions will also be at least as faulty. With computers, this is called "garbage in, garbage out." In the case of culture, it is "dogma in, dogma out." No one, no matter the genius, is able to create real knowledge from dogma. This is not to say that conclusions reached from reasoning based on dogma are always false. Quite often truth is stumbled upon. But real knowledge may only be dependably discovered by intelligent action when the reasoning is based on measured and proven premises. The use of dogma as premises for reasoning is very dangerous, yet that very process is habitual with modern cultural thinkers.
The premises used as a basis for the logic behind cultural rules in all of the cultures on earth are largely dogma. Most are derivatives of ancient tribal cultures, developed through the ages by happenstance. Some one or group wanted a certain rule in the culture, so they made up a reason and stuck it in. Many, in fact most, of these premises may be shown to be in error. Most cultural rules in modern cultures are poor fits with the actual human nature.
A culture may be viewed as a set of behavioral rules. As such it is restrictive of the individual in favor of the community. The more rules and the more strictly the rules are enforced, the more restrictive the set of rules become on the individual and the more uniform the social environment becomes for the community. Too few rules, or lack of enforcement, leads to an uncomfortable, even unsafe, culture. Too many rules, or excessively severe enforcement, leads to regimentation and unbearable loss of personal freedom.
All social drives are instinctive, based on small tribal groups and formed long before intellectual man arrived. The survival advantage of intellect is its control over the instincts to provide more suitable behavior. A culture is largely an intellectual set of rules established to provide a uniform set of behaviors from a community with widely differing instincts. If the human was uniform in his instincts, the line between the two excesses would be simple to determine and the set of cultural rules would rest in the same way on each individual. Such is not the case. The human species is in a state of evolutionary degeneration. (See The Degeneration of Man) It is widely divergent in physical shape, mental ability, and instinct. This divergence is increasing. No set of behavioral rules will ever be satisfactory to everyone. No severity of enforcement will ever be acceptable to everyone. Both will be less acceptable to more and more individuals with time due to the evolutionary degeneration.
The range (divergence) of social behavior of the human is remarkable. Child molestation, murder, incest, and theft are quite common. Terrorism, drive by shootings and other violent behavior are now everyday worries. Parental care of children ranges from spoiling the kid rotten to beating him half to death every day. Homosexuality has become so common that it is now considered normal behavior. These are all valid factors in a culture.
The chart below illustrates the spectrum of the conflicting cultural basis now in the US. This same chart at the time of the founding of the US would have been solidly blue and there were no interests trying to influence a change. It was 100% dogma at that time, mostly based on religious dogma.
The Basis for Culture in the US
The conservative and liberal influences on the basis of our culture are now about even in magnitude. There are two active groups pressing for the liberalization of the culture and two others active in pressing for a conservative culture.
The Conservative View of Culture
The Liberal View of Culture
Liberalism was begun as a movement toward modernizing culture through use of the latest knowledge and thinking. Once having established a basis for their movement (socialism) and the mechanisms for enforcing the change (politics and education), however, liberalism became reactionary and is now the greatest obstacle for the application of real knowledge to our culture. Once the revolution was successful, its dogma was solidified.
It is interesting to note that the structures of liberalism and socialism are at odds. One seeks individual freedom while the other requires complete control, even to thought. One seeks democracy, the other says it does but its political structure denies it. One seeks the rights of the individual, the other denies the rights of the individual.
A common theme between socialism and Christianity is that the meek will inherit the earth. Don't bet on it. Aggressive leadership is another human social trait (instinct) with wide individual variation in strength. Two million years of warrior/hunter tribal living made sure of it. Any workable culture must be designed with that in mind and niches for that kind of people must be provided that use their energy in a manner beneficial to the community. Free enterprise is the best system we've come up with so far.
In an objective field, such as physics or chemistry, one may easily discard a direction which is not fruitful, since there is no emotion involved in the process. It is real knowledge being sought, not the proving of a preconceived idea. But the instant that any field, scientific or not, brushes up against social considerations, the human social instincts bristle in defense. The probing for truth will have a violent collision with ancient neural circuitry.
That's why the human is so proficient in its technology and so utterly stupid in its culture. It's not that our cultural thinkers have lost their ability to be objective, objectivity in such matters was never developed in the first place. In fact there is a big movement now among the academic elite to become more subjective (more human, they put it) in all routes of inquiry. "'Pure physics developed the atom bomb," they say, not considering two facts: 1) there are peaceful uses for atomic power, and 2) it was the politicians who decree the use of the bomb and it is they who need curtailment.
Einstein was a deep thinker. He was also an astute student of the thinking process. He pointed out another facet of the human mind: "It is the theory which decides what we can observe," he declared.
One must have an idea of what he is looking for in order to find a successful direction in which to explore. This insight into the human thinking mechanism is profound. That mechanism was developed as a problem solver over a period of four million years from a good start with an animal that was quite successful, even at that time. Translated into that viewpoint, what Einstein says is that to solve a problem, one must have a fairly good idea of what the problem is.
If a scientist is steeped in a social ideology, then by nature he will tend to seek solutions to those problems that he sees. It is not being dishonest. His thinking mechanism is tainted with dogma. The degree of poisoning may be so severe that no amount of self-discipline can overcome it. Whether he intends to or not, the theory he applies is influenced by his ideology and the inquiry will be aimed in that direction.
One cannot be a scientist today without being previously exposed. A few learn their trade in religious schools, the rest in socialist/liberal atmospheres. One cannot be both a scientist, which requires an impartial and open mind, and a social activist, which requires dedication to a political idea. The two are mutually exclusive. As long as we stuff our young people's minds with ideological dogma through the formative years, they will always lean heavily in the direction of that dogma the rest of their lives. The dogma has become a part of their tribal culture, to be defended forever.
The future of our culture rests with the academic elite. This is the tribe on which our future depends. They control the education system and provide our leaders in government, finance, law, media and education. What this subculture believes today, will be our culture tomorrow. It is an extremely unfortunate state of affairs. Our culture will be formed to fit the non-producers in our society and that element will grow at the expense of the population as a whole. As they expand, the asset producing elements will shrink. The inevitable result, as with any socialist country, will be economic collapse. We already have cities in the US where there are more workers in the bureaucracy than in private employment. The producers must share equally that which they produce, lowering their living standard for a given rate of production.
The individuals in this group are all highly political. A small number of them are conservative, but most are aggressive in evangelizing a very strange mix of liberalism and socialism. Almost without exception, all are aggressive, bigoted, intolerant, haughty, egocentric, cynical, defensive and arrogant. They will not listen to anyone without identical credentials, therefore as steeped in the same dogma, and they manage to refuse discourse with a sneer. They consider all who are not a member of their tribe as being somehow subhuman.
The human is a biological mechanism with strong social characteristics. Much is known about this mechanism. Most of this knowledge is quite recent. Much of this knowledge denies current cultural dogma. There is little application of this knowledge in our culture.
The basic 'science' for all cultural study is psychology. It establishes the behavioral characteristics of the human on which all other cultural studies depend. With the exception of a few students of evolutionary psychology, current psychologists are little more than witch doctors. With a misunderstanding of the nature of man, the basic premises used in modern psychology are grossly in error. The dogma developed from those misconceptions is heavily dosed and fully supportive of the academic elite ideological dogma. Modern psychologists are much more a hinderance than help.
It is doubtful that there is any possibility of the restoration of the Western Culture. Even our government is busily carrying out its own destruction. It would probably require a very bloody civil war to settle the issues.
Even if we should develop the resolve and strength to halt our cultural degeneration and to undo the cultural damage already suffered, should we reconstruct and reinstitute the Western Culture? Of course not! Though productive and uniform it had a serious flaw. It was based on dogma, in the same manner that the force which is destroying it is also based on dogma.
So mankind sits between the skillet and the fire. The culture which has been successful is based on dogma which is inflexible and at cross purposes with so-necessary technological development. It is being replaced by a dogma which has never shown success at any trial and which also severely limits technological development through force-fitting scientific thought through an ideological filter. Both of these forces are inflexible in their stand. But mankind needs an intellectual culture based on real knowledge, one which augments his strengths and allows for his frailties, one which will allow mankind to reach its full stature. Neither of our two current cultural forces would allow it.
Extensive forest fires often occur in the western mountains. These are often huge conflagrations, some extending for many miles in all directions. The rugged terrain makes transportation extremely difficult. It would be senseless to even think of placing fire fighters shoulder to shoulder around the perimeter in order to stop the progress of the fire. There is another process which is much more sensible: fight fire with fire. Start a backfire. Borrow a page from the liberal/socialist book and use education as the focal center.
The solution lies in education reform
Where reform means a complete shift in content, method and intent:
The primitive modern man in Australia, Borneo or South America has the same sensor and neural system as we, therefore, age for age he has absorbed the same amount of 'knowledge'. Some of this information in both cases is factual, and therefore useful. We call our real knowledge 'science' and most of it is factual. We, therefore, behave in a manner which makes greater use of the assets of the real world for our benefit. Most of his 'knowledge' is long term accumulations of conversational dogma. We call his dogma superstition and nonsense. Most of our 'knowledge' is long term accumulations of textual dogma, both written and oral. We call our dogma philosophy, religion, ideology, literature, intellectual elitism, political correctness, postmodernism, and psychology. It, therefore, should also be called superstition and nonsense. Think what would happen if we quit teaching and using that modern nonsense and turned our effort to learning more, a lot more, real knowledge.
Man's real (provable, measurable) knowledge is quite extensive. Through astronomy and associated studies, he has explored his relationship with the universe. Through physics and chemistry he has studied the properties and relationships of the very matter of which the universe is constructed. Through biology and associated studies he has described the variety of flora and fauna on earth and learned the relationships between the various forms of living things. Microbiology is now mapping the human genome and is experimenting with genetic manipulation. Admittedly, man does not know everything yet, and may never, but for his physical relationships with the universe he has established systems of inquiry, methods of approach, and standards for knowledge acceptance.
How can this be applied to our culture in order to correct both the original errors and those now being introduced? Go back to the original concept of education when religion was barred from the schools: teach real knowledge in the schools and let the families and other private organizations handle the dogma if they so wish.
Do teach our young people where they fit in this universe. Give them enough real knowledge so that they can feel comfortable going forth to provide for themselves. Let them be knowledgeable about their environment. Provide them with enough technical knowledge so they can fit in an ever-increasingly technical world. Teach them facts, not what to think or feel. They have neural systems as capable as yours for deciding how to use those facts. Teach them to be skeptical of all dogma, regardless of source. It wouldn't hurt to teach them to also be a little suspicious even of the so-called real knowledge.
Do not psychoanalyze or provide therapy, use doctors. Do not use the school for political change, hire a hall. Do not provide recreational facilities, provide separate sports centers. Do not teach fiction, there is too much real information available. That means no sports, art, drama, fictional literature or philosophy based on dogma. Not that these are bad things, they are certainly worthy, but they do not come under the heading of education. If they are deemed necessary, build the institutions to service those needs separately.
Make it a capital crime, punishable by death, for any teacher who seeks to distort young minds with his private dogma, no matter how noble the intent. Perhaps burning at the stake in the public square would be fitting.
A new and stable intellectual culture would form within a few generations. Teachers trained within this education system would pride themselves on how well and truthfully they can transfer real knowledge Students would pride themselves on how much they can learn. Graduates would pride themselves on how well they can apply their knowledge within the framework of their culture.
Comments by readers and discussion
If this is true then there is no distinction that I can see in human behavior between how he reacts to cultural rules (laws, edicts, practices, etc.) and how he reacts to his peers and training in playing his be-bop. That early cave dweller who left that hand print on the cave wall had enough venison stored farther back in that cave to last his family a week and enough time left over to mark the cave with his hand print. The behavioral differences between killing that deer and painting the handprint was a matter of time, place and social environment. The same identical mechanism and knowledge base produced both responses. He may not have used all that he knew in shaping his behavior in each case but he used the same body of information. If you've ever heard a tune in your mind while changing the spark plugs on your car, you understand what I mean. Everything you know colors everything you do.
Following comments copied from The Curriculum
Why are you against the arts and sports in school? These have been traditional parts of education for centuries.
I think arts and sports are wonderful. I think they should be encouraged in every child. Every community should have a community center where such things are nurtured. But right now we have an educational crisis and a cultural crises. We need to take every nickel of our public money and invest it in an education for every child in our country. We need to make sure that every minute that we teach them, it is provable knowledge, there isn't time for anything else. In olden days they had to fill the student's time with something, all of the earth's knowledge was a one semester course. Not now! These students are now leaving high school destitute of knowledge. They need to learn things that are useful, not how to shoot a basket or play rap music. Anything that detracts or distracts must be removed from the schools.
I can't believe that you'd want to eliminate philosophy and literature from the schools.
Any of it that's fiction, you can bet I do. And if I could shut down television and comic books, I'd do it in a minute. I'd like to ask you how much philosophy and literature the modern high school graduate knows now! Talk to one of them and you'll see that I'm not asking you to eliminate much. But I am asking you to give these young people a fighting chance in a world suddenly complex, with too much real knowledge to ever cover in a lifetime, much less in preparatory school.
You seem to take a radical empiricist position that nothing is real unless scientifically provable.
Not at all, there is a lot of truth in the dogma now being taught as knowledge in our schools. Collective man tends to be wise. The problem is that the dogma contains both truth and falsehood and there is no way to determine which parts are true and which are false. From the cultural result of what we teach, one must assume that those parts which are false are also quite damaging.
However, there is more provable knowledge available than we can hope to cover in a lifetime and the amount is growing daily. So why not end the dogma, both religious and ideological, and start fresh on a firmer foundation to seek the real truth?
It will mean starting all over in such fields as psychology and strengthening the fields of subjects such as anthropology, but a lot of subject matter is archaic and will not fit in education for an intellectual culture.
The education you propose sounds very sterile and one dimensional, and is unlikely to gain many adherents unless you modify your position regarding the teaching of the arts, the humanities, literature, etc., which are essential components for educating the "whole" person.
How good are those "whole" people that you are turning out today? What are they good for? If they can't make their own way, what good is literature, art and humanities to them? The drop-out rate of today is extremely high, in spite of coddling. Why? Because they see no value in what they are being taught. Make education meaningful to them and they couldn't be run off with a baseball bat.
You speak of art, humanities and literature. Have you looked at any of the pictures from the Hubble? From the shuttle? When you look at a swelling cumulus, do you feel the dynamics in your heart? Have you seen the layout art for the Pentium? Do you understand what causes the ocean tide? Or why it rises under a hurricane? Do you look at a rock and feel its history in the earth? Do you know why mothers love their babies? Do you look at the sky on a dark night and understand what you see? Do you feel the majesty of the universe and the joy in being allowed a part in it? The beauty of this universe is limited only by our ability to learn and comprehend.
For some incredible reason it has become fashionable in our culture to consider anyone working with scientific knowledge to be some sort of half-animal, incapable of the "good" passions of man. Somehow a man becomes less of a man if he doesn't swoon over rap music, pot and some idiot's graffiti on a piece of canvas. I like the artistry of all man, but only art which requires skill, training, and dedication. When I see skill and knowledge in an artifact, I marvel at man's capability whether in a Rembrandt (a work by one man) or the impeller system in a modern jet engine (a polished masterpiece of precision surfaces in shining metal and the product of the cooperative creativity of thousands).
The result of what you propose would be a society like that portrayed in Fritz Lang's 1920's classic movie, "Metropolis." You ought to see it sometime. It portrays a society of heartless robots tending to the machines which are owned by the 'masters' of the society.
People ignorant in science, such as those who made this movie and who believe its message, have always maintained that science is a vampire sucking the blood of humanity. Somehow if knowledge comes from science it is not fit for the "civilized" man. If a deliberately destructive malcontent (such as Marx) mouths nonsense, he is somehow sanctified and followed.
Real knowledge takes effort to learn. One cannot learn it by merely reading a book. Many fear that they are incapable of learning it. These often seek other fields that do not require as much time and effort. They then justify their path as the "whole" education, or the "civilized" education. It always pained me to see the effete man wringing his hands in mock agony and giggling, "but I just can't understand calculus." It's far easier to deny, deride and demonize than to perform.
Let's review the place of art, sculpture, literature and music in education. There is little evidence in the 4.5 million years of man's development that any of these flowered before the advent of Homo sapiens sapiens, somewhat less than two hundred thousand years ago.
1. Art started with graffiti on the walls of caves. The outline of a hand traced in charcoal from an ancient fire is classical. Art probably lived through the ages as decorations on clothing, tools and weapons. Fine paintings came within the last few hundred years, when the materials became available (developed by scientists). These required great skill and experience with the materials in addition to the creativity in the artist.
Feces on a dinner plate, the American flag in a toilet, a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine are all now considered fine art by those who are "civilized." Oddly these perversions of art, all deliberately offensive to large cultural groups, are defended by men who claim the high ground on lacking bigotry and insist that they are the only ones who are sensitive and tolerant of others.
Meanwhile scientific artists design wondrous electronic and mechanical machines that allow all man to travel easier, see farther into space, enjoy wide communications with each other, grow copious food supplies, and live longer with better medical care. But because their art produces useful things, it is no longer art.
2. Ancient man saw the rock and carved from it an image of himself. Within the last 3000 or so years he uses marble and granite to carve wondrous likenesses. He used bronze foundries to make huge works of art.
The sculptor of today builds from tin, iron, toilets, and stacks of old automobiles. He prides himself on crude welding and finish. His mechanicals rarely work well. He is also considered by the "civilized" man to be an artist.
Meanwhile scientific sculptors refine the minerals from the ground, shape them with skill, talent and knowledge and build one of the most magnificent works of art the world has ever seen. It's called the shuttle.
Somehow the modern "sophisticated" man feels that art, no matter the skill and talent required for its production, or its finished beauty, is somehow distasteful if it also renders service. This is intellectual perversion at its worst.
3. Literature started with stories around the campfires. Such knowledge as they had, or thought they had in those days, was passed down from generation to generation from memory to memory, usually in the form of stories or chants. Religion and philosophy were also transmitted in the same way.
Modern literature is no more than an expansion of this ancient practice, but now in print or on a floppy disk. Man learns from his input, reading being one of the best input methods. The various forms of literature are interesting to read but an extremely poor way to gain knowledge. Fiction and philosophy should be avoided since any knowledge gained thereby is highly questionable. Literature makes good intellectual recreational material, as long as the reader is careful to discount what he reads.
4. Music began as evening entertainment around the campfire. Sometimes it was used as a background for chants. It hasn't really changed much since. It reached its peak in artistry a century ago. The dynamic and pitch ranges of the orchestras of that period filled the entire sound spectrum that man can encompass. The utilization of harmonics and variable cadence produced rich and interesting sound.
By contrast, modern music is monotone, fixed cadence and loud. Rap is a throwback, surely dating to pre-erectus times. Still, the "whole" modern man considers it art. And most modern music is synthetic, produced on machines designed by science.
There is much more to education than the understandings and skills necessary to perform on the job.
You are absolutely right. Education needs to cover far more than the essentials of existing. Only when man understands the universe and where and how he fits in it will he ever feel at ease and confident as he approaches life. We disagree only in content.