5. Self-empowerment

This section is about self-empowerment. It is about how to make your destiny your business and not the business of (unknown) others. It is about what life long top teacher John Taylor Gatto describes as follows

“You either learn your way towards writing your own script in life,
or you unwittingly become an actor in someone else’s script.”
John Taylor Gatto

This section addresses the (innate, deeply human) processes that allow us to become the masters of our own destiny by escaping disempowerment through self-empowerment.

We all learn …

We all learn. That entails that we all learn through education and experience about the world and how to act in a situationally appropriate manner. But does this entail that the more we learn, the more we learn how the world works and how to act in ways that are beneficial?

No, not necessarily so. We can learn useful and useless knowledge and skills with almost equal ease. As a consequence life-long learning may or may not lead to the acquisition and accumulation of useful knowledge and skills. In addition we often draw unsupported conclusions from the available evidence (or even worse by ignoring the evidence). This entails that our beliefs, truths, and thought processes are unreliable. The best way to make them more reliable is by trying them out in the real world and see whether they work out as expected. If not discard or improve them. And if they lead to reliable outcomes test them further and build on what seems most productive.

One simple rule-of-the-thumb is to use the description of the two brain hemispheres and especially the table with left versus right hemispheric strengths and make sure that you develop both hemispheres strengths so that you develop the use of your intelligence and enlarge the scope of your understanding of the world.

The observation on which this site is build is that our societies have evolved in ways that make it very difficult for most of us to accumulate the more useful and empowering knowledge and skills. Little in society actively prevents us from accumulating predominantly useful and empowering knowledge and skills. But very little, if any, reliable help is offered in this accumulation process. At home or at schools we do not learn how to think properly, the media provides deeply troubled role models or spin as default and they hardly ever allow airtime to really competent thinkers and fully developed human beings.

So self-empowerment is something that you should do yourself. With little help of the mainstream media, your schools, your authorities, and the large corporations. The best public resources are the alternative media. The best alternative media provides a breadth of ideas that is, unfortunately, unsurpassed by anything “organized” in our societies, and therefore highly valuable in making your belief-base more realistic.

Training versus education

In the New Oxford American dictionary the term schooling is defined as education or training received, especially at school.

Education

The term word ‘education’ is described as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, esp. at a school or university and ‘an education’ as an enlightening experience, where the verb ‘enlighten’ is described as giving (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation. The word education stems from Latin ‘educere’: lead out. It is also related to the less common verb educe ‘bring out or develop (something latent or potential)’. Education then leads you ideally out of bondage into a state of full (personal) development. The key step is sometimes called the watershed.

Training

The word ‘training’ is described as teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time. It is related to the verb to train as ‘cause (a plant) to grow in a particular direction or into a required shape’. Training is important for particular activities that rely on precision of execution such as dancing, programing, experimenting, and scientific reporting. The results of training are therefore useful (often essential) in a narrow range of situations and specialisms.

In contrast knowledge and understanding are of optimal use if they can be applied at any moment and in any situation. This type of pervasive understanding ‘empowers’, which means make stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

Traditionally two systems of systematic instructions have existed in parallel, one focusing on general knowledge and understanding and the other as preparation for specific roles (vocations) in society. Both forms of schooling involve strong components of training, but the first form — the liberal education — aims to ‘liberate’ and ‘empower’ the student. Where ‘liberate’ is defined as release (someone) from a state or situation that limits freedom of thought or behavior.

While education and training are both important, a focus on education in the sense of allowing and coaching individuals to develop according to their own full potential is indicative of self-empowerment. This is addressed in the subsections below. Education with a strong or predominant training components that is aimed at ‘cause to grow in a particular direction or into a required shape’ is the topic of the next section on disempowerment.

It may be useful to separate the world into people (or teachers) who influence you in the sense of training and constraining you and people who help you to educate and liberate yourself. Purging your environment from the influence of the first class of people might be highly beneficial and even a pivotal point in your life.

Self-empowerment overview

This section is about what self-empowerment means. It starts with an overview of what is known about personal development. One important aspect of personal development is developing a reality-tested belief base: everyone has beliefs, but how can you ensure it reflects reality really well and as such can be a reliable basis for interactions with the world. The traditional method to develop a highly effective mind is called the Trivium, which we here formulate in a way that explicitly addresses the strengths of the left and the right hemisphere.

Section overview

    1. Personal development
    2. The Trivium
    3. Broaden-and-build theory.
    4. 21st century education
    5. The watershed
    6. Epistemological development
    7. What drives intellectual development?
    8. Intellectual development and intellectual classes
    9. The role of teachers
    10. Meaddows’ hiearchy and social strata