Diversity is Lost When Reasoning Is Unidimensional

Babies are born into multidimensional worlds filled with sights, sounds, odors, tastes, and sensations that stimulate all senses.  When early childhood experiences allow babies to apply these senses to diverse experiences, learning progresses rapidly.  Without formal coaching, babies quickly develop physical coordination important for walking.  Without grammer books, babies quickly acquire basic communication skills that exceed those of many adults who attempt to acquire new languages.  Babies exposed to enriching social lives also quickly acquire the emotional intelligence necessary to engage with siblings, parents, and other caregivers.  Then, after the child learns to speak, walk, and play nicely with others, we began the process of formal education.
With the exception of certain elite private schools, formal education is largely defined by efforts to simplify the¬†learning process by making the world less complex, and reducing the sensory inputs that contribute to learning. ¬†We teach children not to get up out of their seats (ie: restrict your vision to what can be seen from a single location). ¬†We teach them not to touch things (ie: ¬†don’t use your sense of touch). ¬†We teach them not to eat in the classroom (ie: ¬†don’t experience taste). ¬†We teach them to focus their eyes and ears on the teacher (ie: ¬†restrict your vision and ¬†hearing to one individual). ¬†We call this reduction of sensory inputs good discipline,¬†and we assume that the child who is not distracted by external sights, sounds, tastes, or smells in the room will apply all his or her attention to mastering reading, writing, or arithmetic. ¬†But we often fail to recognize that in the process of creating good discipline and advancing a defined (and thereby finite) set of basic skills, we have eliminated use of the innate tools that the child relies on for understanding the infinite complexity of the world in which s/he lives. ¬†In doing so, we create a learning system that is biased towards those individuals most able to learn a limited set of skills in an unnatural and overly simplified environment. ¬†Now, even in this restricted environment, learning cannot become entirely and enduringly ¬†unidimensional. ¬†No one truly has a one track mind. ¬†But when curriculum and classroom activities become overly standardized and rigid, students are increasingly forced to consider a single perspective, and rewarded for accepting that perspective as correct.
Such unnatural learning environments would have collapsed long ago had they not been supported by powerful incentives to continue.  These incentives have always been provided by those people of means whose best interests lie in having others labor to increase their own wealth. These individuals, respected as successful business leaders, work hard to advance public education that emphasizes employment skills.  Successful learners emerge from these systems excelling in obedience and limited skill sets.  They are rewarded with good jobs and high salaries.  This reward system reinforces the belief that a public school education is worth sacrificing intellectual freedom to attain.  However, those learners who have not somehow managed (in spite of their public school education) to acquire multidimensional reasoning skills important for sound decision making, leadership, and management, have also become dependent on jobs for future survival.   An unfortunate majority of public school and university graduates are more likely to seek employment than to strike out on their own and open up a business.  Furthermore, of those who do open small businesses, half are expected to fail within a year.
The dependence of graduates on external employment fuels the growth of large companies with multi-leveled management systems.   Such companies are best managed by establishing common policies and behavior standards, in essence creating monocultures.  While a small company may also establish common policies and standards, the collective impact of the company is smaller, and less likely to influence the behavior of surrounding communities.  For this reason, the small company is less likely to create a lasting environmental impact.  Furthermore, owners, managers, and labor working within the small company are more likely to be generalists who must enhance diverse skills and interact with the surrounding community in order for the business to succeed.  Such individuals, by nature, will bein tune to the needs of the surrounding environment.  However, in the large organization, employees are more likely to specialize in a limited set of skills, and be influenced more selectively by individuals within their own organization.  Thus, the large corporate workplace continues to foster relatively unidimensional thinking.
Mass marketing, designed to increase sales of a uniform product, further promotes uniform reasoning patterns by broadly proclaiming the benefits of a single product.   Potential consumers are encouraged to consider the advertised product, even when a cheaper, greener, or more effective product may be more accessible.  And while most of us are aware that advertisers will use every means at their disposal to entice another buyer, the very media we rely on to broaden our awareness of the world around us is heavily flooded by mass marketing campaigns targeting products that appeal to the uniform culture created by our schools and industries.   The shear abundance of these messages often leads us to consider the advertised products first, particularly when we observe that friends and family have done the same.
It is notable that benefits of more unidimensional thinking are most evident for those who reach the highest rungs of the corporate ladder.   However, the benefits are so ostentatious that society often becomes blind to the numerous individuals who have either been excluded from the ladder entirely or who have not been able to conform sufficiently to rise to the higher rungs.   We tend to view these people as failures, when in fact, they are often simply non-conformers.  Some of them possess the same multidimensional reasoning skills sought by upper management.   They just choose not to subject themselves to the years of obedience and repetitive tasks that the corporate ladder requires.  We fail to consider that these individuals, society, the economy, and the environment might all benefit from tapping into the diverse skills, ideas, and experiences that these individuals possess.  Developing educational systems that foster creative thinking and diversity could fuel the growth of unique small businesses that increase employment and management opportunities even for those considered unemployable by big businesses.  As diversity of businesses, job opportunities, and ideas increases, distribution and utilization of resources would become more balanced and sustainable.

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