Rather than simply beseeching us to “save the planet”, ministers hope they can convince us in other ways. “Use non-environmental motivations,” their advisors recommend. “Recognise the role of social norms, identity, and status for moving towards greater adoption of pro-environmental behaviours.” In other words, appeal to the things that matter to people right now - their wallet and their self-esteem.
Despite the negative connotations attached to binge drinking, nearly 60% of consumers claim to be more aware of campaigns encouraging them to drink responsibly, and 49% say they are more aware of excessive drinking then they used to be. But a massive 42% of consumers claim binge drinking is part of Britain’s culture, while a quarter of the sample (24%) believe there is nothing wrong with drinking to excess.
Many students are unable to give evidence of more than a superficial understanding of the concepts and relationships that are fundamental to the subjects they have studied, or of an ability to apply the content knowledge they have acquired to real-world problems…it is possible to finish 12 or 13 years of public education in the United States without developing much competence as a thinker.
In the information age, children have no trouble finding information, but they have trouble interpreting it. The fact that we tend to believe first and ask questions later is truly dangerous in the era of the Internet.
“There is value, to be sure, in teaching children the history of their own country and - especially in light of increasing globalization - the world, but a memorized list of states casts no real light on history and leaves a student with no genuine skills for understanding (say) current events.”—Gary Marcus - Kluge
With a properly nuanced understanding of the balance between the strength and weaknesses of the human mind, we may have an opportunity to help not only ourselves but society. Consider for example our outmoded system of education, still primarily steeped in ideas from nineteenth-century pedagogy, with its outsized emphasis on memorization echoing the Industrial Revolution and Dickens’s stern schoolmaster, Mr. Gradgrind: “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts…Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.”
But it scarcely does what education ought to do, which is to help our children learn how to fend for themselves. I doubt that such a heavy dose of memorization ever served a useful purpose, but in the age of Google, asking a child to memorize the state capital has long since outlived its usefulness.
“You don’t know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it’s good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it’s what men do. Your kind with your gloomy thoughts and your worries, you’re all busy licking some imaginary wound.”—
You know, it’s part of your normal routine. You wake up, brush teeth, eat cereal, and normally, at that point, you apply to buy a house in Scotland. Apparently the answer is a solicitor, but that seems more than a little arbitrary. I mean, wouldn’t it be a good idea to check at your local bank that you could afford to buy a house in Scotland? Not to mention looking at the estate agents to see if there are any houses in Scotland for sale.
The site seemed a place to turn in anxious moments of loneliness or existential vertigo for pseudo-sociality and pseudo-connectedness; it was a place to turn to relieve the sense of being hopelessly mired in ourselves how we are and do some illusory work on our own characters instead by fine-tuning some settings, making some updates, passing some surreptitious judgment on those friends of ours who seem, judging by their updates, to be even more desperate than we are. Of course you’d have to sort through the chipper updates from the pathologically narcissistic who evince absolutely no trace of self-doubt or troubled introspection, but they made for a bracing backdrop; they set up a kind of grim ideal for what we’d have to eventually become, or else.