Monday, June 6, 2016

Call Me Micro Aggressive

A friend of mine recently sent me an email musing about the thoughts he had as a follow on to taking a survey from his college alma mater.

He said the survey had asked for his late-in-life views of how well they – the institution of higher learning – had prepared him for life and career.

His email musings centered on the  observation that none of the education did much to “prepare” him for a career, let alone life, but that it had created in him a malleable being capable of reacting to challenges and opportunities as they arose such that he could succeed at career and life.

That observation caused me to respond with the following:

“The thing is, I think that “back then” nobody had any illusions about ‘preparing people for a career’.

I think there was instead a supposition that most of us young Americans – within a fairly narrow range – were pretty smart and – probably – pretty curious.

That supposition then went on to an assumption: take a smart curious person and let them follow their intellectual nose through 16 years of academics – assuming also that the teachers supplying the teaching were pretty good, smart and curious also – and at the end of the process there would be a human product ready to enter the workforce.

Once hired by a company into the workforce all that would be needed would be specific indoctrination and training to set the new work force members on their way. 

After that, the assumption went on, would be the answers to several questions: “are they lucky; are they really smart; are they really curious; did they follow their intellectual noses in the right direction; and, do they give a shit?

If all of that worked out, voila, there was a career.

Many of us a found a home with out first employer.

Many of us did not.

In that case, at least there existed the basis for moving on and trying something else

Which many of us did.


Somewhere along the way we have slipped from that model into a world where we need to shelter all our thin skinned young from being victims of micro aggressions while being exposed to academia.

But the world is full of micro aggressions.

But the world is full of micro aggressors.

So there is a lot of sheltering to be done here.

But there is a problem with that noble new model: saving the thin skinned kids from micro aggressions pretty much precludes their becoming educated and from their having a snow ball’s chance in hell of successfully competing in the world as it exists.

It is a world of nice people and nice ideas; it is a world of not nice people and not nice ideas; and nice or not nice as a characteristic often turns on one’s own personal views and experiences, not on anything intrinsic to the people or the ideas.

And being sheltered from the conflict of people and ideas sets a person up for insular myopia – often called stupidity.

If the person so afflicted started out pretty smart the effect of sheltering probably doesn’t make them actually stupid, but the functional equivalent will nicely accomplish the same thing.

And genuinely stupid people generally don’t get ahead.

So their functional equivalents probably won’t either.

And they seldom know anything other than what their mommy told them was nice.

But I guess that viewpoint is pretty micro aggressive.”

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