Why We Need More Silence And Less Noise
By: JAY HAWKEN
Association with the people we surround ourselves with is the reason why a lot of people get out of bed in the morning, but when taking a deeper look at the relationships between people, we can see the frivolousness that language has taken on. At one point it may have been more useful but now communication has become more of a barrier between people than a way to exchange ideas. The things that we hear in an average day cover a wide spectrum of topics and fluctuate through a broad variety of emotions. For example, sometimes we will hear gossip behind a person’s back and then see the gossiper and gossipee exchanging pleasantries later. Does this make the gossiping party a liar? Does it make them a good friend to see someone’s shortcomings and still associate with them? Or perhaps the gossiper is just a bad person making fun of people to get attention? No matter the reason behind the situation, spoken language creates a lot of questions when thrown around lightly and repercussions are not taken into account. This brings up the question of morality among people in America today and how they express the ethical codes that they abide by through spoken language. In fact, language has become unessential, through a lowering of ethical standards and a shift of what is regarded as important for happiness. Language has become moot and unchanging, and it would do us better if we got back to our roots of silence and a respect.
All throughout my academic career I have heard teachers tell their students “there is no such thing as a stupid question”, and I do not think I’ve heard any less true statements come out of a teacher’s mouth. Teachers should be pushing their students to ask legitimate questions and guiding them in the right direction; all too often kids are just looked over and disrespected for no apparent reason other than a teacher’s inability to teach and listen. The academic system in America has been on a steady downslide as time passes and as we advance technology becomes more prevalent and our toys get smarter; then, our people get dumber. America is lowering the bar for mediocrity. The improper schooling that people are given as children inhibits personal and mental growth later on, people become placid and accept their roles as inferior to other people and that there will always be someone better than them. Through coddling the youth and making sure no one’s feelings are hurt, America is turning its own populous into a bunch of uneducated, undeserving, mediocre, and irrational softies.
Diane Ravitch, an education historian and also assistant secretary of education during the Bush administration had a statement regarding the academics in America and the country’s population’s opinion toward it:
“We’ve been fretting about the American [education] system and looking enviously over our shoulders for decades, whether it’s to Germany, England, the former Soviet Union, Japan or China…”We have this narrative that we’re failing, failing, failing. The rest of the world would like to be like us, and we’re saying, ‘What’s wrong with us? We’re so terrible.’ It must be some kind of American inferiority complex.”
Ravitch is accurate in her perception that the American people’s perspective on academics is too negative, all the people seem to do is shame the country and says how it is not what it used to be in the “good old days.” Finland is regarded as the most academically successful country in the world and they based their previously shameful education system on America’s, however they put their teachers in a pedestal with respect levels equaling that of doctors and lawyers. If there was a push as a nation to raise up education as an important facet of life and respect those involved with it once more then as a country America might be able to start getting back on track.
Spoken language has been one of the main casualties of this seemingly self-induced academic downward spiral, with a country accepting mediocrity, the masses minds are left dormant and never challenged, and thus language becomes repetitive and unnecessary. When the mind stops striving for excellence it starts running on a treadmill and keeps cycling through the motions, so no new ideas are ever explored and personal growth is never achieved. People begin paying more attention to other people and events rather than discussing ideas or possibilities and paying attention to themselves. By accepting inferiority and only scratching the surface of human capability, people lose track of what is important. The human body becomes a lifeless husk with ever scanning eyes, to take in and discuss what it sees, which is what language has become; one person commenting on an observation and another giving their opinion back, typically an agreement or disagreement. The whole reason why this conversation took place was one person looking for personal social justification to bond with someone over an evil unity of gossip and personal misconduct.