02 April 2010

The Goal Is Competent Societies

Unconscious Incompetence
The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it.
Conscious Incompetence
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.
Conscious Competence
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.
Unconscious Competence
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes "second nature" and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she may or may not be able teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned. _Wiki4Stages

The beginnings of competence are instilled in early childhood. Good parents work hard to instill competence (and thus confidence) in the growing child.
As we foster a sense of competence in the home, we build confident, capable, and independent thinkers. Wyatt will begin to understand the dangers of stairs under my watchful eye. He will be able to make better decisions as he learns with me rather than having to wait and learn these skills in front of his peers or other strangers. It is definitely more work to teach your children to master skills at home but it will promote their self-esteem and make them more emotionally successful and physically capable as they venture out into the big world. _FosteringChild'sCompetence

But good parenting skills are a vanishing commodity in the hurry-up modern world. Most parents tend to let the television or the babysitter or the teacher or the child's peer group or popular culture do the child-raising. This is a mistake.

The early childhood is a rare and irreplaceable opportunity to instill the core competencies of living in the rapidly developing brain. Executive functioning skills, basic social skills, the rudiments of problem solving and self-teaching.

And something very important: The Rite of Passage. Not just one rite of passage -- or rite of competence -- but multiple rites of competent display are needed at different stages of development. Such rites should be hard-wired into any competent approach to child-raising.

In homes where "chores" are done -- such as when growing up on a family farm, a working ranch, or within a family business -- such rites and competencies are simply part of daily life, and passed from one generation to the next.

It is true that some types of competence are genetic and heritable. But it is also important that whatever seeds of competence exist, should be nurtured.

The alternative is societies where important competencies are dying out. As western nations age, their competent craftsmen and engineers and skilled technical teachers are retiring and dying out.

As manufacturing is outsourced to China and South / Southeast Asia, manufacturing skills are likewise lost with no prospects for return.

An aging population in Europe, parts of North America, and Oceania will grow more and more dependent upon technical products and technical skills which are no longer locally made or locally taught.

Competence slips away every year, more and more.

Find the pockets of competence that are stubbornly resistant to obliteration, and try to attach yourself to them. Contribute your own competence and learn from the competence of others.

Society at large is sinking in a quagmire of incompetence -- particularly at top levels of political, academic, and intellectual leadership. A thriving and prosperous civilisation encourages the cultivation and growth of independent competence at all ages and levels. A stagnant civilisation encourages a cradle-to-grave dependency, and a constriction of opportunities to excel, thrive, and profit on one's own merit and efforts.

A society that congeals into a monolithic institution is not a healthy or thriving society. What little sprouts of competence and independence that may show, are quickly stifled and discouraged. Most of the world is like that. America was once different.

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Blogger read it said...

Really smart women used to take great pride in doing an excellent job of childrearing. Modern society tells her that childrearing is a waste of time and can be left to illiterate nannies imported from the 3rd world, while she finds satisfaction butting heads with men in the business world. Well, gee, many women don't find that nearly as satisfying as everyone assured them they would. Plenty of female doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. quit so they can be with their children they love.

Anyway, this is the first generation in history to raise girls who can't cook and can barely babysit. No wonder restaurants and childrearing manuals are doing so well.

Saturday, 03 April, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

It's a shame, too, because they really do learn so well when they're young. Parents need to give them a chance to learn the things that will be helpful to them in later life.

Girls who can't cook. Boys who can't do mechanical repairs or simple construction jobs around the house.

Sounds perfect for an Obamanation.

Saturday, 03 April, 2010  
Blogger ee_ga said...

This is a little off topic but according to the science channel skeletal injury records show that Neanderthal women hunted with the men while the women from our species did not. extrapolating from there one could postulate that gender equality resulted in lower birth rates leading to the eventual extinction of the Neanderthal.

Tuesday, 06 April, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting. More time hunting means less time breeding and caring for children? Life in a Neanderthal ice age must have been close to the edge.

Modern-day mothers are forced into the workplace by high taxes and cost of living.

Adam Smith wrote an obscure little pamphlet about specialisation of labour. Something about it being more efficient somehow.

I suppose if men had been given breasts and a uterus, life might have been more equal for men and women from the beginning.

Wednesday, 07 April, 2010  

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