Modern Education is Pavlovian Conditioning By: Jay Dyer
Assessing the problems in American public education and academia elicits standard responses that are generally trite and multitude. “Lack of funding,”, or “adequately trained teachers,” often round out the usual replies, yet system-generated solutions to the perceived problems are always external in nature (especially given the problems are themselves system-generated). The diagnosis of the causes are also consistently external, leading to endless debates over appropriation and methodology, ever and always overlooking the actual problem, that academia as an institution no longer functions the way most perceive it. The very presupposition of the modern debates over education are precisely concerned with how to fix a “broken system,” yet I propose the system is functioning perfectly as it was intended: The goal of public education and academia is not education, but socialization and Pavlovian social engineering.
From its inception, the architects of the American public education system, and its corollary system of “higher education” in the college and university system, were established explicitly for the purpose of reorienting classical modes of pedagogy for “democratic,” “socialistic,” “utopian,” and “egalitarian” techniques of state conditioning that would confer “personhood” on the individual pupil through integration into the collective, allowing for a smoother transition into the Comtean civic religion of scientistic naturalism, paying obeisance to the gods of state, as life would be lived out in the “New Jerusalem” of the public-private cubicle. These claims are precisely the words of the key founders of American Education, including: John Dewey, J.B. Watson, Horace Mann, James G. Carter, William James, and many others, all intent on inculcating their own religious philosophy of Darwinian scientism, pragmatism and collectivist socialism under the banner of progressive, democratic, secular humanism. It could more properly be titled Americanist Education, where the goal of indoctrination centers around the installment of the decrepit final end of its Enlightenment origins. As I wrotepreviously:
The path to Enlightenment skepticism, deism. rationalism and scientism is directly from the empirical theology that even preceded Aquinas in thinkers like Abelard, and was contemporary with Aquinas in people like Ockham. Though Thomas was not a nominalist, he accepted the same epistemic starting point of the nominalists, namely, empiricism, and empirical based theology, that, again, derives from the analogia entis. Nominalism is absurd, and certainly worse than Aquinas in many respects, but insofar as they shared the same empirical starting point as Aquinas, they were more consistent. If God is banished from being directly present in the world through His immanent energies, all that is left is a material world of causation with an unknown deity locked within itself. That position is deism, and deism quickly leads to atheism. If sense-data is the only source of human knowledge, and sense-data is therefore the source of knowledge of God,. none of these created causal effects amounts to real knowledge of the divine itself. The divine is never accessed or experienced at all, just a series of created causes. And that, my readers, is the view of David Hume – that is how Thomism leads to Enlightenment atheism.
Arising from the ancient and medieval conception of the world as a unified whole under the providential governance of Reason and/or God, the birth of the university cultivated learning and the classical method of pedagogy that reflected that same belief in an ordered cosmos. From this idea arose the term “uni” – “versitas,” a unified whole (See Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University). Thus, a liberal arts education was grounded in the foundations of grammar, logic and rhetoric, being followed by the more advanced subjects that flow therefrom, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. This was possible because all facts of man’s experience were interpreted and given meaning within an all-encompassing worldview that saw a Personal Deity (by the Middle Ages) as a unifying metaphysical principle that linked the disparate phenomena of human experience.