Logic and illogic in education

Logic and illogic in education

by Jon Rappoport

June 6, 2016

In two of my collections, The Matrix Revealed and Power Outside The Matrix, I include training in the art of logic and critical analysis.

The basic fact is: students in schools are rarely taught how to follow a line of reasoning from beginning to end. Nor do they practice analyzing half-formed, specious reasoning.

Who teaches young students, these days, how to distinguish between a polemic and a formal argument?

Teachers spend little or no time discussing hidden premises or assumptions, which color subsequent arguments.

Increasingly, people are “learning” from watching videos. Some videos are well done; many others intentionally omit vital data and make inferences based on “shocking images.”

A focused study of logic can illuminate a range of subjects and disciplines. It can suddenly bring perspective to fields of inquiry that were formerly mysterious and impenetrable.

Logic is the parent of knowledge. It contains the principles and methods common to all investigation.

Being able to spot and understand logical flaws and fallacies embedded in an article, essay, book immediately lifts the intelligence level.

Logic isn’t a prison; one isn’t forced to obey its rules. But the ability to deploy it, versus not understanding what it is, is like the difference between randomly hammering at a keyboard and typing coherent paragraphs. It’s the difference between, “I agree with what he’s writing,” and “I know exactly how he’s making his argument.”

In the West, the tradition of logic was codified by Aristotle. Before him, Plato, in the Socratic Dialogues, employed it to confound Socrates’ opponents.

Reading the Dialogues today, one can see, transparently, where Plato’s Socrates made questionable assumptions, which he then successfully foisted on those opponents. It’s quite instructive to go back and chart Socrates’ clever steps. You see logic and illogic at work.

High schools today don’t teach logic for two reasons. The teachers don’t understand the subject, and logic as a separate discipline has been deleted because students, armed with it, would become authentically independent. The goal of education rejects independent minds, despite assurances to the contrary.

Logic and critical analysis should be taught in phases, with each phase encompassing more complex passages of text offered for scrutiny.

Eventually, students would delve into thorny circumstantial arguments, which make up a great deal of modern investigation and research, and which need to be assessed on the basis of degrees of probable validity and truth.

It’s like a climbing a mountain. The lower paths are relatively easy, if the map is clear. At higher elevation, more elements come into play, and a greater degree of skill and experience is required.

My college logic teacher introduced his subject to the class this way: Once you’ve finished this semester, you’ll know when you know, and you’ll know when you don’t know.

The second part of his statement has great value. It enables real research beyond egotistical concerns, beyond self-serving presumptions, beyond secretly assuming what you’re pretending to prove.

We certainly don’t live in an age of reason; far from it. Therefore, the greater need to learn logic. Among other benefits, it centers the thinking process.

In a landscape of controversy, babble, bluster, public relations, covert propaganda, and outright lying, one has a dependable compass.

For instance, understanding the scientific method (hypothesis-prediction-verification) would go a long way toward untangling some of the outrageous claims of science, and separating them from the political agendas they serve.

Beginning in ancient Greece, coming up through the Middle Ages, and into the 19th century, logic was one aspect of education called the Trivium (“the three”): in sequence, a student learned grammar, then logic, then rhetoric.

Except in scattered places, where people have consciously instituted a revival of the Trivium, that integrated method of teaching is gone now.

Instead, in primary and middle schools, we have superficial coasting through many academic subjects, minus the necessary exercises and drills to ensure that students grasp material. In other words, we have imposed ADHD.

Logic isn’t the end-all and be-all of life. It doesn’t define what life is. It’s a tool. You either have it or you don’t. You can use it or you can’t. When you can, you have more power, and whole new vistas, previously unseen, open up to you.

Logic is a tool in your box. When you need to go in and remove it and use it, is it dull or is it sharp?

Finally, studying logic gives a student an appreciation of consequences. For example, a politician announces a high-flying generalization, as a plank of his platform. Two things ought to follow. The student does his best to translate that generality into specific terms which actually mean something. Then he traces what would happen if the plank were, in fact, put into effect; what would the consequences specifically entail? There are always consequences—it’s just that most people never see them or think about them, because they haven’t the foggiest idea about how to flesh them out and map their implications.

Logic: one of the great contributions to civilization, left to die on the vine.

It needs to be resurrected, in full flower.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

5 comments on “Logic and illogic in education

  1. Rosemarie Annonson says:

    I fully agree which leads to adults that cannot discern fact from opinion. The more opinion they read the more they accept something as fact. This error in judgment transfers to our politicians at all levels and they fail to understand the collateral effects of their votes. However, this may change as more and more school districts adopt e text books designed to allow the student to proceed at their own pace on the basis of evidence of mastery before they can move forward. Slower learners will not move forward without learning fast students will not be held back. Could you please give a review and of course delve into the socialization factors possibly instilled in the materials.

  2. binra says:

    Well for one the dumbing down and subversion of the education system is a design strategy and for two the discernment of a hidden personal agenda is natural to anyone who can rest the mental of reaction and simply abide in a relational willingness of receptivity – which of course one will not when identified or triggered within a conditioned personal identification.
    So I see your logic as the the test of consistency or congruency – an absence of self-contradiction. For if something is this it cant be that – unless it is both this and that and more.
    I have no academic training in logic. I looked up polemic – which I see as an oppositional identity that thrives or arrives at a sense of self by seeking to undermine the perceived adversary or rival.
    This sense of getting power from the denial or destruction of power in others is an illusion of power – with all the power of belief and identification invested in it.

    A formal argument is closer to a desire to articulate or give form and focus to an issue that has confusion or contention and a sense of needing clarity in order to proceed or act further.
    Willingness for communication is not merely a verbal statement or belief – for our hidden agenda includes our subconscious and unconscious denials and operates in act whether we or others recognize it or share the agreements to not see.

    I am not arguing against using any tools that serve the clarifying and unifying of purpose in communication and action – but I feel your (Jon’) broader arguments are always set within the framework of guilt and the inevitable power struggle to distribute it – and the punishment or dis-empowerment that is part of dealing with the hated and feared – once blame can be set and enforced.

    I say there is no possibility of real communication while a power struggle is being enacted and that speaking truth to power is a matter of focusing entirely within the issues of communication as communication – and not using it as the promotion of a self-agenda as the righteous judge and determiner of ‘reality’.

    I also acknowledge there are those or those in certain triggered states who are not at all open or willing for communication – and while this may well be because their denied terror or rage ‘locks’ them into a denial mode of consciousness as weapon and defence – one cannot tell them this and be anything but used thereby. One can learn to be the conditions of willingness that do not trigger or inflame the other and extend a presence that is neither deferential or seeking to deny or undermine the capacity to choose that is inherent in consciousness – and thus use what is evident as a means to reflect choices being made that have negative associations – and this can lead to a willingness to open enough to consider other perspectives – and this is a moment of willingness that is easily squandered if seen as a chink in their armour.

    If you want war-mindedness – you have it and no one can take it from you – excepting you die or withdraw completely from relational embodiment – perhaps as if to prove death over Life as your ultimate polemic – but… so what?

    If you thought war-mindedness was the ONLY REAL option – or the Way things work – then I invite sharing a a curiosity to revisit the underlying conditioning and seek a fresh perspective – for the power-struggle can only result in a world such as we have made and it is a dead end of futile and tragic experience – excepting that this operates a recognition of who we are NOT – by which to awaken who we are from the beliefs that operate beneath our awareness of them.

    The willingness to learn is what has to be cultivated, recognized and nurtured. The learning will draw forth its fulfilment with perhaps some guidance and encouragement – or it will meet denials in terms of non-acceptance for its true desire and demands to conform within set patterns that are essentially loveless regardless their presentation. We have to be this for ourselves and recognize that guidance for ourself can come through any agency or synchronicity of event – regardless the forms of our judgements as to what our answers should be or what form they should take.

    Imagination opens a channel to Spirit when it is not reactively locked into a negative self-definition – in which case it serves self-limitation.

    Humanity presents itself as evolving and progressing whilst engaging in ever more self-limitation. Even the ‘rationality’ that is focused in the desire to define and control is a form of the same old conditioning in which such an imposition of control was invoked by a conflicted identity or chaotic fragmentation of purpose. True Reason is Sanity – one and the same. You cannot make a unity of a self-contradiction – but you can entertain contradiction AS IF the underlying purpose has been replaced with warring minds and believe it true.

    “Know Thyself” is operating in time and beyond time whether we recognize this or attend to the replacement for knowing that the energetic of conflict operates in thought that fleshes out the casting of personae within a negative rendering of Presence – for every attack on the presence of ‘another’ is Self-attack unrecognized. Asserting and defending a bunch of thoughts is not the same as the sharing of a truly knowing and being known – and nor will its ‘success’ arrive at an appreciation your reality – as an integral part of Wholeness. Flowery language perhaps – but when an ancient hate shifts to such a recognition, words are the last things on our mind.

    And perhaps the words we start to attract and employ thereafter become unreal, heretical or despicable to the war-minded – and so they are generally filtered out, ignored and passed by, as if the science is settled. But a willingness to uncover truth is never ‘settled’ but is the movement of Life Itself. To grasp at forms of truth and assert them or possess them is to choose a hollow life at odds with the Movement of your own being. It’s a dance! But the joy-song cannot move the armoured

  3. LiMpy says:

    My college logic course (Philosophy 102) was one of the most important and thought advancing classes I took. It should be required somewhere in 11th grade and up education. But what is the likelihood as we have been heading the other way in “education as programming.”

  4. RRChief says:

    For Me, My real introduction to ‘outside of school propaganda” was Reading after getting a bit of time in hand, at Rolls Royce Aero Engines, on nightshift during my Apprenticeship.
    Ah the pleasures of time in hand.
    from memory, 35 years on, historically were, the lensmen series et al but E E Doc Smith, and also Robert A Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange land, Time enough for Love and Glory road, Starman Jones, know the feeling, as really all sailors sail within stella maris, the sea of stars. not knowing wether she shall make our destination, and even now, I know the books were both inspirational and instructional as respects civilised behaviour, striving for what you want, being able to put up with “shit” until such time as it is time to deal with said shit. oh yes some journeys are very convuluted. Thankfully hindsight is 20/20 and one is able to Grok, implications, actions and distractions, not only in correct proportion, but also position within a timeline…

    PI, 22/7, many ways to write the same thing without the symbol most associated with it.

    Modern Education is mothering and obsfucation of the individuals thinking process by more often than not, heightened stress levels, i.e. hard teacher. along with muddying method and an easy quiz with sweets, to make the child in the relationship feel good.

    They look imperviously upon the fact the kid goes backwards,the Ironically ends up caning their selves over a third parties ‘comment/viewpoint’ whether real or not.

    The depths a skinnerian teacher will go to, is really astonishing, yet the results can be foretold to a high degree, there is a potential for the subject to either survive beyond the test period, or worse still, thrive and regain consciousness, like it was before the wall was built. pleasure is of getting the opportunity at working at the grout and removing the bricks, (see cover of alan parsons tales of edgar allen poe.) so many of us fall for the cask of amontillado….

    Peace to all.

  5. Pritam Singh says:

    In healing from so-called ‘incurable diseases’ like diabetes, I created “LOGIC FOR HEALING” at this link: https://www.truthvisionary.com/public/logicforheal.html

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