My last post asserted that I had a very good understanding of my basic nature, what kind of person I would become, by the time I was around 17 years old, following the 4 years of testing of my self-assessment at around 13 years old. In that last post, I criticized my 17-year old self for not accepting as truth what I knew about myself. I don’t criticize my 13 year old self for not taking my self-assessment more seriously.
Before I started writing that post, I started with a different question. What would it have been like if I were a 17 year old today. After transferring events from my young life to the events and environment of the past 17 years, I count myself lucky to have started life when I did even as I imagine that I would have been luckier if I had started it a century earlier.
I realize that that age group is at least vigorously discussing concepts that drop words like MGTOW and red- and blue-pills. I have no doubt I would have considered those ideas seriously. But I also remind myself of the fact that I didn’t trust my intuitions at the time, so I probably would not have trusted them now. I would also be seeped into the discussions of feminism, social justice, and the necessity of higher education.
Certainly, the imperative to pursue higher education has become stronger now than it was when I was young. Failing to reach a bachelor’s degree today is probably similar to failing to complete high-school when I was young. On top of that, we expect it to take longer to get through college, setting a reasonable age of leaving the education system at around 26 years old (perhaps with an advanced degree, perhaps not).
I can imagine myself following the path of least resistance and thus delaying by several years the arrival at the point I am now.
I started thinking of this based on a different question of what kind of advice or guidance I would give my son or grandson of the same age at this time. He would have come to his own assessments of what he is like, and it is likely to be very different from my own. However, I would expect a very similar timeline. He would begin to understand what type of person he was by the time he reached 13, and the subsequent 4 years of testing would give him enough proof to conclude he would be right.
I’m thinking specifically about males here. I have some thoughts about paternal advice and guidance to females, but it would be different and follow different age milestones. Given the current climate, I don’t expect my paternalism would be very well received by a female. In any event, I think the modern child-development and education system is currently optimized for females. As a male, I will suspend my objections for how females are raised and educated. They are females. The education and social indoctrination systems (as well as many job opportunities) are fully feminized, in my opinion.
Because these systems of education and development of children, adolescents, and young adults are so feminized, I believe this is detrimental to males. These systems have answers to male’s questions about who they are and who they will become. Those answers are feminized. The answers are in terms of attention-deficits, uncontrolled masculinity, or personal identity. All of these are answered with disciplinary and pharmaceutical treatments. A male being authentic to his nature deviates from the feminized ideas of being. Most likely they would be treated as needing medical or remedial help for ADHD, depression, or puberty-blockers, or whatever.
The objective is to get through education to a college degree that is deliberated retarded in pace in order to accommodate the largest population, a pace where a BS degree can take 20 years or more of education past kindergarten, or 12 years past the age when a young man will figure out what he is going to become.
My own personal recollection of being 13 is that of extreme impatience with the pace of my education. I eagerly read ahead in the subjects I was interested in (especially physics and mathematics), and even sought out books meant for later grades or even college. I specifically recall being disciplined in class for trying to push the class faster than the teacher wanted, for example blurting answers even when the teacher deliberately avoided me for the valid goal of getting others to participate. I also recall bad grades resulting from disregard of uninteresting subjects such as history or literature. I’m sure a little ADHD medication would have helped solve both of these problems.
Our current system of developing young people is to standardize on a particular pace that eventually became spelled out the common-core curriculum that specifies specific skills to be mastered at specific ages, and those target ages are the same for all students, particularly both girls and boys.
As an engineer, I appreciate the efficiency of assembly line method that optimizes between quality and volume so that the adequately developed students exit the system at about the same time. At the same time, this system is mass-production of men and women developed for the working life analogous to affordable products stocked in discount warehouse stores, products destined to be disposed of in a few years.
As with mass-produced products sold in discount stores, specialty high-end stores remain competitive for the specialized markets needing more expensive higher quality products. An analogy is the low-cost electric drill that will satisfy most do-it-yourself home projects will not satisfy the full time professional carpenter. The development of the more expensive product requires a specialization for quality throughout the entire supply chain: better materials, better machining processes, and better craftsmanship. In some cases, the rejects of the production of high-quality products are repackaged or recycled into lower-cost products for mass production.
I think a similar analogy applies to the education of men. As a society we benefit from men developed to their best capacity. That development may have various disappointments who can still benefit from the existing slower development process. Society will benefit from both, at different values. The men will benefit by being able to exercise their strengths without the distractions of developing irrelevant weaknesses.
While I speak in a college-education context, I believe this is also applicable to non-college educated. In fact, I’m not convinced I was a good candidate for a college education. I might have done better without the college, and certainly there are many others who have done more with their college education than I have.
My basic point is that by the age of about 13 years old, a young man has a pretty good idea what he is capable of doing. At that age, I already had adequate hints that I am not very good in certain academic subjects, that I am not artistically or musically inclined, that I am not athletically inclined (including preparation for heavy manual labor). I am sure that if forced to do so, I could have developed adequately in any of these areas. I am also sure that I would never be satisfied with my standing in those areas no matter how hard I tried.
However, I have certainly met people at that age who did excel in each of the areas where I did not. They demonstrated that excellence at that age. They impressed me. They humbled me into recognizing I was not in their league, but they earned my respect and admiration even as I tried to hide it.
I pretty much understood my limitations at about 13 years old, and yet I felt compelled to give myself the chance to prove the opposite. I did try out for basketball and failed. I entered into fist-fights and got beat every time. I tried out for music (band and concert) and failed. Similarly, I tried art, literature, liberal-arts type academics, hard sciences and hard maths. I failed, pretty much as I guessed I would. In the end it was a waste of time.
The objection to the 13-year old male having confidence in his future is that he still needs to experience the changes from puberty, increased testosterone and growth of skeleton and muscles. Those changes were pretty dramatic, to be sure. The following few years resulted in many sprained ankles from awkwardness and a freakish break-out of acne, cysts, and warts. Puberty did not change my ambitions or lack thereof.
A similar objection to the 13-year old is that he hasn’t yet experienced the more mature relationships with others, and with the opposite sex in particular. Deep down, I didn’t think that was right for me, but I did try it out. The results were as clumsy and as faulty as my athletic attempts.
In both scenarios, I might have done better if I tried harder, or if I had different opportunities or guidance. However, I’m betting that would only postpone the inevitable conclusion of being uninterested to the point of disqualifying myself.
In high school, I did excel in some school activities. I was reasonably good at math, science, and mechanical crafts (such as machine shop). Given the results of these experiences, I concluded that engineering would be a good choice. Along with the prospect of good employment prospects, that was the choice I made.
My discussion here is why I criticize my 17 year old self for not being more confident about my self-assessment. I don’t criticize my 13 year self who pretty much understood the same thing. It is reasonable to the 13 year old to treat the assessment as a hypothesis to be tested. The various tests attempted were all appropriate, if not not sufficient.
When it came time to decide whether to go to college and what to study, my 17 year old self had the results of those tests. I now acknowledge it was rational to conclude from the results of those tests that I should go into engineering. From a rational reasoning point of view, I would only challenge the necessity of promising earnings opportunities for making the choice. I would argue that I could have made earnings in many other ways and with roughly the same results as I am in now. It would not have been a mistake to have had more skeptical in that decision at the time. I am ambivalent about whether I made a mistake in making that decision.
The problem with my experience is that the testing was constrained by the opportunities presented by the public education system. The opportunities for testing was in terms of the available activities of coursework, extracurricular and club activities, and interactions with peers constrained by these environments. My point is that all of these opportunities challenged my preconceptions, and none of them were relevant to confirming my preconceptions.
My preconceived self-assessment was about my ability to observe dynamic behaviors and invent predictions based on what I saw. This is analogous to the title of the slide: I have a talent for discovering hypotheses based on observations. Similarly, it explains this blog’s obsession with observations over theory. I am eager to arrange observations into a pattern that can tell me something that can give direction for future activities.
This may be described as a form of science, but the scientific studies in high-school does not test this kind of skill. The science education emphasizes theory over observations. Even laboratory work that generates observations are designed to specifically demonstrate the already learned theories. Any errors in such laboratory work had to be explained by errors in measurement or procedure.
There was no coursework for discovery of something new. At the time, I don’t know how such a course would work. We were not likely to discover something new by looking at our backyards.
Now, though is different. We have big data in the form of large data sets (many are free and publicly available). We have cheap tools to store and efficiently retrieve that data. With these tools, a high-school student could discover something very new, and perhaps even something important.
There is no way to prove it, and no way to convince anyone, but I’m confident that I had the aptitude at the age of 13 to begin big-data work, learning the tools for ingesting data into a data store, querying that data into multi-dimensional analysis, or applying machine learning to cluster or make make predictions. My point is that I had the aptitude at the time to learn all of these skills within a couple years so that by 17 I could have tested my abilities to interpret observations.
This is essentially what my career is now, and this career is consistent what I understand about my abilities when I was young.
Big data itself was not a career choice (except for very elite group) through the first couple decades of my adult life. However, there were opportunities in for observing and predicting for decision making. Even now, much of my work is done with very small data sets that could have been performed decades ago with very little effort.
My understanding is that several high schools, especially in larger school districts, do have courses that will provide similar data-opportunities I described above. However, I’m sure that schools comparable to the one that enrolled me would not have much opportunity.
Even with the opportunity for high-school students to test out their skills with computer science and data science, these schools will still burden the students with coursework or other activities that are both irrelevant and exceedingly slow-paced.
A presumption of the schooling curriculum is that the students can not be trusted to choose what they need to learn. To qualify for high-school education, everyone should know roughly the same information and skills. Even for college education, there is a constraint in terms of what a student can choose to study, and what he must study in spite of his choice.
By the way, I talk about this academically, but I think the same applies non-academically. Men can also understand that their strengths are in trades or in hard manual work. They can be convinced of this at the age of 13 in spite of the fact that they have yet to go through the pubescent growth and yet to reach adult levels of androgens. They can begin training their bodies with confident anticipation that they’ll mature to reach their potential. That training may include exercises and training that could occupy most of their time, leaving little time for unhelpful studies presently mandated for public education. I’m not the right person to present this argument, but I’m sure a good one can be made.
At the root of this discussion is a criticism of the modern approach for developing young people, especially in the form of public education from primary education, through high-school, through college. In short, the education process is far too rigid forcing everyone into a process that is very likely detrimentally slow for many men.
I can see the point of providing public support for education to as large a percentage of the population as possible. We should publicly finance up to 12 years of primary and secondary education for those who need it. We should also publicly support up to 6-10 years to get a college degree of some sort.
I’m just saying we should permit more accelerated learning opportunities, especially for men.
I described something similar in an earlier post. For those who can do the work, they should be allowed to achieve high-school level education by the eighth year of education. This way by the age of 13, the young man can make a decision for how to develop upon his aptitudes. This does not preclude a student taking longer to reach high-school level competency, or to choose to postpone making a decision of what he wants until later. I’m only proposing that this is an encouraged option.
An academically motivated student can enter college-level work during his mid-teens and leave with even an advanced degree before 20. Similarly, someone can become a fully qualified for independent work in some trade by the same age, something we already expect in many military occupations.
I earlier described this in terms of changing our standards for recognizing maturity in young people. A young man at about the age of 13 is mature enough to start to make decisions that affect himself. I made the distinction that he may not be old enough to make decisions that affect others (such as being licensed to drive a vehicle on public roads, or starting a family), but he is sufficiently mature to start making decisions about what he will do with his life. In particular, he is mature enough to enter into contracts for work and training that concentrates on his strengths and ambitions.
Adopting this model presupposes that he will have the opportunity to obtain 12th-grade level skills in reading, writing, arithmetic, and civics now associated with high-school. Many man can achieve sufficiency in these areas by that age. We can allow the others to take longer, but we should allow some to reach the level by that age when restlessness begins to take over the male mind. In such a model, we would inform even the first graders that this is an opportunity that they are free to pursue. They have to meet the intermediate skill levels, but they can move through them up to twice as fast if they are capable.
Based on historical experience of education in the 19th century, many young men will be so capable, and motivated.
After the age of 13, the young man will be free to pursue personal objectives that will develop his role in society. Within a year, he may begin to earn some money in employment that gives on-the-job training that counts as part or as the whole of his compensation. The emphasis is on developing the strengths the young man knows is best suited to his capabilities, and to develop those strengths as strong as possible during the most optimal time in his life for such development as both his mind and body rapidly develops through puberty.
Most importantly, we need to allow young men to have access to a full education before the feminized approach to education becomes a hindrance to their personal development. That sets the age at about 13. Before which, he can follow a common-core type education but in an accelerated path to reach high-school competency by the age of 13. After that, he can divorce himself from the common-education system that is no longer relevant to his personal development as a man.