The Compartmentalization of the Mind
A disconnected picture leads to incomplete solutions
Without all of the connections and relationships between parts, any attempt at solving a problem will always fail to address the root causes. If we can't see the whole context, our understanding will always be incomplete.
Viewing issues as solitary and separate from the rest of the world will give us a limited perspective on the fundamental factors that contribute to an issue. Looking at 10% of the picture and expecting to fully grasp the whole is a major problem that plagues our world.
I believe a great deal of this is due to our education system. Compulsory education based on the Prussian model is the dominant form of schooling in our world. It breaks up learning into subjects that are disconnected from one another without any attempt at relating the parts to one another.
Former teacher and researcher, John Taylor Gatto, discusses this at length in his book "Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling".
The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections...Even in the best schools a close examination of curriculum and its sequences turns up a lack of coherence, full of internal contradictions. Fortunately, the children have no words to define the panic and anger they feel at constant violations of natural order and sequence fobbed off on them as quality in education.
Incoherent contradictions are seen as normal
Our schools, as well as our media, have trained us to believe that disjointed facts and fragmented understandings of reality are perfectly ordinary. This is in direct contrast to how nature functions, yet it is mostly ignored and written off as simply the way things are.
Television reinforces this worldview, as endless programs disconnected from one another are shown, lacking a meaningful degree of order or logical sequencing. Because of this, we tend to view world events through a narrow field of view and readily accept reductionist and simplistic explanations for why events occur.
For this reason, we are doomed to overlook important elements that contribute to the whole problem. We want A to be a straightforward cause of B even if C, D, E, etc, also played a part. You can see this in relation to health issues, world affairs, and many other social problems.
A fractured mind leads to a fractured world.
Society longs for simple answers to complex problems. We see something like gun violence and think that banning the gun will solve or at least help the situation, yet we'd rather not ponder why the violence is occurring in the first place.
Factors such as the glorification of violence in the media, the pervasive military culture, the breakdown of families and communities and the overall social isolation individuals deal with in relation to our fragmented civilization.
We want world peace and want some force to bring it about, yet we're terrified to face the reasons war is such a persistent reality in our world. Control of resources and supply lines, economic incentives by industrial forces who profit massively from such warfare, institutional forces whose thirst for power and dominance of the planet seems to hold no bounds.
Humans crave straightforward, simple solutions despite the reality that our world is often more complicated and interconnected than we'd like to admit. We want a single piece of legislation or a solitary act to 'fix' the problem, when it can often require a great deal of reflection and delving into many other interconnected issues in order to discover the best approach.
Seek holistic, realistic, connected understanding
Instead of accepting simple answers for complex problems provided by sources who'd rather we not look at the bigger picture, we should challenge ourselves to see all of the interconnected components that make up the whole. This is a tool to resolve cognitive dissonance, whereas mental compartmentalization separates our world into subjects and categories as a sophisticated defense against our own contradictions.
Overcoming the compartmentalized mind should be a priority for anyone seeking to achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and the world they live in. Utilizing socratic methods to peel back and gain a broader view of an issue will help with this matter.
Like the inquisitive child that continually asks 'why', it is imperative to discover all of the parts that contribute to the whole as a way to reduce separation and disconnection. It's not the easy or convenient approach, but it is the sane and healthy response to a fragmented world.
If we seek order and connectedness in our world, perhaps it's best we start with our own minds.
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