Educational togetherness, as filtered down through the mass legacy of John Dewey, holds that the main object of schooling is to bring about a pupil’s adjustment to a group. That is, a disdain for competition as such and other variances and volatility that tend to inhibit group dynamics, or rather an orientation toward psychological engineering that keeps everyone happy and away from the solitary individual pursuing a vision on their own.
By contrast, the old Soviet Union imposed collectivism and conformity from the top whereas American progressive educators imposed it from the bottom. Inherent in the latter view is a mythology of the common man and a fear that too much learning can be a dangerous thing, a denial of the gifted on the grounds of creating an educated elite. Conformity being the leitmotif and with it the subsequent involvement of communal techniques based on the assumption that a group thinks better than an individual. The response is that Hamlet could not have been written by a committee and the Mona Lisa was not a group painting.
Ultimately, all these mechanisms, whether in giant corporations or the office of POTUS ends up producing a reductio ad absurdum of sameness on the top.Mechanisms for achieving unanimity between great white fathers of the hour and the official offspring who multiply constantly according to Parkinson’s Law.
(see link at end)…Can you persuade someone to like a product by telling them that it’s popular? Do teenagers like Taylor Swift because she’s good or because everyone else they know likes her — so hey, she must be good, right?
Sociologist Robert Merton dubbed this tendency to base what we think we think on what other people are doing the “self-fulfilling prophecy” in 1949, and since then social scientists have tried to measure how powerful it actually is. Now, based on some studies conducted with the help of the Internet, it seems clear that we’re often just sheep.
A few years ago, Duncan Watts — a network-theory pioneer and scientist at Yahoo and Columbia University — wanted to test the strength of self-fulfilling prophecies in pop culture. The problem, he realized, was that to really explore the phenomenon you’d have to rewind history. For example, I could argue that Madonna is famous because she’s uniquely talented. You could counterargue that she’s just lucky: She got picked up by the right label at the right time, and enough people glommed onto her. But what if you could replay history with different conditions? If Madonna becomes famous each time, then her success is due to raw talent. If not, it’s just luck.
You can’t rewind history, of course. But Watts devised a clever way to simulate the effect. He and his collaborator, Matthew Salganik, created a music-downloading Web site. They uploaded 48 songs by unknown bands and got people to log in to the site, listen to the songs, then rate and download them. Users could see one another’s rankings, and they were influenced in roughly the same way self-fulfilling prophecies are supposed to work. That meant some tunes could become hits — and others duds — partly becauseocial pressure….Read More:http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/st_clive_thompson/