Are you blessed with a sharp wit and prone to have original thoughts? Just recognize that every innovation or original idea in our evolution was opposed by the majority, including all the truths we now accept as common sense.

At some point, innovators were accused of heresy and even killed for just going against the tide of conventional wisdom. For most of human history, “everyone knew” that the world was flat and our planet was the center of the universe. But I urge you, as long as you have “paper on the table and ink in the well,” to share your truth. (What is an ink well? You may have to explain that to young people.)

The recent attack on Western Civilization is completely unjustified. When I was a freshman at Simpson College (Iowa) pursuing a liberal arts degree, I was required to take a year long course on Western Civilization. My highly esteemed professor (Dr. Joe Walt) used the analogy of a tree that produced our fruits to explain the presence of our past in everything that we are and ever hope to be. Hidden beneath our tree are the roots (though invisible to most) that sustains us.

Most of our words have Greek and Latin origin and our conviction that everyone should be treated equally under the law came to us from the Ten Commandments and Roman jurists. Every department on a college campus evolved from the foundations of western civilization. While our educational system evolved from the Islamic Madrasa (12th Century) then adopted by the West, music and theatre came to us from the Middle Ages. The child is father to the man.

Our intellectual heritage is formidable. Ancient Greek thought is in our constitution (both what is on paper and what’s in our DNA.) Shakespeare and Homer is in everything Mark Twin ever wrote. Leonardo Di Vinci is baked into every invention of Elijah McCoy. Our buildings and plumping have their origins in Rome and Egypt. When I was visiting Pompeii (Italy) a few years ago, it was pointed out to us that the reason rail lines are four feet, 8.5 inches apart is because that was the distance between the wheels of Roman chariots. The foundations of our modern thought and innovations are to be found in the classics, but we were also early adopters to whatever was useful on the world stage, such as paper from China.

I have often wondered if the invention of the wheel, fire, bows and arrows, and animal skins for clothing were developed by individuals and then adopted by others or as need is the mother of invention, where they developed by multiple tribal groups simultaneously?

As we add courses in computer science and programing in our schools, in addition of ancient history, I am aghast to learn that we no longer offer or in the process of phasing out: English and grammar, first aid, household repairs, handwriting, drivers’ education, home economics, typing and shorthand, budgeting, soldering and woodworking (shop), arithmetic, choir, music, geography, physical education, social dancing, and etiquette. I studied all of the above and found them everlastingly useful.

How are our children being educated? I imagine that some retired teachers would start an afterschool and weekend school to take up the slack for what should be but is not being covered in our modern curriculum.

Did it occur to you that kids must be taught to brush their teeth, to shop for groceries, mow the lawn and wash dishes? There are actual steps that must be taught and retaught. First, I show you, then we do it together and then you show me that you can do it by yourself. Then practice makes perfect.

My grandmother was wrong when she told me that “experience is the best teacher.” I have never met a golfer who just bought some clubs and wacked at the ball until he got it. Or would you like to submit to neurosurgery with someone who says he is just going to practice until he figures it out. I have no doubt that you could learn surgery if you had a few hundred years to learn it and a thousand people to practice on. So, in my way of thinking, if you want to learn something efficiently, go to school where the experts will teach you.

Yes, young people are much more adept on the internet and I admit to being an ignorant “Boomer” who must have someone show me how to do most things on my computer and cell phone. I like the fact that we sometimes make accommodation for seniors, but why doesn’t the health care system have an option where you can opt out of aps and have a living, breathing person answer the phone and direct me the doctor to whom I wish to speak.

“Are you a boomer? If yes, please hold for an operator. I am a member of Kaiser Permanente and whenever I need an appointment or get a prescription refilled, I must plan to spend an hour or two wading through endless options and listening to the same messages a dozen times. I am so frustrated. Have you figured out that no matter who you want to talk to these days, you cannot get to a live person? You are mostly told to go to the app.

Soon, robots will take over and we don’t have to think or even interact with each other anymore. Or I can decide to adapt - not!

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.