The structure for gaining knowledge

Lyon Keating:

Research isn’t pointless and I don’t support not doing it.  I just claim that it’s pointless just as much as anything else is pointless.  You can craft any argument and discussion and support it fully with many sources no matter what you believe, so, in my thought process, how can you only rely on that?  You got to take everything with a grain of salt whether it is research based or personal based as it basically is adhering to something that could totally not have anything or any relevance to solving or finding out about what you’re trying to find out about.  Yes, we could all give up and not care and that could be a total legitimate conclusion to it all as we seem to not know if things are really true or if we’re making things worse or better in the long run but we happen to be human and we happen to be humans with hearts that care so that’s not an option.  I mean, why wake up in the morning when you’re just going to go to bed at night?  Why work towards things if in the end you don’t notice things change and they are basically completely out of your control?  We do them because we’re animals that are happy to be alive and we try to get the most out of things and make things better.  I don’t think anyone initially starts out trying to make things more difficult for themselves or trying to be a completely evil person.  That wouldn’t really be in line with what it means to be an adaptable animal who’s trying to survive and live.  It is folly to think that there is a correct way to always live and come to knowledge.  We’ll limit ourselves if we think like this and we can only judge ideas based on what we believe and how it relates to our own version of how the world works.



I guess I just got something different out of college than you did. You can indeed use statistics and facts to make any arguments you want but if you’re wrong, ultimately you’ll be proven so. This is done when peers review your claims against all the other established claims and evidence given and assess whether or not your argument is strong.

That’s what I was hoping the forum would kind of be like when we first started though I understand that is not the case now. I was hoping we’d do something a bit deep than yell at each other like “Here’s what I believe and why.” If we did do that, I think we could have much deeper conversations but I also see that time constraints prevent that from happening.


Lyon Keating:

Yeah I suppose that above all else I believe school sort of provides a pathway for a very distinct, narrow vision for coming up with an answer.  And like you said, that answer has to be matched up with other people in your field to see if it has any validity or not.  They take whatever you claim and match it up with whatever has come before it.  How is one suppose to come up with anything new with this approach?  Just because something hasn’t been said before or other methods are used for finding out answers doesn’t mean it’s any less true.  I guess I just see this as yet another system where a whole lot of the educational structure adhers to what a bunch of old geezers have to say and research about something where appealing to the established elite is more important than anything else.  If you don’t do this then you’re not being academic and you arn’t taken seriously but I don’t need satisfaction from these people for my answers as I believe in other approaches to find just as valid, if not more valid answers, to whatever questions life poses.  Plus, classrooms and research are not where true stimulation and life learning are.  They happen to the nth degree more through living and experiencing, however, this is just my opinion and classrooms have always stifled my thought process more than anything else and as a teacher I see most kids feeling this way too.  It sort of depresses me to have to go back to school to give in yet again to this structure that I feel doesn’t really relate to the realities of life but I suppose I’ll go jump through a few more hula hoops in order to appease whomever and whatever as making it seem like I’m more qualified.  Only then can I be the agent I want to be, in the field I want to be in, doing more of what I want.  I get it but something in me screams that it sure is a shame.

I feel that in a hundred or two hundred years we’ll look back on our educational structures and pathways for figuring out information and sort of laugh at how only a very narrow outlet was allowed to flourish in this time.



In terms of academic research and the viewpoints I talk about, there is widespread acceptance in the academic world of a lot of what I say. This is one of the reasons I find arguing with you so frustrating sometimes! If you went to actual establishment universities (Harvard, Georgetown, etc.) I think you might find some disagreement, but a lot of my views aren’t really as radical as you think they are.

I’m curious where your distaste for academics comes from. Do you not like the format? Like, for example, in essays, do you not like the structure of academic essays? It makes sense to me, that you would have a thesis with supporting arguments and then explain what all those are, but is this a format you struggled with in college or did you simply disaree with it? What to you mean you say “classrooms have always stifled my thought process more than anything else”?

I agree with you that education is all formatted wrong and many of the processes are out of date and worthless, but I don’t think the academic essay or the process of creating it are the same. The academic process of researching and making claims appeals to the purest form of human logic. How else does one argue a point? I agree, logic can be tricky (the Flat Earth Society you mentioned) but only if it’s used in a vaccum (if you stand above the Great Rift Valley you can actually see the curvature of the Earth!). Can it not be said that without logic and reason, much of human civilization would not exist? Isn’t our ability to reason what makes us different from animals? Instead of surviving off of basic instinct, do we not try to find deeper meaning and understanding in the world using our mental faculties?


Lyon Keating:

It’s not that I don’t come to learn things by reading things or watching the news.  It’s just that I take in about 10 to 20% (if not less) of what I read while taking in 90 to 100% of what I live and experience.  I don’t know why that is but I think it has a lot to do with my learning style which is very body oriented (kinesthetic I think is the proper term used most often).  I just don’t remember things as well that I read and I get distracted easily with ADD tendencies and bored and it really doesn’t register very well.  That’s also a reason why I try to read and write a huge amount, so that I can take in more of that 10 to 20%.  After dropping out of college I pledged to myself I would try to do this more as I was pretty much only a kinesthetic learning style type person.  Before then, I could count on half of one hand how many books I had read.  Really, I think I’ve come a long way but maybe still very far from say, where you are at in regards to comprehension through reading or maybe your natural learning style.

I also like to attach reasons for why I believe the way I do.  I don’t give people the time of day who just say things for the sake of saying them and not providing a why or some reason for why they think they way they do.  The difference between you and I is that you attach links and articles to your opinions and beliefs whereas I attach personal accounts of things I’ve experienced to my thoughts and beliefs.  I obviously believe in experience more, you, research through reading.

Oh I love the academic essay format!  I teach it probably just as much as I teach anything else.  However, I disagree on the whole research process as the only way to be taken seriously.  Yes, you NEED to have reasons for why you believe the way you do but that being judged based solely on what you find in a primary or secondary source is only one way to figure things out.  In college, it became apparent to me that people would respect my writing more and what I had come up with if I just attached a reference that they could see in print of whatever it was I was talking about.  I could have said ANYTHING and framed my argument WHATEVER way I wanted in those large seminar papers and all because I just added a source and/or a reference to somehow magically justify whatever it was I had to say.  That process seemed incredibly flawed and didn’t really relate to any truth or validity involved as I was in the end just really saying whatever it was I wanted to say anyway.  I am not by any means discounting the whole process, but just saying that I take papers and writings just as seriously if they arn’t academically structured vs. if they are.

I suppose I just get disgusted by the structure.  There is no fool proof structure for anything and the fact that you have to write and research in a certain way just doesn’t seem to relate to real life to me.  It instead speaks to the obsession the western world has on finding the ANSWER.  We need to have physical things to look at and always rules and regulations to follow in order to find truth, which I really believe can end up being very far from the truth.  It’s always the ANSWER ANSWER ANSWER that is obsessed over and this puts humans in a sort of unrealistic God like position that somehow makes them think they can find the absolute truth.  The absolute is different for everyone and following a structured outline of how to find the answer is usually a pathway that speaks more to what the established elite who controls the structure wants to hear vs. really finding the answer (as if there is even one answer to cling onto).  This is where I really think our culture errs greatly.

Classrooms are a place that are mostly dead with stimulation, boring, and not at all relatable to the real world, which mostly, if not all, takes place outside classroom type environments.  They are a good place to learn background and discuss on whatever it is you are going to do or have done but other than that most schools and the educational structure should focus on such things as field trips, living and breathing all subjects, traveling heavily, hands on experiences, things associated and relatable to our lives.  What kinds of Math are used in the real world?  How does the history of the world create itself in the moment and get into books that we read about?  How do we become real social scientists and conduct experiments within the real world with real people?  How do we fix cars?  I could go on but I really don’t think it’s hard to conduct a real life school vs a fake life school that is drab and stuck indoors solely reading about the things that are going on in the world, which only caters to a very specifc student.  You might say this is too expensive or would take too many teachers but if we can spend $40 billion dollars a year on wars then I’m not convinced that we can’t spend more to make a reality like this happen for real education.

Yes basic insinct is not the answer, and reason and logic are wonderul things that does set us apart from more or less reactionary animals.  However, it is only one thing that makes us uniquely human along with emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and other such things.  Also, here’s another doozy for you.  Your form of logic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s my form of logic.  My ideas above are what I feel is more logical than say what I feel about your arguments.  It’s what makes more sense to me and leads me to more answers.  If I were to stick solely to your logic than I woudn’t really be stimulated and/or care about things as much.  Also, even though I mentioned this earlier, logic to most people relates to being able to find an answer.  In this situation, that means resorting to research and finding words and whatnot that are clearly written down and shouting “ANSWER! ANSWER!.  TEACHER I’VE FOUND THE ANSWER.  Arn’t I a good student?”  I just don’t think the world works that easily and is misled a lot by this mentality.



You know as I think about it, maybe the difference between us is that you are a more philosophical thinker than me. I know you enjoy reading philosophy books, maybe that’s why you approach ideas that way. I certainly am not well-versed in philosophy and it doesn’t really affect the way I view the world. I can say I don’t often question the nature of knowledge and that, in general, I’m just a logically-minded person. If A then B, if B then C, if A then C, and so on.

You’re right, I do remember a lot of what I read for some reason. It sticks in there. And unlike you, I’m slow to learn kinesthetically. My athletic skills were never all that great. Anyway, I hope I didn’t offend you. I think you’re a smary guy, however your conclusions are reached and even if I don’t always understand them.


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