Friday, March 12, 2010

Genius: An Artifact of Social Design pt. 1

Today I was contemplating on all the times that people have called me or someone else a genius, I asked myself "what defines genius?" Come to find out according to the internet and many sources there are many kinds of genius, which I will not elaborate on for times sake. So now I'm thinking a genius is actually something that is socially constructed by culture and is attainable by anyone with the power to do so and if so then why does our society see it as such a rare and inherent label of human intelligence. Could be our overall lack of resources among the middle and lower class? I could argue so, but instead I'm going to talk a bit about becoming a genius.

As I was thinking about this idea of being more intelligent than the average person it hit me that the notion that only some of us can have the status of genius is actually creating less geniuses. Many people see this as a barrier, a cultural truism that has yet to be challenged, and that we are either born with genius or not born without it, but in reality it is just result of our socialization. Anyone can be trained or taught to be a "genius". For some this might take a longer amount of time and for others they might experience a shorter amount of time. It is pretty simple to become a genius if you weren't socialized to be a genius already, all you have to do is educate yourself about whatever kind of genius you want to be preferably something you're passionate about. For example if you want to be a musical genius all you'd have to do is be very familiar with all styles of music and how they are made. Then practice writing and playing all those styles of music as well as many different kinds of instruments. Depending the the pattern in which you do this you will come out with a different end result, the "genius" is simply another way of saying something/someone on a level of infinite levels that has never been seen or heard before. This is just one of many ways to become a genius. It almost seems too simple to most people but it does require a lot of dedication. And this is because the idea of genius that has been created by our society is based on someone's ability to understand and interpret ideas and then creatively regurgitate them. This idea of creativity is based on creating something new and abstract and is subjected to all norms and natural laws therefor it changes with time as the amount of new things become old things. So the genius is constantly changing as well to meet the societies standards of creativeness. Everyone has the ability to be a genius, it's just that not everyone has the chance to be one considering their social context.

"One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius"
- Simone de Beauvoir

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SELU Students Defend Higher Education March 4th

At my school (Southeastern Louisiana University) two of the activist groups I'm in (National Organization for Change and Southeastern Sociological Association) Organized an open forum discussion about our states budget cuts to education and our school raising admission standards. We invited hundreds of students to come be a part of it. If you watch the video you will see that barely anyone showed up. Why is this? I would argue it is because our society is mostly an apathetic society in which people don't care about being educated or about future generations being educated. It seems obvious that our country is trying to turn schools like mine into diploma mils and the students really don't have a problem with it because it has yet to immediately affect them. Most of them just want to increase their price tag anyway. The consequences of cutting state funding to schools and raising admission standards will severely impact our peoples power to make informed decisions in the future, creating a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. The people who come from poor communities with schools that are not properly funded for whatever reasons and because of that are not properly prepared for standardized tests are going to be forced to go into community colleges or a trade schools against their desire and dreams. I'm not saying those are bad things, but not everyone wants to go to those schools since they create a whole other set of problems for the certain students and have statistically shown to have high drop out rates. I would also like to add that just because you are doing poorly at a underfunded high school does not mean you will do poorly at a well funded university. Schools like my school all around the country are dealing with budget cuts by cutting classes, firing staff and teachers and getting rid of whole departments and at the same time they are raising tuition prices and admission standards!? Who exactly are they trying to attract? Or rather keep it out? Think about it. I'm starting to get very agitated with the students here on campus. Their vision is too short sited and their ability to care almost doesn't exist. When will they stand up for their rights!? When!