Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Chlorine in the Meme Pool, Please

A comment at a blog that I read got me thinking - The subject was the Octuplet mom and the reaction from folks on both sides of the aisle. One of the comments suggested that we need to pay attention to the "meme pool."

Meme's are a relatively new method of examining the propagation of culture. Because they are new there is some controversy regarding them. Similar to the level of controversy that accompanied Mendel's discovery of genes, or Galileo's discovery of moons around Saturn and Jupiter. The controversy does not prevent us from using them as a working theory.

As one of the few species that has been shown to transmit memes it pays us to look at the way in which it has been institutionalized. Principly this has been done the education industry, yet we don't seem to be as concerned with the selection of those who select the memes. We have by and large ceded that task to the professional educators, and then at most grumbled about the outcome.

One of the most popular memes put out by the education industry is that quality of education is directly related to the money spent on education. Interestingly when the proposition is tested even allowing for outside influences the relationship does not hold. Yet our public policy makers, and the infrastructure for education at all levels treat this as a valid relationship.

Given the complemntary truisms:
If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got


Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.

It may be time for the average man on the street to pay more attention to disinfecting the meme pool. Many will say, that it isn't their problem because they don't have kids; their kids are grown; or they just don't care. Sadly this is not the case as the quality of education affects our coworkers, our bosses, and our politicians. One of the best summaries of the problems in society was written in 1899 by author, iconoclast and businessman Elbert Hubbard, A Message to Garcia is a classic of American Literature, and to this day is studied by the cadets of Anapolis, West Point, and Colorado Springs as part of the character development curiculuum.

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