Wednesday, April 02, 2014

"Tabula Rasa"

Given the content of this post, I believe that the title is “a propos” (i.e. fitting).  “What gives,” you ask?  Let’s see…

In Latin, tabula rasa means “blank slate.”  From an epistemological vantage point—a branch of philosophy that focuses on the nature and scope of knowledge—the theory contends that each of us is born without inherent mental content, including thoughts, concepts, memories, emotions, percepts, and intentions.  It suggests that our knowledge comes from experience and perception; in other words, it supposes that we become knowledgeable by means of “empirical familiarity” (i.e. knowledge that is developed through observation or experimentation).  Moreover, the familiarity with all of the things of the world that surround us allows for the development of universal concepts (i.e. ideas).  These ideas mature through a syllogistic method of reasoning—that is, a logical process where deductive reasoning (i.e. top-down logic) is used to reach conclusions.  Furthermore, supporters of the tabula rasa thesis have a preference for the "nurture" side of the “nature versus nurture debate,” believing that the physical and behavioural traits that differentiate one from another (as it relates to characteristics of one's personality, social and emotional behaviour, and intelligence) come from external influences.  

Now, I don’t know about you, but re-reading the paragraph above has given me a splitting headache!

“What does this have to do with the price of tea in China,” you ask?  Consider present-day kids: The vast majority of them have their eyes “glued” to some kind of screen from one of an innumerable selection of electronic devices.  I can’t help but ask: Where is the nurture side of the tabula rasa theory as it relates to the care for “our” children?  In fact, these devices are most often used to “babysit” the kids.  In essence, parents are forfeiting their parental responsibility to nurture their kids and are willingly placing the responsibility in the “hands” of a thing that is devoid of any attachment or good will toward the child.  The result is this: Rather than going out into the world to experience nature and in turn develop their own knowledge of the world under the guidance and tutelage of a loving parent, the kids are force-fed all of the various forms of garbage that exist in the video games that they play and on the webpages they surf!  In other words, rather than write some “good stuff” on the so-called blank slate that is the child’s mind, the parents are letting others decide what is being etched on those plates.  It’s no wonder why we have so many screwed-up and problem-ridden kids!  

Now, some would argue that many parents are screwed-up to begin with, and the electronic realm is the lesser of two evils.  I say that no matter what, the majority of counter arguments are nothing but cop-outs!  People are just looking for the easy way out rather than taking responsibility for themselves and for their children!  All parents should take their kids in hand and assume ownership of their rearing.  Parents should be setting the stage so that their children can become creative and find alternative ways to occupy themselves, especially focusing on the most productive means possible.  This will allow our kids to acquire useful knowledge and in turn become self-sufficient rather than be guided by the programs found on a computer for their entire lives.  Now is the time to doing something about the situation!  But, if after taking this approach you still wind up with screwed-up kids, simply do what I do: Blame it on fast foods.

- B. J. T. Pepin

1 comment:

  1. If you don't want to be "present" with your kids...why have them in the first place? Why let someone or something else be their companion? 'Saw a program on tv last night with Morgan Freeman. He was exploring the needs of babies to be cuddled and loved and the results of the lack thereov.