I know I never really blog about serious issues or anything that requires more than one or two brains cells to process, that's usually because I'm feeling so brain fried from daily life that I just want to come and write about utter bollocks. Today, it's going to be a little different.
In my psychology tutorial, the impact of writing a simple position paper made me think a lot about students and the way we are educated. We were asked to read an article, which was clearly biased in one direction and then write a strong position paper giving our informed and justified opinion either for or against. I opted to argue against because that paper was very clearly swinging in the positive direction and it seemed a bit odd for me to argue that same point as the paper. Upon coming to my tutorial I found that almost everyone else had argued with the original paper. What struck me the most was the feedback from the tutor. As he went through the good and bad points of each paper, a recurring criticism was that we'd all tried to form a balanced argument, instead of having a clear opinion. He mentioned that this is a common trait of "good" students, as this is how we are trained to write in every other aspect of our education, a well-balanced essay with clear sides and then a justified conclusion in your own opinion. No one was able to write a clear argument. When I was writing my paper I found it extremely difficult to even have an opinion on the subject, and would have much preferred to sit on the fence and argue equally. This lead me to think about other aspects of life and whether our education is a set up for us not to have strong opinions throughout our lifetime, but always see things with a balanced and fair outlook. While I do not see this as a bad thing in one respect, in another I do. People with strong opinions and beliefs are often the outcasts of society and I wonder if this is a result of our education system. The lack of flexibility in our learning means that having an opinion is often suppressed, and even at times can be labelled as "wrong", which, I believe, is wrong in itself. I hope I am making sense.
Anyway, what also sparked this train of though was a Derren Brown show that I watched last night, where through dream like states and subliminal messaging, he managed to completely transform a man's life, from being average to being extraordinary. After the first session of dream manipulation the subject was suddenly much more confident and driven than he had ever been. After the second dream session he learns to face his fears and grasps all available opportunities with both hands and run with them, he learnt not to waste any of the precious time he has to propel his life in the direction he wants it to go. By the end, he went from being terrified of flying to getting on a plane, being tricked into thinking the captain was incapacitated and volunteered to help land the plane. He was hypnotised to sleep, the plane landed and he woke up in the cockpit of a flight simulator, so until the end he was unaware that he had not landed a real plane. I cannot imagine how empowering it must be to think that you have single handedly landed a plane on no previous experience, even when he stepped out of the simulator and had the true events explained to him. It's amazing that Derren changed this man's life from being completely un-extraordinary to him being a hero. Instead of standing idly by and watching his life pass by, like so many others do, he now has the power to be extremely successful. It made me seriously realise that letting life go idly by, is a very unsatisfying way to live and having the drive and motivation to succeed is so necessary to fulfil your dreams. If only I had a Derren figure to switch my life upside down. Hell I need it.