According to this New Yorker review, the world is filling up with dumb people. The New Yorker author doesn’t come out and admit such a thing — that would not be politically correct. But read between the lines and you will see through to the reality beneath.
We’ve been warned by John Taylor Gatto, a former award-winning public school teacher, that US schools have been dumbed down for several decades. Charlotte Iserbyt, a former US Department of Education official, has told us much the same thing. Many other analysts have come to the same conclusion.
So we see that around the world, dumber people are procreating at a far higher rate than smarter people, resulting in a steadily decreasing global IQ. At the same time, we see that in an advanced nation such as the US, the educational system is being dumbed down seemingly on purpose.
We know that many prominent greens want to eliminate several billion people from the planet — beginning with the populations of the more advanced western nations. Presumably, this would leave only the dumbest humans — along with their smarter green overlords — to perpetuate the species. How should intelligent people in the advanced world confront what seems like an orchestrated global dumbing down (and vicious paring down) of the human population?
I suggest that the creation of a cadre of Dangerous Children — no matter how small — would have a remarkably disruptive effect upon the grand master plan of dumbing down the planet. Over the course of this website — at least while it is allowed to continue — I intend to provide information pertinent to the creation of Dangerous Children.
Why is a Dangerous Child dangerous? Because the parents and caregivers took note of the child’s ongoing sensitive periods of development and how the child’s natural affinities were displayed within an enriched environment. The child reveals himself over time, as his brain develops — if his environment provides adequate variety and enrichment.
If the child is exposed to the proper priming at the proper time, he will move like a guided missile toward targets as they arise inside his developing mind/brain. Different children move through sensitive periods at varying times, for varying durations, and with varying impact for each. It is up to the parents and caregivers to make the different primers available. In this context, “primers” and “priming” are analogous to priming a pump, or priming a surface for detail work.
Dr. Arthur Robinson’s self-taught homeschool curriculum is one approach to providing an enriched environment which allows a child a certain amount of freedom to pursue individual strengths and affinities. When combined with the vocational aspect of helping to run a family ranch, the Robinson approach seems to have worked very well for the Robinson family.
Others who try to apply the Robinson curriculum to their homeschool need to remember the vital childhood need for “praxis,” or practical hands-on competence. Many educators seem to believe that practical hands-on skills learning can be neglected for the first 18 to 24 years of life without significant cost to the child or to society.
Maria Montessori developed one of the most effective early childhood curricula in the early part of the 20th century. Montessori promoted an emphasis on “play” as part of early learning, which was a significant contribution. Her ideas on “sensitive periods of development” have also proven helpful:
Dr. Montessori identified eleven different sensitive periods occurring from birth through age six. Each refers to a predisposition compelling children to acquire specific characteristics as described below. When Montessori teachers speak about children being “inner directed,” they are referring to an inner compulsion or sensitive period. A Montessori teacher would say, for example, “This child is in her sensitive period for order.” These phrases point to each child’s predisposition to follow her own daily classroom routine in which she chooses the same materials and in the same sequence. Ages of the onset and conclusion of each sensitive period are approximate and are indicated after the general description.
Movement Random movements become coordinated and controlled: grasping, touching, turning, balancing, crawling, walking. (birth — one)
Language Use of words to communicate: a progression from babble to words to phrases to sentences, with a continuously expanding vocabulary and comprehension. (birth — six)
Small Objects A fixation on small objects and tiny details. (one — four)
Order Characterized by a desire for consistency and repetition and a passionate love for established routines. Children can become deeply disturbed by disorder. The environment must be carefully ordered with a place for everything and with carefully established ground rules. (two — four)
Music Spontaneous interest in and the development of pitch, rhythm, and melody. (two — six)
Grace & Courtesy Imitation of polite and considerate behavior leading to an internalization of these qualities into the personality. (two — six)
Refinement of the Senses Fascination with sensorial experiences (taste, sound, touch, weight, smell) resulting with children learning to observe and with making increasingly refined sensorial discriminations. (two — six)
Writing Fascination with the attempt to reproduce letters and numbers with pencil or pen and paper. Montessori discovered that writing precedes reading. (three — four)
Reading Spontaneous interest in the symbolic representations of the sounds of each letter and in the formation of words. (three — five)
Spatial Relationships Forming cognitive impressions about relationships in space, including the layout of familiar places. Children become more able to find their way around their neighborhoods, and they are increasingly able to work complex puzzles. (four — six)
Mathematics Formation of the concepts of quantity and operations from the uses of concrete material aids. (four — six)
But Montessori was wrong in supposing that the sensitive period for movement lasts only from birth to age one. In reality, it begins before birth and continues well into adolescence. It contributes to the mastery of common practical life skills, skills of musical and artistic mastery, skills in physical games (an important social skill of childhood), skills of vocation (from mechanics to neurosurgery), skills of survival, and skills of making love. Skills of movement even form the basis for many of the more abstract cognitive skills in experimental and theoretical fields.
Practical skills — both solitary and social — form the basis for much of the child’s feeling of competence in the present, and anticipation of competence in the future.
Dangerous Child training provides a child with core cognitive skills preparation sufficient for him to compete in whatever program of higher education or professional training he chooses. But core cognitive skills training is a very small proportion of the total training regimen — which is highly individualized from the very beginning.
Physical skills (including musical instruments and implements of art), written and spoken language skills (in multiple languages), and pattern skills (proto-math skills extending to art and music), occupy most of the sensitive-period linked training up to the age of around 8. After that, the child will have usually revealed himself, and the way forward should be much clearer to both caretaker and child. More on that, to come.
As for teaching someone to be a dangerous child well after the sensitive developmental period windows have closed, that is another set of topics.
Not every child born on a dumbed down planet is capable of becoming a Dangerous Child, in the Al Fin sense. But it only takes a few to make a big difference.