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Are we getting too much education today or is it the same education as in the past drawn out over a longer period of time so that everyone passes?

My grandfather had a grade five education, started out with his own business, later went into government where he set up medicare for an entire province among other things, and eventually became a mayor.

My father had a high school diploma, went in for manual labor and factory work, and retired with a pension.

I have a university degree and will need to work until I die.

Untangling Education versus Pay

Part of the change over the generations described above is due to recessions or depressions appearing about every ten years. Those have kept wages down while raising the cost of living.

The result has been that more and more education is needed to get a job that just pays the bills. Thanks to student loans, it can be a long time before those better paying jobs make a difference in your bank account. Many choose to stop at high school and get by on minimum wage or enter the welfare system.

But that’s a separate problem. Let’s stick with the value of education.

We Were Taught More in the Past

In 1917, my then 12 year old grandmother moved to Canada from Scotland with her family. She had been in grade 9 studying calculus and algebra, among other subjects appropriate for the grade level.

When she enrolled in school in Canada she was told, “Grade 9 is too far ahead for a 12 year old. We’re putting you in grade 6.” She was disappointed to say the least. For the rest of her public education, she was at the top of her class and went on to take a one year teacher’s degree. When she went to work as a teacher, she could have been a principal but was passed over for a less qualified male teacher because, “It wouldn’t be right for a woman to be a man’s supervisor.” Yeah. It was a different world in a lot of ways.

That’s Just Scotland

Is it just Scotland? Did they start kids in school three years earlier than Canada? I think it was Europe versus North America. Maybe it still is.

Any readers from Europe who would like to comment on what grade, age, and year they found themselves studying calculus and algebra? Scottish comments could be especially revealing.

Location is not the point either. It’s how much education and how soon.

Triumph of the Unintelligent?

When I went to school in the 1960s and 70s, a 60% was required or you repeated the grade. I passed every grade with little effort. A pass was all the school and my parents demanded. Why this matters will make sense shortly.
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Your Perception Becomes Your Reality

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Between jobs, in another century it seems like now, I took the worst job ever for a few months; a min wage job washing dishes in a busy restaurant. The non-stop pace began the moment I arrived. There were no breaks. Demands came from all sides; bosses, cooks, waitresses. It was go, go, go the entire shift. Everyone feels free to yell at the dish-washer when their day isn’t going well. And the hours sucked. The best dish-washer only got 25 hours per week. At first, I got less than that. The job didn’t even cover my bills.

I hated it. Even though I have a strong work ethic, am a fast learner, and am physically fit, nothing was ever good enough or fast enough. Especially not fast enough. I became faster. I learned what the needs were going to be before anyone asked. I ignored my aching back, my sore hands and feet, until after work when I would rest up while sitting at my computer writing. After an hour or two of writing, I could stand long enough to take a shower and go to bed.

I loved it, in an odd sort of way. This is where perception and reality come into the picture.

I needed to have some kind of work while I searched for my next full time job. I had landed that position so it was in my best interests to make the best of it. I could think of it as unrewarding drudge work for grumpy bosses and co-workers. Or I could think of it as a challenge.

It was unrewarding financially because it wasn’t enough hours. That gave me more hours per week for writing.

It was drudge work because that was the job and it was only a temporary part-time job anyway. The drudge work would be gone in the near future when I found my next job.

The grumpy bosses and co-workers were just venting their stress. It had nothing to do with me. I couldn’t be washing plates, washing glasses, washing buckets, refilling the vegetables, refilling the pop, and lugging sacks of flour and sugar all at the same time. I did my best to keep all of those things covered but everything would continue to run out as meals were served. I cheerfully took care of whatever task someone was letting themselves get upset about.

I kept my own frustrations to myself. The problems would be resolved. The rush would pass. The shift would end. There was no need to yell at anyone. It only increased the tension. React with a positive attitude, even if you need to fake it, and everyone gets a little less stressed, even you.

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Ivan Izo – Where Are You Going?

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Editorial
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Ivan Izo – Where Are You Going?

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I’ve been thinking about the future of Ivan Izo’s blog. It has gone through a few changes over the years. It started as a site to document a film project, and then turned into a screenwriting blog which became a writing blog. After the writing was ported to a new blog, Writer on Fire, it became a psychology blog.

At one time, I had the idea I would write positive motivational psychology, just like so many other sites. And I did it. Every night, I would go to sleep thinking about what I could write on motivation. Every morning, I got up and wrote a motivational article.

Then I got enthusiastic. My articles became deeper and harder to follow.

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Heidegger's Search for the Meaning of Being

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This is a paper I wrote for myself at the end of university. It gives an overview of Martin Heidegger’s positive existential philosophy. This version has been very lightly edited. No attempt has been made to add to the explanations of the concepts. If you find yourself lost on a point, feel free to ask in the comments.

Heidegger’s Search for the Meaning of Being

Heidegger says the central question for the human being is the question of Being. Our inquiry into Being has been absent for such a long time that we now suffer from a loss of meaning, as evidenced by the growth of nihilism. All meaning derives from the Meaning of Being and it is a return to the question of Being that is the only way to get this back.

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How to Realize Your Dream Job

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If you’re like the majority of people, you take whatever job you can find to pay the bills. If a better paying job becomes available, you switch to that. As far as what you’d really like to do for a living, it’s a hobby or a dream you’re not living. Maybe you’ve taken some courses or read some books, but your job is not related to what you want to do.

I’ve described the process of following your dreams more fully before. This is the first time I present the simple process that follows. Simple. Not easy.

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Not really. There never will be a zombie apocalypse. Even if some mad scientists were to create a bio-weapon that created a hunger for human flesh, the infected would eat each other. The uninfected would then kill off the zombie winners and the plague would be over. Since there’s been a bit of hype about the zombie apocalypse being imminent, I thought I might give my take on the possibilities.

The Fictional Zombie Apocalypse

The original movie zombies were long-dead corpses that arose from their graves and shambled through the jungle to eat the living. Decades of movies had slow zombies overpowering the living with surprise attacks and sheer numbers. Then, the excitement picked up with fast zombies. There have been a few other variations, such as zombies with guns.

Where zombie movie logic always fails is in the living dead angle. To move, they must eat. Either they eat their victims and fail to multiply or they only infect their victims and starve to death.

Could there be some lesser equivalent of zombies in the real world?

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The Benefits of Aiming Too High

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Psychology
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The Benefits of Aiming Too High

If you aim too high and don’t quite make it, you may still reach your goal. If you aim at exactly what you want to achieve and don’t quite make it, you fail. Of course, we should always aim too high. But, most of us don’t. Why?

When we set a tough target and miss, we feel like we’ve experienced a failure. This is the case even when we know we were aiming beyond our goal and achieved what we wanted. We perceive two goals, one higher than the other, and it’s the low goal we achieve. What failures we must be.

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