Saturday, July 27, 2013

Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWELVE

by Dino Dogan

Dogs: Our Connection with the Future

Sony's interactive robot dog, Aibo
In keeping with the promise from the previous article, I will present this portion with a concrete example of the problem, and then then present a way in which dogs can help us get past it.

In this article, the focus is on evolving-forward. 

We will point to the factors holding us back in this effort.

While there are numerous internal factors related to this, the focus of the NoME branch is on external factors. The internal factors will be covered in the NoUM (Nature of Unbegginer's Mind) branch of the Human-Dog Problem Tree.

A quick rundown of external factors goes like this.
  •     School/Education
  •     Corporate Culture
  •     Media
  •     Social unrest, and much much more.

As always, I promise to take a very pragmatic approach to these issues. While there are thousands of examples, we will focus on principles of the matter and use concrete examples as case studies. Please dont think that the problem ends with the example. These issues are systemic.

Strap in, lets get started.

There is a difference between knowledge and intelligence. If you have copious amounts of knowledge you may make for a great contestant on Jeopardy. However, this doesn't make you inteligent. To become intelligent a person would have to willfully apply their knowledge towards a concrete and practical outcome. Donald Trump is intelligent, his lawyer is knowledgeable.

Furthermore, the IQ test is insufficient AND ineffective at measuring one's intelligence, especially if we make a distinction between knowledge and intelligence.

Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University (impressed yet?) talks about mutiple intelligences. For example, a rocket scientist -who would no doubt do well on a standardized IQ test- would be considered (by some) more intelligent than an auto mechanic. However, if we leave the scientist stranded in a middle of nowhere with his car refusing to start how do you think he will fare? The auto-mechanic would be more "intelligent" in this situation.

So we can conclude that one part of "intelligence" is contextual. Car-engine trouble, call a rocket scientist? I dont think so.
Stupid is as stupid does the saying goes.

Back to school.

Our entire (Western) school system (which is based on the ancient Prussian system by way of Germany) was fundamentally designed NOT to produce intelligent or knowlegable people, rather, it was designed to produce good soldiers and obedient citizens. In the last few decades this system has been modified to churn-out "knowledge workers" without loosing its original function.

Think back. How much knowledge have you actually carried out of your school years that you use in everyday life?

If you are anything like me, the answer is very little. Some basic math, basic reading and writing, and we may be hard-pressed to come up with anything else.

The skills that we DID learn and DID carry into our adult-life are skills that were inherent in the nature of the system and were acquired quite unintentionally. For example...

The most useful skill we get to learn that IS relevant in adult life is the social-interaction skill set. The other one is PE. Those who become jocks are sometimes lucky enough to have a paid scholarship to a college and acquire skills that they might take into their professional careers of football and basketball players and such. The third useful skill we recieved and never got to use was shop class. Try and find a shop class at your local highschool these days.

Unfortunately, there is a long list of undesired and useless (to us that is) "skills" that are also acquired during our school years. Here are few examples.

  • Reverence for authority. Not to be confused with respect which should be given to every thing and every one. I'm talking about unquestioning deference to those in position of authority. In school, they are called teachers; in adulthood, they are called cops, government officials, managers, CEOs, etc. The real denger here is the acceptance of the status-quo at your own detriment.

  • Respect of the System. As adults, we engage in many big systems (banking, insurance, corporations, health care, religion, etc). In order for those systems to exist, they need the members of the system to remain subservient to the system itself. This skill is learned in school. We could even call it Pavlovian conditioning of sorts.

  • Ability to Endure Torture. For some, school is torture. For most, by the time they graduate college, they never want to hear the word "school", learning, education, or see anything that even remotely resembles classroom. This is a perfect situation for the system since once you graduate you are no longer in school therefore the training cant reach you. The hope here is that you have been sufficiently processed that you will NOT seek out additional education. This is why the school system doesn't teach us how to learn.

The trail has been left for those who decide to follow it.

College graduation ceremony is called a "Commencement Ceremony". The word "commencement" means "beginning". Beginning of what? The beginning of your real education. Unfortunately, sufficient number of people has been sufficiently beaten-down and turned-off by education that they will gladly stay away from any kind of learning for the rest of their life. In come dogs.

Most people dont have the ability to relate to dogs in a way that meets the dog's needs due to nature of modern lifestyle. They dont have the disposition necessary to train them and are averse to learning due to no fault of their own. They are unable to adjust for attenuation problems inherent in Nature of Knowledge Exchange (NoKE, first branch of Human-Dog Problem Tree) since they were never tought to do this in school. Net result of this is that dogs wind up in shelters all across US only to be euthanized. Why? Because we are averse to learning.

Learning about dogs, their needs, human-dog relationship, training methods, etc. and then trying them out, implementing what you've learned, etc. can be used as spring board to all other kinds of learning. This is because dog training is ideal in structure for learning any and every other tangible skill. Not to mention fun, which is what learning should be.

It is clear that I cant cover all facets of modern life and the way in which it affects our relationship with dogs in a single post. I will do one more example in a future post, but will let you guys choose which one.

  • Corporate culture
  • Media
  • Social Unrest


Things are bad right now. As a global society we are suffering both physically and psychically. The only way out of it (that I see) is willful, purposeful and self directed edification process (I call it "edification" to mentally distinguish it from processed learning which happens in our educational system).

The opposite of "knowledge" is not ignorance, the opposite of knowledge is fear.


Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, biker, dog trainer, singer/songwriter, Martial Artist. Dino is now busy with his DIY Blogger Net blog. He is also behind the great social media tool, Triberr. Hopefully one day he'll return to dog blogging. Meanwhile, you can connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.

Related articles:
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART ONE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART TWO
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART THREE
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FOUR 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART FIVE 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SIX 
Human-Dog Problem Tree - PART SEVEN
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART EIGHT
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART NINE
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART TEN 
Human Dog Problem Tree - PART ELEVEN 

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