A few excerpts from the introduction of Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Major Medical Breakthroughs in the Twentieth Century, by Morton A. Meyers helps to make my point (which I reiterate at the end of this post):
“Researchers and creative thinkers themselves generally describe three pathways of thought that lead to creative insight: reason, intuition, and imagination. While reason governs most research endeavors, the most productive of the three pathways is intuition. Even many logicians admit that logic, concerned as it is with correctness and validity, does not foster productive thinking. Einstein said, “The really valuable factor is intuition…. There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.”17
“Intuition is not a vague impulse, not just a “hunch.” Rather, it is a cognitive skill, a capability that involves making judgments based on very little information.”
“Induction and deduction only extend existing knowledge. A radically new conceptual system cannot be constructed by deduction. Rational thought can be applied only to what is known.”
“Serendipity means the attainment or discovery of something valuable that was not sought, the unexpected observation seized upon and turned to advantage by the prepared mind. The key factor of sagacity has been lost. Chance alone does not bring about discoveries. Chance with judgment can.”
“the process of discovery is indeed creative. It involves unconscious factors, intuition, the ability to recognize an important anomaly or to draw analogies that are not obvious.”
“Serendipity implies chance only insofar as Louis Pasteur’s famous dictum indicates: “In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.””
“if one’s perspective is too tightly focused, gross distortion may result.”
Moral foundations and cognitive styles are tools of intuition and reason; of sagacity, and of the prepared mind.
Education is elephant training AND rider training, the purpose of which is to prepare the mind by expanding the repertoire of tools accessible to both the elephant AND the rider.
By encouraging only the individualizing foundations and only the induction and deduction of the WEIRD rationalist cognitive style, and by DIScouraging the binding foundations and the intuitive holistic cognitive style, liberal hegemony over education limits (i.e., “tightly focuses”) rather than expands the repertoire; it restricts rather than encourages the cognitive skill of intuition, and it DEprepares the mind for encounters with chance.
In all likelihood liberal hegemony over education deprives the world of discoveries, insights, and knowledge it might otherwise (have already) attain(ed).
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