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Opinion: Spoonfeeding and its Disastrous Results to the Mind


By Mari Begonia A. Cinco

A man can read fifty books cover to cover and know something, but a man who has intently read five pages of a single book can gain more. In itself, it is a puzzling concept. Is it not that with more knowledge, you gain more understanding? It need not be the case.

The people of today probably have more potential in learning than those who did a century ago. Actually, they have more potential than the people from a decade ago. Aside from the fact that man is slowly developing himself to become a more potential being of intelligence, he has made advancements to his environment to further establish this as well. With the power to invent, he has created for himself a world where information is literally at the tap of his finger. He can receive whatever data he appeals to with ease. Add to this society as a whole exchanging information through media and education, the result is a profusion of everything we know and can know. This phenomenon is where the trouble begins.

The world has become reception frenzy. It takes in everything the senses can process and builds up stacks of information which are later stored as knowledge. If it can be utilized for future purposes, it is now a matter of remembering. The effect of this, however, is not a world of understanding and wisdom, but rather a blunt one scarce of the two. The reason is that knowledge is not the same as understanding. Knowledge is information in the mind that has made interrelationships. It has made universal concepts and it is maintained in our mind. But to understand is to grasp the meaning of knowledge. We are no longer troubled by this however, because the answers are all given out by our educators (teachers, professionals, the media, etc.) so we do not have to sort out the meaning for ourselves. Even after they have discussed everything there is needed to know, it still is not understood. It is simply “recorded” and only “replayed” when necessary. It is still knowledge and not understanding. Hence, the world will not intellectually advance. The reason for this is the concept of spoonfeeding.

Spoonfeeding is the process of being given information and receiving it with almost no effort. It includes having all the information at the palm of our hands and all that information being pre-chewed into explained matters. When this happens, we no longer begin to think for ourselves. Thinking has been done by someone else for us. Our own thinking process is no longer utilized and this leads to atrophy. When thinking is atrophied, the mind will not function as it should when in use or it decays from no use at all. In short, the mind will not be able to understand independently, even less will it be able to judge for itself.

This is perhaps the reason why it is hard for people nowadays to analyze. The mind has become so used to things given with ease and explained beforehand that when it is time for it to analyze, it will either fail miserably or try to scrape answers from the source of its pre-chewed food. The danger of this is grave.

With various controversial issues such as the RH Bill, the works of Mideo Cruz, poverty, political conflict and others, it is important to be able to judge on these matters with full understanding and critical thinking. The atrophied mind will not be able to put itself to the job of understanding without immense difficulty. When it is hard to understand, it will therefore be difficult to judge. The closest the spoon-fed mind will come to judgment is when other people have made their opinions and arguments thoroughly explained (or not) and the mind will decide which seems the more appealing based on the senses it feels. When this happens, it will not really perceive truth, but just records of opinions which will be spout out and passed on the likewise, true or not. In effect, the world we will have is not a world that can understand, but the predicted world that assumes that it understands when matter-of-factly, it does not even know what it has processed.

Perhaps we have already adapted to spoonfeeding in our lives, but that does not necessarily mean we can’t learn how to feed ourselves. We all need our education and without the knowledge of others, we will be lost in our own. To be able to understand for ourselves using our own mind will allow us to be able to learn how to judge for ourselves, exercise our minds and come to discovery without bias. It will be a matter of making choices for ourselves and being able to judge individually to what is given to us. Not all things we believe to understand for ourselves will be valid, which is why we learn more and try to understand more. Not all things will come to understanding, but we are only human.

To be able to think for ourselves will help us make progress. Society would begin to make an upscale climb to understanding and wisdom. To be wise is to search, not have things found and given to you. If we learn to think for ourselves, it will mean the less liking of the blunt future that can be.


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