Testing

Herd Immunity For Thee, Daily Tests For Me


From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 19, 2020

"There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives."

 ― Jay Rosen  


The Trump Administration has decided to embrace the herd immunity strategy as a means to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Oh, they haven't told you. There was no formal announcement– nothing so honest. The same stratagem once presented as an option to Boris Johnson as a means for the UK to deal with the raging infection, then rejected as altogether too expensive in terms of human lives and strain to the NHS, has been embraced by the Trump administration as policy. Superseding their own previous public guidance, Trump has exhorted state governors to "open up" their states, and encouraged armed gaggles of low-T cosplayers to take to the streets to demonstrate for their own impending illness and demise.

Meanwhile, in the last weeks, a Trump valet and a spokesperson for Mike Pence were diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. Trump's primary concern was messaging: the idea that the notion of Covid-19 stalks the White House would undercut his message that the outbreak is waning and states should begin reopening. Re-election is job one, and re-opening the country is the foundation upon which that effort will be built.

Even though you still can't get a test after several months, the White House has been deploying rapid-result tests for the virus, including testing members of the press corps. Thus, testing for me but none for thee.

Thousands are dying each week, the economy is cratering, and the jackal in charge has no idea what he is doing. All that matters is his impending re-election campaign, and it doesn't really matter how many thousands of muppets have to shoveled into the incinerator to achieve that.

And Trumpsuckers love him for it. Quoted in The Guardian, here's Lee Snover, a Republican party chair a key Pennsylvania swing county, who lost her father to Covid-19, and whose husband was hospitalized with the disease:

“It spread through my entire family,” Snover said.

Trump stands accused of driving up the coronavirus death toll by downplaying the public health threat and urging the country to “reopen” too quickly. But Snover does not see the president as having failed her family.

“I don’t think people give him enough credit,” she said. “If you think about what a businessman he was, and how much he loved that booming economy, do you know how hard it was for him to shut the country down? That was hard. So I give him credit for that.”

At times it has appeared that the pandemic, which has already taken at least 90,000 lives in the United States and wreaked havoc with the economy, would also destroy support for Trump, and his chances for reelection. But interviews with longtime Trump supporters in Northampton county indicate the extraordinary durability of backing for the president among his base.

Trump has punted responsibility to state governors, saying they are "on their own." He has abdicated the roles of leadership, planning and unified purchasing that might be the useful functions of the federal government, while retaining the right to second guess any decision they make. 

Trump makes much of the fact that the US had administered the most tests (11.5M as of this writing), but only a little over three percent of the total population. We learned this week that, despite swaths of the country shutting down for two months, the U.S. is barely further along in terms of testing, and experts say that there's no realistic way to return to normal without doubling or tripling the number of tests administered every day.

So why are we not further along? Where are the tests? They went to Jared:

Kushner, it turns out, is reportedly one of the people directly responsible for the country's extreme delays in rolling out tests when the outbreak started. That's according to the Financial Times, which recently published a deep-dive into the Trump administration's chaotic and denial-plagued coronavirus response. One of Donald Trump's confidants, who's regularly in touch with the president, put the blame squarely on Kushner, saying, "Jared had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it. That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate."

So if you are one of the numerous Americans who still can't get a Covid test, thank the smooth-cheeked porcelain-doll Dauphin and Trump scion. Jared's fecklessness is given proper shrift in an article by George Packer in the June Atlantic that details how this country's wan response to the pandemic has revealed a beggar nation in utter chaos:

Like a wanton boy throwing matches in a parched field, Trump began to immolate what was left of national civic life. He never even pretended to be president of the whole country, but pitted us against one another along lines of race, sex, religion, citizenship, education, region, and—every day of his presidency—political party. His main tool of governance was to lie. A third of the country locked itself in a hall of mirrors that it believed to be reality; a third drove itself mad with the effort to hold on to the idea of knowable truth; and a third gave up even trying…

And the "purest embodiment of political nihilism is not Trump himself but Jared the "Disruptor:".

In his short lifetime, Kushner has been fraudulently promoted as both a meritocrat and a populist. He was born into a moneyed real-estate family the month Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office, in 1981—a princeling of the second Gilded Age. Despite Jared’s mediocre academic record, he was admitted to Harvard after his father, Charles, pledged a $2.5 million donation to the university. Father helped son with $10 million in loans for a start in the family business, then Jared continued his elite education at the law and business schools of NYU, where his father had contributed $3 million. Jared repaid his father’s support with fierce loyalty when Charles was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2005 for trying to resolve a family legal quarrel by entrapping his sister’s husband with a prostitute and videotaping the encounter.

Imagine that Thanksgiving dinner.

So when his father-in-law became president, Kushner quickly gained power in an administration that raised amateurism, nepotism, and corruption to governing principles. As long as he busied himself with Middle East peace, his feckless meddling didn’t matter to most Americans. But since he became an influential adviser to Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, the result has been mass death.

In his first week on the job, in mid-March, Kushner co-authored the worst Oval Office speech in memory, interrupted the vital work of other officials, may have compromised security protocols, flirted with conflicts of interest and violations of federal law, and made fatuous promises that quickly turned to dust. “The federal government is not designed to solve all our problems,” he said, explaining how he would tap his corporate connections to create drive-through testing sites. They never materialized. He was convinced by corporate leaders that Trump should not use presidential authority to compel industries to manufacture ventilators—then Kushner’s own attempt to negotiate a deal with General Motors fell through. With no loss of faith in himself, he blamed shortages of necessary equipment and gear on incompetent state governors.

To watch this pale, slim-suited dilettante breeze into the middle of a deadly crisis, dispensing business-school jargon to cloud the massive failure of his father-in-law’s administration, is to see the collapse of a whole approach to governing.

But for those of us who live out here in flyover country, it's back to normal. Open the beaches, open the bars, open the barber shops, and second wave be damned.


Writing in Pressthink, journalism observer Jay Rosen gets it exactly correct– Trump's plan is to have no plan:

The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible— by telling the governors they’re in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by “flooding the zone with shit,” Steve Bannon’s phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call “search costs” for reliable intelligence.

Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving,and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default. To succeed this will require one of the biggest propaganda and freedom of information fights in U.S. history, the execution of which will, I think, consume the president’s re-election campaign. So much has already been made public that the standard script for a White House cover up (worse than the crime…) won’t apply. Instead, everything will ride on the manufacture of confusion. The press won’t be able to “expose” the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable

Not only is the plan to have no plan, but to question the objective reporting og events. Part of the non-plan to "prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default" is to question the numbers. Last week Deborah Birx loudly said that 'there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust' in a White House coronavirus task force meeting. Hers was the first sortie in a wholesale assault on the methodolgy used by the CDC and others in tabulating the death toll. How long before Hannity, Limbaugh and the other attack dogs of the right join in the attack?

The truth seems to be that Birx and others fear that the CDC's data-tracking system was inflating coronavirus statistics like death rates and case numbers. Recent research indicates that COVID-19 deaths have been severely undercounted, both in the US and around the world, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic. Texas reported its highest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases as restaurants, salons, and cinemas open to the public, And in other early-opening states, GOP Governors are actively cooking the books in their respective states. 

Even now, if you are one of the ghouls who checks the daily totals (and I am), a gap has opened up between the statistics reported by the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and the Worldometers web site. After tracking together for the last several months, the Johns Hopkins numbers are running behind the Worldometers numbers. Whether this is a momentary anomaly or represents a symptom of a greater discrepancy, I cannot tell.


How about the costs? Meanwhile, New coronavirus cases in Germany almost tripled within 24 hours — less than a week after the country started reopening — as it considers an 'emergency brake' to reinstate harsher lockdowns. We are also told thst Texas is showing a spike in cases. Hard to tell what is happening in the New Confederacy, as Governors and state Health departments slow-walk the numbers and play statistical games to change the subject. But time will tell; it always does.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Collapse Personality Profiles: RESULTS!

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 3, 2015

Unnecessary-Complexity-Mind-Map

 

Discuss this article at the Doom Psychology Table inside the Diner

…and now, the moment you have all been waiting for…the RESULTS of the Diner Collapse Personality Profile Survey TM! 😀

YOU CAN STILL TAKE THE SURVEY HERE

https://6e89e9fc431c2b0e895225771f13f36a1c773de4-www.googledrive.com/host/0B3FsAY2zf5snZlZTems0cDc1SlUThe genesis of this survey came in a very long and deep thread inside the Diner that one of our Diner Admins Eddie began.  It was on Enneagrams, which attempt to finger various personality types with their own particular taxonomy and descriptions.  Enneagrams aren't  alone in this effort, the Myers-Briggs system also attempts to categorize personalities.  There are endless others as well, but for this survey these are the only two personality indices we surveyed.

In the OP on the Diner Forum, only maybe 6-8 Diners or so reported their Enneagram results, so when I constructed the survey, I wasn't entirely sure I would get a decent enough sample size to draw any statistically valid conclusions.  To do the survey, you have to take at least 2 tests, the Enneagram and the Myers-Briggs.  Then, to be really complete here, you also need to do an IQ test.  Although the tests I found to use are relatively short for this kind of thing, each one does take 10-15 minutes to do even if you are pretty quick with thinking out your answers.  Then the Survey takes another 10-15 minutes.  So you are talking a good hour time commitment to do this, and I'm certainly not paying anybody for their time spent at it!  lol.  Contrary to some comments made, none of these tests cost any money or require any registration either.  I did all of them for FREE! 🙂

So I figured maybe I would get 20-30 Respondents of real dedicated Doomers to do the whole thing.  With that, I could at least get a good article out of it, even if it wasn't very statistically valid.  Boy, was that assumption wrong!  LOL.  As of now when I am compiling the initial set of full stats (I did a brief recap of Demographic Stats last week), we have 121 Respondents (update 127).  Is this statistically valid within the Population of Doomers haunting  Collapse Websites?

To determine this, I first need to know how big this population actually IS.  I know this number within reasonable bounds because I am an Admin of not just my site but some others, and I observe what the total readership is of collapse sites which publish this number. I also observe traffic and popularity numbers on various sites that track these things, like Google Analytics. Alexa and Revolver.  I am a Stats FREAK!  LOL.  It is around 30-50,000 people right now best I can determine haunting collapse websites, although increasing in number as time goes by.  After that, I need to decide what my Confidence Level and Margin of Error should be for my Survey.  For this survey,  I picked an average population size of 40K, I set my Confidence Level at 95% and my Margin of Error at 10%.  For this combination of factors, I need 96 people to respond to the survey.  I already have 121 (actually 127 now, but I compiled results at 121).  So I am reasonable confident of these results.  I used the Survey Monkey calculator to determine the the number of respondents necessary for this Confidence Level & Margin of Error.

Now, where did I get this sample from?  Well, many from right here on the Diner of course, but I also went out and PLUGGED the survey on quite a few other sites, including Our Finite World, Nature Bats Last, r/collapse and r/samplesize.  So respondents mostly come from these websites, and with the exception of r/samplesize (a general survey site) all are collapse oriented sites.

So, what we are surveying here is NOT the general population, it is MAINLY the population of people who haunt collapse oriented websites.  Within this population, the survey has a high degree of confidence and reliability.

http://pactiss.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/honesty.gifThe next issue you need to consider is Reliability of Reporting.  In other words, are the respondents being HONEST about their results?  The survey is self-reported and you certainly could LIE on any question at all.  However, what would be the point of doing that?  Anyone who does spend the necessary time to do a survey like this is genuinely curious how the pattern skews out, and it doesn't behoove anyone to say they are one thing or another.  IQ is the only area where I could see respondents outright lying or cheating the test (which is quite easy to do) because nobody wants to admit to being STUPID, but again, it's ANONYMOUS!  So I don't think there was too much lying in the responses.

What about the accuracy and reliability of the tests themselves?  Again, the biggest question here is in the IQ Test, which is rather short for this kind of thing.  However, anecdotal reporting to me in email since I initiated the survey says results are more or less consistent with results they have had from taking longer tests at other times in their lives.  For myself, I pegged lower than in the past at 140 this time, but I attribute this to the fact that I was 3 sheets to the wind drunk when I took this test. lol.  I can't repeat it validly sober, because the same questions are presented.  You only have one chance to take the test and get a valid result, so do it sober!  LOL.

OK, now let's delve into the RESULTS! 🙂

First a synopsis before I drop on the tables with the actual numbers.

As mentioned last week, the main Demographic of Doomers are White Males from North America.  In the early returns, Females were running at around 20%, higher than expected by my experience haunting Collapse Websites.  I estimated this at 10% prior to doing the survey. As further numbers came in through Week 2, the percentage dropped to around 16%, closer to my original estimate.  Either way though, this is a Sausage Fest.  lol.

http://content.bandzoogle.com/users/houstonisdwatch/images/content/graduation-hat-throwing-300.jpgDoomers are by and large very well educated.  The majority have a University Degree of Baccalaureate or above (~69%), with 6.72% coming in with a Doctoral level degree, compared to around 2% for the population at large for that level of education.  I will say my experience has been you find many Medical Doctors in the Doom Community, much higher than the percentage for the total population.  Also many University Profs with Ph.Ds are Doomers, folks like Guy McPherson, George Mobus and Ugo Bardi, etc.

Doomers also have an ASTOUNDINGLY high average IQ.  I attributed this at first to the possibility the test is skewed to the upside, but now I am not so sure of this.  I got anecdotal reports from a couple of people who have taken longer more "official" tests who told me that the score this test gave them came within 5 points of the official tests they had taken.  Also, the vast majority of people who took the test self-reported that the score they got back was accurate.  For myself, the test showed that I am stupider than I used to be, coming in this time at 140, but I attribute that to being 3 Sheets to the Wind drunk when I took the test.  LOL.

As mentioned before, there is also the possibility people would LIE when self-reporting on this, but there is no good reason for that with an anonymous survey.  So I am going to take the survey results at face value, which indicates that around 75% of Doomers have an IQ of 130 or higher.  That is compared to only 2.1% of the general population!

The tiny percentage of population with IQs over 130

DOOMERS ARE SMART! LOL.

https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/shrinknp_400_400/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJIAAAAJDdlODEwOGQ3LWYzNDItNDUyNy1hNjE3LWIyMGFlOWNiY2IyNg.jpgAt least as measured by this IQ test anyhow.  A solid 1/3rd of respondents don't think IQ tests are a valid measure of intelligence, but most respondents did think the test accurately reflected their IQ.

According to the survey also, 3.77% of Doomers are GENIUSES with IQs 150 or above!  That IQ over the general population should come out at just .04%!  My guess here is that for really high IQs, this test just doesn't work too good.  It's not discriminatory enough, not enough questions.  I don't think that great a percentage of Doomers really have IQs this high.  If there really ARE that many Geniuses surfing the Doom-o-sphere, WTF don't you drop in here and SOLVE all these problems?!?!?!  This would be a good time to exercise your Genius!  lol.

I will conclude however with the determination that Doomers are generally smarter than the typical J6P. 🙂

In terms of the Taxonomy of Doom going from Cornucopian to Doom Lite to Full Doom to Extinction, the vast majority of people who surf Collapse Websites fit into the Full Doom category at 69%. Basically this means they think things will get real ugly, lots of DEAD PEOPLE, but Homo Sap won't go EXTINCT at least inside the next century. Doom Lite at 17%, Extinction at 12% and just 2% of DENIERS are Cornucopians making a nuisance of themselves in the Commentariat.  lol.  Why do  people with this attitude show up at all on Collapse Websites?  Because they are contrarians who like to argue, that's why.

As you might expect, Doomers think about doom on a daily basis, and knowledge of oncoming Doom has affected their relationships and choices.

Now on to the MEAT of the survey, Doomer Personality Types! 🙂

inteligencia-sexualThere was decent speculation in the OP on the forum about this, what types might be prevalent and so forth, and also a decent amount of questioning whether these type of indices really have any meaning or "scientific" underpinning.  Whether they do or not, they clearly are showing SOMETHING, and again most respondents who took the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs thought both of them accurately reflected their personalities.

Starting with Myers-Briggs here, as guessed on the Diner and has been shown on a few other blogs that have surveyed this index, INTJs are the most prevalent type amongst Doomers, followed by the INFJs, INTPs and INFPs.  All together, the IN** quadrant had more than half the respondents.

(Note:  In constructing the survey, I neglected to include the ISTJs, so they didn't get counted.  My apologies to the ISTJs out there in Doomerville.  Hopefully not too many.  I always screw up something on these surveys.)

What are the Personality Traits of an INTJ?

People with the INTJ personality type are serious, analytical and perfectionistic. They look at a problem or idea from multiple perspectives and systematically analyze it with objective logic, discarding things that turn out to be problematic, and evolving their own understanding of something when new information turns out to be useful. There is no other personality type who does this as naturally as the INTJ. They are natural scientists and mathematicians. Once given an idea, they are driven to understand it as thoroughly as possible. They usually have very high standards for their own understanding and accomplishments, and generally will only value and consider other individuals who have shown that they meet or surpass the INTJ's own understanding on a given issue. INTJs value clarity and conciseness, and have little esteem for behaviors and attitudes that are purely social. Social "niceties" often seem unnecessary and perhaps even ungenuine to the INTJ, who is always seeking to improve their substantive understanding. INTJ's highly value social interaction that is centered around the meaningful exchange of ideas, but they usually dismiss the importance of being friendly or likeable in other social contexts, and they are likely to be uncomfortable with interactions that are primarily emotional, rather than logical. INTJs value structure, order, knowledge, competence, and logic. Above all, they value their own ideas and intuitions about the world. An INTJ's feeling of success depends primarily upon their own level of understanding and accomplishment, but also depends upon the level of structure in their life, and their ability to respect the intelligence and competence of those who share their life.

The fewest Doomers come from the ES** quadrant, in fact in all 4 of those Personality Types there was only 1 ESFP, the other three were all ZERO.

Let's compare ESTJs to the INTJs

People with the ESTJ personality type have a high value for social order and structure. Throughout his or her life, the ESTJ develops a set of judgement standards that they use to order events and impressions that exist in the world. These standards are essentially social principles. The ESTJ believes very strongly in their principles, and strongly disapproves of any violation. The ESTJ believes that their principles define appropriate behavior and attitudes, and therefore should be followed unconditionally. Just as they naturally create rules, and are therefore natural leaders, ESTJs also believe in following existing social rules. They often lead, but can follow easily if they trust the authority of the system they're following. The ESTJ can be quite harsh about the violation of a principle. It is more important to the ESTJ that the principle is honored than that they consider the position or feelings of the individual who transgressed against the principle. Their harshness of manner may damage personal relationships, until the ESTJ incorporates standards for behavior within personal relationships into their system of social rules. The ESTJ truly enjoys being around other people, and wants to promote traditional relationships. An ESTJ may feel successful if they are able to live their lives within their defined system of principles, but their true and lasting success will come from the ability to create and sustain good and lasting principles, and thus to address all situations in their life adequately and consistently.

Basically, the ENTJs are the conformists, the INTJs are the questioners.  Given the parameters of Doom, this makes perfect sense.

Like the IQ test, I take this at face value and think it is relatively accurate for the sample.

Now, onto the Index that started this whole thing off, the Enneagrams! 🙂

At least based on commentary from the Diner Chief Shrink Uncle Bob, Enneagrams are not taken too seriously by the official Shrink community.  However, based on my own results, the Enneagram fingers my personality more reliably than Myers-Briggs.  I am borderline in 3 out of 4 M-B categories, which means there are 8 out of 16 possible types I could be.  That is not very discriminatory (for me).

OTOH, out of 18 possibilities including the "Wings" (9 types, 2 Wings each) on the Enneagram, I hit the same one every time, and I took 3 different tests on this one. Eddie, the Diner Enneagram Professional who got this stuff started also fingered me correctly before I even took the first test. I am 8W7, with no question.  Here is the overview of Type 8s (I have highlighted important aspects of my personality):

Type Eight Overview

We have named personality type Eight The Challenger because, of all the types, Eights enjoy taking on challenges themselves as well as giving others opportunities that challenge them to exceed themselves in some way. Eights are charismatic and have the physical and psychological capacities to persuade others to follow them into all kinds of endeavors—from starting a company, to rebuilding a city, to running a household, to waging war, to making peace. Eights have enormous willpower and vitality, and they feel most alive when they are exercising these capacities in the world. They use their abundant energy to effect changes in their environment—to “leave their mark” on it—but also to keep the environment, and especially other people, from hurting them and those they care about. At an early age, Eights understand that this requires strength, will, persistence, and endurance—qualities that they develop in themselves and which they look for in others. Thayer is a stockbroker who has worked intensively on understanding her type Eight personality. She recounts a childhood incident in which she could clearly see the development of this pattern. "Much of my tenacity and toughness comes from my Dad. He always told me not to ‘let anybody push you around.’ It was not okay to cry. I learned to master my weaker side early on. At the tender age of eight, a huge horse ran away with me. When an adult caught the horse, I resolutely dismounted without a tear. I could tell my father was proud." Eights do not want to be controlled or to allow others to have power over them (their Basic Fear), whether the power is psychological, sexual, social, or financial. Much of their behavior is involved with making sure that they retain and increase whatever power they have for as long as possible. An Eight may be a general or a gardener, a small businessman or a mogul, the mother of a family or the superior of a religious community. No matter: being “in charge” and leaving their imprint on their sphere is uniquely characteristic of them. Eights are the true “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram. More than any other type, they stand alone. They want to be independent, and resist being indebted to anyone. They often refuse to “give in” to social convention, and they can defy fear, shame, and concern about the consequences of their actions. Although they are usually aware of what people think of them, they do not let the opinions of others sway them. They go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe inspiring, even intimidating to others. Although, to some extent, Eights fear physical harm, far more important is their fear of being disempowered or controlled in some way. Eights are extraordinarily tough and can absorb a great deal of physical punishment without complaint—a double-edged blessing since they often take their health and stamina for granted and overlook the health and well-being of others as well. Yet they are desperately afraid of being hurt emotionally and will use their physical strength to protect their feelings and keep others at a safe emotional distance. Beneath the tough façade is vulnerability, although it has been covered over by layer of emotional armor. Thus, Eights are often extremely industrious, but at the price of losing emotional contact with many of the people in their lives. Those close to them may become increasingly dissatisfied with this state of affairs, which confounds Eights. (“I don’t understand what my family is complaining about. I bust my hump to provide for them. Why are they disappointed with me?”) When this happens, Eights feel misunderstood and may distance themselves further. In fact, beneath their imposing exterior, Eights often feel hurt and rejected, although this is something they seldom talk about because they have trouble admitting their vulnerability to themselves, let alone to anyone else. Because they fear that they will be rejected (divorced, humiliated, criticized, fired, or harmed in some way), Eights attempt to defend themselves by rejecting others first. The result is that average Eights become blocked in their ability to connect with people or to love since love gives the other power over them, reawakening their Basic Fear. The more Eights build up their egos in order to protect themselves, the more sensitive they become to any real or imaginary slight to their self-respect, authority, or preeminence. The more they attempt to make themselves impervious to hurt or pain (whether physical or emotional), the more they “shut down” emotionally to become hardened and rock-like. When Eights are emotionally healthy, however, they have a resourceful, “can-do” attitude as well as a steady inner drive. They take the initiative and make things happen with a great passion for life. They are honorable and authoritative—natural leaders who have a solid, commanding presence. Their groundedness gives them abundant “common sense” as well as the ability to be decisive. Eights are willing to “take the heat,” knowing that any decision cannot please everyone. But as much as possible, they want to look after the interests of the people in their charge without playing favorites. They use their talents and fortitude to construct a better world for everyone in their lives.

My Type 8 Compadres?

Jack NicholsonMartin Luther King, Jr.Ernest HemingwaySean ConneryFidel CastroLauren BacallJohn WayneSir Winston Churchill

🙂

OK, there are some folks in there I would rather NOT be associated with like LBJ and Khaddafi, and Pol Pot was probably a Type 8 too, but there are always a few Bad Apples in the Barrel.   LOL.  You can't pick your relatives.  hahahahahaha.

However, Type 8s are not that common in the Doom Community, coming in at 8.85%. What is the most common Enneagram Type amongst Doomers?

Type 5s, by a long shot!  31.6% of Doomers are Type 5s.

Here's the description of the Type 5 Personality:

Type Five Overview

We have named personality type Five The Investigator because, more than any other type, Fives want to find out why things are the way they are. They want to understand how the world works, whether it is the cosmos, the microscopic world, the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdoms—or the inner world of their imaginations. They are always searching, asking questions, and delving into things in depth. They do not accept received opinions and doctrines, feeling a strong need to test the truth of most assumptions for themselves. John, a graphic artist, describes this approach to life: "Being a Five means always needing to learn, to take in information about the world. A day without learning is like a day without ‘sunshine.’ As a Five, I want to have an understanding of life. I like having a theoretical explanation about why things happen as they do. This understanding makes me feel in charge and in control. I most often learn from a distance as an observer and not a participant. Sometimes, it seems that understanding life is as good as living it. It is a difficult journey to learn that life must be lived and not just studied." Behind Fives’ relentless pursuit of knowledge are deep insecurities about their ability to function successfully in the world. Fives feel that they do not have an ability to do things as well as others. But rather than engage directly with activities that might bolster their confidence, Fives “take a step back” into their minds where they feel more capable. Their belief is that from the safety of their minds they will eventually figure out how to do things—and one day rejoin the world. Fives spend a lot of time observing and contemplating—listening to the sounds of wind or of a synthesizer, or taking notes on the activities in an anthill in their back yard. As they immerse themselves in their observations, they begin to internalize their knowledge and gain a feeling of self-confidence. They can then go out and play a piece on the synthesizer or tell people what they know about ants. They may also stumble across exciting new information or make new creative combinations (playing a piece of music based on recordings of wind and water). When they get verification of their observations and hypotheses, or see that others understand their work, it is a confirmation of their competency, and this fulfills their Basic Desire. (“You know what you are talking about.”) Knowledge, understanding, and insight are thus highly valued by Fives, because their identity is built around “having ideas” and being someone who has something unusual and insightful to say. For this reason, Fives are not interested in exploring what is already familiar and well-established; rather, their attention is drawn to the unusual, the overlooked, the secret, the occult, the bizarre, the fantastic, the “unthinkable.” Investigating “unknown territory”—knowing something that others do not know, or creating something that no one has ever experienced—allows Fives to have a niche for themselves that no one else occupies. They believe that developing this niche is the best way that they can attain independence and confidence. Thus, for their own security and self-esteem, Fives need to have at least one area in which they have a degree of expertise that will allow them to feel capable and connected with the world. Fives think, “I am going to find something that I can do really well, and then I will be able to meet the challenges of life. But I can’t have other things distracting me or getting in the way.” They therefore develop an intense focus on whatever they can master and feel secure about. It may be the world of mathematics, or the world of rock and roll, or classical music, or car mechanics, or horror and science fiction, or a world entirely created in their imagination. Not all Fives are scholars or Ph.Ds. But, depending on their intelligence and the resources available to them, they focus intensely on mastering something that has captured their interest. For better or worse, the areas that Fives explore do not depend on social validation; indeed, if others agree with their ideas too readily, Fives tend to fear that their ideas might be too conventional. History is full of famous Fives who overturned accepted ways of understanding or doing things (Darwin, Einstein, Nietzsche). Many more Fives, however, have become lost in the Byzantine complexities of their own thought processes, becoming merely eccentric and socially isolated. The intense focus of Fives can thus lead to remarkable discoveries and innovations, but when the personality is more fixated, it can also create self-defeating problems. This is because their focus of attention unwittingly serves to distract them from their most pressing practical problems. Whatever the sources of their anxieties may be—relationships, lack of physical strength, inability to gain employment, and so forth—average Fives tend not to deal with these issues. Rather, they find something else to do that will make them feel more competent. The irony is that no matter what degree of mastery they develop in their area of expertise, this cannot solve their more basic insecurities about functioning in the world. For example, as a marine biologist, a Five could learn everything there is to know about a type of shellfish, but if her fear is that she is never going to be able to run her own household adequately, she will not have solved her underlying anxiety. Dealing directly with physical matters can feel extremely daunting for Fives. Henry is a life scientist working in a major medical research lab: "Since I was a child, I have shied away from sports and strenuous physical activity whenever possible. I was never able to climb the ropes in gym class, stopped participating in sports as soon as it was feasible, and the smell of a gymnasium still makes me uncomfortable. At the same time, I have always had a very active mental life. I learned to read at the age of three, and in school I was always one of the smartest kids in academic subjects." Thus, much of their time gets spent “collecting” and developing ideas and skills they believe will make them feel confident and prepared. They want to retain everything that they have learned and “carry it around in their heads.” The problem is that while they are engrossed in this process, they are not interacting with others or even increasing many other practical and social skills. They devote more and more time to collecting and attending to their collections, less to anything related to their real needs. Thus, the challenge to Fives is to understand that they can pursue whatever questions or problems spark their imaginations and maintain relationships, take proper care of themselves, and do all of the things that are the hallmarks of a healthy life.

Some of the Compadres of the 5s are:

A. H. AlmaasBuddhaMarlene DietrichVincent van GoghStephen HawkingBill GatesAlfred Hitchcock

We have several Type 5s on the Diner I am pretty sure.

What Enneagram Personality Type is LEAST likely to be a Doomer?

Type 2s, coming in at only 1.77%

Here is the description of Type 2s:

Type Two Overview

We have named personality type Two The Helper because people of this type are either the most genuinely helpful to other people or, when they are less healthy they are the most highly invested in seeing themselves as helpful. Being generous and going out of their way for others makes Twos feel that theirs is the richest, most meaningful way to live. The love and concern they feel—and the genuine good they do—warms their hearts and makes them feel worthwhile. Twos are most interested in what they feel to be the “really, really good” things in life—love, closeness, sharing, family, and friendship. Louise is a minister who shares the joy she finds in being a Two: "I cannot imagine being another type and I would not want to be another type. I like being involved in peoples’ lives. I like feeling compassionate, caring, nurturing. I like cooking and homemaking. I like having the confidence that anyone can tell me anything about themselves and I will be able to love them….I am really proud of myself and love myself for being able to be with people where they are. I really can, and do, love people, pets, and things. And I am a great cook!" When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They enliven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of “the good parent” that everyone wishes they had: someone who sees them as they are, understands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with infinite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts because theirs are already so open and they show us the way to be more deeply and richly human. Louise continues: "All of my jobs revolved around helping people. I was a teacher who wanted to be sensitive to children and help them get off to a good start. I was a religious education director in a number of parishes. I thought that if people learned about the spiritual life, they’d be happier…The most important part of my life is my spiritual life. I was in a religious community for ten years. I married a former priest, and we both have our spirituality as the basis of our life together." However, Twos’ inner development may be limited by their “shadow side”—pride, self-deception, the tendency to become over-involved in the lives of others, and the tendency to manipulate others to get their own emotional needs met. Transformational work entails going into dark places in ourselves, and this very much goes against the grain of the Two’s personality structure, which prefers to see itself in only the most positive, glowing terms. Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Twos, Threes, and Fours in their inner work is having to face their underlying Center fear of worthlessness. Beneath the surface, all three types fear that they are without value in themselves, and so they must be or do something extraordinary in order to win love and acceptance from others. In the average to unhealthy Levels, Twos present a false image of being completely generous and unselfish and of not wanting any kind of pay-off for themselves, when in fact, they can have enormous expectations and unacknowledged emotional needs. Average to unhealthy Twos seek validation of their worth by obeying their superego’s demands to sacrifice themselves for others. They believe they must always put others first and be loving and unselfish if they want to get love. The problem is that “putting others first” makes Twos secretly angry and resentful, feelings they work hard to repress or deny. Nevertheless, they eventually erupt in various ways, disrupting Twos’ relationships and revealing the inauthenticity of many of the average to unhealthy Two’s claims about themselves and the depth of their “love.” But in the healthy range, the picture is completely different. My own [Don Riso’s] maternal grandmother was an archetypal Two. During World War II, she was “Moms” to what seemed like half of Keisler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, feeding the boys, allowing her home to be used as a “home away from home,” giving advice and consolation to anyone lonely or fearful about going to war. Although she and her husband were not wealthy and had two teenage children of their own, she cooked extra meals for the servicemen, put them up at night, and saw to it that their uniforms had all of their buttons and were well pressed. She lived until her 80’s, remembering those years as the happiest and most fulfilling of her life—probably because her healthy Two capacities were so fully and richly engaged.

Some 2 Compadres are:

There are no 2's that have been identified on the Diner AFAIK.

OK, that is the broad overview of Doomer Personalities according to the Diner Collapse Personality Profile Survey TM. 🙂

THE SURVEY REMAINS OPEN AND YOU CAN STILL TAKE IT HERE

I will update results at the end of the year if many more respondents drop in.

For those of you who have made it this far, below are the complete results from the survey to date, including answers to the text questions.

If you wish to do more Data Analysis of the results, you can download the Spreadsheet to date HERE.  Please let me know if you do any further analysis of the data and what your results are.

Diner Collapse Personality Profile TM Survey Results

——————

How do you categorize yourself as you look toward the future1- Cornucopian- Believes that in the future we will have a high technological society, travel to the stars etc2- Doom Lite- Believes that we will have a crash of our current systems, but will in the future fix these problems and continue living much as we now do.3- Full Doom- Believes that our current way of living will disappear, there will be a large reduction of human population and those who remain will live a more primitive lifestyle.4- Extinction- Believes that the Human race will go Extinct in the very near term of 100 years or less.

  Cornucopian Doom Lite Full Doom Extinction Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 2
(1.71%)
20
(17.09%)
81
(69.23%)
14
(11.97%)
30.57 117

—–

My main Enneagram Type from the test was:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 16
(14.16%)
2
(1.77%)
3
(2.65%)
12
(10.62%)
36
(31.86%)
12
(10.62%)
3
(2.65%)
10
(8.85%)
19
(16.81%)
10.02 113

—–

My Wing Enneagram Type from the test was:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 12
(11.32%)
5
(4.72%)
2
(1.89%)
10
(9.43%)
26
(24.53%)
23
(21.7%)
9
(8.49%)
7
(6.6%)
12
(11.32%)
7.48 106

—–

Optional: Other possible types for my Enneagram were (list like 3W2, 4W1, etc)

Text Responses

5w6
Type 1 – 8.3 Type 6 – 7.7 Type 9 – 6.7 Type 7 – 6.7 Type 2 – 6.4 Type 8 – 6.4 Type 3 – 5.7 Wing 1w9 – 11.7 Wing 1w2 – 11.5 Wing 6w7 – 11.1 Wing 9w1 – 10.9 Wing 7w6 – 10.6 Wing 2w1 – 10.6 Wing 7w8 – 9.9 Wing 9w8 – 9.9 Wing 8w9 – 9.8 Wing 8w7 – 9.8 Wing 2w3 – 9.3 Wing 6w5 – 8.9 Wing 3w2 – 8.9 Wing 3w4 – 6.1
6w5
5w6
5w4, 6w5
1w9
5w6
4W5
1w2, 2w1, 6w5
5W6
9w8,9w1
5w4
9w1 9w8 4w3 4w5 3w4 5w4 5w6
1w9 or 5w4
1w9
5W4
6w7
from the report: "Taking wings into account, you seem to be a 5w4 or 9w8 or 9w1. It is not clear from these test results which Enneagram type and wing you are."
5W4
4w1
5w6 or 9w8 or 9w1
1w9
5W1
7W8
6w5
1w2 or 2w1
SP
5w6
1w2
9w8
4W3
2w1,1w9,2w3
5w6
5w6
5W4, 5W4, 6W5
4w5
6SX, 9SX
1w2
3w4 or 8w7
5W6, 6W5

—–

Do you feel the Enneagram Test properly categorized your Personality?

  Yes No Other Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 80
(70.8%)
10
(8.85%)
23
(20.35%)
30.4 113

—–

Do you have any thoughts to add on Enneagram Testing?

Text Responses

Briggs-Meyers is wayyy better
Not familiar with this test.
Too centered on humanity and humans per se.
no
Mostly right
Nope.
Pretty nice touch. Yes. I am aware that I come too strong and that I bring too much of cognitive dissonance to pple with mainstream life choices. That is one of reasons I have chosen to live secluded live on the borders of the society. Everybody needs his own time to figure what I figured or find something completely new. I myself found, that I do not have heart to live my free minimum expense livestyle in the midst of car-feeding career dependant mortgage slaves. Both sides suffered for no positive outcome by my mere presence.
4w1
Leave me the fuck alone.
Not sure what it all means.
No
My ideas are closer to Charles Eisenstein's than any I see here.
I took the simplified test first and I got 4w5. I took the extended test second and got 5w6. I feel pretty strongly that the first, simplified test was the more accurate.
not really sure if 1w2 or 1w9, could be either
It's a dynamic system that accounts for whether someone is mentally and emotionally healthy (or not), so it gives a lot of useful feedback to someone trying to do personal growth work for him/herself.
I feel I am more of an 8w2 than 8w9 as I don't fear interaction, confrontation or any of the other things 9's do.
Very accurate and repeatable for me.

—–

My most likely Briggs-Meyers Personality type is:

  ENFJ ENFP ENTJ ENTP ESFJ ESFP ESTJ ESTP INFJ INFP INTJ INTP ISFJ ISFP ISTP Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 4
(3.81%)
1
(0.95%)
5
(4.76%)
2
(1.9%)
0
(0%)
1
(0.95%)
1
(0.95%)
0
(0%)
15
(14.29%)
14
(13.33%)
27
(25.71%)
22
(20.95%)
7
(6.67%)
2
(1.9%)
4
(3.81%)
8.23 105

—–

My next most likely Briggs-Meyers Personality type is:

  ENFJ ENFP ENTJ ENTP ESFJ ESFP ESTJ ESTP INFJ INFP INTJ INTP ISFJ ISFP ISTP Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 4
(4.35%)
2
(2.17%)
4
(4.35%)
5
(5.43%)
0
(0%)
1
(1.09%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
16
(17.39%)
11
(11.96%)
21
(22.83%)
14
(15.22%)
5
(5.43%)
5
(5.43%)
4
(4.35%)
6.21 92

—–

Optional: Other possible Briggs-Meyers types listed for me were (list like ESFJ, INFP etc)

Text Responses

istp
INFJ
I have taken the test several times in the past, intj only
did not take
no info without paying
ISFJ,ISFP
Just got INP listed
my types change over time.
I didn't sign up, so all I got was hints (the above are guesses based on other research)
Don't know
istj
I was shown as 89% INTJ
Intuitive, introvert and feeling. Don't recall the rest.
ISJT
didn't give a second choice
ISTJ
INFJ
istj
Half of them are possible choices. Most results of 3 categories came out borderling.

—–

Do you feel the Briggs-Meyers test properly categorized your Personality type?

  Yes No Other Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 86
(76.79%)
8
(7.14%)
18
(16.07%)
34.65 112

—–

Do you have any other thoughts about the Briggs-Meyer Personality test?

Text Responses

Didn't get results…as it asked for $29. I marked INFJ for the hell of it.
Too centered on humans and humanity.
This test did not give results without first paying a $29 fee. Therefore, took the test but didn't receive the results.
Declined to register or give them money. So I just guessed
The test was improved by David Keirsey
Tests are more certain than I am
Why did you link to a test that costs money. No one will spend money to take a test just to give you the answer. Search for free tests or build your own.
no free, used sample to get type = seemed close enough
I have gotten a different type result in the past. I think i have changed in my habits a little over time.
These shift frequently over time, probably moreso than personal outlook on the future.
Ad Q.12: I can make very little difference for my individual future but all the necessary difference in my own perception of things. And it happens, that I truly believe two things.: First, from what Ive seen over the world we are hardly the first industrial civilization in our species history. Second at best. The history we wrote for us is either an error or hoax. Second – collapse of current industrial civilization … seen from far enough… appears to be a correct thing. We took too much space. Thats wrong. Its against Live. Luckily and eventually, even when we somehow manage to go extinct, Earth will be Garden of Eden again. It is given. And I am quite fine with that. Personally I do not see that much difference between me, enjoying lazy afternoon sun in a garden, and for example a cat. They are the very same thing we are minus human collection of abstract thought patterns, notions and such. I believe this quite firmly, since I managed to almost die on Lyme disease last year. And as I was sinking and losing myself on a bed in my house for a day or two I lost this human part. And I was like them. Unable to think, to name stuff, to make much of plans. And it was still Me in the bed. Me as always having this usual strange sort of fun. It may be of some interest to you, that the man who had teache me most about collapse, was by some strange way of accident Alan Watts.
Very applicable.
Very accurate descriptions.
It only told me I am IS (complete result is 29 bucks), the rest of the answer I made up.
Often forces a choice between 2 options that can be held simultaneously and are not mutually exclusive. A poor test.
Fuck that noise.
I did several, years ago; didn't do this specific one. Have studied Myers-Briggs (you have the name backward, for some reason) for decades.
Truly amazing result
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4221
It's a more static test that gives you a personality snapshot for the moment in time when you take it, but you may score differently at different times.
The Meyer-Briggs test has little scientific backing, especially the categorization into 16 distinct personality types. Other tests like ones for the Big Five personality traits are better supported by empirical data and acknowledge a wider range of personality facets. However, these tests have their own problems as well.
This test does not do well for me in terms of defining my personality. With 3 of categories borderline, I could pick any of 8 possibilities.

—–

Choose as many of these as applies to you

  I think about collapse issues daily I rarely worry about collapse It is important to be Hopeful in the face of collapse Giving up Hope is the best way to deal with collapse My concerns about collapse affect my choices My concerns about collapse do not affect my choices Most people I talk to are unaware of collapse Most people I talk to are aware of collapse I can make a difference for my future I cannot make a difference, doom is inevitable Responses
All Data 102
(85.71%)
11
(9.24%)
43
(36.13%)
27
(22.69%)
89
(74.79%)
11
(9.24%)
104
(87.39%)
7
(5.88%)
64
(53.78%)
39
(32.77%)
119

—–

My attitudes regarding collapse has affected my relationships with others

  Yes No Other Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 73
(61.86%)
43
(36.44%)
2
(1.69%)
29.1 118

—–

My IQ based on the online free test is

  <90 90-99 100-109 110-119 120-129 130-139 140-149 150+ Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(0.94%)
9
(8.49%)
17
(16.04%)
44
(41.51%)
31
(29.25%)
4
(3.77%)
15.33 106

—–

I feel the online IQ test gave a more or less accurate (within 10 points) assesment of my actual IQ

  Yes No IQ tests are not a valid measure of intelligence Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 61
(58.65%)
7
(6.73%)
36
(34.62%)
22.07 104

—–

My maximum formal education level is:

  High School Associates Degree Bachelors Degree Masters Degree Doctoral Degree Other Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 16
(13.45%)
10
(8.4%)
39
(32.77%)
35
(29.41%)
8
(6.72%)
11
(9.24%)
12.43 119

—–

My Gender is

  Male Female Other Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 100
(84.03%)
19
(15.97%)
0
(0%)
43.36 119

—–

My Race/Ethnicity is:

  White Black Brown Red Yellow Albino Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 107
(91.45%)
3
(2.56%)
2
(1.71%)
2
(1.71%)
3
(2.56%)
0
(0%)
39.14 117

—–

The continent/region I live on most of the time is:

  North America Central America South America Western Europe Eastern Europe North Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Middle East North Asia Southeast Asia Australia/New Zealand Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 83
(69.75%)
0
(0%)
1
(0.84%)
21
(17.65%)
2
(1.68%)
0
(0%)
1
(0.84%)
1
(0.84%)
2
(1.68%)
2
(1.68%)
6
(5.04%)
23.54 119

—–

My age is

  <18 18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80+ Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 0
(0%)
6
(5.04%)
15
(12.61%)
23
(19.33%)
20
(16.81%)
28
(23.53%)
24
(20.17%)
3
(2.52%)
0
(0%)
10.46 119

—–

Education: A Ph.D. calls it Quits in the Race to Nowhere

Off the keyboard of George Mobus

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
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Published on Question Everything on June 6, 2015

Visit the New Diner News Page for Daily Updates from around the Collapse Blogosphere

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

Time to Retire (from Education)?

http://broadeducation.org/asset/1811_Crisis_Stats_Header_2013.jpg

The Hopeless State of Education

education_race_to_nowhereIf you have been reading QE for a while you know that I have a pretty dim view of the education system in this country and increasingly being adopted around the world. The colonization of education by the same neoliberal corporate (modern capitalism) practices that have destroyed an economic system that promoted the idea of a strong middle class as a worthy goal (though why there should be any classes is my question) and hence provided jobs for the majority is destroying the very soul of education. The main themes today are 1) education is just to get people ready for the marketplace; 2) everyone needs a college-level education; and 3) teaching should be accountable. Education has always been about getting young people ready to be effective members of societies but that has meant more than just being ready to follow a particular profession. There is that whole thing that Thomas Jefferson thought was important about being informed (educated) about everything needed to be a thoughtful, knowledgeable citizen. He felt that was a prerequisite for the proper operation of democracy. In his day (and thinking) while all men might be created equal, only some men attained sufficient education to be full participants in the democratic process. Today we assert that all men and women have an equal right to participate. But, of course, the modern political process assures the new elites that that won't be the case.

My first inkling that our education system was not working as advertised came to me early when I compared my own experiences with what was being claimed about education (teaching critical thinking and all of that good-sounding stuff). Being unstoppably curious about how the world worked I launched off on my own quest for knowledge early in my school life and followed my intuitions about what sort of knowledge was really useful. That is how I ended up constructing my own curriculum in systems science since it didn't actually exist officially in schools. Fortunately, having a love of biology served me well there since most of the really interesting systems science (e.g. cybernetics) was being explicated in that realm.

http://a4.files.psmag.com/image/upload/c_fit,cs_srgb,dpr_1.0,q_80,w_620/MTI3NTgyNTY0MDIxMDk0NDEw.jpgThe second hint I got that something was fundamentally wrong with education came when as an engineering manager, and then later as the CEO, I discovered that entry level embedded systems developers were ill-prepared for doing any actual engineering. I won't bore you with details but the problem came down to several employees that had graduated from pretty well thought of programs could not actually solve engineering problems. They had done well in school (grades) and interviewed well regarding some technical issues, but when it came to delivering the goods they simply could not synthesize their disparate pieces of knowledge or even analyze the problem to formulate a solution. I ended up finishing their projects for them and they ultimately ended up on the street. I was curious as to why a couple of young, and seemingly intelligent, engineers, with official degrees were so incapable of basic skills (including communications with other engineers and supervisors). I took a quick survey of the histories of my older engineers who were doing well at those tasks. It turned out that of all four of the other design engineers, only one had an "official" degree in electrical engineering and the other three were, like me, self-taught on embedded systems, control theory, filtering theory, etc. I can't generalize to all engineering schools on the basis of my own sample, of course, but it did make me aware that anomalies were possible.

Once I became part of the professoriate I began to see more clearly where at least one problem lay. As I have railed on about before, I repeatedly witnessed PhDs who were supposed to be among the smartest people on the planet and who, I presume, when working on problems strictly within their silos could exercise critical thinking and investigate the backgrounds of those problems, when faced with other issues, such as university governance, seemed to more often than not fall back on emotion-based opinions. Professors will be the first to tell you that they teach students critical thinking skills. Yet they failed many times to exercises such skills outside of their specialties. This observation is based on having interacted on more than several occasions with committees that were dealing with more global problems in education, such as governance and especially strategic management, areas where I had developed a good deal of background knowledge (e.g. I did my homework to make sure I knew something about the subject), and witnessed first hand people offering opinions and making various claims that I knew to be bogus. I wondered often how they had developed their opinions. And when I asked for evidence I got push back. One of the prime tenants of critical thinking is that it involves the use of unbiased evidence.

Recent studies of critical thinking capacity of college graduates have produced the shocking (to the professoriate) results that graduates show almost no improvement over their capacities when entering school. There was a flurry of discussion on various academia venues when the results were first published, but the cacophony has died down to a barely audible whimper now. The professoriate will go on with their practices and basically ignore those results. Don't look for much in the way of reform anytime soon.

http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/state-funding-per-student-us-4yr-public-unis.png

I have also railed on about the problems with professional administration. This has been the single biggest point of contact between neoliberal corporatism and education. Professional administrators have no choice but to act like corporate managers in their methods. To have any “career” potential they have to do what corporate bosses have done throughout history — they have to expand their fiefdoms in order to look important and fluff their resumes in preparation for moving to the next position. Professional academic administrators (those who left teaching to take on “important” jobs as deans (and their many associates) or provosts (and their many associates)) are faced with the same situation. Google “high cost of education” and “administration” and you will turn up numerous studies that have identified the rising costs of education to the expansion of administration (also look for “administration bloat”), the pattern of top administrators' pay, and administrator turnover rates. You can also dig into the other costs that administrators generate through their corporatized notion of competing with other colleges for students by building luxury dorms, etc. Several studies point to the idea that more than 50% of rate of increases in costs (and hence tuitions) can be laid at the feet of administration.

But it is even worse than that. Administrators have bought into the whole idea of teaching accountability and retention. The first I will address below as it impacts what has happened to our K-12 education system. The idea behind retention is what really gets me. The question I have asked repeatedly is why do we believe that college is for everybody? And why do we (the professoriate) have to find ways to keep everybody who gets admitted in their programs? Is it true that everyone has the same basic intellectual capacities? Or should we turn our four-year academic institutions into the new high schools and dumb everything down so that everyone can succeed. We can always change the definition of success in academics to achieve this goal.

Unfortunately it goes way beyond a college-for-everyone mentality based on thinking everyone can and should do advanced academic work. Do administrators really believe that everyone is intellectually above average? No it has to do with dollars, tuition dollars specifically (these days). Administrators need a growing revenue stream just as if they were running a for-profit outfit that needed to maximize shareholder value (a core principle of the neoliberal agenda). They have fallen into the “growth is good” fallacy trap. In pursuing growth for growth sake they have overseen the creation of all sorts of “professional” degree programs for career categories that used to be handled well enough by trade schools so that they could “capitalize” on the larger population of potential students who were not interested in solving differential equations or plumbing the depths of the human mind, but would love to say they have a college degree in restaurant and hotel management. It might very well take four years of more education to in fact qualify for restaurant and hotel management, but does it really need any “intellectual” pursuit. I realize, by the way, that this is definitely not PC in this day and age. But what the hell? This post is about retirement so I don't really give a damn.

As Attacked from Above, So from Below

The whole education system is in a nosedive from the positive feedbacks instilled by neoliberal capitalism in the corporatized model operating on education through professional administration. I've had a career of dodging bullets shot from above. I've a reputation as something of a trouble maker among certain high officials! But I had been reasonably successful working with students who were open to the idea that learning was not a process of stuffing their heads with facts (my job) as much as learning the skills of self-teaching so that they could become truly autonomous agents in their future lives. There were always a small majority of such students in my mostly upper division classes who responded to my methods (and of course a minority who already thought of themselves as “customers” who were buying my services to stuff knowledge into their heads!). I labored for the sake of those who got it, knowing that they would go on to succeed in the real world. Over the years I have had many e-mails from some of those students acknowledging that fact.

Education-FAILING REPORT CARD-2I took my lumps from student evaluations from the disgruntled (who seem to be the ones most eager to fill out the forms!) because I knew, even if they didn't, that what I was doing, though it didn't fit the mold of education they had grown used to (and had learned how to game successfully), would eventually surface in their lives and help them become successful in spite of their grumbling about me as a teacher. I've gotten numerous e-mails from former students in this category as well who have recognized that the things I made them do were really the things they needed to learn in order to succeed. I was able to get tenure on the basis of my research and sufficiently good student evaluations. I confess, however, that in the years leading up to getting tenure I did lighten up a bit on my classes. I did this somewhat subconsciously because of the pressure to not get bad reviews if I wanted tenure (another little way administrators have gained power over the professoriate over the years). But I did eventually recognize that I was leaning toward winning popularity contests (I was voted as best computer science professor by the student body twice during that time!) and once I was tenured I consciously made an effort to reestablish my standards. Not surprisingly, student evaluations went back down again (however, I taught a number of specialty courses, such as in our Global Honors program where my evals were way high – but then I was working with extremely bright students who loved being challenged).

In the last few years, however, I have noticed a definite shift in the majority of student attitudes toward education, what it means, how it should work, etc. My first eye opener was teaching a freshman class (what we called our “Core” courses for general studies) in systems science last year (winter quarter). I had taught the very same course the year before with very good results and high student evaluations (as well as good peer reviews). Eighteen year olds are still immature in many ways so you have to work with them differently, but they responded well to my problem/project based approach and I only had two students, out of 24, who did not make it grade-wise. But last year's crop were quite different. Their attendance was horrible (we are disallowed to use attendance in grading!), they constantly talked to one another during my lectures, they openly texted or played games on their computers. Some of them freely admitted they didn't like science period.

My first thought, and something I conferred with the program chair about, was that somehow I had just gotten an unlucky draw. It does happen from time to time that you get a class that has a peculiar personality, i.e. the majority are problematic or extra good. So I chalked this experience up to that fluke. About three quarters into the course I finally gave up trying to stick to the curriculum as planned and turned it into a completely project oriented class so they could talk all they wanted but they had to contribute to their team's work or be penalized. That helped with the attendance a bit. I had a heart-to-heart talk with them with only a week left to go in the quarter. I was frank and so were they. I tried to get at why they were not taking this class seriously and they told me flat out. What they understood as education is I was supposed to tell them what parts of the book would be on the exam and give them practice homework on the same kinds of questions that would be on the exam. I asked them how they came to believe that that was the way education was supposed to work and they told me. That is how it worked in high school (and apparently also in several of their other freshman classes at our campus). I was stunned but still was inclined to chalk it up to bad luck in the draw.

But this last year I experienced something I was completely unprepared for. Many of the seniors in my engineering classes and this last quarter a batch of juniors, had very negative responses to my approach to problem/project-based learning (which involves discovery and experimentation which has been shown to improve context grasp and long-term retention of knowledge). The subjects of these courses are among the most challenging on our campus (maybe quantum physics would be more challenging). So students do need to work much harder to explore the space of solutions. It requires much more autonomous thinking than lower-division courses (especially, for instance, math courses). I also taught two junior-level computer science classes in fall and winter quarter and found some of the same attitudinal problems that I'd seen in the Core course freshman the year before. Needless to say I found this interesting and distressing.

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My reviews are in from my engineering courses and I must tell you they were really bad. Most accused me of not teaching at all. And they definitely complained about the amount of work they needed to do to solve the problems. But here is the irony. They all succeeded in doing so, and whether they realize it or not, they learned a huge amount of really useful knowledge in a short period of time and can expect to carry that knowledge far into their futures. They just hated the process and could not grasp what my role in the process was. And here is another ironic fact. This year we had more of these seniors succeed in getting very good jobs with name recognition companies than in prior years. Every one of them reported to me that they did well in their interviews because they actually knew stuff and could think through the solution for tough problems! On top of that I had a recruiter at one of these companies ask me to send more of our seniors her way because the interviewing managers had said our soon-to-be graduates were more prepared than any they had seen from other, supposedly top engineering programs. Go figure. I want students to realize that they have the power to figure things out on their own, and the only way they will understand that is to do it and prove to themselves they have it. But it would also be nice if they recognized that they got that because I set up the situations that allowed them to do so. That, apparently, was not to be.

Whenever the world doesn't work the way I expected it to I start wondering why and start digging into background to educate myself. I read a number of critiques of problem-project based learning (P2-BL) and where it was considered as failing because the students didn't like it. One study found that students who had been immersed in K-12 education in which No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had resulted in a huge increase in teaching to the test pedagogy were the most averse to P2-BL methods. The idea of becoming an autonomous learner did not fit their model of what education was about and they resisted learning a new model. In another similar study they found that not only were students from NCLB affected schools averse, but that miraculously they had actually learned more and retained longer than students who continued on in the NCLB framework. Both of these studies involved looking at high schools that had converted to P2-BL methods (they still had to give standardized tests, which is how they knew that students had actually learned more). One of these schools has since reverted because of problems not only with student attitudes but with teachers having problems with the pedagogy; it is quite hard to come up with meaningful problems and projects in which you can identify the points in which students will have succeeded in learning if they actually do solve the problem (and making the problems solvable but still challenging).

It has been fourteen years since NCLB and the increasing emphasis on standardized, high-stakes testing became the law of the land (2001). The K-12 system has been struggling with the ramifications ever since. But now students who have spent their entire educational lives in that environment are hitting the upper division courses in college. Even those students who are a bit older, who went to community colleges before transferring to our campus, have spent a good portion if not all of their high school lives in it. Based on my experiences this year I would hypothesize that the attitudes we are seeing in the university are much the same as those found in the above mentioned studies.

By happenstance I ran into a couple of high school history teachers in my favorite neighborhood pub. We got to chatting about challenges in teaching and student attitudes toward learning. Suffice it to say they reinforced my presumptions quite strongly. Both were more mature teachers, having been doing it for more than twenty years. And both were livid about the degradation in the whole educational environment as a result of the teaching-to-the-test mentality which now permeates their school (and apparently most of the others as they had talked to colleagues in other high schools in the area). One of them told me he was advising his daughter (who was going to college) to not go into education as it had become a death trap. Both agreed that when they had first started it was a pretty good vocation and the students' attitudes on all counts were generally pretty good. Now both of them had lost the faith and described their attitudes as just putting in the years until they could retire. Very sad.

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More recently we've seen a growing backlash among parents (and some ideologues, for the wrong reasons of course) to the Common Core and the “Race to the Top” federal program. With the Common Core standards the emphasis on more standardized testing and the high stakes of missing out on federal grants if the scores are not adequate are combining to raise the stress levels on young students even more. It is so ironic that lawmakers, eager to reform and improve education are passing laws that have the exact opposite effects. But, once again, this is the effect of neoliberal capitalism and corporatism on thinking about education and the idea of “accountability” being the way to cause improvement in the process (particularly teaching). I do not deny that the teaching profession has its problems with bad teachers and phenomena such as I described at the start about critical thinking. So I do understand the desire to find ways to bring these problems to light and take some form of appropriate corrective action to fix things (I, for one, would suggest getting rid of teachers' unions might be a start, or at least revamp the union governance so that it doesn't knee jerk protect clearly substandard teachers). But then letting corporatists in to design the solutions is not the way to do this. For starters the ideas surrounding measures of teaching effectiveness are poorly understood, actually not even really defined. The fall back onto student evaluations by administrators is an intellectually dishonest, and lazy way out for college administration. Unfortunately even much of the professoriate has bought into this mechanism because few of them really have time anymore to do extensive peer reviews (they are pushed more and more into spending time in research instead of finding ways to help their colleagues improve their teaching effectiveness).

Many a psychologists (of learning) have pointed out over and over that the effects of teaching are extremely subtle and cannot be measured in any direct way. We can, of course, determine when teachers are simply not doing their jobs. There are numerous “behaviors” associated with this that can be easily determined. The problem is that we can't really say what effect teaching styles have on learning and retention. Even more importantly we cannot determine the degree of understanding that students obtain from interactions with teachers. The only meaningful definition of teaching (or education) effectiveness is in terms of how successful, in many dimensions, a person is in life several years after graduation. How successful are they at getting meaningful employment, after factoring out effects of the economy on employment opportunities? Specifically, if they went through a program like ours (engineering and computer science) where technical knowhow and know-what is important, are they capable of solving typical problems in their work several years after graduation? And, that means are they on average as a group doing so?

By that measure a number of people are arguing that education is failing. By implication it must be the teaching that is poor. Actually many of my colleagues lament the poor preparation for college level work in our freshmen so they put the blame on high schools (who pass the buck to the K-8 system!) But employers are forever pounding on politicians that our colleges are failing to adequately prepare graduates for the real world. And, based on what I have witnessed I agree with them. Unfortunately their solution is to make schools and teachers accountable through measures of teaching effectiveness that are not known to correlate. It is fast, convenient and, unfortunately, part of a positive feedback loop that is blowing up the very fabric of education. The sad part is that it cannot be fixed. The more failure on the part of education the more pressure will come for accountability which, in turn, simply causes teaching practices to get worse.

Caught in the Middle

The real root cause of the cycle of destruction is the lack of critical thinking by all of the players, administrators, teachers, students (who might be forgiven when they are young), and the rest of society but especially the business people and politicians. Everyone is looking for a miracle cure, an easy way out, something that can be done fast and cheap but produce the right results. Once again I come back to the lack of sapience in the species. That lack prevents people from using holistic systems thinking and long-term strategic thinking to realize they must work hard to develop wise decisions about education. And once again my thesis about how the quality of high sapience is so missing from our species is further demonstrated. Without it, all of the decision agents in this complex system will continue to make mistake after mistake, thinking they are doing the right thing but unable to see the real consequences of their “solutions”. I would never accuse George W. Bush of having good intentions per se, but I'm sure he thought NCLB was a cure for what ailed failing schools (whatever that means). So he and Congress waved a magic wand and created a monster that would show itself more fully fourteen years later. Congratulations Mr. former president. Yet another example of your ideology trumping wisdom.

Fortunately for me I don't have to fight this any more. I and my colleagues all over the country are caught in the middle of the stresses from above (administration) and from below (students' growing insolent attitudes). I've paid my dues. I've accomplished a few academic things of use. I thought I had struck teaching gold with the P2-BL approach. There for a few years it was producing results in student learning. I could directly measure this because I taught a series of courses in a prerequisite chain where I could see the end effects of teaching a cohort with this approach. In the last course those students had, in fact, learned considerably more in the first courses and had retained it better in the last course. Of course many of them grumbled in the first course in the series because this was their first exposure to P2-BL methods and they had to acclimatize. But by the third course the grumbling had stopped and my teaching evals generally reflected their liking the approach and their attaining a sense of learning autonomy. But these last two years everything has turned to mud.

I could, of course, do what I did when I was up for tenure. It really is easy to game this system by doing exactly what the students expect and want. It makes their lives so much easier and that keeps them happy. This is what my superiors are suggesting. But I can't do that in good conscience knowing what I know. I can't seem to explain it to people. After all the students have been conditioned (I do provide reading pointers that should make them aware of what it is about, but they don't follow pointers). So have the professors. The standard pedantic/didactic lecture-textbook-homework-tests pedagogy has been around a very long time. And all of us have been through it. It is the norm. It is what everybody does, so it must be right. Yet we are failing.

And administrators are just looking for an easy way to hold people accountable. In all of my years of teaching never once has an administrator above the level of a department chair come into my classroom or visited me in my office for a chat about teaching and learning. Once they achieve a high-sounding title they are above that. They are important and have important decisions to make so have no time for walking around and finding out what is actually happening on the ground.

All of this adds up to one thing for me. I'm leaving the profession. I had a pretty good run. There for a while it was extremely satisfying. And a few years ago I thought I would stay in the game till I dropped. But what I see happening now (and, by the way, the rate of decay seems to me to be increasing) just doesn't sit right. I will probably do one more year since I have some graduate student obligations and have two conference papers and a journal paper in preparation that I want the university to pay for(!) But then I kiss it goodbye.

In truth, this is the longest time I've been in a single profession! I've had a lot of different careers in my life. Each one has taught me a lot, and I've been able to leverage my grasp of systems to succeed fairly well in all of them (got fired only once from a “transient” job because the boss and I got into a big argument!). My pattern was to switch to something new when I felt I had reached some kind of upper bound in terms of what I could learn and try out. This time it has more to do with the deterioration of the system that makes it hard to learn anything new (like P2-B learning and how to refine it). It has turned into a situation of finding out what the new battle to fight today is, even if the older battles are still being waged. The growth mentality I mentioned above is another factor. The last several years our department has done multiple multiple-person searches for lecturers and tenure-track faculties. We've been in constant search mode (which is extremely taxing) and continuous mentoring of new people mode (which has been marginally successful). And we have not done a particularly good job of either. I had been making idle threats about retiring for a few years in order to spur the department finding several people who could teach the courses I teach, since I knew I would either retire or drop dead one of these days and the department would be hurting when that happened if it didn't bring in some new, younger people to take over. But that search failed because a certain administrator wouldn't listen to the engineering members of the search committee. So now we have to do it all over again.

I'm not so tired that I can't fight a good fight. But I'm not so foolish (shall we say quixotic) to fight a battle that is not winnable no matter what. And this one is just that. Besides I will more likely go off to another career. I have one book published, one ready for review, and a third in process. So I will at least be writing more about systems science and its applications to all of these problems (one of which is education). Who knows? Maybe working from the outside might be more productive.

Podcast: George Mobus Part 2- Sapience, Evolution & Eugenics

Off the Microphones of George Mobus, RE & Monsta

Aired on the Doomstead Diner Podcasts on July 10, 2013

logopodcast

Discuss this at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

In the second part of George Mobus, RE & Monsta discuss the role of Genetic Bottlenecks in species evolution as it applies to the Human Population at the end of the Age of Oil.

Why are we in the predicament we are in?  Is this a result of a lack of WISDOM to use the INTELLIGENCE Homo Sapience evolved over time?  George makes distinctions between the idea of Wisdom and that of Intelligence, and hypothesizes that attributes of Wisdom can be Identified and Selected for.

If a Genetic Bottleneck through Collapse is coming down the pipe, will there be a Selection Process involved, will Human Beings attempt to CONTROL that selection, and if so, what forms of selection will occur, and what will be Selected for here in the end?

Questions to ponder on further inside the Diner.

Coming soon to a Laptop Near You, Parts 3 & 4, where we discuss further with George the Energy problems and associated Monetary System Collapse issues, along with Community Values and Cooperation vs. Competition in the Evolution of Homo Sapiens.

RE

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