A Note On Resistance To Learning

by Sam Vaknin - Date: 2007-04-12 - Word Count: 339 Share This!

The denizens of the Balkans resist learning. They reject newfangled knowledge not because they are traditionalists - but because they are craven and because they are pragmatic.

Craven first:

In the paranoid and surrealistic landscape of the former Soviet Bloc, to admit to ignorance is to publicly acknowledge a deficiency, a personal defeat, and a shortcoming. It is to hand your foes a weapon. It is not only a narcissistic injury (and that it is), but also a guaranteed professional suicide.

Thus, in the interest of self-preservation, it is more advisable to invent "facts" than to search for them; to claim education than to seek it; and to feign erudition than to acquire it. Ill-informed professors pass on their half-baked notions and inane "theories" from one molested generation to another in a vast conspiracy aided by the lack of access to foreign texts and outside experts.

Insecurity bred by nescience yields conformity and rigid "conservatism". Toeing the line is a survival strategy, not rocking the boat a religious principle, the boorish quid pro quo of Luddites, quacks, and conspiracy theorists the only form of "higher education".

Inevitably, as a purely defensive posture, a monopoly of "learning" has emerged in all these geographical domains. Real knowledge, propounded by genuine (typically, Western) experts threatens to unravel this unholy cartel, counteract the vested interests it reifies, and shatter the ersatz "scholarship" it is founded upon. Hence the fierce objection to any outside "interference" and "intrusion". Provincialism and obscurantism are elevated to the level of an ideology.

Nor is there a grassroots movement of minds eager for intellectual edification and cross-fertilization. Education is a loss-making proposition. Formal training goes unrewarded in these nether regions. Nepotism and cronyism reign supreme. One's advancement, future prospects, and career depend on one's connections or family of origin. One's peers are perforce disqualified to judge one's progress and accomplishments, having been educated by the same inapts and oil snake salesmen that here pass for "professors". Indeed, why bother with textbooks and exams when social networking gets you places faster and far more securely?

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Sam Vaknin ( samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East.He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International(UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.Visit Sam's Web site at samvak.tripod.com

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