Are You a Past, Present, or Future Oriented Person?

This video is brilliant, thought provoking, and informative. The whiteboard illustrations alone are worth every minute.

In one section the presenter states the main purpose of schooling is to turn children from present minded hedonists into future oriented planners and organizers. That’s part of the truth, but there is a social sorting aspect of schooling that goes far beyond simply reprogramming our perception of time. It’s a way of creating winners and losers before the adult game of life even begins. Also, one can be a future oriented person without succeeding in school. True, schools force you to plan and organize for the future – next week’s assignment, final tests, prom, the pep fest, the football game, taking the right electives to secure a place in college, etc, but the institution strictly controls what you must plan to do. Many future oriented people have different plans than the paths offered in school…

3 thoughts on “Are You a Past, Present, or Future Oriented Person?”

  1. It seems obvious on the face of it that contrary to what he said, schools actually exist to turn kids from “hedonistic little monsters” (in his words) into members of that remaining category about which he says nothing: present-oriented fatalists. Schooling doesn’t train us to delay gratification, it trains us to abdicate gratification.

    For us to learn to delay gratification, we must make choices about what our goals are and how we are to pursue them, something which is completely at odds with how institutional schooling works, wherein authorities assign “your” goals to you, and dictate the terms under which you will purse them. Contrarywise, our school system teaches that gratification comes not through personal effort and sacrifice, but the blessing of authority figures, and often quite distracted, whimsical, and unjust ones. School is training in fatalism, in the belief that how things will be is entirely out of one’s own hands.

    It’s absurd and slightly infuriating that he argues that there is something about computer games and the internet that is making today’s youth unsuitable and intolerant of what he fully acknowledges is an almost entirely passive pedagogical approach dominant in our schools: I’m here to say that the youth of 30 years ago where just as unsuited to sit passively in a classroom organized like a cross between watching TV and working on an assembly line. The difference is that kids’ standards are higher now. We didn’t have the electronic alternatives to engage our minds and our energies. Just because we sat and took in in despair of the alternatives doesn’t for a moment mean that it was ever good for us either. To the contrary, it made us collectively and culturally passive, self-defeating, distraction-addicted, and, yes, above all fatalistic. Whatever else there may be wrong with kids today, refusing to put up with what we never should have had to but did certainly isn’t one of them.

    And do not tell me that someone who farms gold or other resources in a MMORPG doesn’t understand the benefit of delayed gratification.

  2. This guy’s opinions are more subjective than objective reasoning. It’s his truth, his opinion, his take, and he has some good points to ponder. Most of these theories presented are based on “studies” and long-term forecasting and “predictions” [usually] are based on the collective past conditioning which is human nature. The mind seeks only that which it knows and will base the present on the past experiences and conditioning. The comment that twenty percent of families sit down for dinner these days should not be approached as a fact, but rather consider there may be other factors playing out here, such as more single professional minded people delaying marriage and children in lieu of establishing a career first or not even wanting children as apposed to their contemporaries a generation ago. And education should be approached as an on going, life time process. Always seek to learn and grow.

    Thanks Steve.

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