Sunday, October 02, 2011

Being the "best" schooled person

The “Best” myth

One day I told my wife I was the best. She said “says who?”. I had just solved a complicated problem at work that had defied solution. It had become something “impossible” and, as usual, I did the “impossible.”

Her answer made me think though, what is “best”, who decides what is “best”?

The answer is that everyone decides what is “best”.

Best is an opinion, it is not a fact. Someone can be “fastest”, someone can be the “top point scorer”, someone can be the “most accurate shot” and we say things like; “that person is the best runner”, “that person is the best player” or “that person is the best shot”.

Sometimes we say “best of the best”.

At the root of the issue is the belief that “best” can be a fact. “Best” can never be a fact, “best” can only be an opinion based on individual criteria.

So who is “the best”, well, everyone can be the best based on their own criteria or different groups of people can decide on a common criteria for “best”. Not everyone in the world will agree on the criteria or even the words used to describe the criteria.

Pretty wacked out.

The Olympic committee does a pretty good job determining the “best” at a specific sporting competition. Even then not everyone agrees and there are plenty of challenges to the “best” decisions.

Back when Israel was first declared a country by the United Nations the military commissioned all of their officers at a place called Masada.

Back in about 70 A.D. (not C.E.) the Romans destroyed the country of Israel. The last hold outs went to Masada and waited out a Roman siege. The Romans built something called a siege ramp. Essentially a bunch of soldiers walk up to the wall of the city carrying sandbags filled with dirt and drop the dirt. They keep this up 24 hours a day until the pile of dirt has become a ramp leading up to the top of the walls of the city. Once the siege ramp is completed the Romans just walk up and kill everyone who fights and enslave everyone who doesn't.

Just before the siege ramp was completed the people at Masada decided they would rather die than be enslaved. Some of the Israeli soldiers killed everyone, then they killed each other until only one was left and he either fell on his sword or fought with the Romans and died. One of the soldiers hid his family and they told the story of Masada after they were enslaved.

Fast forward to 1948. The new Israeli military decided that they would never again be enslaved the way they were during the Holocaust and that they would all die fighting rather than ever be subjugated or enslaved again. As a result the Israeli military officers were commissioned at Masada so they would know what was expected of them. This was the “best” idea.

Later the Israeli military decided it was a bad idea to keep up this new “best” tradition of Masada, after all the people at Masada did not fight to the death, they killed each other.

The Israeli military came up with a new “best” idea.

This is actually pretty normal. Every twenty years or so people come up with a new “best” idea on how to educate people on healthy eating. Food groups, food pyramids, whatever is “best” or “better”.

The criteria for “best” changes.

In the United States it changes every time there is an election. One administration does what it thinks is “best” and the next administration decides that “best” was crap and they have another idea of “best”. No one in the international community knows what is going to be “best” in the United States next and truthfully, that scares the crap out of people.

Back in 1980 I believed it was “best” to invade Iran and rip that nation apart, then walk out and let them rebuild themselves. No help. I still think a scorched earth policy for Iran would be “best”.

The problem is fear. Other nations are already scared to death that the United States will decide to destroy them. If we implement a scorched Earth policy on Iran it will create an international animosity that will be difficult to overcome. It may be necessary to take over the entire word.

I believe that will eventually happen, but, by then the United States will no longer be a true Republican Democracy, it will be an Elitist Empire similar to what Rome became.

As the United States declines in the international economic community the power structure in Washington D.C. Will hate losing their political power and authority. The “Beltway Power” will implement policies that are designed to maintain their political authority.

Or the United States will eventually become a 2nd (or 3rd) world nation behind China and India.


Because people in the United States have really screwed up ideas of “best”. A lot of people, about 35% of the adults in the United States, think traditional academic education is “best” and have gotten a bachelors degree or better. Another 65% don't and even when they say education is important they have not made a traditional academic education a priority. This is especially true in lower income economic classes where slang language like “schooled” has developed.

One group of people in the United States think “schooling” is great. Another group of people in the United States used “schooled” as a synonym for humiliation If someone wins a basketball game by a large margin they have “schooled” their opponent. The loser has been “schooled” or humiliated.

An online urban dictionary defines “schooled” as: “Taught a lesson (the hard way), to lose humiliating”.

Some politically correct people try and twist the word “schooled” into something that isn't so bad. Yeah, well, try using that “nicey-nice” definition with some gang bangers and see how they school you on the definition. An experience like that can teach anyone a new “best” way to use a word.

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