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How do we get our youth to admire Hawking, Gates, and Jobs instead of Lebron, Tom Brady and Justin Beiber?

This is an issue that's bothered me for years. Growing up I admired, looked up to, and aspired to be like people like Hawking, Gates, and Steve Jobs. These people were in the news, people talked about what they were doing, how they were changing the way our world would function forever. Now we have the media talking about Lebron James leaving Cleveland, Miley Cyrus wearing a skirt, or Charlie Sheen breaking down. I feel the way our youth is currently growing up we're going to start taking evolutionary steps backwards. The kids that could have grown up to be our next great thinkers or innovators are instead trying to be our next great athletes and actresses. I feel something definitely needs to change for our society to move in the right direction, get our youth on track to believe that designing the next computer or LHC or electric car is better than being in a movie or winning the stanley cup. I believe this will involve our teachers, media, and parents helping set our next generation up to succeed and look up to the right people. Our kids need better role models, and it's this generation's job to help set this in the right direction.


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  • Mar 21 2011: I'm a senior in high school and I'm just frustrated by the apathy and disdain for knowledge in general. I've never seen such a society that could stigmatize vocational type work *and* hold intellectual work in such contempt. Though from my understanding, Tocqueville even saw hints of the latter. I've actually had a friend of mine (and very intelligent to boot) actually ask the class: "Who here actually cares about learning?"

    On top of that, I've got to deal with an educational system that just doesn't promote higher-level thinking.Too many times do I have to read books on my own time to find anything interesting to the point that calling it "recreational reading" is almost a fraud. More like autodidacticism.

    People don't need to be gung-ho on Shakespeare or all about Homer though. Aristotle mentions that there's a difference between admiration and idolatry (Where the former amounts to a role model proper, and the latter the kind of sensationalist personas in the media). Some people in the media are great (Marilyn Monroe, for example). Sadly, today's media presence has almost nothing that can be admired, only mimicked.

    However, on one point I will disagree when it comes to getting young people to read and be involved in culture etc. The argument is to get them reading and worry about content later. It's sort of a gateway drug argument in that regard. The problem is is that it creates whole markets aimed specifically that these people (things like captain underpants and the gross-out novels about adolescence). Because of things like these, young people are seen as unteachable (especially boys) because they're just not interested in that "dry" sort of stuff.

    It's ironic, because the Greeks taught boys exclusively to be pillars of their civilization. Today, they're sedated, "unteachable", and more interested in farts and boogers than culture. I think that whole representation of the child has to be done away with until progress can be made.

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