Book Review: Cultural Literacy – What Every American Needs To Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr

CulturalLiteracy2
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
July 22, 201

Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch is a sobering look into some of the reasons why public schooling in America has been spiraling downwards for the last few decades.  At the vanguard of these issues, Hirsch narrows down this intellectual death spiral to the loss of cultural literacy among the masses.  This loss of cultural literacy has exacerbated the significant bifurcation between the individuals that have literate cultural backgrounds, and those that do not.

Moreover, Hirsch makes it a point to show that cultural literacy is not just knowing about significant facts, or information as some would undoubtedly think.  Certainly, these are at times important, but more precisely, the author homes-in on the fact that cultural literacy is information shared by individuals within a particular social strata that makes their communications more efficient and enjoyable, thus allowing for a more cohesive social strata.

With a critical eye, Hirsch notes:

“….literacy requires the early and continued transmission of specific information…Only by accumulating shared symbols, and the shared information that the symbols represent, can we learn to communicate effectively with one another in our national community.”[1]

Employing copious amounts of research, Hirsch shows there should be a significant cause for concern about the poor quality of education, as well as other salient problems.

With deep concern, Hirsch soberingly warns:

“If we not achieve a literate society, the technicians, with their arcane specialties, will not be able to communicate with us nor we with them.  That would contradict the basic principles of democracy and must not be allowed to happen.”[2]

A sound and versatile education is impossible without a robust culturally literate repertoire.  This is why the information touched upon by Hirsch is so pivotal and should be ruminated upon.

To home in on the point of deteriorating education, let’s take a gander at what two-time award winning teacher, researcher and writer, John Taylor Gatto stated in A Different Kind Of Teacher:

““Schools were designed by Horace Mann, E.L. Thorndike, and others to be instruments of scientific management of a mass population.  Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.  To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this.”[3][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lowering cultural literacy, among other things, would undoubtedly be part of this process.  This is because culturally literate individuals will be familiar with the scaffolding of history and many of its nuances; such individuals are magnitudes harder to control, which is why public schooling through the Common Core system seeks to conform everyone through standardized testing and more.  (For more information, please look below the sources at the resources and suggested reading.)

We are at a turning point in history, and we either stop the descent into cultural nescience, individually, and as a nation, or we continue into the swamp of ignorance.

Irrespective of the circumstances, one thing is certain: there is still time to make significant changes if individuals choose to.  It is really up to individuals and their families to educate themselves, because the way the system is constructed, a well-rounded and complete education cannot take place within the system.  This is one of many reasons why self-teaching is growing at an immense rate, and will continue to do so.  Don’t allow yourself, or those you know to fall by the wayside merely because the system is corrupt and cares not for true education but rather to instead create cogs for the machine.

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Sources:

[1] E.D. Hirsch, Jr., What Every American Needs To Know, p. xvii.
[2] Ibid., p. 2.
[3] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 16.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Churchill & Orwell: The Fight For Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks | #SmartReads

TheFightForFreedom
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
July 1, 217

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

“Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
– George Orwell

In Churchill And Orwell, Thomas E. Ricks does an apt job of juxtaposing two of history’s pillars of freedom – Winston Churchill and George Orwell, whose real name is Eric Arthur Blair.

The author follows the lives of these men through the 30s and 40s with lucidity, while comparing and contrasting key elements of these stalwarts of critical thought and independence.

Though both men were incisive writers that did not overlook the power of the written word, each man went through his own trials and tribulations that helped mold who they became.  Those life lessons they learned helped each become staunch supporters of freedom and individuality in a world that sought then, as it still seeks now at times, to conform individuals at nigh every turn.

With a critical eye to the unique path these men have walked, the author sagely states that their path:

“… is a path we should all strive for if we are to preserve the right to think, speak, and act independently, heeding the dictates not of the state or of fashionable thought but of our own consciences.  In most places and most of the time, liberty is not a product of military action.  Rather, it is something alive that grows or diminishes every day, in how we think and communicate, how we treat each other in our public discourse, in what we value and reward as a society, and how we do that.”[1]

Such a compelling statement beckons rumination for those that value freedom.   Freedom isn’t something that’s merely handed down, but an idea that’s alive, fluid, wholly able to grow or whither depending on how it is treated.

As such, given the totalitarian train of tyranny and fascism that is barreling down the pike, it would be wise to reap wisdom from these prescient pillars of the past, whilst also contemplating what Freedom truly means to us.

If the past is any indication of the future, and we certainly know that it is, then given the cyclic nature of history and man’s inability to learn from the past, then it is only a matter of time before we are waist deep in the very totalitarian and tyrannical issues that both Churchill and Orwell fought to prevent.

This makes learning our history and from those that stood before us and fought the good fight an imperative.  If not, humanity is merely choosing the path of ignorance once again.

Churchill & Orwell: The Fight For Freedom is an evocative read, made all the more relevant by the rise in tyranny and censorship that seeps further into society.  The courage Churchill and Orwell brought to bear in the fight for freedom was immeasurable, just as their wisdom is timeless.  To ignore their words and actions would be unwise, and if we do that, we do that at or own peril.

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Sources:

[1] Thomas E. Ricks, Churchill & Orwell, pg. 269.
___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

What To Expect From Libraries In The 21st Century: Pam Sandlian Smith At TEDxMileHigh

Source: TEDx Talks
Dec 16, 2013

Why do we still need libraries in the age of digital, real-time information? In this emotional talk, Pam Sandlian Smith shows how she works to use the library as a hub for community-based knowledge creation and discourse.

Book Review: The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

ArtOfFiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

Analogous to the Art Of NonFiction, the Art Of Fiction, by Ayn Rand details the core concepts of Rand’s writing repertoire, crystallized for all to see.

In the first half of the book Rand cogently creates very practical, and yet methodical approach that
narrows down on importance of the subconscious in writing, theme, plot and its development, climax, and characterization.  The latter half of the book focuses on style from a variety of angles, all from her objectivist point of view.

Throughout the book Rand speaks at length of the two types of writing that exist in her eyes: naturalist writing vs. romanticist writing.

Naturalistic style catalogues things, which often are inconsequential.  On the other hand, romanticist writing employs carefully selected concrete words in specificity to capture the essentials, what really matters, of a scene.

Rand juxtaposes the two, offering samples that precisely describe why in her mind one is superior to the other.  Moreover, after showing the reader the pros and cons of each style, Rand speaks at length about how to maximize writing while not overstating words.

Imperative as well is the importance of avoiding floating abstractions, choosing instead to gravitate towards making writing more concrete, more specific.  She also covers a few issues with style, for instance, narrative vs. dramatization, which was quite insightful.  Exposition is also covered, as well as flashbacks, transitions, and other notable points.

On the importance of style, Rand notes:

“What constitutes the heart of any style is the clarity of the thoughts a writer expresses – plus the kind of thoughts he choose to express.”[1]

Further:

“A good style is one that conveys the most with the greatest economy of words.  In a textbook, the ideal is to communicate one line of thought or a set of facts as clearly as possible.  For a literary style, much more is necessary.  A great literary style is one that combines five or more different meanings in one clear sentence.   (I do not mean ambiguity but the communication of different issues).”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

More importantly, however, Rand elucidates on the importance of precision in writing:

“I never waste a sentence on saying: “John Smith meets James Brown.”  That is too easy; it is playing the piano with one finger.  Say much more, just as clearly, say it in chords, with a whole orchestration.  That is good style.”[3]

Anyone who has ever read any of Rand’s book knows that Rand’s novels function on multiple tiers, employing various layers of insights, just like a building features various floors that carry out different functions.  For instance, analyzing one of her passage from Atlas Shrugged, she points out how one passage had four purposes: a literary one, a connotative one, a symbolic level, and an emotional level.  The seamlessness of how Rand fuses multiple tiers of purpose is one of the many reasons Rand writing will always remain in the upper caste of the field/discipline.

Although not originally created to be a book, and was instead drawn from Rand’s prior lectures, this book impeccably allows readers to view writing through her unique eyes.  Likewise, the way in which Rand breaks down the purpose of every single thing she does is a breath of fresh air.  The tenets within this book will make readers ruminate upon a much more precise type of writing, one that functions on a deeper level.  Such profound depth and meaning is usually missing from most modern fiction books, which is a shame since much more could be achieved if people employed different skills.

The Art Of Nonfiction is a terrific read in its totality.  The book is a veritable treasure trove of insights.  Couple this book with such classics such as The Element Of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, gather a bit of inspiration with The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, and sprinkle a bit of The Art Of Description by Mark Doty, and one has the veritable seeds for success in writing.

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Footnotes:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Art Of Fiction, p. 142.
[2] Ibid., 143.
[3] Ibid., 143.
___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy | #SmartReads

MaximumAchievement.jpg
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 14, 2017

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
– Nelson Mandela

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
– James Allen

Given the penchant of self-help books guaranteeing everything under the sun, “Never judge a book by its cover” was the first thing that came to mind upon seeing the cover of this book.  Thankfully though, this book was not merely a ghost in a shell.

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy is a rather unique approach to create a road to success.

Drawing from a wide-array of fields such as philosophy, psychology, history, metaphysics, and more, Tracy fuses the insights learned through experience and research into this treasure trove of information.  All of this is aimed for individuals to become active in their own self-mastery.

The insights within this book are varying, but critical.  These insights covered spanned an individual’s relationships, mindset, critical decision making, and even interactions with children.  The book features a lot more than that too.

In fact, some of the tips suggested in this book remind me of Neurolinguistic Programming [NLP] books, given the nature of the topic, which is focusing your thoughts into creating new habits, in order to bring about profound individual change.  The loose comparison is mentioned to serve as a reference for those that might have read books on NLP.

The one thing that the author homes in on, and does so aptly, is the importance of having a sound mindset.  As the author alludes to often, with proper mindset anything can be achieved.

In fact, in a sentiment that calls to mind the timeless quote by Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try,” the author states:

“A major turning point in your thinking comes when you change your language from “whether” to “how.”  When you start thinking about how you are going to accomplish something you want, and you simultaneously refuse to consider whether it’s possible or not, your entire mentality begins to change.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Is it really that simple?  Henry Ford seemed to think so when he intimated, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

A strong mindset is crucial.  In fact, maintaining a keen mindset is everything.  Maintaining a proper mindset should be a key focus of individuals, since creating negative habits can happen a lot quicker than one realizes.  Tracy soberingly notes:

“The most dangerous habits you can form…are mental habits.  Because of the fact that whatever you think about continually you create in your life, your negative or self-limiting thoughts hurt you more than anything else you can engage in.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

This is something attentive individuals will notice when being mindful of their surroundings and thoughts.  Not only has this happened to me, but I have witness it happen to family, friends and acquaintances.   Such is the power of the human mind, and as such it should be carefully and thoughtfully employed.

Whether we become our own worst enemies, or we become our best friends is up to us.  The great thing is that we hold the key to the doorway of change.

Maximum Achievement is a terrific read in its totality, made all the more relevant by how high-speed our lives have become, as well as how easy it is for people to get distracted and create poor habits.  Complement this book with Getting Things Done by David Allen, and you will undoubtedly have a great foundation from which to proceed into a better and more rewarding future.  Stay focused, stay productive, and do not be dissuaded by any obstacles that might arise.

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Footnotes:

[1] Brian Tracy, Maximum Achievement, p. 88.
[2] Ibid., p. 91
___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Fat For Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola | #SmartReads

FatForFuel
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 22, 2017

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
– Ann Wigmore

“He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physician.”
– Chinese Proverb

There are mainstream doctors, and there are open-minded doctors who are few, but dedicated, within the alternative health community.  Dr. Mercola is one of these select few who isn’t afraid to not only call it how it is, but back up what he says with significant contributions and hard work.

Anyone that has been reading Dr. Mercola’s work for quite some time knows what kind of quality of work they will get.  For those that might be newer, as all of us were at one time, Dr. Mercola has been putting in hard work on his website, and he has been dedicated to help others find truths within the sphere of health, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

It is no surprise then that in Fat For Fuel, Dr. Mercola has come out once again pulling no punches with his new effort to show the truth behind the myths claiming fats being unhealthy.  Better yet, he goes beyond that to provide the ample benefits that are to be had by eating healthy fats, which harbor immense benefits.

Fat For Fuel is a veritable crash course on how to streamline your health.  Some of the most salient points in the book, which stand to help a lot of individuals, is that Dr. Mercola takes a very comprehensive approach into showing how to cut off the supply line for cancer cells, how to improve your overall health with simple dietary/lifestyle changes, and even discusses how to maintain healthy mitochondria, which helps maintain optimal health reducing the likelihood of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes and other diseases.

All of this comes about through what Dr. Mercola calls Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy [MMT].  Essentially, what MMT does is target mitochondria, which aids in bringing about healing of chronic disease.  This is accomplished by making sure the body uses fat as a primary fuel, rather than using glucose, which is far less optimal.

The system that Mercola provides is rather comprehensive in its approach, while not overlooking common issues that individuals may face in their journey towards optimal health.  The book offers considerations like when to eat and how much time to leave between, what cooking oils to avoid that are deleterious to health, ways to help individuals self-monitor their own health, and much more.

Extensively covered as well are the many benefits of fasting.  Thankfully, there are a few fasting options offered, as well as many of the do’s and don’ts as well.  Also covered there in are Mercola’s own favorite fast, as well as other fasts which also help the body reach optimal health.

The book even covers many of the extensive issues that are prevalent within individuals with too much iron.  This part alone is quite salient since it couples directly too many other health issues like Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, and more.

In its totality, Fat For Fuel is an in-depth look at how the marvel of the human body can achieve healing by providing it with the proper fuel source.  If you’re interested in healing yourself without having to deal with the myriad issues of that conventional medicine espouses, then consideration of this book should be done.  One thing is for sure, after reading Fat For Fuel people will never think of fats – healthy fats! – in the same way ever again.

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This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.