The Very First Unteachable Students
When I was initially offered a position to teach at Learning Place Near the Large Tree with the Small Stream, No, Not That One, the Other Large Tree, I was ecstatic. It is one thing to share knowledge of my discipline -- Using a Stick to Scratch Directions to Locations of Objects, Important Landmarks, and Other Important Things in the Dirt -- within one’s immediate family unit, but to do it for the entire tribal group at a top institution like Learning Place Near the Large Tree with the Small Stream, No, Not That One, the Other Large Tree is a dream come true.
I was passionate to share my knowledge of Using a Stick to Scratch Directions to Locations of Objects, Important Landmarks, and Other Important Things in the Dirt because I know firsthand how superior it is to the previous Vague Gesturing and Confused Shrugging methods. When you need to know where and how far away a stampeding herd of bison is, there is no beating using a stick to scratch in the dirt to indicate their number and location.
I believed that my students would be similarly enthusiastic since learning how to use a stick to scratch directions to and/or locations of objects, important landmarks and other important things in the dirt, could provide a gateway to many important discoveries, like an abandoned beehive stuffed with honey, or water that can be drunk without suffering debilitating diarrhea, which often results in death, but my experience with this generation of hominids has been the opposite.
I was unprepared for the level of ignorance, the vocabularies that end and begin with unintelligible grunts, and the near complete absence of historical knowledge. I’ve found youngsters now believe that fire is something that appears magically out of the sky, and that spears somehow sharpen themselves. They insist that Triceratops have four or even five horns. They are more interested in dragging females by their hair back to their caves than the important work of pounding rocks with other rocks into useful round or pointy shapes. When I hand them a stick to scratch in the dirt with, they are just as likely to use the blunt end as the opposite. Some of them even chew the sticks aimlessly, rather than using them for their intended purpose.
When new skills or knowledge come slowly, they shout and beat their breasts like common orangutans, rather than the homo erectus they are.
They seem happy to sit around and wait for food to be brought to them, rather than knowing how to locate it for themselves, entirely disinterested in either hunting or gathering.
The root of the problem stems from the attitudes of the radical uprightists who believe that nothing traditional is worth retaining. Don’t get me wrong, I believe as much as anyone that standing tall on two instead of four feet is useful, particularly when it comes to reaching fruits on a tree, but let us not kid ourselves as to the downsides, not the least of which is exposing our genitals to attack. Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off abandoning our progressive notions of locomotion and going back to a good, old-fashioned fist and foot monkey crawl. Progress is not without its consequences. Yes, we all can appreciate a nice hunk of meat cooked over a fire, but without a foundation in rooting in the dirt for grubs, how can we hope to motivate the subsequent generations to retain our traditions?
If current trends continue, I envision a future where we are nearly hairless and therefore very cold, unless we were to wrap ourselves in some kind of animal hide, which would be silly, since we now have pelts of our own.
Sadly, these students have been fundamentally malformed and appear incapable of developing essential knowledge. They expect rain to always fall, rather than having to suck moisture out of mud with a hollow reed.
I fear for our kind. You should too.
Using a Stick to Scratch Directions to Locations of Objects, Important Landmarks, and Other Important Things in the Dirt
Learning Place Near the Large Tree with the Small Stream, No, Not That One, the Other Large Tree
Previous, more serious commentary on "unteachable students" is available here.
John Warner occasionally communicates via Twitter @biblioracle.