The Monochromatic Convenience of Oversimplification

white wooden rectangular table

Today’s educational paradigm of oversimplification has caused the intellectuals among us a great deal of grief. The lure of simplicity is the crux upon which knowledge today is distilled. But, to take simplification to the extent of pacifying the lowest common denominator is a panacea we guzzle down without pausing to consider the consequences.

The dummy approach to public education began with promises of ease and efficiency, claiming that the more palatable we make the knowledge we impart, the more lives we touch for the better.  With good intentions, educators shaved away at the edges of complex ideas, watering down the intricacies and delighting in the resulting smoothness of expression. 

Few bothered to ask what would be lost, and that would often be the context in which certain concepts are best understood. Many complex laws of nature are reduced in today’s textbooks to mere facts and figures that you simply must accept as truth in order to pass your tests and proceed through your compulsory education.

We are becoming a world of young and impressionable individuals molded into cookie-cutter shapes, pressed out by a giant rolling pin of oversimplification which flattens our natural curiosity and passion for understanding. The rich fields of learning become washed away, leaving behind a drab emaciated landscape where the intricacies of ideas are lost, diluted to the point where we can no longer discern their true forms. 

In haste to make knowledge digestible through oversimplification, those supposedly wiser than we in affairs of educating our youth have unwittingly choked the life out of it. Who did we leave in charge of this terrible campaign, and how could we let this happen knowingly? 

Whomever they are, they’ve taken the lush galleries of human intellect, and blotted them with cheap, watered-down paint from the dollar store. For now, with teachers severely hampered by standardized testing and stupefying mandates, it seems today’s schooling elite have mastered the art of teaching our students just enough to perform the song and dance, but not enough to truly hear the music or appreciate the aesthetics.

For today’s youth, what my generation once knew as the mighty tree of Knowledge has been relentlessly pruned and trimmed, its sprawling branches reduced to a skeletal framework. Beneath this bony canopy, the next generation now gathers, most eyes fixed on the ground, unable to see the rich fruits that once hung within the grasp of our youthful exuberance. The schools and universities we once envisioned as flourishing orchards of young minds have become sad gardens of stunted saplings, struggling to sprout amidst the depleted soils rapidly degraded by oversimplification.

As I watch the younger generations traverse this newly paved path of uniformity, I cannot help but mourn the seemingly lost art of inquisitiveness. The natural hunger to explore and dissect the world has been suppressed, replaced by a chorus of voices regurgitating predigested facts. In our pursuit of sanitized simplicity, we have created a generation too afraid to question and too content not to conform.

I pity those trapped within the emaciated specter of our once-proud educational system, my heart heavy with the knowledge that it’s robbing our youth of the vibrant, multifaceted world that is their birthright. We have traded the treasures of thought-provoking and actionable human understanding for the monochromatic convenience of oversimplification. Even as I now sit far from a classroom, I can’t help but wonder if we have doomed our progeny to a future of mediocrity, forever shackling our future hopes to the lowest common denominator.

Related: Knowledge VS Discovery | Why We Need a Confluence of Science and Poetry

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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