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‘Idealism as Intrinsic Motivation’- (my latest post for the JREF’s Swift Blog)

Tonight, as I started to ponder what to write about in my next post for the JREF‘s Swift Blog, I realized that I’d forgotten to share my previous Swift post here. It’s called “Idealism as Intrinsic Motivation“.

A brief excerpt:

However, although idealism is a powerful intrinsic motivator for educators and skeptical activists alike, it is not enough. If we wish to be successful in our attempts to inform, educate, persuade, and promote critical thinking and evidence-based decision making (inside or outside of the classroom) we first need to accept that our passionate idealism is only a start. Idealism is a valuable, admirable, and useful personality trait, one that indicates a principled refusal to succumb to the apathy and cynicism that pervades much of contemporary society. That being said, though, we must also acknowledge that while our idealism motivates us to inform, enlighten, and promote evidence-based decision making (in the classroom or otherwise), in order to turn motivation into action, we must be willing to be both idealists and pragmatists. Idealism alone doesn’t accomplish anything. Although this may not be something we often consider when analyzing our own contributions to skeptical activism, the professional educators and/or skeptical activists who we admire and respect the most are almost certainly the ones who acknowledge (through their words and/or their actions) that pragmatism, discipline, and hard work are just as important as idealism.

The rest of the post is available here.

Thanks for reading!

  1. James Harbour #

    As someone who studied literature and religion for many years, the majority of students do not find lucrative careers therein. It is important for educators of it to recognize that passion for some subjects in a teacher will seldom translate into real life survival skills for their students. The vast majority of literature teachers do so because there is little room for employment in that field elsewhere. Hollywood is dominated by hackneyed and superfluous writers for the most part, the advertising industry is an off and on writing job at best, and books don’t sell like they used to. Fiction is dominated by writers no better than the Hollywood crowd and the general level of literacy has declined in society in the face of increased reliance and devotion to technology. I have found one video game in my entire life that truly may have literary merit (Fallout NV), and even that is lacking in many respects, demonstrating the relinquishing of storytelling by craftsmen to jesters. This, of course, is driven by the demand of the market and the desperate dependence on television our culture enjoys.

    The weakness of contemporary linguists is that they are driven by idealism, particularly students. The strongest of them are driven by selfishness. Rhetoric is a tool to manipulate and the ambivalent nature of the spoken word is paramount. Only the nihilist may be a language expert and use it to its full capitalistic benefit in our society.

    R.J. Rushdoony conquered the religious right with a degree in English Literature, and he did it with the iron fist of words and not with the enlightening nature of them. To a lesser degree, most of our popular writers do the same, carving sock puppets out of sentences instead of weapons of thought for the masses. They would, as Plato’s cave suggested, likely reject them anyway.

    March 28, 2013
  2. DevientGenie #

    “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

    Zig Ziglar

    April 6, 2013

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