Posts Tagged ‘individualism’

I asked a couple of friends to ask me a question about something they see in today’s world that they don’t sit well with. I’ve received good responses and I’m dedicating my next couple of blogs to shedding a different light on some of their views. One of the replies struck me because I hate the way the system is run and I chose this subject first. She writes “Ok, my most recent annoyance with the world is the fact that they are trying to eliminate music from schools. Choir, band, etc. I’m so pissed. In my opinion, music is very therapeutic. 90% of kids who come across a problem, or are just having a bad day, turn to music. They close their door and put on the radio. Some kids want to pertain music as a career. Without music in schools there will be total chaos. What, is it not “educational enough?”

I love music. It helps me cope with stress and just make it through my travels (bus rides can be very long). Music programs have been decaying in the public school system for years now and much of it has to do with funding, but there is more to it. So I do agree but I will use a different approach into what is happening. For those who see holes in my reasoning, please feel free to check me on what I say. This is solely based on my opinions and perspective.

Understand that the public school system is run bureaucratically. What that means is that the system is structured only be the most efficient at achieving their goals. The goal is to have the least amount of kids drop out and have the most number of kids go on to college. This sounds very ideal but I find it to be very idealistic because there is a dark undertone to the structure.

I’ve said in a past blog that public schools lack the unity of the school teachers, parents, students, and communities so if you want to read more on that I suggest reading that blog. I don’t want to touch on that again. What I see in this system, to get back on subject, is students are reduced to nothing but a number and a score. They reduce the passing scores on tests so more kids can pass such as the SAT and PSSA testing. This only gets students out of schools but it doesn’t mean they are prepared to face what lies beyond those doors and in life. Instead of preparing and educating the youth for life, all they accomplish is pushing these kids out their doors as fast as they can.

To step away from the subject at hand but for good reason I have to touch on American industry briefly (bear with me, it all comes together). America is in the “Information Technology” revolution. Our society is moving away from the industrial-labor society we’ve seen in the last century to the post-industrial society of today. We have moved from producing to servicing the world. What this means instead of back in the day where being in a skilled labor and physical jobs and make a decent living, we now work more with our minds. Our jobs have moved from factories to banks and marketing. These jobs require critical thinking and most importantly imagination.

That’s why, to me, music education is extremely vital to the development of the generations to come. I strongly agree with you in saying that schools may not see it being “educational” enough when all along it is almost fundamental to the development of a healthy mind in today’s society. When the youth feel individualism and expression, their imagination and horizons broaden. To bring everything together, music programs are very vital to developing the imagination and a sense of character in youth to better prepare them for the post industrial society we now live in. The problem then is with public schools being structured to pass kids through quickly, it may be seen as a “waste” to have kids involved in something that doesn’t generate good reports and numbers that schools want to show.

There is much that can be done to help with these problems, but to change the world we must first change ourselves. I hope I shed a little more light in the understanding of the issue, fixing it is a whole different issue.


My dreamworld is absolutely amazing place to be…

My dreamworld is full of people who are independent within themselves and live their lives through character and not personality

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize that growing together is a greater path to effectiveness

My dreamworld is full of people who find it easier to lend a helping hand rather than point the finger

My dreamworld is full of people who look at failure as opportunity to help and not condemn

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize society as a whole and not specs of cultures occupying a space

My dreamworld is full of people who do not compromise

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of a different race holding hands and not be judged

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of the same sex holding hands and not be hated

In my dreamworld, I can get a job based off of my skills and accomplishments and not my looks

In my dreamworld, I can send my child to public school and not worry about the quality of education

In my dreamworld, If you are from America, you are American, not a color or a statistic

In my dreamworld, we are united and we love it

In my dreamworld, American is an ethnicity

In my dreamworld, homosexuality is a preference and not deviance

In my dreamworld, skin color is just a biological trait and not a label

In my dreamworld, subculture is expression and isn’t frowned upon

In my dreamworld, people are heard and not just looked at

In my dreamworld, there is no majority or minority

The media in my dreamworld don’t make violence a commodity

The media in my dreamworld isn’t superficial

The media in my dreamworld isn’t in it just for the ratings

The media in my dreamworld isn’t lowbrow

The media in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of people

The government in my dreamworld communicates

The government in my dreamworld is transparent

The government in my dreamworld is run by the people

The government in my dreamworld isn’t in corporate America’s back pocket

The government in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of its people

My dreamworld is full of people who communicate on a more personal level. Everyone is involved in society and it makes society effective. We are welcoming of difference and we seek to understand, even when we do not agree. We do not reduce ourselves to accomplish anything. We are a collective people who can take responsibility for our problems and work together to solve it. My dreamworld is awesome, but to take from the great George Carlin “…you gotta be sleep to see it..”

My personal reading and studies have led me to understand some differences in the Japanese society from our own and what may be the key to why and how they produce cars and other goods the way they do. First understand that the American society is highly based off individualism. We reward those who work harder, study longer, and stand above the rest. It’s why many people see the U.S. in the form of a capitalist nation where higher up in the pyramid you are, the more power and control you have. The Japanese have a different approach to the work system. They work with “Groupism”, where collective organizations work toward a common goal. Their personal interests are tied in with the companies interests so their ambitions are with the ambition of the company. William Ouchi, a business professor, differentiates 5 differences between the societies.

1) U.S. organizations reward and promote people as prize. We typically gain bonuses and salary as a result of individual competition for and at work. However, Japanese organizations hire new graduates together and everyone gets the same salary and responsibility. Usually someone gets singled out for promotion after a couple years.

2) In the U.S., we typically move from one employer to the next to advance our careers. Also, U.S. companies are quick to lay off employees in troubling economic times (as you all know). Japanese companies tend to hire for life and build strong loyalties with workers. If a Japanese worker becomes obsolete, the company will retrain employees for new positions to avoid layoffs.

3) U.S. workers often see work and home as two distinct places, hence “Don’t bring your work home with you”. In Japan, however, the companies play a big part in the workers’ lives. The companies provide mortgages, sponsor recreational activities, and other schedule daily events such as group exercises and yoga for employees. This company/personal interaction also allows for workers and bosses to voice suggestions and criticism respectfully.

4) U.S. workers tend to be specialized in their field, whereas Japanese companies train on a more broad range of company aspects and positions since it is assumed that employee will be there for life.

5) In U.S. industries, the top executives make all the important decisions. Though Japanese companies make decisions, they involve employees in “quality circles” to discuss how decisions will affect them. Also, Japanese executives have smaller salary differences from employees. The modesty in pay also builds closer relationships between execs and workers.

With these five differences I see how Japan can make make an efficient car with low costs within the car’s class. They operate differently than we do. Instead of a pyramid shape like the U.S. with individualistic bureaucracy, they adopt a more football shape to their organization. Its more open to change, flexible. They focus on the goal together as an organization where we tend to meet our goals for our own advancement, which in the end compromises goods.

So which is better? The only trade off I see is the loss of individualism. But what we gain in return is reasonably costly goods, more lifelong employment, and a more balanced society. Are we capable of making the sacrifice? Of course we are, but since it goes against the functions of the big wigs at the top of the pyramid,  it wont be easy!