Trigger Warnings & Rhino Skin- Part 1


I honestly can't remember being offended and I definitely wasn't traumatized because of the education curriculum I experienced growing up. Lessons were taught based on facts, so why would anyway want to argue or be offended by facts, they simply exist and cannot be argued. Of course there are some subjective view points, but for the most part the information being taught throughout my schooling years was the truth.

Fast forward to today. It has been almost 20 years since I finished high school and things have changed quite a bit, particularly in certain countries. The U.S for instance, is experiencing an interesting, but worrying phenomenon within the schooling system. Children, teens and young adults in many educational institutions are being taught to fear, to be offended, to hate and to have anxiety over hearing the truth. Teachers and lecturers are now promoting ideas, which are designed to establish politically motivated and biased thinking. These ideas then form the narrow perspective of the world many students adhere to. Once this perspective has been ingrained, the students are taught and have been conditioned to believe an attack on their ideas is an attack on them as a person. Students have been manipulated into viewing the world through a singular lens and that any disagreement from another person, is designed to 'invalidate' their existence.

It has become normal in many educational institutions to offer a 'Trigger Warning' prior to teaching a certain subject. Now children, teens and young adults are able to opt out of knowledge, wisdom and truth simply because it doesn't fit the perception they wish to entertain. Rather than exposing the younger generations to the harsh realities of the human species and the history of, we protect them in a manner which weakens their capacity to endure any kind of resistance thrust upon them by life.

What happened to true strength, resilience, adaptation and the ability to endure? What happened to open discussion and open-mindedness? They have been replaced by an ignorant and stifling approach to dealing with life. Academics seem bent on creating a utopian existence where we are surrounded by butterflies and everyone is kind, caring and considerate. A world where we avoid all pain, discomfort and distress by implementing a system, that controls and minimizes any possibility of these negative feelings occurring. Unfortunately this world does not exist, nor will it ever.

A Rhinoceros has evolved to have a thick and tough hide, to help protect it from predators. What would happen if this particular evolutionary adaptation were to regress? Overtime the Rhinos skin would become thinner and more vulnerable to predators such as Lions. Teaching students to be highly sensitive in preparation for a world that doesn't care, is a set up for failure. If you relate it to the life of a Rhino, it would be like a Rhino hoping for Lions to change their nature and to become friends or allies in the the wild, but that isn't the reality. The reality is, the African plains are dangerous and Rhinos need their thick hide to survive.

We are heading down a dangerous road and are setting the next generations up for failure. Trigger warnings may be reasonable for an absolute minority of people who have endured serious trauma, but for the rest of us, we need to develop the ability to endure, and be resilient in the face of a world that takes no prisoners.

Trigger Warnings and Rhino Skin Part 2- The Mal adaptive Preparation of a Young Mind

#triggerwarnings #microaggression #berkley #JonathonHaidt

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