I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

Trivial Pursuits

A radio phone-in asked the question, "Why are we obsessed by trivia?" Apparently this Christmas will be a bumper year for trivia books and board games. The phone-in itself was fairly trivial and failed to address more serious issues.

In our logocentric world, "knowledge is power" has become a mantra. Unfortunately, Knowledge has been confused with trivia and is regarded as synonomous with Intelligence. The pub quiz team , the bearded real-ale brigade who know the answer to, "who played session guitar on the Japanese import version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon?", are considered intelligent. People who can name every FA Cup winner since 1919 are held in high regard. Sure, they have an admirable brain capacity for remembering facts, but this is not Intelligence.

More importantly, this is the way our education system has gone. Children are tested regularly on Knowledge, and Thinking Skills are properly taught by only a very few schools. Our national qualifications are a record of our Knowledge, but they come to represent our Intelligence.

Learning facts is not a satisfying activity, not in the same way that Thinking and Problem Solving are. Sure, social deprivation and the break up of families certainly contribute to poor standards in schools, but if the curriculum was more interesting, less obsessed by facts, which after all are only trivia granted status by gevernment, then things might improve.

Interesting Trivia:

1. 87% of all facts are made up on the spot
2. 100% of all adults will wonder why they have to record their exam results on an application form 30 years after taking the exam
3. 75% of people admire those of us who win trivia games - pub quizzes/trivial pursuits etc.
4. 68% of people who are good at Trivial Pursuits have a beard
5. 100% of these facts were made up on the spot

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