Emotion and Education

Lovely morning. Rather a plenty of rain extending into this morning so the gym was fairly sparsely populated. Unfortunately several machines, including one I use, were dysfunctional and parts were strewn about all over as traps for the seniors and klutzes, of which I am both. One of the benefits of being the only game in town, over and above how dishonest you can be, is how you can get away with stinkingly lousy maintenance that would lose you business if there were any competition.

On which azimuth, I have an article [Link] that described research that is proclaimed to demonstrate that ‘higher social class’ people are less facile at assessing emotion in those around them than are ‘lower social class’ people. The only problem with this is that isn’t what they measured in their experiments. What they seem to have measured is how well people with varying amounts of formal education (degree counting) assess emotion, and what those experiments indicate is that the more education a person has, the less well that person assess surrounding emotion.

Having had a bit of education myself I have to admit that this doesn’t come as a big surprise. After all the academic world is supposed to be one where emotions are suppressed, so assessing them is not necessarily a useful skill. Certainly I have seen enough lecturers who had no idea of what the emotion of their classes were, nor did many of them care short of when the noose came out.

Education has a rather sizable component of socialization, of playing nice, never displaying emotion, and practicing circumscribed forms of violence. Further, since increasing education generally leads to increased specialization, and unless one is studying for the wrong reasons, that means greater interest in what one knows and learns. Hence, just learning more separates one from emotion. Even if the specialist area is people, rather than ideas or things, the study of people is dispassionate and emotion repressed in the interest of objectivity and rationality.

So it is not surprise that, in the mean, the more education, the less emotionalism and the less relevant emotion is to individual existence.

But this doesn’t support the thesis that higher social class people are less emotional. High social class may go to better shuls but that doesn’t mean they have more advanced degrees. But the thesis that they have more money and can thus solve their problems without emotional thrashing may have some merit. If they can figure an experiment for that.

I am not discarding the thesis that higher social class people are less able to assess emotion because they just don’t care about the emotions of others.

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