The piecemeal work of the assembly line model intentionally separates the labor from its context. It mechanizes the practical and the concrete. It understands that humans are more efficient when we ignore the conceptual and theoretical foundation of our own actions. It is good for business, but it robs humans of their dignity; they no longer participate in their own world. Like horses wearing blinders, or Uber drivers chasing the next fare, content without context allows us to see only the objective immediately ahead.
The most devastating impact of this industrial epistêmê has happened in our schools. It has infected our schools (public, private, and charter) with the viral high-stakes testing and comparative grading that contextualizes knowledge as piecemeal facts that make us more “solution oriented.”
That’s supposed to be a good thing, being “solution-oriented.” Our employers tell us all the time, “come to me with solutions, not problems!” But they’re wrong. They’re asking us to be piecemeal thinkers. On the contrary, problems and questions are precisely what drive human creativity. When Henry Ford said, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses,’” he was telling us that the skill was in identifying the problem, not the solution. A faster horse was an appropriate solution to their familiar problem. The issue was that they hadn’t identified new questions yet; they had only a piecemeal approach to an established paradigm–they couldn’t see the larger context.
Ford presumably believed “the masses” weren’t capable of contextualized thinking; and he built a manufacturing system that kept individuals in their place: isolated, divided, solution-oriented. His thinking soon permeated our schools, designed to train piecemeal industrial employees. So much so that our current way of thinking about education, with its regurgitation, examination, and multiple choice questions, still only reinforces a non-creative, solution-only, piecemeal mentality.
via Video Games, Henry Ford, And The Problems Of Modern Education.