THE GAS CYLINDER AND THE OLD WOMAN’S CELL PHONE

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Is this generation loosing its sense of measurement?

Every generation claims to be smarter. To many it is a generational bias. But each generation has defining and ancillary values that uniquely mark it. Every generation shows a chunk of behavior, obsession, attitudinal ups and downs, moral temperaments, raves and technology that  identify its time.

However, when you see a known universal eroding, you can be sure of something. It must end somewhere. At some point there is no doubt as to what is becoming.

A man who owns a gas refill plant narrates his experience. He has good measuring equipment and self evident mechanism to ensure standard and check fraud. Yet, he faces the problem of measurement not trust.

He explains.

After refilling a 12.5kg gas cylinder, it is common to see many of his customers lift it as if imagining the weight of tubers of yam in the local market. Usually, this leaves him with a feeling of mild astonishment. Some of these customers would say ” O! it does not weigh.”
He would again place the cylinder on the same scale without adding anything. Then, he hears “it is okay but”.

At this point, he will muse: Is this trust deficit at work? The idea that “all are cheaters” or professor Francis Fukuyama’s ‘radius of trust’ syndrome. Which?

To make his findings a bit rigorous, he embarked on an enquiry among his colleagues who own the same kind of business. He gets the same response. Also, he works at identifying the class of buyers who behave as described above. Is it peculiar with ‘typical market women’? But he remembers his teacher’s advice that “a typical market woman” is not precise,or descriptive enough. Truly, the number cuts across young men and women even the so called sophisticated ones.

He looks at culture. Is it implicated? His finding says no. It cuts across cultural lines. Is it a psychological crutch, kind of self assurance? The answer would not queue. He wonders: is this generation loosing its sense of measurement? Are there other gradients?

He decides to carry out the investigations on the streets. He would randomly interrupt primary and secondary students, and ask for  a list of measurement tables they know. Many will retort: what is a measurement table? A follow up question. Can you say by heart any measurement table you are familiar with it?  Large numbers of students cannot restate by heart known measurement table, either imperial or metric. He further asks, what mnemonics –  memory hook, crutch or songs, is in use today to memorize long list as our friends used to do in the days of yore?

He continues to receive shocking answers, clearly indicating that many of these young ones have no idea of these measurement tables. Even if they claim to know in other ways, at least the present situation caught many napping.

It is no surprise any more. The back cover of notebooks are more of fun content and other non intellectual stuff. Familiarity with imperial or metric tables on back covers is limited if not gone forever.

“But it is in their mobile phones”
” Really?”
“If it is there, is it in use?”
“Is it the focus?”
“Is it used to help the memory?”

Let’s face it, some kind of intellectual dehydration is in the air, clouding.

Do not say what’s the population of this research? How representative? How many countries? Don’t stuff us with statistical  head twisting symbols and icons or associated vaulting terms. Leave that out. We know its abuse – the  capacity to use it to distort mental clarity these days. Pursuing shadows against substance (the big show in the Internet) takes people nowhere. We should not wait for this casual research to be legitimized by “Harvard 20 years study” that fascinates some guys anyway before acknowledging an erosion.

Back to basic education and sense of measurement. What has gone wrong and what are its implications.

May be we are leaving the intellect for the machines. Rigor is giving way to ‘arrangement’. Narrowing knowledge at the elementary levels is becoming the choice even for curriculum developers. But developing acute sense of measurement early is basic.

When you walk into a room, without any measuring tool you sense its size. Your sense of measurement tells you what can be accommodated. In the market it helps you to assess things and a mental picture is quickly in place. It makes you either comfortable or uncomfortable. As you drive on highways it applies. It’s absence can also lead to vagueness as was the case at the outset.

Sense of measurement is helpful in almost all aspects of life. When you  are hitting a ball to the post, you are conscious of the distance and the speed that can score the goal. Many great soccer and base ball legends have acute sense of measurement. Ask Jordan, Ronaldo or Messi and their goal scoring teammates. They will tell you the actual distance of one point in the field of play to the other. Sense of measurement from practice provides standard for action. Creativity may atimes come in but measurement plays key role.

Is declining sense of measurement just local? Not really. A guy who works with a big suiting company in the U.S confirms sense of measurement gap. He relates what customers indicate as their sizes never match. Whereas, he will simply take a look and tell the size that fits and sure it fits.  Don’t say he is a professional. Something is going on? The challenge of sense of measurement is afflicting us at various levels.

What is the implication of absence of measurement? Standard suffers. Standard by whom you may ask? While it is known that human standard can vary, warped, perhaps, not representing the purest, it is undeniable that there is universal phenomenon of measurement at least in basic things.  Let us not derail.

Even at 95 years of age, a grandma dealing with dementia would say that her mobile phone weighs much more when reloaded. She  complains that the phone gets lighter whenever  she suspects usage by his grandchildren. Her language is couched, yet, one can easily discern measurement in it.

Teach your children to develop a good sense of measurement from childhood. It will help them to appreciate standard in their later years. They can visit websites and learn more about measurement. Perhaps, it could begin the mitigation of this deficiency.

“No limits” does not connote absence of measurement.

Out of bounds means measurement not its exclusion.

Do you agree?

Basic Education Returns – Imaife.com

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