The Diminishing Quality Of Research Papers In The United States

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The Diminishing Quality Of Research Papers In The United States

There is a growing concern about the quality of research papers being produced today in the United States.  In particular, these papers are not very disruptive to the accepted ideas with regard to the subject being discussed.  It is very ironic that there is such a great desire for disruptive ideas in research papers today.  For so much of the history of the world, people who have produced disruptive ideas have been at least mocked and very frequently persecuted.  Everybody from Christ, Luther, Galileo, Spinoza, Marx, Freud, and the Wright brothers.  I suspect it is because there is an added dimension to disruptive ideas in modern technological society.  When people lived in traditional natural societies, transcendent disruptive ideas had the capacity to pull people out of the organic grounding in which they felt so comfortable.  Nevertheless, people used the transcendent disruption for the positive purpose of focusing all the passions as it were, herding together all the passions that were evoked by all the organic stimulation that surrounded them in the traditional natural environments in which they lived.  Such transcendent disruptive ideas pushed them to reconfigure themselves (their senses of self) in a more focused way as a result of all the new mental stimulation from the disruptive ideas that they were forced to react to.  Then after the disruption occurred (frequently a new idea in religion), it would take people a while to get fully grounded again psychologically. 

 Today, in modern technological living environments, people are not primarily living in environments of organic grounding, but rather in environments of experiential vacuums.  So, people see disruptive ideas as sources of abrasive friction, embodied as they usually are in different devices.  The new technologies create abrasive friction during the transition to the adoption of their regular use.  But unlike the disruptions created in the past, these new technologies are actively embraced as sources of abrasive friction initially in order to pull people out of their numbness.  The paradox here is that these new technologies can be experienced as abrasive in the transition, but as they are created in order to make life even more frictionless than before, the final result is that people end up in a more frictionless state than before they were using the new technology. And this  means they end up feeling even more numb than they felt before the new technology had entered their lives.

Getting used to new technologies is sort of like a kind of experiential deconstruction of the people adopting them.  People end up using them without thinking much about them anymore.  And this is because these new technologies end up being experienced as no longer disruptive in their lives.  After all, if they continued to be disruptive, it would be too painful to continue to use them which would defeat the whole purpose of why they were initially created: to make life easier for people.  It is not like disruptive ideas in a traditional natural society, where the grounded environment eventually finds a way to absorb them with their transformative qualities intact.  The transformative qualities of these disruptive ideas continue to remain in force even after they have been planted in a different traditional natural environment.  After they have been absorbed by these environments with organic grounding, they continue to be felt, but without the pain of the original encounter.  The organic environments of people have found a way to accommodate to these disruptive ideas without sustained manifestations of outright pain.

And this is why so many of the thinkers from traditional natural societies remain in the thoughts and memories of people today while many of the thinkers of modern technological society are quickly forgotten.  The people around the original thinkers today rapidly break down, trivialize, deconstruct the ideas presented in these research papers in order to fight their numbness. They develop very rigorous approaches to these disruptive ideas, which in the end leaves very few of them intact.

So, we must acknowledge that we have very conflictive attitudes towards the disruptive ideas being created today.  On the surface we do wish that more truly disruptive ideas were being created.  But once they are created, we enjoy nothing more than to break them down, to shred them, to deconstruct them in order to feel the rush of abrasive friction that results from such actions.

Given such a situation, it is obviously going to be very difficult to maintain a flow of disruptive ideas today in the mainstream marketplace of ideas: the universities and their academic journals.  This mainstream marketplace of ideas will continue to try to appear very serious with their rigorous standards of judgment, tearing down ideas quickly at what appear to be the slightest little flaws in them.  But the very methods that they use prevent any ideas they consider from being quietly mulled over and shepherded in a way that they can eventually become important disruptive ideas in society.

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Acerca de Laurence Mesirow

Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.

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