On Brainwashing


“All you have to do to educate a child is leave him alone and teach him to read. The rest is brainwashing.”

– Ellen Gilchrist

The Global Village


Small numbers are easier to comprehend for our feeble brains than enormous ones. Consider, it is easier to comprehend how a society of a few dozen people would look like, than to review a society of billions.

With that in mind, if we pretend humanity consists of 100 individuals living in a single village, how would that village look like? In other words, what kind of world are we living in? Using global data from 2009 and onwards, the following results emerge:

If the world were a village of 100 people,

  • (Age) There are 70 adults and 30 children.
  • (Air) There are 68 people who breathe clean air, the other 32 breathe polluted air.
  • (Computer) There are 7 people who own a computer and 93 who do not.
  • (Education) There is one person with a higher education, the other 99 never studied.
  • (Electricity) There are 76 people with access to electricity, the other 24 do without it.
  • (Energy) There are 20 people who consume 80% of all the energy, the other 80 consume the remaining 20%.
  • (Food) There is one person dying of starvation; 20 are undernourished; 50 do not have a reliable source of food and are hungry most of the time; 30 always have enough to eat; 15 are overweight.
  • (Gender) There are 52 women and 48 men.
  • (HIV) There are 99 people without HIV, one with.
  • (Language) There are 17 people who speak Chinese, 9 who speak English, 8 Hindi, 6 Russian, 6 Spanish and 4 who speak Arabic; the other 50 speak different languages.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • (Literacy) There are 86 people who are literate and 14 who are illiterate.
  • (Money) There are 6 people who own 59% of all the money; 74 people own 39%; and the remaining 20 people own a mere 2%.
  • (Nationality) There are 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 13 North/South Americans, 12 Europeans and 1 person from Oceania.
  • (Population) There are 2 births a year; one death.
  • (Race) There are 70 people who are not ‘white’, and 30 who are.[1]
  • (Religion) There are 33 Christians, 24 non-believers, 19 Muslims, 13 Hindus, 6 Buddhists and 5 people who believe there are spirits in all natures.
  • (Safety) There are 52 people who can speak and act according to their conscience; the other 48 – due to harassment, imprisonment, torture or death – cannot.
  • (Sexuality) There are 90 heterosexuals and 10 homosexuals.
  • (War) There are 80 people who do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnappings by armed groups; the other 20 do.
  • (Water) There are 83 people with access to clean water, the other 17 people have no clean water.

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams


[1] The authors would like to distance themselves from any racial bias. In doing so, we like to stress that we do not recognise the term ‘race’ as a concept in any way. That is to say, we hold that all people are people: equally beautiful, complex, flawed, fragile and amazing.

We have deliberately published this statistic in a ‘Caucasian-centric’ manner (i.e. There are 70 people who are not ‘white’…) not to emphasise or lend support to some prejudiced preference or point of view, but rather to show that humanity is incredibly diverse – in fact, we suspect that humanity is more diverse than many ‘Caucasian westerners’ realise. And it is our conviction that it is important to be aware of the wonderful intricacies and diversities of our species.

The Importance of Rereading


Rereading consists of on-going and repeated encounters with a text, guided by a particular task so that segments of the text get revisited and rethought.

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” – C.S. Lewis

In fact, rereading is the most effective type of reading, especially of foreign language texts, because it offers learners the opportunity to re-think messages and see features they have not noticed in initial reading. Having said that, there are good reasons for rereading any old text.

When learners read through the whole text two or three times, they will find that their own comprehension of the text improves, especially if their goal is to find how information is presented or arranged in that text—how it is sequenced and weighted. Such assessments help readers take a further analytic step. Readers start identifying ways a text’s structure or semantics can suggest a point of view (positive, negative, dismissive, laudatory, impartial, incomplete, etc.) or an approach typical or atypical for the text’s genre.

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” – C.S. Lewis

To further argue the case for rereading texts, let’s examine some the arguments involved.

1. It reminds you of the good ideas
Research shows that in just 24 hours people will forget most of what they have read. You might get a lot of good ideas from a book, but it is easy to forget most of them. Rereading a book helps you refresh those ideas in your mind.

2. It helps you notice the ideas you did not notice before
Just as it is easy to forget ideas, it is also easy to have some ideas skip your attention when you first read a book. Rereading the book helps you notice the things you may have missed first time around.

“You could not step twice into the same river.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus, (As quoted in Plato, Cratylus, 402a)

3. It gives you a new perspective
Rereading a book allows you to see everything with fresh eyes. The ideas that did not make sense before could now make sense; and the things that did not matter before could now be connected to your new experience.

4. It helps you apply the ideas
The primary value of reading is the application and not the reading itself. Mere reading could expand your knowledge but application could change your life. By rereading a book, you can see which parts of it you have applied and which parts have not. You can then focus your effort on the parts that need more work.