The Mech Touch Chapter 711
709 Academic Battle Arena
"A word that's closely related to indoctrination is brainwashing."
The good thing about brainwashing was that it sounded so obviously nefarious that the people subjected to them knew to put on their guard. This was why brainwashing only worked these days when accompanied by force or sophisticated technology.
Indoctrination, which was brainwashing's marginally more acceptable cousin, worked more insidiously because few students were sober enough to put up their guard when it happened.
Teachers taught knowledge. Yet nobody said this knowledge consisted of pure, unbiased facts and widely-accepted beliefs.
Sometimes, even if the scientific community came to a consensus on those widely-accepted beliefs, a deviant thinker might have come up with an even better theory, but failed to gain acceptance due to existing inertia.
In fact, many researchers faced a lot of doubt and skepticism, especially when they came up with radically new or subversive beliefs!
"Once upon a time on Old Earth, people believed their world was flat. A visionary known as Galileo came up with the theory that it was round, yet did the people and the established institutions believe him? No! They called him crazy!"
An uncountable amount of visionaries, scientists and inventors faced the same storm of criticism whenever they advanced something new that was out of the scope of the public's imagination.
Even the initial emergence of mechs almost flopped due to the universal ridicule their inventors received. If not for the heroic efforts of the pioneers along with the emergence of the MTA, mechs would have never become humanity's principal war machines of the Age of Mechs.
The point was that almost every scrap of advanced knowledge was mired in some form of controversy or another. The advancement of cutting-edge knowledge at the forefront of the sciences resembled a chaotic battlefield where scientists ruthlessly fought to convince others of the validity of their beliefs!
If the researchers managed to convince enough of their peers that their beliefs had merit, it transformed into accepted theory. However, these success stories became exceedingly rare at this day and age. Researchers had to climb over millions of failures and thousands of rivals in order to gain acknowledgment from the scientific community.
"The lucky ones spend as much time in converting others to their beliefs than performing actual research." Ves observed. "Those with worse luck have to spend the majority of their time on gaining new converts."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Convincing intelligent, self-confident peers who held their own set of beliefs often turned out to be an up-hill battle. Researchers looking to gain support for their beliefs either had to come up with something decisively convincing, or they could start with defenseless children.
Young students attending universities and recent graduates looking to specialize even further became the favored suckers for these kinds of desperate researchers. They were smart enough to possess potential but lacked the accumulation to guard their minds and retain their original thoughts.
"People in my age group and life phase are prime targets for indoctrination!" He uttered as his eyes widened in realization. "Our foundation is deep enough but our minds are still too shallow, leaving us ripe for the picking to any researcher who wants to build up support!"
By necessity, these researchers became proficient in indoctrinating students and the like with their complex, multi-layered research publications. Anyone who hadn't sufficiently kept up their guards became slowly more sympathetic to the viewpoints espoused by the researcher.
They were being indoctrinated without knowing it because they forgot to think critically!
It wasn't as if the more unscrupulous research publications prodded their readers to cast doubt on the beliefs espoused from within. Research findings along with statistics could be presented in a myriad of deceptive ways.
"Almost every researcher is taking part in this race. Modesty will get them nowhere, not in a galaxy filled with rivals who can catch up to them at any time."
This pattern went on for thousands of years, spanning multiple Ages and continuing to thrive so long as researchers continued to convert more followers. At this stage, the scientists have become incredibly skilled in the art of indoctrination.
"You could say that teaching has become indistinguishable from indoctrination at this height."
Ves felt sad when he came to this conclusion. When Ves injected knowledge in his mind after purchasing various Skills and Sub-Skills from the System, he never truly encountered something controversial.
Now he realized that the System only dabbled in established theories and widely-supported models. This enabled him to assimilate the purest branches of a given field, but cut him off from the most cutting-edge of research. It also blocked him from immersing himself in more advanced applications of knowledge that had not yet gained acceptance.
"It's like I'm designing boring mechs. They're safe to pilot and come with rounded performance, but they're too bland for many people to like. Confining myself to established theories is as colorless as eating a nutrient pack each day. This is no way for me to excel."
Mech designers were often attracted to extreme pieces of knowledge. They willingly embraced unsupported beliefs as long as they could use it to design better mechs.
It all centered around their design philosophies. If they wanted it to bloom, then they were practically compelled to seek out unorthodox sources of knowledge. The reason why higher-ranking mech designers became eccentric was because their design philosophy was built on a foundation of beliefs!
"Every design philosophy is a house of cards! It only takes a single shock for all of it to collapse!"
Ves understood now what he was dealing with and how reckless he approached the issue. He toyed with knowledge beyond his ken, unaware of how insidious they wormed their way into his mind.
The main issue facing Ves right now was that he lacked sufficient depth and understanding in the fields of stealth tech and ultracompact energy storage tech. How could be maintain a critical mind if Ves lacked the prerequisite knowledge to base his judgement of what he read?
"It's like I've mastered parts one to three of a book series, but now I'm saddled with someone's version of part fifteen! I'm missing too much in between to provide me with a good foundation on what is going on in part fifteen!"
The result was that Ves had to take the latest author's word for what truly went on in part fifteen, because Ves lacked the content to call out potential inaccuracies or cast doubt on dubious passages.
This was what it was like for those below Journeyman Mech Designers to access knowledge way above their limitations.
For some reason, the mech industry treated Journeymen as if they possessed much greater resistance against mental contamination. Was it merely a matter of accumulation, or had their design philosophy gained enough strength to withstand the demonic whispers of foreign research philosophies?
"Both are probably the case. Journeymen are just better at everything in almost every aspect compared to Apprentices. I've got to find a way to advance as fast as possible."
Ves gained a lot of progress from his short period of study into this topic. He constructed a model of how mental contamination worked and became enlightened how much of the scientific community insidiously utilized indoctrination to gain now converts.
While these insights didn't help him process the research papers faster, he could still formulate some means to cope with his sluggish progress.
"If I lack the prerequisite foundation to think critically on what I'm currently trying to learn, then why not draw from the opinions of another researcher? It would be great if I can gather the research papers of two opposing scientists!"
The Skull Architect hadn't passed too many research papers to Ves, but a lot of them came from different experts in the field. Each author possessed their own opinions, and now that he thought about it, they spent much of their time arguing for or against the assertions made by other experts!
Ves slapped his palm against his face. "I should have figured this out! The research papers are interconnected!"
He turned his attention back to his console and summoned up a second projection alongside his primary one. He opened up a different research paper in both projections and laid them side-by-side. Just minutes after he scrolled through both documents, he leaned back and laughed.
"Hahahaha! So this is it! This is the right approach! It's a shortcut!"
He would have never come up with such an idea if he hadn't taken a step back from his intensive study session.
As someone who used to be a student, he was accustomed to reading a pile of literature by their order of publication. However, that was the wrong approach to take here, because another researcher's retort or follow-up to an older paper might be published several years or even decades later.
Once Ves sorted the research material by topic rather than date, and put together two contrasting papers written by bitter rivals in their field, his progress accelerated enormously.
Putting the two research papers side-by-side and reading them concurrently made him feel as if he gained a front-row seat to an academic brawl of epic proportions!
Subtle words as soft as silk addressed to other research turned out to be brutal kicks and punches.
The academics basically tried to beat each other up in the academic arena in order to prove whose beliefs held up the longest against a sustained barrage of attacks.
Deductions and extrapolations of empirical data became their weapons of choice, though they weren't above resorting to highly educated guesswork as dirty moves.
The point for Ves was that the battle between two diametrically-opposed researchers revealed which pieces of knowledge he could trust and which he needed to treat with a grain of salt!
He just needed to see what the researchers agreed on and which beliefs they criticised intensely.
Naturally, relying on the testimony of two different individuals didn't mean that the consensus was right. Ves still needed to corroborate the specific theories with as many research papers in his possession.
The more he cross-referenced a specific theory, the more he gained confidence in his ability to judge the amount of support each theory held.
That didn't mean that each theory that Ves encountered received corroboration from the other papers in his possession. A significant amount of them referenced papers that the Skull Architect hadn't seen fit to pass on to him. This slowed him down somewhat, but with the support of the other theories he had already deciphered, he started to get the hang of looking at them with a critical eye.
"My progress will be ten times faster with this method!"
Mental contamination still posed a significant threat to him. Putting two opposing beliefs side-by-side caused sparks that sometimes spilled over to Ves, much to his pain. His headaches intensified, but he grit his teeth and bore through them all because he gained the most insights when the battle reached its climax.
The feeling he got at the end of the day made all of his suffering worth the struggle. His understanding advanced by leaps and bounds, and the more he mastered the theories, the less strain he received from reading through the theories he hadn't touched as of yet.
Like a snowball rolling down a snow-capped mountain, his accumulation ceaselessly grew larger and larger.
The only detriment to his obsessive study sessions was that he began to neglect his other duties a little. Several times, Ketis had to shake him from his addictive preoccupation in order to receive a new assignment.
"You're not being a very good teacher, you know." She pouted as she rested her fists against her waist. "Lately you've turned into a zombie, seeing how you spend all your time staring at those documents all day."
"Sorry." Ves chuckled awkwardly as scratched his head and tried to shake the cobwebs from his mind. "I've been preoccupied with the academic arena. It's a lot more violent and engaging than I thought."
"Really? You aren't yanking my chain, are you?"
"You've only studied from widely-read and well-edited textbooks so far, which spoon feed you all of the knowledge in the most logical and reader-friendly fashion possible. At your level, the science is pretty much settled, so there's no controversy to be found. Once you become a Journeyman like Mayra, you'll have to learn that you can't trust any random theory off the street."
Ves proceeded to lecture how Ketis or any other mech designer ought to regard advanced knowledge, much to her consternation. She wasn't interested in becoming a bookworm!