Archive | January, 2013

Thoughts on Education

6 Jan

Imagine eating a cupcake – that is, assuming that you like cupcakes. But imagine that you are eating something lovely. Now proceed to imagine that I walk onto the scene and shove the cupcake down your throat, causing you to gag on half-chewed fluff and possibly choke on icing. It’s no longer pleasurable, now is it?

Such is how I view education. In the words of Mark Twain, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” A friend of mine has an excellent post on the subject of schooling and how many people insist that it is the same thing as education. A vast number of people claim that those who do not attend formal schools “don’t want an education” or are “throwing away their lives.” Nothing could be further from reality, but one cannot force people to think for themselves, as demonstrated both here and in schools. One who seizes an opportunity for liberation from schooling has thrown away not one’s life, but a great obstacle to living it. Schools may teach a few trivial facts, but they ultimately teach us to be mindless and dependent, and to lead dull, miserable lives of conformity. Due to my parental situation, I must attend a public high school, but I loathe every minute of it, not only because of the dreary setting and curriculum, but because so many of my peers are “sheep in the herd.” It is not easy trying to regain lost time and learn on my own spare hours, to resist what these people are doing to me. It is extremely difficult when even my own parents turn their backs on me. (They are of the sort who believe that they know what they are doing – I think they are sincerely convinced this sort of thing is helpful – but they really are clueless about the way the world works, and too stuck in their ways to even consider that they may not always be right.) They, like many people who may read this post, jump to the conclusion that I am “too young to appreciate what favors I am receiving” or that I will “be thankful in the long run.” They may even say that I am just some lazy punk who doesn’t like work.

Well, I read loads of books, I write in multiple mediums, I have taken various classes and lessons for things outside of school, and I am currently in a play. I value knowledge more than most schoolers do, but people don’t like to be wrong. Countless individuals are probably still saying “Fine, be uneducated!” This does not hurt me directly, but I feel sorry for those folks. Truly, I do. The problem is not merely how school is managed: the problem is school itself on a basic level.

Recently I passed by a shelf at Barnes & Noble and glimpsed a title about fixing America’s broken schooling system. I only partly agree with this statement. We don’t need to fix the system. We need to dispose of it! The problem is not with schools. The problem is school, on a very basic level. The whole idea is to force-feed us things and tell us that we are lesser beings who must grovel before our alleged superiors. The way children are treated and undervalued is disgusting. I was a young child, and I hated having to ask permission to do everything, to address teachers as “sir” or “ma’am,” to have my accounts of truth declined because an adult is obviously more honest than a child. Again, I am all for education. People just need to take their heads out of the earth (or wherever the heads have gone…) and see with eyes unclouded by the desire for acceptance. There are certainly other, better ways to learn things.