Wednesday, August 01, 2007


This morning, while replying to a comment, I suddenly had a thought. I have been wondering for a long time why we, the people, continue to be so easily manipulated by those who rule us, why war never stops. Why is it that the good people of America seem paralysed and don't seem to know how to get rid of their despotic President? Is it because no one is there to tell them what to do? Why have we allowed global warming to occur, economic inequality, etc?

We are, after all, educated and intelligent. We are supposed to be able to think for ourselves, to question everything we're told, to be able to gather evidence, evaluate it, then, as citizens, act upon our findings in a responsible manner. But for some reason the bulk of us are apathetic, suckers for advertising, for political spin, for theological indoctrination, for nationalistic propaganda, for capitalist brain-washing, for racial elitism, for gender stereotyping, etc. There can be only one answer: we are not that intelligent and, worse still, we're not educated at all. We only think we are!

Educational institutions in the main are dull, uninspiring places peopled too often by dull, uninspiring and often lazy teachers who, over a period of years (while they think constantly about the next holidays and the size of their superannuation payout), slowly lobotomize each child they come into contact with.

Armed with their frequently boring curriculum and static exams which encourage rote learning, many teachers and lecturers fill student's minds with loads of facts most of them of absolutely no use to the student in later life (I had to learn calculus and read Chaucer in the original and I've never used either once). They surreptitiously encourage conformity, discourage questioning and implant the idea that the answers to everything are to be found in books (I have a boy in High School currently so I'm up to speed with what is really happening).

They, cogs themselves in an educational machine, too often prepare students to become willing cogs in the capitalist machine, to go with the flow, to accept whatever society dishes up, whatever their media, politicians and governmental authorities tell them. Conformity reigns!

Of course this lamentable state of affairs is exactly what our rulers want: a largely compliant, non-thinking population who'll believe anything. Never has the word 'sheeple' been so appropriate. Never have so many been conned by so few.

Has it always been so? No! The students in France led the French Revolution. Where are such activists today? All most undergraduates seem to think about now is getting high paying jobs. Where are the fearless academics who'll speak out, who'll criticize the Government, who'll condemn capitalism? They dare not in case they lose tenure or vital multi-national funding.

Education must be completely changed. People must be taught to think, to question and then to act otherwise the word democracy means nothing!

Perhaps it already does!

P.S. There are some good teachers. About 10% of them!


pissed off patricia said...

There's also an element of spoiled and lazy there too. Parents are so busy working to buy their kid the latest new thing that there is little time for parent child interaction regarding education and a lot of other things.

Damian Zerek said...

I am currently in high school so I am well aware of what is happening with the current system. I am appalled, of course I had the luck of getting a bunch of awesome teachers every semester. I know one teacher who does a UN club for those that care what is going on in the world and he and another teacher who assists in the club (the other one teaches me history). They are the first teachers I had heard that criticized the school system at the board level and the actual school. My history teacher from the UN club said that 26 days of paid sick leave is completely ridiculous. The same teacher was shocked at my knowledge in history, politics and what is happening in the world. Simply because a majority of the stuff I know is non-curricular and other than my friend and me she rarely has a student that is more aware about history and the like than what is taught in the curriculum.

I mean the little that I know in history (and I really know little and lately I am not sure what we can take as truth or lie) is enough to shock a teacher than I am scared of what is known by those who keep fully to the curriculum.

I am on vacation but this I just had to comment on because it is a nightmare I live through every day.

Cheers and if you want to hear more about the system of education just email me...

Daniel said...

Sad but true, Patricia. The system tends to perpetuate itself!

Damian, great to have your input. Do you find you are applauded as a knowledgeable student or treated as a bit of a smarty pants?


Lucyp said...

Hear hear, agree with everything you said in this post. The schools and colleges have a strict agenda to stick to and unless you study politics or sociology, you will never be shown the alternatives to capitalism.
It suits the powers that be to keep the amount of 'educated' people to a manageable level so they can continue to manipulate with their spin and unjust decisions and not have an uncomfortable amount of the population question their motives.

Wen said...

Good post, good comments. There are some good teachers out there, but having government set curriculum is a non-incentive for many teachers. I agree with Patricia in part. There is a lot of pressure on Teachers these days and some of that pressure comes from parents who expect teachers to virtually bring up their kids, breakfast included in some cases. It's not their job. Teachers are there to challenge minds and teach kids how to learn. Homework and workbooks should be abolished.

Daniel said...

"Teachers are there to challenge minds and teach kids how to learn," says Wen. That's the theory!

But I agree with you about the abrogation of responsibility by many parents. We let down our kids in so many ways.

Thanks for dropping by.

Lil Sparrow said...

"We are not that intelligent and, worse still, we're not educated at all. We only think we are!"

Oh Daniel, yo uare a breath of fresh air .... dammit!

I work at a perforamnce college and quite frankly these kids are selective learners, and those that can afford to stay in school (thank you mummies and daddies) are the ones that get the degrees.

I have met more intelligent people working in retail than I have with these degree holders..... !!!!

I agree with you whole heartedly ....NO people are not educated just because they got their degrees, read the paper, surf the internet....

People don't think.

People are not rained to think.

They are trained to follow.....



Too many sheep, too many bad shepperds.


LS... sigh

Lang Mack said...

Here is a thought, teachers should not be allowed to actually teach untill they can demonstrate that they have held a variety of jobs and social conditions away from teaching, and can demonstrate they know equally about life as they do about knowledge to teach. maybe you don't get to teach under ,say around the age of fourty, that way you have seen a bit, but not too staid. Then pass on, along with your degree or whatever, some life experience.Too tough, I don't think so, wiser people that me will bring up tribes that this applied to, where the old!, were in charge of the young, to equip them for their life, to alert them to try and avoid the mistakes they made and mould them into a more useful member of society, as the know it. all of us remember one teacher who helped shape us for our future, and I'm sure it was one with a bit of life under the belt.

Damian Zerek said...

Back in elementary school I was treated as a "smarty pants" as you put it by not only classmates but also by the teachers. Some teachers in my opinion hate it when they have a knowledgeable student and not up front but in a subliminal way they put down that student. Not anymore... but that may have to do with the program I am in... IBO (International Bacclaureate Organization) look it up.

My math teacher usually does detours in history and other interesting topics incl. literature, chemistry and the like. Once to test us he pulls out a paper with a small hole and tells us to push a bottle through it. This is of course impossible literally. All fail. So he places the bottle on the desk puts the paper in front of it and puts his finger through the hole to push the bottle. He then turns around and say; "You got to think for yourselves... all of you followed the most common way of thinking. None of you though on your own instead you all acted like sheep each attempting to approach it like the previous person knowing that that way was unsuccessful.."

The "no buts" method employed by a lot of teachers in a variety of situation disallows a student from voicing his/her point of view or what happened in the situation. Other times it is employed to stop students from asking something such as "but what if". The second one is the one that truly scares me. It is used the most widely in the primary school system and implpies (from my perspective) "Whatever you may want to say it is unimportant as I am in charge and you will only open your mouth when I ask you to. Now go on and be a good little sheep".

Daniel said...

Hey, Lil, thanks for your valuable comment. It's good to get feedback from people at the coal face!

Lang Mack, there is much good sense in stopping people going from school to University then back to school again. Such people have lived in an artificial, authoritarian environment and know little about the real world.

Damian, thanks for giving us more information. It is invaluable!

Mary Walsh said...

With apologies folks, I don't think you can blame a teacher for not developing the art of thinking. I believe it is inherent in our genes (unless we're born stupid)

I was never encouraged "to think", in fact, the opposite, but it never stopped me!

Developing the skill of logical thinking may come a little later. However, simplistic thinking about the essentials of right and wrong is a selfish, world is automatic.

Not to develop the gift to "think" is to be dead! and we're obviously not that yet!

Daniel said...

In many cases, Mary, people who think do so in spite of bored teachers and stifling educational institutions. I know because I'm one. Cheers!

bluebeard said...

Had you read Chaucer you would have come on the Pardoners Tale, but sleep overcame you judging by the photo you display. If you really want to understand the psychology of present day USA-the Business and Objects society par excellence-and wonder how people have a psychological set like that, you have only to read the tale. Anyway poetry is not generally there to make you bucks, it is for your soul(non-xtian sense). Good reading!

Daniel said...

Welcome aboard, Bluebeard. As sailors both I'm sure we'll get along!

enigma4ever said...

now aren't you a teacher ? oh dear....that means you are trying to teach us something..but what if we are not smart enough to learn?

Daniel said...

All those who visit my blog and yours are smart, Enigma. However, a few of them are misguided. Cheers!

Christopher said...

I can't think of a time or place in history when it wasn't so. You can apply the Pareto's 80/20 to just about any human-based scenario whether it be economics or "education". Some get it, most don't regardless of "environment".