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Compulsory Education
is an Evil
to the Mind

To Love Learning
Means Resisting Schooling
Based on Obedience and Submission

By Punkerslut

Photograph by Adrian Pingstone, Edited by Punkerslut
Image: Originally by Wikimedia User Vladsinger,
Edited by Punkerslut

Start Date: February 3, 2010
Finish Date: February 4, 2010

"...professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes.... the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already..."
          --Plato, 360 BC
          "The Republic," Book 7

     To live is to be a student. Taking in a new experience means defining a moment that will be considered in future experiences. It means turning your thoughts into actions, and relying on them as a standard for your future judgments. For anyone to make wise decisions, to fully live their lives and satisfy their conscience, they must be aware of their situation. They must know what they can do that will improve their conditions and what will worsen them. They must have a knowledge that regards how they live as people -- as members of a civilization. This is what living as a partner to society means; this is what it means to be a student of life.

     But the schools of today are insensitive, destructive, and thoughtless. They do not lift students to greater heights, but they chain them to ridiculous standards. They do not clear the path that each has chosen to take. They fill it with obstacles, barriers, and endless piles of meaningless busy-work. The student could have a million interests, in biology and computer science, in geology and anthropology. Instead of their interest being nourished, it is dampened. Those who are teaching them do not try to encourage the students by voluntary, academic activities. They threaten them with bad grades into doing generic, standardized information. And by teaching without provoking thought, teachers burn the senses for learning and interest -- they destroy the individual's potential to be a student throughout life.

     Every human being has an interest in the world around them. It is the most natural instinct of a member of society. Children, inspired and awed by the tricks and knowledge of their elders, are receptive to their knowledge. They'll take in the lessons, and then they'll the believe in the methods they were taught. But soon, their energy is not directed toward learning. It is directed towards memorizing information for exams and quizzes Instead of investigating, time is spent unraveling hundreds of obscure word problems.

     To be able to pass, to be labeled as a 'good student,' one must do these ridiculous exercises. They must spend their time memorizing unimportant dates that they'll forget in a week. They must spend their energy working through hundreds of unimaginative word problems; they'll be grinding through meaningless data and techniques. We do not become masters of any kind of knowledge, because of what we're doing in class. We only become drones, fulfilling orders, doing unstimulating work, and eventually... learning to hate being a student.

Photograph by Jan van Scorel or Maarten van Heemskerck, Edited by Punkerslut
Image: By either Jan van Scorel
or Maarten van Heemskerck,
Edited by Punkerslut

"That the education of young people at the present day conceals from them the part which sexuality will play in their lives is not the only reproach which we are obliged to make against it. Its other sin is that it does not prepare them for the aggressiveness of which they are destined to become the objects. In sending the young out into life with such a false psychological orientation, education is behaving as though one were to equip people starting on a Polar expedition with summer clothing and maps of the Italian Lakes. In this it becomes evident that a certain misuse is being made of ethical demands. The strictness of those demands would not do so much harm if education were to say: 'This is how men ought to be, in order to be happy and to make others happy; but you have to reckon on their not being like that.' Instead of this the young are made to believe that everyone else fulfills those ethical demands -- that is, that everyone else is virtuous. It is on this that the demand is based that the young, too, shall become virtuous."
          --Sigmund Freud, 1930
          "Civilization and Its Discontents," Chapter 8, Footnote

     And how could that possibly happen? How is it that interest in our universe, in our human experience, could reach a low point? How is it that our teachers could fail us, that our professors could give in to standards set by principles and governments? How is it that the so-called Plato and Aristotle of our time spends most of their time correcting quizzes? How is it that the Einstein and During of our time are checking physics exams to make sure everyone had correct units in their energy conversion formulas?

     We beg for knowledge; we literally start walking the earth with this longing. We need to know what lies beyond our direct experience. For each of us, individually, that is how we put our world in perspective. But we don't have this experience. Or, at least, it is not a free experience. It is forcefully directed, controlled, and manipulated. Students in compulsory schooling do not choose the material they learn, or how they learn it. They are given an "obey or fail" option. In the end, the real lesson is this -- "do what authority tells you."

     Compulsory schooling does not give us the option in how we learn or what we learn. And because of this, we will never find a good reason for why we learn. The conditions of forced education do not produce those who are ready to be students for life. They produce people who have become dampened by forced learning -- people who have become obedient and submissive.

     Believing in the individual means resisting these types of social institutions. It means fight back against the mainstream, piece-assembled life that has been provided for you. It means finding a true, genuine meaning that makes you want to learn and evolve as you live and experience society. And to fulfill this ideal, this goal of doing what is best for your personal development, you must resist top-down education. To be a student of life, you must organize against the masters of schooling.

"For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?"
          --Thomas More, 1516
          "Utopia," Book 1


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