Monday, March 26, 2007

System Failure

Sonny comments on my last post:

What I meant was to picture when people worked so many hours they didn't have much time with their children. Those children go through school and think it's what their parents worked for, to give them that. Actually it isn't, their parents' taxes paid for the school, but those who had time to take a civic advisory interest and choose what kind of schools to build and what school laws to have were these industrialists and their social set, as in the citation. Then the children of one generation pass it on to the next, adding some extracurricular activities, trying to build "the American dream" school experience for them. Some of them are forgetting the horrors of school or think they can paper them over with a little more activities. The reason that in a way almost all of us "don't know better" is a cultural rift: industrialization, urbanization, immigration, mass schooling, all acting together, that separated culture that might have been from culture of the television-consumer-driver age.

I think in a way this just another aspect of the Great Forgetting. It's terrible. No wonder we feel alienated.

Here is my response to what the teacher had to say about my first letter:

This letter is a follow up to Zachary Tranmer’s response to my letter titled: “Limited Choices”.

He mentions that his perspective is that of a teacher for the past nine years and as a parent with two children in the Spooner School System (one a recent graduate).

I first of all want to point out that I’m not attacking teachers here; I’m criticizing the effects of the coercive educational system they teach in. I’ve had some really great teachers and some really horrible teachers in the past. Mr. Tranmer may be one of those great ones, I don’t know.

But his perspective may be clouded because he has a lot invested in that coercive system I’m criticizing. If what I sad is true in my last letter (That 12 years of
compulsory schooling breaks the will of many children, it stifles their sense of curiosity and wonder, and teaches them to wish away their time) for the vast majority of students, than Mr. Tranmer is forced to face the fact that he teaches, and his children participate, in that system. By his defensive letter he is obviously not going to allow any criticism of it.

Mr. Tranmer also pointed out that I portrayed a bleak picture of life in my last letter. Well, he missed a very clear distinction that needs to be pointed out here: the educational systems and wage slave systems that I’ve criticized are NOT life. I’m sorry he’s lumped them together as one, but I have not. One can enjoy life immensely and hate their job or school. We are complex beings capable of different emotions.

He than goes on to say “It seems our lot is to have our creativity and wonder stifled at an early age by being placed in an institution where our choices are few and all decisions are made for us. We spend years watching the clock, wishing we were elsewhere only to end up in a dead-end job living a meaningless life. We than die afraid after spending time on life support.”

Mr. Tranmer has just described what most of us experience living in the Modern Era. And fortunately, I’m not alone in saying this. Philosophers like: Lewis Mumford, R.D Laing, Sigmund Freud, Derrick Jensen, Daniel Quinn, and so many others have said basically the same thing. A trip to the local library would reveal all of this. Wasn’t it Henry David Thoreau that said, “ Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”?

The coercive educational and wage slave systems of this culture are actually something quite new in the history of humankind. That gives me good feelings. Because it illustrates that there are other ways to educate and labor, and that is a very important realization when it comes to facing the problems we face.

I will still be voting no to both school referendum options on April 3rd. It’s a statement against the coercive educational system that most of us dreaded waking up for on our school days when we were kids.


Willem said...

Give 'em hell Curt! I love that letter. Ha ha. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it!

Sonny said...

Yeah. That letter takes it past chiming in with a complaint, like I might have been doing, to making a good argument for protest and reform of the whole culture of civilization - an argument that seems to appeal to the optimistic side too.

I almost wrote that it was a good argument for "cultural revolution" but the historical connotations of that are terrible. The last thing we need is another Maoism. Socialist conformity just leads back to another round of industrialism growing on the unified market.

Urban Scout said...

ucking awesome dude.