by Jonathan Visser
The last two years have shown us that many institutions in our society are broken. This includes our education system. We need to have some courageous conversations. Below is a member contribution to this conversation.
RAM-RAIDERS OF THE LOST ART OF EDUCATION
The past is a treasure. You don’t have to be Harrison Ford in a Fedora, clutching a bullwhip, to grasp the adventure that is the most exciting story on Earth. The human story. Our story. Our inheritance – the priceless thoughts and artifacts of those who have come before.
Their precious riches are everywhere, some still glittering and glorious, others hidden and requiring some preparation, effort, and perseverance to attain.
But what is the most precious thing in the Universe? More precious than architecture, music, or art? More precious than gold, oil, or machines?
You. Unique, ineffable, irreplaceable – some would even say, sacred – you. Except there’s one thing more precious yet: future-you. All your potential. The best of you. All that you can be, do, and give.
Imagine taking the best ideas from the best minds throughout history – thoughts that have survived the tides of time, so good they cannot be eroded or corroded, so good they have inspired men and women to the ultimate bravery just to pass them on. Imagine taking those ideas and feeding your soul with the concentrated essence of their genius. What kind of future-you could you become?
With the right guide, you can become an archaeologist of humanity’s best, explorer and adventurer, builder of worlds, a builder of your best life.
FROM CRITICAL THINKING TO FEELING CRITICAL
But what if someone crept into your life and stole future-you? Ram-raided your head and stripped it of your ideas, your passions, and your dreams. Then graffiti-ed the shattered and scattered remains with their ideas, their passions, and their dreams?
What if your parents invited them in, told you to trust them, and told you to do whatever they tell you to do? What if you will be taxed for the privilege for the rest of your life to help pay for the same thing to happen to future generations?
Welcome to modern education.
If you think things are not really that bad then you haven’t been to school recently. Or, that’s exactly where you have been!
Our educational elites have become confidence tricksters. They are perpetrating a fraud, replacing an actual education with a pale imitation. But worse still, they are robbing us of our incredible inheritance, and of our best future-selves. Their pupils left ignorant of their own ideas and potential, and left without the tools or heroes to emulate.
THE SMASH AND GRAB
Our schools have been declining in quality for decades despite the efforts of some valiant teachers. We’re not far from having the majority of our students leave secondary school functionally illiterate and innumerate. At the same time, we have record percentages attaining passing grades in English, Maths, and Science, yet in the OECD educational league tables, we have dropped below the mid-point. What a con.
Inter-generational sustained descent is not an accident – it’s an act of wilful destruction. Destruction with a purpose. To make the new global citizen, compliant yet self-righteous, they must be disconnected from the wisdom of their past, which is either washed away or covered with the silt of sin.
Just as the medical elite have done to the doctor/patient relationship, the educational elite have remorselessly attacked the sacred bond between teacher and pupil, reducing the teacher’s role from that of guide, mentor, and role model to mere sock puppet for the elite’s pet beliefs and priorities.
Our civilisation is a complex and rich ecosystem, grown, twined, and enmeshed over millennia. It is no small job to hack it down. Far easier to poison the roots. Far easier to sow weeds. Start in the nursery.
Like most fraudsters, they use flattery, envy, greed, and laziness – their marks, their targets, unsophisticated, insecure, and unaware. In other words, children.
What are the children promised? Knowledge, attainment, and self-actualisation.
But then there’s the bait-and-switch. And in place of all that’s promised? Postmodern performative activism, propagandist platitudes, and a grotesque sense of entitlement. And, most importantly, a near total ignorance of anything that has come before, except to damn it.
Our elites are doing this to manipulate their victims into a political orbit from which they hope they can’t escape – leveraging both inertia and mass, creating mere bodies for other minds to control.
It used to be that education was aspirational – us common folk wanted to access the same intellectual riches the elite had to themselves. A prize so great there was nothing families wouldn’t do. We won. After thousands of years being told what to think and what to do, we were finally free to own our own minds and to chart our own course.
Now the elites are back to telling us what to think and what to do again – using our children to build for themselves a compliant constituency, bank-rolled by us and our misplaced trust.
LIGHT THE FIRE
In a recent heart-breaking story a diabetic woman was left to die on her first day in a rest home – neglected by four different nurses over less than 24 hours. The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner found “There was a complete lack of critical thinking on the part of the nursing staff involved.”
After two years of rewarding compliance – and aggressively eliminating independent thinkers from all stations in life – tragedies like this are inevitable. The last two years are merely a crescendo in a sick symphony whose twisted rhythms have been pulsing stronger and stronger over years – at once hypnotic and dementing. But there are those who march to a different beat – they have always been with us, and thankfully always will be.
Nothing good in the past was ever made by control-freaks, manipulators, and followers. Nothing good will come from them now. The best of our past, present, and future comes from free people, free minds, and free thinkers. That’s you. Unique, ineffable, irreplaceable you.
Aristotle said “…minds are not vases to be filled, but fires to be lit”. That’s exactly right. It’s time to stop filling our kids heads with toxic sludge. It’s time to light their fire with all the beauty, brilliance, and insight our civilisation has to offer. They need guides.
And that’s you.