|April 10, 1989||Volume 1 Number 2|
THE MISEDUCATION OF THE WESTERN WORLD
"Modern" education is not all that modern. The system that is currently being used in American society to prepare children for adult life appears to be exactly the same system that was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to educate the aristocratic youth of that time. Although human beings have obviously changed dramatically over the last four thousand years, the methods and even the curriculum used by these societies are still intact in American schools. The more "prestigious" schools, such as Boston Latin, still teach Greek and Latin languages, even though these languages have no functional value in society today.
Education was introduced into Greek society as a means of civilizing people, particularly male soldiers. The early Greeks believed that if they could balance the male aggressive nature with certain mental activities, they could produce a more well-rounded, controllable warrior. To a certain extent this was true, and to that extent, education had functional value within Greek society.
However, the Romans, who modeled their educational system after the Greeks, used education only to maintain class distinction. A rising middle class was threatening the Roman aristocracy. Education was used to separate the Roman aristocracy from this rising middle class and preserve the aristocracy's position and prestige within the culture. Roman education was never intended to improve anyone's life or to provide people.with the skills they needed in order to contribute to their society. Roman aristocrats had no interest in self-improvement or in the betterment of their society. Their only interest was in maintaining their positions as rich and powerful people within the culture.
Education in America today functions exactly as it did in ancient Rome. It is a system of prestige and vanity and has NO OTHER PURPOSE.
Education in America today functions exactly as it did in ancient Rome. It is a system of prestige and vanity and has no other purpose. Education in America has to do with how people want to look and how they want to be seen by others. You could think of it this way. Imagine that you are attending your high school reunion. Would you rather say to people, "My son is a lawyer," or, "My son is a plumber"? Would you rather say, "My daughter is a psychologist," or, "My daughter is an electrician"? Would you rather say, "My son is a senior at Harvard," or, "My son is a welder"? Which of these statements make you feel proud and important, and which make you feel ashamed and apologetic? America is one of the few societies in the world where a vast portion of the population is walking around feeling like they should apologize for their existence because they have not graduated from a prestigious college.
When parents in our society push their three and four-year-olds to learn to read and write, they are trying to keep up with the Joneses. These parents are so preoccupied with how things look and how they are viewed by others that they have no connection to what their children need and want at these young ages. If they did, these parents would not be flashing words and letters at children, trying to get them to read and write before their mental systems are ready to do so. In the 1960s, Head Start programs for preschool children of poor families were developed. Head Start was an attempt to help poorer class children with certain so-called cultural and social disadvantages become better prepared for school. The idea behind the project was to give lower income children an opportunity to start school in a more equal position with middle class children. Once middle class families discovered this, preschools for middle and upper class children sprang up all over this country. Middle class parents were determined not to allow lower class children to get out ahead of their kids, and threaten their middle class status. Now parents are so caught up in the competition to stay ahead (ahead of what is not exactly clear) that they have begun to flash word and letter cards at their newborns. Preschoolers and even young infants are thrown into the competition to stay ahead in toddler swim classes, infant exercise programs, "reading readiness" classes, performing arts groups, music classes, gymnastics, ballet lessons.... Rarely do these activities reflect a child's natural interest in learning. These activities were developed only in reaction to "Operation Head Start," so that the children of middle class parents could get ahead and stay ahead, thereby maintaining the prestige and vanity that education has promised them.
Preschoolers and even young infants are thrown into the competition to stay ahead in toddler swim classes, infant exercise programs, "reading readiness" classes, performing arts groups, music classes, gymnastics, ballet lessons. ... Rarely do these activities reflect a child's natural interest in learning.
American education grants royal titles equal to the titles granted to the aristocracy by birth such as duke, lord, baron, earl, duchess, and lady. Educational institutions confer such titles as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. It is ironic that these titles carry much more prestige in American society than a master plumber or a master electrician. The master plumbers have actually had to "master" something, while an educated person with a Master's degree has rarely mastered anything. The plumbers and electricians are much more valuable to society than are the bankers and stockbrokers with a Master's degree in business. One need only consider which of these people would be more valuable to society in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust--a plumber or a stockbroker, an electrician or a banker? Yet the stockbrokers and bankers, because of the false value given titles and degrees, are always held in higher regard.
The most prestigious titles conferred by the educational system are the Ph.D. and M.D. Physicians and professors in America, referred to as "doctors," expect to be treated like royalty. There was a time in history when physicians were a part of the servant class, and their only function was to tend to the needs of the sick. Today, thanks to modern education and the false value placed upon degrees and titles, medicine has become a highly paid, prestigious, self-serving career. Now, the patients must serve the "Doctors." "Doctors," holding the power of life and death, take advantage of the fact that people are sick and in need of aid. Physicians charge people--even very poor people--very high fees, a practice which amounts to nothing less than extortion.
The idle aristocrats of ancient Rome were bored with their lives. A liberal arts education was introduced as a pastime, offering wealthy Roman youth something to do with their days. It was fashionable for the Roman men with good memories to gather at the bathhouses and forums to exchange mental ideas and compete over what they had memorized. The winners were always the men with the best memories.
Today, children are taught to engage in the same self-promoting, meaningless mental activity in the classroom every day. Educators demand that children memorize useless facts and then compete with one another over what has been memorized. Children are taught to horde information and use the information to promote themselves as good students, regardless of the fact that children can succeed in the classroom only at the expense of their fellow classmates. Like the forums and bathhouses of ancient Rome, the "winners" in the classroom are always the students with the best memories.
Americans have invented a game that perfectly duplicates life in the forum of ancient Rome and life in the American classroom today. The game is called "Trivial Pursuit." The game is popular among college students and "professionals" in American society because it is the only thing that successful high school and college graduates have been trained to do. In fact, it is the only thing that people who have been filled up with mental trash can do. Like the classroom and the forum, all the awards in the game go to the people with the best memories, as if memorization were an advanced form of mental activity. Dogs and cats are capable of memorizing data. "Trivial Pursuit" is the perfect game for the incompetent, unskilled adult who hungers for the sweet taste of victory over his or her fellow classmates.
When young Roman aristocrats gathered at the forum to play "Trivial Pursuit," they could afford to idle their lives away. They had slaves and servants to take over the everyday, physical world activities for them. Aristocrats did not need to know how chariots were made or how to fur them when they broke. They did not need to know how to tend children, prepare meals, care for the sick, grow fruits and vegetables, raise animals, build shelters, make clothing, build furniture, or make weapons. Servants and slaves were hired to do all of these things and more. A useless "liberal arts" education in meaningless knowledge gave them something to do which filled in some of the emptiness and boredom in their lives.
Most Americans being educated today will never be able to afford to hire servants and slaves. They will need to know how to buy or build a home, repair the plumbing and electricity and Fur the roof when it leaks. They will need to know how to raise children, care for the sick, balance a checkbook, manage their money, and Fur their cars. In short, they will need real skills and knowledge to be able to function in the world every day.
When young Americans graduate from high school today, they know how to dye their hair blue, shrink their designer jeans, and apply glamour-length fingernails.
When young Americans graduate from high school today, they know how to dye their hair blue, shrink their designer jeans, and apply glamour-length fingernails. They know how to compete and rise to the top at the expense of others. They know how to cover their mistakes, cheat on their exams, and duplicate their mothers' signatures. They know how to buy and use drugs and where to go parking when they want to have sex in the back seat of a car.
These are exactly the skills one would expect to find among the idle rich youth of ancient Rome. But there are very few employers in America seeking applicants with these skills. Furthermore, these are not the skills that are required by people who are trying to function in a complicated technological society. Right now as you read this newsletter, world oil and coal supplies are being diminished. Yet, alternative energy sources are not being properly developed. Toxic medical waste and raw sewage are washing up on American beaches, but no one has stopped dumping waste and sewage into the oceans. Americans already know that nuclear waste containment systems are failing, and that this nation's environment is in grave danger. Yet, people have not stopped using and developing nuclear energy. The ozone layer surrounding the earth is being compromised by air pollution, and acid rain is contaminating our water supplies. Yet, virtually nothing is being done to save our air or preserve our drinking water.
These are not future doomsday predictions. These are life-threatening problems that exist right now. Twenty years from now, the children being educated in our society, in a system designed for the Roman aristocracy, will be facing a much more difficult world with even more serious problems to solve. When their air is too polluted to breathe and their water too contaminated to drink, they will be walking around in designer jeans, dying their hair blue, looking for drugs, listening to rock stars sing about self mutilation, applying their glamour-length fingernails, and trying to figure out how to get to the top in life at the expense of the people around them. The idle youth of Rome could afford a meaningless educational system that did not insure their survivability. They had servants and slaves to take care of their survival, and their society had not developed to the point where it was capable of destroying itself. Americans cannot afford such luxuries. We believe that when any society shifts from a practical system of educating children about reality to an impractical system of educating children with no basis in reality, that society is in decline and is headed on a self-destructive course.
Ideas About Children
The Roman aristocracy knew very little about the mental and emotional needs of children. Aristocrats of all societies generally do not want to get emotionally involved with their children. They tend to be mentally involved, if at all. Aristocratic parents usually prefer to leave the "lowly and menial" task of parenting to servants and slaves, which is exactly what the Roman gentry did.
The problem with the aristocracy's deranged system of childrearing is that when parents do not take the time to become involved with their children, the children often become monsters. Aristocrats throughout the centuries have traditionally turned their children into monsters by refusing to get involved with them. Once the children are out of control, servants and slaves are required to throttle them back into submission.
The aristocratic children of ancient Rome were the products of disinterested, neglectful parents. Servants and slaves were expected to provide discipline and throttle the children back into control. These servants and slaves were also required to teach and tutor the children in the liberal arts. It was not uncommon for servants to beat, punish, and humiliate children into both controlling themselves and learning their school lessons. The servants and slaves, who were often beaten by their masters, thought nothing of disciplining a child with a severe physical punishment. The young Roman children, turned into monsters by their parents' disinterest, were an easy target for the hurt and anger harbored by the servants and slaves.
This system of childrearing has carried over perfectly into the American educational system, where corporal punishment in school systems is still legal in many states today. Teachers (who are usually the ones who were most damaged and hurt by their own education when they were very young) have taken the place of servants and slaves. Most teachers are people who hated school and hated what was done to them. They take their hurt and hatred out on children in the classroom in the same way that the slaves and servants took out their hurt and anger on the children of the aristocrats--by humiliating, punishing and even physically beating them.
Teachers, like the servants and slaves of ancient Rome do not like children and have no regard for their feelings, interests, needs, wants, hopes or dreams. If educators liked children, they would not be able to work in any public or private school in this country. IT WOULD BE TOO PAINFUL.
Educators and school officials perceive children as monsters who need to be disciplined and controlled. Many children who are being educated today have received better care from their parents than the aristocratic children of ancient Rome, and are not monsters at all. Because educators and school officials perceive children as-monsters, they think that children need to be beaten, threatened, and humiliated into submission. Teachers, like the servants and slaves of ancient Rome, do not like children and have no regard for their feelings, interests, needs, wants, hopes or dreams. If educators liked children, they would not be able to work in any public or private school in this country. It would be too painful. Educators refuse to offer children anything they would naturally enjoy doing. If teachers liked children, schools would be fun places for children, not inhumane torture chambers.
Because teachers think that children are monsters who need to be beaten and humiliated into submission, teachers and school officials do everything that would need to be done to turn some children into monsters. By offering children a completely unnatural, destructive educational system, teachers are able to induce in children some very negative behavior patterns. Once these behavior patterns in the children are induced, teachers then feel it is their duty to punish and humiliate these children to get them back into submission and under control.
Teachers and school officials, in effect, browbeat children into acting against themselves. Only a coward would browbeat a child. Schools breed cowardice--who better to make a coward than a coward. Educators and school officials appear to be very powerful, but, because of their cowardice, are only paper tigers who, when confronted with reality, usually fold. The problem is that they have set themselves up so no one can get at them with reality. As the celebrants of mediocrity, they have made it legal to harm children, and to offer children a damaging and extremely mediocre system of learning, and they have made it illegal for people to do the proper thing--stop them.
Although it is difficult to document through written historical evidence all of the childrearing practices of well-to-do Greeks and Romans of thousands of years ago, it does appear, through what evidence is available, that the emotional disassociation inherent in the current educational system may also have had its roots in the childrearing practices of that time. Well-to-do parents generally tend to stimulate their children mentally and offer them mental rather than emotional contact. Well-to-do parents have traditionally produced emotionally disassociated children. It is well known that the servants and slaves of ancient times were hired to tutor and discipline the children even through physical beatings and abuse, and were not likely to have established healthy emotional bonds with the children assigned to them.
The current educational system is void of all normal emotional contact and relating. Teachers do not relate emotionally to children nor are children allowed to relate emotionally to one another. Our research indicates that all children who attend school as it is now structured are forced into patterns of emotional disassociation. By the time most children have reached the third grade, the educational system has forced them into emotional disassociation because the children cannot remain emotionally involved with reality and survive the threat, intimidation, public humiliation and extreme psychological duress of classroom life.
Ordinarily, emotional disassociation is found in families where both parents are either unable or unwilling to become emotionally involved with their children. When this occurs, children are unable to establish natural emotional bonds with people even when they grow up. They become more fearful of death and live in a constant state of isolation and emotional disconnection from reality. Once subjected to the current educational system for two or three years, children become emotionally disassociated, even if they have two emotionally involved parents. This occurs because children cannot remain emotionally involved with reality and survive classroom life, and because parents stop relating to their children emotionally once the children start school. Some parents are consciously aware of this. In order for parents to send their children to school, they must betray their children. Schools are obviously not good places for children. All parents can see that. However, parents deny what they know to be true and send their children off to be destroyed. If parents remained emotionally connected to their children, they would not be able to relinquish their children over to the schools that intend children harm.
Furthermore, in order to send them to school, parents must lie to their children. Parents must make up stories about how schools are good places; how the children will have fun at school; and how they will learn good things about life in school. Parents must lie to their children about teachers and pretend to them that teachers are people of goodwill who do not mean children harm. It is not possible for parents to lie to their children and betray them in this way and still remain emotionally involved with them.
When children enter school, they have nowhere to turn against the destruction. The Christians could think of it as the betrayal and the crucifiction.
Once children are betrayed, their fate is sealed. They are left in the hands of educators who believe that it is their duty to humiliate and even beat (in some cases) children into submission, in the same way that the slaves and servants of ancient Greece and Rome believed it was their duty to force children to learn under conditions of extreme psychological and physical duress--conditions which by their nature force children into emotional disassociation from reality. When children enter school, they have nowhere to turn for protection against the destruction. The Christians could think of it as the betrayal and the crucifixion. The paradigm is as old as humanity. By the time children reach the third grade, they resign themselves to the fact that no one is coming to rescue them and that they are, in fact, doomed. They are forced into emotional disassociation because they have nowhere to turn for help. They must then figure out a way to get through life without being emotionally involved with any living person or thing in their environment.
It must be noted that as people in American society have become more invested in compulsory education and more disassociated from emotional reality, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of funeral parlors. The more disassociated people become emotionally, the more they fear death and are afraid to take care of their own dead. Educated people can no longer tolerate the emotional reality of grieving and mourning the death of a loved one in their homes. Along with compulsory education in America, the divorce rate also has risen. As people become more and more disassociated from emotional reality, they are unable to choose proper mates and form normal, healthy, emotional bonds. Once educated, people are forced into emotional isolation and disconnection from all forms of healthy emotional involvement, and they are simply unable to re-establish a natural system for relating in an emotionally involved way. Thus is created a perfect medium for growing orange hair, drug problems, stress clinics, couch potatoes and glamour length nails.