|August 30, 1989||Volume 1 Number 3|
Coming Next Issue....
What Is A Proper School?
Our next and final newsletter will be devoted to a description of a proper school--one that takes into account the natural human learning systems as well as the limitations of the human consciousness as we understand those limitations at this time. Describing a proper school to a group of people who have received nothing but improper and destructive schooling is a difficult and perhaps impossible task. Most readers would contend, for example, that Harvard is a proper school. We would say that Harvard is a prestigious school, one that, in some cases, insures high salaries to graduates who are never asked to demonstrate any level of competence or skill in their chosen fields.
A proper college could easily be completed in two years. All the useless courses could be eliminated and grades would be limited to a simple pass or fail system. Students would not be expected to take history courses that they would never use or music appreciation courses in which they had no interest. Those few students who were interested in music appreciation would not be sitting in a lecture hall with 300 other students listening to classical records and memorizing details about the lives of the composers. In a proper school, music appreciation would only be taught to students in very small groups. Each student would be required to take up an orchestral instrument. At the end of the course, students would be required to play a musical piece or even just the scales.
In the current educational system, by the time most students complete a course in subjects such as music appreciation or art appreciation, they have come to detest music and abhor art. These subjects are presented in such negative and destructive ways that if a student had any natural interest in music or art, that interest would quickly be destroyed.
The same thing is true about courses in history. History is broken down into unrelated data bits which children must commit to memory. Most children begin memorizing historical facts sometime in the third or fourth grade, and they continue to memorize the same unrelated data bits right through freshman or sophomore year of college. Each year, the student develops more distaste for history. Furthermore, the more human beings try to study the same information over and over, especially information which has no meaning in their lives, the less able they are to retain that data. The more people study the same history facts year after year, the less they can recall about history.
Teachers might claim that the study of history is important because children need to learn about war in order to prevent wars from occurring. Yet, the more people study history, the more fascinated they become with war. Since Americans began studying more history, this nation has had more war, more often. Furthermore, the study of history has not taught people anything. Historians were not able to predict World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the rise of Fidel Castro, the reformation of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev or the massacre in Tianammen Square. Historians have not been able to use history as a means of solving world problems. Each new problem or situation in any nation or in the world is unique, requiring unique solutions not found in any history book.
History might be relevant for certain people at certain times, but only in the context of life and as a way of understanding how something evolved. The only way, for example, to gain any value out of studying about the Civil War would be for a student to find out what it was like for people who had to live through that war. A student might research the life of a rebel army officer, or a northern farmer's wife whose husband was killed in battle, or a southern plantation owner who was fighting to keep his slaves. Only by finding out something about how real human beings lived during a specific time period such as the Civil War can people begin to appreciate what happens to people in times of war. Memorizing isolated facts about the Civil War, or any war, fascinates people only because they have no mental or emotional connection to what happened to the human beings who lived during these times.
The negative and destructive ways in which music appreciation or history are taught are only small examples of an educational system that is so destructive that it is difficult to describe. People who engage in this type of negative activity have so little consciousness it is difficult to know how to approach the subject of a proper school.
Imagine that you have a brand new Lamborghini sitting in your driveway. You live in a very well-to-do neighborhood and each of your neighbors up and down the block also has a new Lamborghini. One night, you are looking out the window, admiring your car, and you see four men with sledge hammers. They walk up to your car and smash it until there is nothing recognizable left in the driveway. While they are smashing your car, they are clearly enjoying themselves. The four men then move along up the block, smashing each Lamborghini in each driveway along the street.
When they are done, everyone looks out at their smashed cars, but no one tried to stop the men from destroying the cars. Even in the aftermath of the destruction, no one calls the police.
Now, when you have people who enjoy this type of destruction and who are even paid to do it, and you have car owners who are willing to stand passively by and watch their cars being destroyed, it is difficult to talk to any of these people about automotive excellence. One group takes pleasure in destroying something of great beauty and the other group passively watches the destruction. There is so little consciousness and intelligence left in either group that it is difficult to know where to begin. Similarly, it is difficult to talk to educated people about the need for a proper school. Most readers have been educated by teachers who have the same respect for the human consciousness as the four men with the sledge hammers in our example had for the Lamborghinis. As students, most readers have sat passively through endless hours of history, music appreciation and other courses taught in the most negative and destructive way conceivable, and like the car owners in our example, most readers have never attempted to stop the destruction. And if they had, they only would have been further destroyed. Herein lies our dilemma. How are we going to tell educated people what we know about a proper school when all of their schooling has been so negative and so destructive that there is nothing left inside people that can listen to a description of a proper school?
A Question of Epistemology
Most people in this nation believe that America is a religious society. Yet, schools are as anti-religious and anti-spiritual as they could possibly be. Schools refuse to recognize any child as having a soul. No child is seen as having an individual life purpose. God's purpose for each one is completely ignored. Teachers believe that children are fortunate to be in their guiding hands and that they as teachers can shape and mold children into God's purpose. Compulsory education in this country began because industry needed factory workers in the textile and lumber mills. Teachers decided early on that since there were a lot of textile and lumber mills, "we, as teachers, can train you, the students, to fulfill God's purpose, and God's purpose for you is the third shift at the Moulton Pros. Lumber Mill."
It is surprising that the television-star ministers have not figured out that schools are anti-religious. You would think they would have closed the schools down by now for refusing to recognize the soul in any child or the need for any individual to fulfill God's purpose and plan. Perhaps they have not noticed because they have all been so busy raising money.
The educational system does have Christian thinking at its roots. Christians of centuries past introduced the idea of original sin. This means that children are born with the devil in them and that someone must take responsibility for bashing the devil out of them. The idea of original sin seems somewhat foolish in that some people apparently have more original sin than others. Some societies such as China do not seem to be troubled by original sin and do not seem to need to bash the devil out of their children. The idea may have come from the Bible, which is a pretty risky source of factual information. So we would have to wonder how people arrived at this conclusion in the first place.
Teachers have assumed that all children have the devil in them, and that it is their Christian "duty" to beat the devil out of children and show them God's purpose for them (in places like the local lumber mill, of course.) In the process of purging children of the devil, teachers also manage to purge out most of the healthy mental and emotional apparatus in the human consciousness. So while they are humiliating, beating and bashing the devil out of children, they are destroying them to the point where there is nothing left but wrecked-out, ruined shells of human beings.
Some parents believe that what teachers are doing to children is both good and honorable. There are some Christian parents, however, who think the teachers are not working hard enough at beating and bashing the devil out of children, so they have decided to school their children at home so they can beat and bash more often. It seems that Christian children have more original sin than other children. It never occurs to these parents that the four Smith children living next door seem to be normal, decent, good children, who do not require the same kind of constant surveillance and flushing out of the devil, or that the Smith children's parents never seem to have to beat the children or punish them into being good.
We have found that most of these Christian parents have a quality of wildness in themselves that they are trying to bring under control through the use of religion. These parents pass this wildness onto their children during the child's early years, in the form of play which overstimulates the child. These parents also pass on the wildness through examples in their own behavior. For instance, when dad hops on his tractor and peels out of the yard in an act of wildness, the child is left wide-eyed. When mom wildly flies off the handle throughout the day without apparent provocation, the child is left wide-eyed. As good Christians, neither of these parents are aware of their own wildness or of their own obviously wild behaviors. Later on, these parents conclude that the wildness they have coaxed into their children is the devil, which must be beaten out of them. Although many of these Christian parents have made an honest attempt to out-bash and out-beat the educators, their homeschooled children are still not incurring the amount of harm they would incur in schools. There is too much continuity in the life of homeschooled children and not enough public humiliation and punishment to destroy them to the extent that organized schools destroy children.
It should be noted that many Islamic parents also have qualities of wildness within their personality structures, which they also pass on to their children. The Islamics, however, do not try to beat the wildness out of their children as much as they try to focus the wildness out of them. There are other groups who tend to pass qualities of wildness on to their children so that their children will then become more militant, and direct the wildness at tribal enemies. Many Israeli parents are now in conflict. Jewish parents have generally not fostered wildness in their children. They have instead neglected their children by refusing to become emotionally involved with them. However, many Israeli parents realize that if they coaxed some wildness into their children, the children would grow up to be more militant and therefore more useful in war.
If you have concluded, as educators have, that children are born with original sin (the devil), and that parents and educators must beat the devil out of children, how did you arrive at this conclusion? What is your epistemological argument, because this is a question of epistemology. And if you cannot answer this epistemological question, how can we talk to you about a proper school? These "Christian" ideas sit right down underneath the educational system. The epistemology of the structure of the system is crucial to understanding the system. Once you began an epistemological examination of this system, you would have to ask how people decided such things as, "children learn best in groups of twenty or more," and, "children learn the most and best by memorizing isolated data bits," and, "children learn best and thrive psychologically when they are frequently punished and humiliated. How did educators come to know these things? And if you are not willing to investigate these questions, how can we speak to you about a proper school? Talking about a proper school to people who have never asked themselves these questions is a very difficult thing to do. We are not even sure that it can be done. Education-has left most people with so little consciousness and so little intelligence that it is difficult to know where to begin.