Did you ever consider that everything you know, everything you think, your likes, your dislikes, your words, your actions are a result of your education? While much is taught through the school system, most of what we learn is not taught to us through formal education. For example: we learn how to communicate (or miscommunicate) through watching our parents interacting on a daily basis. We learn that certain foods will provide us with a specific good experience through watching commercials on TV and through advertisements strategically orchestrated to make us buy a specific product. Every day as we grow up, what we see, hear and participate in, is integrated into us and become part of our education as human beings. Whoever we become as adults is a result of that process.
From this perspective it appears that much of what we learn about being human and about functioning in society is random at best. Advertisers certainly do not openly disclose or take responsibility for their part in educating us to want to buy certain products. And parents certainly aren’t trained to stand as sound examples of what it means to communicate effectively with other people.
We tend to think of education as the formal training we get in school. We think of academic subjects like math or grammar or history, but when do we ever consider that which we learn in every day life especially in those first few crucial years growing up? When we for example sit in class and are expected to passively receive lessons, we also learn about power dynamics between adults and children through the way the school environment is set up with the teacher in front of the class. We learn that must disconnect ourselves from our bodies and their physical needs and that our minds are the primary tool through which we must learn.
What we often don’t realize – because we aren’t taught to do so – is that so much of what we learn are not ‘objective truths’. What we are taught however in history lessons for example, is that whatever is on the curriculum is THE history. So when we are taught to memorize royal families or civil war dates, we learn to see the world a certain way.
No one tells us that what we are being taught is but an aspect, a dimension, a fraction of information, let alone that it is a specific ideology or view on the world. And it is upon that fallacious foundation that we grow up to believe that we know the world, that we know ourselves, that we know what is right and good and true. And so we wage wars, between our borders and in our relationships with other people, even within ourselves at an individual level. And we justify these wars as righteous and rational or even holy and we fail to see that everything we see and the way we see it, is a product of our education. When we become addicted to alcohol or porn, we might think that this is a personal problem that somehow reflects a flaw in our beingness. We don’t realize that our addictions are a result of an educational process, an educational process that might have taken place on many levels throughout our lives. From subliminal messages in fairytales that teach us about gender roles, to the peer pressure to drink seen in teen flicks or childish looking alcoholic beverages. We are thus being educated by an uneducated society based on a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ principle on one hand and by strategic advertisers and social marketing experts on the other. Meanwhile, that which we believe to be the ‘education system’ is quite literally dumbing us down as John Taylor Gatto put it. We don’t learn to critically assess information. We don’t learn to read, write or do math’s effectively, in spite of this being the frontier subjects of our schools. And alarmingly as it is, yet so completely unheeded, is the fact that we don’t learn to exist within our own bodies or with our own minds – let alone in relationships with others – in an effective and sound way. So while advertisers hire experts on human psychology to strategically make us believe that we’ve made a conscious decision to purchase that colorful alcoholic beverage, our school systems don’t teach us to develop an understanding of what alcohol does to the body. We aren’t even taught how to physically asses when we have had so much alcohol that our bodies cannot handle it any longer. Instead we celebrate crazes like neknominate or we laugh at images of girls vomiting in the street as though it was just any other weekend on the town.
We are taught to take the world for granted while we celebrate ‘earth hour’, the annual ‘world water day’ or when a sustainability lecturer pops by our classroom to teach us about the wonders of recycling.
When politicians tell us that everything is fine and we need not worry, it is a result of their education. And when Chris Hedges, a journalist and one of the most important voices in alternative media today says that the only answer to getting out of the mess is to rebel against the establishment, it is a result of his education.
I say that the answer is education. Education is what has brought us where we are today. Thus, education is the key. As they so famously say in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica: “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again”. What that means is that nothing in this world will change until we change our education, because otherwise we will simply teach our children the same flawed lessons that we have been taught. And within this, a great deal of humbleness on the part of the adults is required. Because we have to be willing to admit to each other and ourselves that we don’t know how to effectively live in this world. I mean, we simply have look out the window, turn on the TV or look inside our own minds and observe the thoughts we participate in to see this for ourselves. We have to stop pretending like we have got it all under control and we have to stop telling children that “It’s just the way it is…” when they ask us why wars exist or why children are starving in Africa. Because it is through that answer that we are allowing the atrocities of the world to continue. Or when we look at everything that is wrong with the world and we make the statement that it cannot be changed or that human nature cannot be changed, remember that it is a result of our education. Even that very statement is a result of our education.
Now – you might ask me: “But isn’t everything you are saying here also just a product of YOUR education?” Yes it is to a certain degree. I couldn’t write these letters or formulate sentences if it wasn’t for my education. However, the perspective that I am sharing here is one of breaking through the veil of that which we take for granted and that is certainly not something I learned growing up. I wish it had been. Instead I have walked and I am still walking a re-education process where I am slowly but surely lifting the veil that has been obscuring my vision for so many years. With the advent of the Internet, all information is being disclosed and we for the first time have the opportunity to get a more holistic perspective of what is going on in the world. We can read books and watch interviews with people such as Noam Chomsky, Adam Curtis, Chris Hedges and John Taylor Gatto, some of the most well-read and well-educated people in the world. We can hear how they all share the same basic perspective: that what we are doing on the planet is unsustainable and that we have created an education system through which we are dumbing ourselves down to benefit a few elite players in the game for global dominance. I am not talking about conspiracy theories here, but about a very real process of miseducation where we have taught ourselves and each other that what comes first in this world is our individual self-interest and survival. And so we have made competing for survival a ‘natural’, ‘normal’ and even idealized way of living, praising those who are able to make it to the top, not realizing how the whole system is rigged so that most of us never stand a chance of even entering the ‘race’. All of this is a result of our education. Nothing in this world happens ‘out of the blue’, but as a result of cause and effect, actions and consequences. What may have started with a group of beings ‘accidentally’ creating the fear of survival within themselves, has now turned into a global enterprise of suffering and mayhem leaving the earth scorched and at the brink of destruction.
It is therefore imperative that each of us embark on a journey of de-educating and re-educating ourselves, where we start by investigating everything that we have taken for granted and trace back the steps to see where and how we were taught to see the world this way. Because once we understand that a certain way of thinking or a certain set of beliefs has been taught to us and thus isn’t an ‘objective truth’ we can begin to open ourselves up to the possibility that perhaps there are other ways to look at the world and ourselves within it.
Remember, the baseline of why we are doing this is an understanding that the current world system and ourselves within it, is a result of an ineffective and flawed education process. That much is clear. So this is where we must be humble and open to the possibility that even the beliefs and values that we hold most dear, may be and part of that exact flawed education process. And it is from there, from wiping the slate clean, that we can begin making directive decisions to educate ourselves to see the world and ourselves differently. It could for example be through a process of understanding how we have been communicating ineffectively in our personal relationships and how this is something we have learned from watching our parents. Here we may start investigating the entire concept of relationships and the beliefs and expectations we’ve held within that. And we may start looking at how to redefine and restructure our relationships in such a way that they don’t become toxic emotional warzones where we go from battlefield to battlefield without ever changing who we are within them. And so we start with ourselves and begin by simply stopping one thought, one automated pattern of reaction. This then become the foundation of a commonsensical and practical re-education process that we can do ourselves, for ourselves and for the betterment of the world as a whole within an understanding that if we don’t, we will most definitely be the cause of our own extinction as a planet.
We have here the opportunity to change the directive principle of our education from a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ kind of process to an educreation process, where we re-create ourselves as human beings through a directive and deliberate process of re-education, a process of actually washing our brains clean from all the misinformation and cognitive dissonance that we’ve been taught, that we have taught ourselves as a species for eons of time. And from that starting-point of looking at things with fresh eyes, we can make a decision to educate ourselves to look at the world and ourselves with compassion and common sense, to do onto our neighbor as we would have been done onto us and to live according to the principle of placing what is best for all life before our immediate self-interest. We have walked the path of self-interest, we know exactly where it will lead. We understand that destroying ourselves in an attempt to survive can only be the result of a flawed education and that there must be another way. Investigate the proposal of a Guaranteed Living Income system.
Start with yourself. Let the educreation process begin.
Educreate yourself here:
The Ultimate History Lesson:
PROPAGANDA | FULL ENGLISH VERSION (2012)
The Century of the Self
The Power Principle
Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
The Story of Your Enslavement
Inequality for all documentary:
The Four Horsemen:
On Advertisement and the end of the world:
Third World America – Chris Hedges
NeknominateWikipedia: Neknominate, also known as neck and nominate, neknomination or neck nomination, is an online drinking game. →