How To Find A Spiritual Teacher
December 29, 2009
A.S. Neill & Summerhill School
January 5, 2010

Children Are Political Prisoners


I used to be very, very angry about the way people are treated in the education system. For a long time, I was actually held back greatly by this anger – no-one is too disposed to listening to you if you lose your head.

Let’s see if now I can talk calmly about this issue.

I write this in the hopes that it will find its way to the screens of people who are ready to read it – most people are either blind to these ideas or they agree with them on an intellectual level but are too cowardly or too disinterested to act on them.

In the words of Steve Pavlina:

“Be someone who cares.”

children

(Photo credit goes to my good friend Angie).

Education

Education: what ideas does this word bring up to you? Hard work? Study? Discipline? Authority?

For some people, these painful things are simply reality. Some people though will feel a sensation – more or less strong – that learning can be easier and more joyful. Not only that, that it SHOULD be.

Have you ever noticed that it is possible to read a book effortlessly, enjoy it, and find you understand the topic it was explaining ever after without difficulty in remembering? Have you ever compared this to the relative torture that is sitting down in a library and forcing yourself to learn? You may have noticed that the second is actually less effective than the first.

Of course, effective depends on what you consider your goal. If you want to pass tests, then number 2 works better. But then you forget everything afterwards, most likely. Or you know what you need to know to pass the exam, but you find that this is different from a real working understanding. If you were a biologist – I use this example because I studied biology – you could well find that learning the Kreb’s cycle is utterly useless for what you do on the job. I know my father (a professional geneticist) can’t scribble down this mind-numbingly complicated graph by heart. He has a better way – he has a copy of it stuck on his wall which he checks up on when he needs to.

I have a very opposing philosophy of knowledge – I believe that true understanding is when you have left words and concepts behind, them having served their purpose. The narrative brings you to the conclusion, the vision, but the final result is what counts. Learning everything by rote is like climbing a ladder while trying to carry all of the rungs you’ve stepped on up with you.

I don’t think I’m special to think that though. I think it’s common sense. And I think what’s now accepted as “normal” is a group insanity made OK by collective approval.

It’s not just insanity though – it’s on purpose. There are people who want things to be hard and painful. Actually, perhaps sadism for them is a secondary pleasure, but in their goal of making mindless slaves of people they are really not worried about our suffering.

The hidden war

Anger – I was filled with it, I was made sick by it, it filled every inch of my body. The evil of the school system made me want to kill someone, destroy something, do anything to get you TO WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! And if I could find someone to bring justice to I would have, yet it seemed that everyone was playing their part in keeping the system going, at the very least with their silent, passive approval – including me. In the end I summoned all my courage up to take away my part of the approval, though there was no-one I knew who could tell me I wasn’t crazy. The best I had in this regard were a few articles on the internet which vindicated me in my convictions. All I knew was my heart couldn’t let me live a lie any longer. It was take a risk right now – or live the worst case scenario.

We are being victimised, people – our children are being destroyed, and they are growing up into feelingless machines. It makes me sick to see a child with spirit put into the prison of modern schooling, so sick. At least you can choose what you do to yourselves. But children don’t deserve this torture. How could you be so insensitive?

Am I making you uncomfortable now? Wait – don’t leave. Just ask yourself this, why would it feel uncomfortable if there weren’t a grain of truth?

If you’re still reading some part of you cares.

School is a political machine. Its purpose is to brainwash children. They must become conformist, dissatisfied, controllable, fearful, and individualist. Exams are a competition – you can admit to that at least. Why must there be competition when learning can be a cooperative thing? Why must some children be “OK” and some children be “not OK”?

That’s life? Life is hard? Fuck you, that’s not life. That’s the living death. We’re not here to struggle for survival all the time. Where would the point be in that?

We are here to love.

If you disagree with that leave right now, I don’t want you reading my blog.

Get your priorities in order and ask yourself, “Does the modern school system facilitate our purpose to express love?”

Hah, if you asked a teacher that they’d laugh in your face. Of course it doesn’t. School is about suffering through.

This isn’t what we want. What’s gone wrong here? How can we have been so asleep as to let things get this far?


A breath of fresh air

I’m not here to convince you, I’m here to invite you to take another look at what you took for granted. No-one ever changes anyone else’s mind, and I’m no exception.

Take another look. What IS school? Does it do what it says it does?

Separate your emotions from the matter. You might get a twisting feeling in your stomach that says, “It can’t be like this! Reality can’t be so cruel!” You can work on your emotions later; it might be overwhelming to break out of this mass illusion but it is possible to adapt to the feeling. Start with logic. “Does school do what it says it does? Is it for the benefit of people? Is it coherent – does it put its focus on what’s important, on what it says is important?”

If you feel this sense, this feeling of inconsistency, stay with it – your lie detector is going off.

Believe it – something is wrong.

Just take a step back and reevaluate. Relook, resee. See something new, not just what you were expecting to find.

If you feel or see that something is wrong, just notice that feeling. Stop RUNNING from it! That’s all I ask. Say out loud, “Yes, I perceive that something is wrong with the school system.”

Don’t try to act on this feeling immediately, you will need time to come to terms with it. Just stay with it. Realise you can’t hide from it, you can’t hide it, you can’t dress it up: something is wrong. Let things become clearer over time. Just remember, and observe. You grow into the truth.

What to do?

There are a few things you can do. But seeing and living the truth is maybe the first and most important. You, at least, are one person not feeding energy into the lie. That is priceless. That is powerful. If everyone were like you we wouldn’t need to do anything.

Because we have laws to force children to go to school, if you have a child you will need to find a way of defending yourself from them. There are two good ways I know of.

HOMESCHOOLING gives you the freedom to help your children learn what they want to learn in the way they want to learn it. It needs your full-time support, though. That could be a good thing, you’ll bond and share love with your children (9-5 job for mother and father and 9-5 school with all the family in separate places for most of the day – don’t think that’s not on purpose, the system wants you split as per the old adage “divide and conquer”). But then maybe you don’t feel you have time. OK, I can think of another possibility – you could find other people who see things in a like manner to you and make a community effort.

Or, you could explore FREE SCHOOLS (also known as Sudbury schools or democratic schools). These are expensive, but highly worth it. Research it. (You can start here).

I think sending a child to a normal school is not loving and it’s not living according to truth. I understand life is hard and sometimes there is no option, fine. But usually you plan when to have a child. Arrange your life so you can keep them out of slavery. Research it. Find a way. You owe it to them.

If you’re still of a school age, work with your parents. Depending on them you may be able to change your school system or do a home-study course. And get free of them as soon as possible and start making your own decisions.

You may think that maybe it’s easier just to accept the system as it is and not go against the tide. Of course it’s easier. But answer me this, if YOU don’t go against the tide now, who will? When will we start? Do we need to wait until the world is about to suffocate under a poison cloud before we start looking for ways of living in alignment with love? It’s all connected you know… and it all starts with the simple conviction that love is what is worth living for.

We need YOU, NOW to say “No, I refuse to give my silent approval to this system. I refuse to passively continue accepting to give my energy and lifeblood away. I DECIDE TO LIVE FOR LOVE.” Find the bravery. If you don’t have the bravery yet, just accept that you don’t, continue seeing the truth, and look for the bravery, train it, build it, find it.

It’s hard. But let me tell you, there IS life after rebellion. I’m enjoying it quite a lot 🙂

Related posts:

Childism


To find out more about how social conformity is created and encouraged, read my review of the whistle-blowing work of John Taylor Gatto.


Leave a Reply

15 Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    Sophia, great article on our education system. Their are many flaws, and the one I most disagree with is the memory testing. I did okay in school, but struggled dearly because I can’t remember crap, especially when I can’t see the connections of why I am being taught something…….. We should all highly push for the “vouchers” idea where we as parents can choose where to send our kids. We are paying school taxes, but can’t afford to pay twice (dish out more beyond the taxes) to send our kids elsewhere. Please fight for this. It’s our only potential and easy weapon.

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  2. Sophia Gubb says:

    Thanks for the comment Patrick. I hadn’t heard of the “vouchers” idea but it sounds good. Our taxes obviously don’t pay for what alternative type people are into.

    Love,

    Sophia

  3. Dena says:

    Thanks for writing about this, Andrew.

    So many people out there are still unaware.

  4. M says:

    “Its purpose is to brainwash children. They must become conformist, dissatisfied, controllable, fearful, and ~~~individualist.”

    Well, I mean, I get all of the other adjectives. Conformist, dissatisfied, controllable, fearful, that fits with your (very valid btw) point. But ‘Individualist’? As an individualist myself (and I suspect you’re one too) I feel like I should point out the word usage. I don’t want to detract from your overall message here, I agree, I just wanted to point out this:

    “Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses ‘the moral worth of the individual’. Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one’s own interests, whether by society, family or any other group or ~~~institution.” –Wikipedia

    See, you are an individualist! Your argument is individualist! Again, your article is right on point, and it is also very deceptive how some states require mandatory public schooling without offering (or making parents aware of) any alternatives like homeschooling, unschooling and such. I just wanted to point out the word usage, just as I would if a someone wrote an entire article about the importance of women’s equality and said then said that feminism was a problem (even thought that is the ~exact~ definition of feminism).

    • Andrew Gubb says:

      Hehe, thanks. I guess I was being creative with that word. As you probably guessed, I meant the negative individualism (I don’t know if there is a word for it) – the sort of individuality that is in conflict with community, an “every man for himself” kind of individualism.

  5. Cody Cerny says:

    I agree. The school system is madness. Learning could be SO much more fun than the way they make it.

  6. lexington says:

    I’m 17 in highschool and I’m glad there are adults out there who are(hopefully) trying to help with this problem..I’m currently trying to get people at my school to realize that they do have power and that they can think for themselves in such etc etc

  7. Colette says:

    This article is brilliant! I finished the majority of my time in school at the end of last year and am now quite messed up because of it, between the way the system works and the way I’ve been treated in the past by students in my classes. I’m now finishing year 12 by studying photography. The only reason I did year 12 is because I needed to finish school to be able to get into a college in Scotland (which, to be honest, I’m wondering if I even want to do now, what with the system). The Uni’s and Tafe here can be entered by other means than high school.

    I didn’t find years 8-11 to be too difficult, though I still found them boring, pointless and annoying. However, year 12 was insane. I failed a year long subject that I found interesting because of two 1000 word essays. I was also spending lots of nights doing assignments/study til 2-3am and missing out on all the Capoeira classes I used to go to every week, cutting it down to a dance class and a roda which would equal about 1.5 hours of exercise a week. I was pretty depressed and wondering what the point of it all was a lot of the time. Maybe if I’d cut out the dance and the roda each week I would have passed that subject. Or I might have ended up completely depressed and quit school. Who knows?

    I was home schooled for part of year 6 and most of year 7 and while it was great to not have to go out to school each day and being able to both go on excursions and meet up with other home schoolers occasionally, I also had two sisters being home schooled along with me in different grades and so we were all doing different work and I would spend a lot of time being left to my own devices. Often I would get… distracted easily… heh :/ So if you are going to choose home schooling then it definitely helps if the kids are doing the same level of work and/or are good at staying focused. If you don’t have kids of the same level working together or if you have kids that are easily distracted, finding out the kids interests and their attention levels would be a good idea, before figuring out how best to proceed with home education.

  8. esp says:

    Bad enough I didn’t take kindly to the whole suffer through the hard work that makes you want to die (and in my case I litterailly did want to die before the system was done with me) needless to say once I was done with high school I was done with school, but I know first hand the political machine aspect, turns out I had afew firewalls against the political programing they were trying for (if they’d pushed any harder I’d have used voience against them because I’d have had no other recourse against them). For years I thought I hated learning but after I got away from the system I realized I just hated the way I was learning. Right now I’m working on a project to at least allow for childern to learn about freewill and the other side of the political spectrum and if the schools think I was a nightmare in the classroom they are going to think I raised hell itself because I’m encouraging kids to demand the truth or at least to question the lies.

  9. This article is amazing. It’s just what I’ve been needing to confirm that my viewpoint on the school system isn’t broken like most people try to have me believe.

    I’m 13. Sometimes when I’m walking around my school, watching everyone flock to their classes as per their social programming – I feel like I need to grab them and shout at them to FUCKING WAKE UP. It’s like the life is being drained out of them; these once lively children who are slowly but surely being turned into corporate zombies and ultimately, there is NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT.

    I can see why you’re angry. I understand where you’re coming from completely. But for someone caught in the midst of this, what is there to do? Sure, there’s Steve Pavlina’s core principles of Truth, Love and Power, and they’re supposedly universal:

    I can accept the Truth of the situation; that the education system has some problems. Or maybe a whole lot of problems. And I can use the principle of Love to find others with a similar viewpoint and work things out together. Most of my friends at school agree with me in that the education system is “broken” so to speak. But how does power come into play when your entire government conspires against you to create a system that’s practically impossible to escape?! And when your parents berate you for “not trying” when you get a low subject mark, not because you are lazy but because you CONSCIOUSLY DECIDED that you didn’t want to put in the effort, and most of all COULDN’T BRING YOURSELF TO because you knew a good result would be EFFECTIVELY MEANINGLESS in the long run?

    I think I may be an indigo as well. That would certainly explain my utter hatred of this system. But what isn’t there to hate about it?

    Nice site by the way. Only just discovered it and it’s already becoming one of my favourites out there. Keep it up 😀

  10. Lindsey Taylor Francis says:

    It makes me so incredibly happy to see that I’m not alone in my way of thinking. This is the first post I’ve read on this site and I’m so pleased that I was lead here.
    I had my spiritual awakening when I was 17 and in high school, and let me tell you its not a pretty place to wake up in, such dense negative energy. I stoped seeing most all of the people I knew because my interests changed so drasticly, I couldn’t talk to them about the things I wanted, I knew they wouldn’t understand my change or the ideas and concepts I wanted to speak about. They wanted to talk about who was dating who and what they where wearing. They all seemed so petty to me. I started feeling anger cause I just wanted them to see! To wake up. I was angery at the teachers for being so oblivious, they don’t even know that there brain washing us. I started skipping a lot of my classes and going to library to research qestions about this awakening i was experencing and learned so much more there sitting at a computer than i did in my whole public school career.
    I had never been a “good student” I basically “failed” every year I was ever in school, I always had bad grades but my test scores were always higher than my peers so they couldn’t hold me back (I now relized I’m just not susceptible to brain washing. Ha!) I only passed 2 of my highschool classes, one was an creative writing class and the other was phyicology and it was cause I was so interested in the material being taught to us. But I eventually droped out of high school, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Finding out about our food system in America was the last straw for me, I was outraged.

    My spiritual understanding of reality and the connection of all has developed immensely and I’m not so angery I know that everying is always as it should be. And it really helps knowing that this system is broken and is about to collapse any day now.

  11. Lindsey Taylor Francis says:

    I’m proud to say I don’t have my certificate of successful brainwashing!

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