Thursday, September 24, 2009

The True Purpose Of Public Education

The other day I was watching the season premiere of "Heroes." (I know, I know, lost cause right?) During every commercial break, I saw numerous ads depicting products no one EVER needs; home gym systems, rock ballads of the '90s, etc. I wondered, "Who the hell would buy this stuff?" The answer is we would. This entire blog could be about the consumerism that drives every aspect of America. "Everything you want/nothing you need," and it's a sad, shameful truth. If you look closer, you'll see that we have been programmed through 12 years of schooling to be mindless worker/consumer drones that keep this economy going; a fool-proof plan that the in-charges in Washington somehow still managed to fuck up. We are taught early on to want things we don't need; I can't remember the last time I NEEDED a Matchbox HotWheels, Pokemon trading cards, or a FoodSavor3000. How can these things sell? It's because our populous is convinced that these luxuries are necessities of life. You don't have to have studied marketing to know that there are two groups of people who can always be convinced to consume more than they need to: addicts and children. Public education has "schooled" us to not think at all, from the C students that have no smarts to the A students that understand the politics of school (teacher's tendencies, cheating, cramming, etc) to the point they don't need a brain. School has done a pretty good job of turning our children into addicts, but it has done an even better job of turning our children into children. This is no accident, theorists from Plato to Rousseau knew that if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up. And that's the point, we see these children on every school bus, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because in these children we see ourselves, and that maybe the greatest shame of all.

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