My Best Buddy

Boomer Bob

Boomer Bob
The Big Cheesey Carnival, Nevada, USA
April 08
Yep, I love it. Come on by anytime
An honest to goodness, card-carrying member of the Occupy Movement. MAKE A DIFFERENCE - DON'T JUST WRITE ABOUT IT, PARTICIPATE!!! Active member of Occupy Las Vegas

JANUARY 22, 2011 12:12AM


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All change requires, to use a worn out phrase a “paradigm shift.”  In order for America to rise again we need a change in focus at the very foundation and what better place to start than with the educational process in the U.S?

As for me, I think there’s far more to Shaw’s message than what we get on the first pass; “Youth is wasted on the young.”  I am completely convinced that the same is true for education, it is wasted on the young, not because they don’t want it or because they’re lazy, in the U.S. education is NOT education rather a mass communal attempt to teach conformity in preparation for production and contribution to the GDP. 

For those of us who have had an opportunity to carry on conversations with a person who has been educated in another country, the difference is not only noticeable, it’s stark and it’s not a simple matter of being better in the sciences, math, etc., it’s knowledge literally of global proportions.  People in other countries understand the roles they play in the massive community of Earth and they understand it far beyond the warped perspectives we’re taught in our schools.  In essence, the United States IS NOT “the most important,” “the best,” “God’s chosen,” “the shining light of democracy.”  We’re part of a picture much larger than “ME,” me being the U.S. and until we educate our citizens for the sake of knowledge rather than production, we’ll remain isolationists by design, whether or not we wish to be isolated.

First:  The extreme nationalism shoved down our throats should never enter the picture in our education, yet it permeates the very air we breathe from day one of our education. This is indoctrination of epic proportions NOT education. Our history lessons are a scam, intended to blind us with hegemonic lenses so dark, we can't see beyond the noses that hold them to our eyes, our schools are bastions of political discourse absorbed through surreptitious, perhaps even sinister efforts.

Secondly, consider this:  Our educational system as we see it today was developed (coincidentally????) in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution.  Both are products of the mid 19th century.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Our system was designed to mass create producers to fill the frenzied development of factories.  It was the new tool for the corporate elite; human capital at their disposal, people who were once very independent and self-sufficient, a type of people that DO NOT work well in factories, offices or production lines.  Orwellian robots, mass-produced to in turn mass-produce.

In the late 19th century when our current “system” of education was being developed, many very well educated people were adamantly opposed to the direction the system was being designed.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example: “We learn nothing rightly until we learn the symbolical character of life….I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained, and he only holds the key to his own secret. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.”

Emerson understood the connection between successful, effective education and individual interests.  He feared, rightfully so, that we were heading down a path of mass production; an assembly line mass-producing Model Ts rather than an effort to turn out Bugattis.

In the U.S., our propensity towards mediocrity is a harsh representation of our failed education (and it has NOTHING to do with failing teachers, but with our singularly designed system); our wide-spread intolerance, social class position and indifference are results of missing pieces of the knowledge puzzle, because we’re guided towards conformity and confusion rather than individualism and confidence.

Who truly enjoys “education” at a young age and why do we not enjoy it?

From day one, we are force-fed disconnected groups of “stuff.” We’re expected to digest that stuff from what the education bureaucracy assembles and in turn, we assemble what the bureaucracy wants, in factories, offices and assembly lines. Many children are not pre-disposed to be assembly line workers, accountants, finance advisors, etc. yet they’re forced into a mass of producers much in the way George Orwell envisioned in his novel 1984.  We have become exactly what he wrote of, an oligarchical, collectivist society with two interests in mind – produce and consume.  And the sad thing is, the vast majority of Americans don’t even realize that we are now his vision come to life.

I was a product of our “wonderful” educational system.  I learned absolutely nothing from school; until I was ready, in my mid 40s.  It was then that I understood the correlation between life and education and that education is not a means to an end or for production, but a means to a better world on the whole.  Connecting life’s experiences and an understanding of the purpose of education comes early for some and later for others, but in our system, we ignore the individual’s propensities and give him/her what we want them to have.  And how convenient it is that it fits so well into the game of the powered elite and the corporations in which we produce the wealth for them!

We don’t enjoy education because it is forced upon us in a manner that many, many children are not predisposed to learn or accept.  Later on that subject in a moment.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:

We all know what that is by now; we all know that many combat veterans suffer from it; we know that people who have been subjected to horrific incidents suffer from it: 9-11, airliner crashes, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., but there’s another cause of PTSD.

Posttraumatic stress disorder is more prevalent than previously believed, and is often persistent. Progress in estimating age-at-onset distributions, cohort effects, and the conditional probabilities of PTSD from different types of trauma will require future epidemiologic studies to assess PTSD for all lifetime traumas rather than for only a small number of retrospectively reported "most serious" traumas.” 

PTSD is not simply a symptom of “major trauma,” often people experience PTSD who are placed into situations for which they are not psychologically "wired' to handle and that can include situations as seemingly benign as an artist forced into a highly structured, repetitive environment, i.e. processing the millions upon millions of parts for machines sold in mass across the world, or processing mail.  Getting the connection here?  Some people “go postal” because they cannot handle the stress of a highly structured and monotonous process when their propensity is towards something else.  We’ve all been there, mostly unknowingly so.  School!

Why don’t many of us enjoy the educational system?  We’re forced into a highly structured, monotonous situation designed for one thing and one thing only – production.  An artist is forced to grasp algebra when all he/she wants to learn is how to be a better painter, sketcher or sculptor.  A philosopher is forced to learn how chemicals interact.  An anthropologist is forced to learn poetry and a scientist is forced into literature, etc…..

I firmly believe that our very educational system is the root cause of our social disorder, just as in Orwell’s 1984, we are rebelling against a society in which we don’t matter, against an unseen force, the oligarchy of the elite corporatists, who need producers, not individuals.  Gun violence is not about guns anymore than violence committed with a knife is about knives it’s about a social illness that is so prevalent in our culture that our culture is on the verge of destruction. 

Soldiers are forced to act against the most basic human level of decency there is, to preserve life, by killing others and most often doing so without apparent reason in the individual’s mind and sadly, PTSD is often manifest as a result.  People who go through the mundane routine of turning the alarm off at 6:30 AM, taking a piss, brushing our teeth, shaving, showering, dressing, grabbing a donut on the way to work to perform for 8 to 10 hours, returning home to make an attempt towards normalcy for a couple of hours, only to restart the process over and over experience the same phenomenon.  “Going postal” is PTSD created by a routine in which we must participate in order to survive in a society built around mass consumption and many of us are simply not predisposed for what this oligarchy is forcing us into.

In John Taylor Gatto’s “The Seven Lesson School Teacher” he enumerates exactly what teachers do today:

  1. Teach confusion
  2. Reinforce class position
  3. Promote indifference
  4. Create emotional dependency
  5. Force intellectual dependency
  6. Instill provisional self-esteem
  7. Create paranoia

Everyone who reads this blog should read Gatto’s essay on this matter and you too will see the reason as clear as the air you wish you could breathe, our society is imploding upon itself and it’s not because we’re born to be violent, we’re taught to be violent through total disregard for our conscious selves, our metaphysical lives and it begins taking place the moment we walk through the hallowed doors of our educational institutions.

Can America rise again? 

Certainly, but we must start at the very foundation and rebuild.  Simply placing bandaids over the sore spots do nothing but hide them from view, they will remain sore regardless of how many bandaids we apply.  Starting over is going to be a necessity and one very basic block of laying that new foundation is education. 

Teaching children to contribute to the world in a manner that is best suited for them will ensure success, reduce violence and will surely make them better world citizens through understanding beyond our own borders.  Our democracy will thrive, for we’ll be a nation focused upon people rather robotic producing and consuming users with no regard for others.  Teaching one to be a human being of their natural choice is far simpler and much more important than forcing a human being to be an object of absolute obedience and conformity, blind to all but the needs of the "machine."


IMAGINE!  What we could do if all our educational efforts went towards a better world rather than a fatter wallet.

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Oh hell, Boom boom, I am shutting down and want to give this post its just desserts or something deserving of my full attention and deliberation. My brain says, "pillow now," so I will come back with a full cup of coffee in the next memorable date of the elusive calendar.
See you then, ligthning lady
Undoubtedly there is a lot of useless stuff in our education. I have never in my life used algebra although I learned how. But a good deal of education is merely a showcase and some people take some parts and find it useful and others choose other parts. I wonder how else we can find out what's there to move on to a deeper study of what we need.
Definitely thought provoking, unlike a rigid curriculum.
Boomer, it's way early and I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet, but this resonates with some thoughts I've had lately. You mentioned that the mass public education system arose simultaneously with the industrial revolution. At weak spot in our foundation, I think, is that business - capitalism - is seen as our raison d'etre. The non- elite are seen as existing to fulfill the needs of business. While this approach may have been beneficial to the public at one time, the paradigm shift that occurred when the success of business became dictated by the ability of executives to reduce labor or to buy it somewhere else in the world.
We now have an educational system geared toward instilling technical knowledge; knowledge that in many cases is geared toward jobs that no longer exist.
Did you know that John Adams, or second president, signed into law a system of federally owned hospitals for sailors in the merchant marine, and forced merchant sailors - private citizens - to buy health insurance so that they could be treated in these hospitals? It wasn't done because Adams necessarily had any love of sailors or humanity, but because the sailors were always getting injured or coming back with tropical diseases and AMERICAN BUSINESS couldn't ship their goods because the captains couldn't find a crew that wasn't injured or ill. Even at that time in the development of our country public citizens were seen as cogs in the gears of industry. Government was seen as a vehicle that served the needs of business. The paradigm shift that needs to take place is one in which business is seen as existing to serve the public.
Seventh line, fifth word, strike "that".
Great Keeper. Relaunch Two Times already Today. Bah, and Cuss scooper?
Mr Ed.?
Reread this great post later.
Send to Eric Holder. okay
Cremate snoop on Papa day.
Mommy days or Fathers day.
If this goes via I'll Relaunch?
No. silly days editor plays.
Great read Boomer Bob.

This is an awesome post. Not only does it address numerous complaints of my own, it dovetails perfectly with my post America as Global Citizen; Illusion & Reality, which I posted a while back regarding the mentality of a large swath of the American societal perspective. That post was inspired by a “letter to the editor” in my local newspaper denouncing the International Baccalaureate Program supported by the United Nations, which promotes a global citizenship that is, stupidly, opposed by many in the U.S.

You write;

“…in the U.S. education is NOT education rather a mass communal attempt to teach conformity in preparation for production and contribution to the GDP.”

“People in other countries understand the roles they play in the massive community of Earth and they understand it far beyond the warped perspectives we’re taught in our schools.”

“…mass production; an assembly line mass-producing human Model Ts …”

Your point #5. Force intellectual dependency really hits home for me.

My own view is that rather than “job training”, education should be about learning to think, which seems like it should be natural, and it is, but most people benefit from learning how to connect points of logic, “connecting the dots”, which requires analysis beyond being told what to think; it requires being able to dissect what is said/written, word-by-word, in order to parse out any logical fallacies included, either intentionally or unintentionally. It also includes learning to question/doubt what one reads or hears so that one researches the topic to find what might be completely omitted from what is presented.

Great post.

education should be a ntional, not a state mandate.
the smarter nations know that.
Henry Ford and the assembly line.
Aside from training for industry there is somehow the assumption that those in control want a smart nation able to evade the scams that business finds so profitable in selling not only inferior products but those entanglements that the financial and insurance businesses find so useful in milking the public without giving value for cost. Although this smells of paranoia and conspiracy theory I wonder if there are influences to keep the public vulnerable.
I'm going to read this again, it's early. But how are we to ever as you say, going to "Rise Again" when all the children in schools are taught nothing but lies from the time they open a book. I read an article yesterday in my local paper , a conservative rag, about how our Founding Fathers were "common men who saw what could no longer be tolerated and acted". This made my blood boil. The founding father's were rich slave owners who didn't want to pay taxes to England. Calling this country America, when they came here and raped, murdered and almost wiped out the native Indians, and it wasn't for lack of trying that they didn't. How can you teach a child lies from birth and expect him not to go Postal. Great Post Bob!
As much as I admire the truth it seems rather naive to expect the official education system of a country to teach it's children how badly it behaved throughout history even up into recent times. Are children today taught how G.W.Bush hid the truth and made up stories to get the current debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan started? Does Germany teach its kids about how the previous generations tried to exterminate the Jews? I wonder.

It is unfortunately true, however, that while almost all people in North America (Yes, I include my Canada) have some problems with our present situation, they are not really at all interested in a major restructuring of our "system". What they want is some relatively small change which will give them a personal advantage within our present way of doing things.

It is further unfortunate that many of those who do see a need for a major makeover want to toss the baby out with the bathwater and jump into a socialist economic/social system. Almost every one of them can go on at great length about the "evils of capitalism" ( as though "Merikan capitalism were the only possible kind) and the "benefits of socialism", they are completely silent on the "advantages of capitalism" or the "disadvantages of socialism". And there are plenty of both. This kind of unbalanced viewpoint is most unimpressive.

All too often it is just "assumed" that a change of system - any change of system - will be advantageous to our citizens. This is blindness of the worst sort. Yet this is indeed the "mindset" of so many people. I really do not see government or greed-capitalist businesses, agreeing to any major changes in the education system. The present one suits them just fine. The sheeple get enough education, at various levels, so as to be able to operate the businesses, on behalf of the owning elite, at peak efficiency, without having learned how to think for themselves very well at all.

There is no doubt in my mind that your suggestion is a great one. So great, in fact, that business and politicians will move heaven and hell to make sure it never sees the light of day. The more determined socialists will agree with government and business on this. They too do not want their ideas examined by those who can use reason and logic to examine their claims.

I applaud your clear-sightedness and wish I knew some way to initiate and implement such an educational format as you suggest. I expect that we, in North America, will be back to agrarian life styles before that has any chance of coming into being.

Based on this post alone, I would put you in charge of our nation's education. It's that good. And I mean it. Excellent.
You are so right on about our US system. Good corporate citizens is the product.
It is no mistake that influencing k-12 education is on the agenda at the upcoming Koch meeting in Racho Mirage. Those with HS educations are taught the Myths of America and college--where they might learn some reality about our world--is devalued by the conservatives.
Jan - just the word "algebra" sends shivers of pain through my head. I loved geometry because I could see a reason for it, its results were tangible. Interestingly enough, I later discovered that I loved architecture and even framing houses, both hugely dependent upon geometry. No coincidence in the association, I spent most of my life wondering and wandering because the system forced me into what I was not. If teachers were allowed to teach in the manner Emerson subscribed to, a person’s education wouldn’t need to go through an experimental phase to find what we want, the teachers would provide the tools from the start to fit the student’s natural direction. I think of it as watching my own daughter move towards her likes. She started at a very early age creating excellent sketches. If we allowed the teachers to use this natural propensity, kids would not only want an education, they’d seek it out like hungry wolves because they would love what they were doing.

Anti – Here’s an example of conformity. I remember this like it was yesterday, but it was over 50 years ago. I was in first grade and we had a task assigned by the teacher. Most times, I had trouble performing tasks, but this one clicked with me in an instant (I don’t recall what it was). A girl in the class needed help, so I left my desk, walked to hers to help her. I was the recipient of what turned out to be the beginning of 12 long years of the same, a wooden paddle to the butt. The teacher told me that I was not supposed to help others. Go figure.

Rodney – It’s rather interesting isn’t it, that somehow history is full of humans serving institutions rather than the opposite. I didn’t know that about Adams; fascinating, but terribly surprising, I’ll be taking a look into that after I post these. REAL history is very revealing. I’m in agreement with Scanner. This whole “freedom of religion, freedom of speech, escaping the bonds of a caste system experiment” is simply imperialism, nothing more, nothing less, simply imperialism with a few bullshit twists added to it. Joe Bageant is a man who grew up in the hollers of Virginia. He writes very cogently about the class wars in America and how the neocon mentality is perpetuated through the poor, which is why so many of the poor are conservatives. Check this guy and his books out. He’s easy to read and makes more sense than most reads.

Art – as always, I’m honored with your visits. Thank you for your comments.

Rick – Critical thinking, even the very basics, seems to be lost. I think a large part of it can be related to people being in the mode for generations that thinking isn’t required to get by. Do what the machine tells us to do and we get a paycheck. I’m always amazed at how people fall for shit on the tube – people see it on the tube (including the PC tube), therefore it is as they say. No need to research or think through the BS that permeates damned near everything.

Jonathan – thanks. If kids were allowed to learn what they are predisposed to learn, mandates wouldn’t even be required. The only mandate we’d need is to make sure teachers are allowed to teach, not enforce.

Linnnn – Yep – the only problem is, the machine is massive and I don’t think we’ll be able to stop it, but wait until it breaks, THEN make changes. The machine is simply too large, too powerful and far too oblivious to the wishes of us mere cogs.
Jan – I don’t think being paranoid is a bad thing; I think it’s even a natural process grown from the seeds of cynicism and skepticism, which are desperately needed in this country. Without paranoia, we provide tacit authority for the powers of this country to do as they wish. I do think, however, that the word has damned near become a four-letter word that the system likes to label anyone who questions the goings on around us. Vive la paranoia :-)

Scanner – you and I are cut from the same dried up old leather man. The ONLY way to rebuild is to start from the bottom and work our way up and education is the very means by which this system in which we live was made, so starting there seems to be appropriate. Clean out all the mind games, the bullshit that blinds us, like the insidious manipulation of our children that creates blind nationalism AND blind acceptance of the words of those who say we must accept the word.

Thanks Ms V

Jan – I don’t think the system will even allow us to try to change the way our children are taught. I think it will need to collapse at which time we start again. And I don’t think that’s very far in the future. I read somewhere perhaps on a post right here on OS, about an effort by the Germans to educate their public about the rise of the Third Reich and how easily it took hold in post WWI Germany because the country was so ripe for impregnation of evil. The article even posted a You-tube video of an annual simulation of Nazi soldiers rounding up Jews. It was a cool lesson, albeit disturbing. The problem with America is that there is no Holocaust to fall back on for reference, no extreme and sudden extermination of millions of Jews, Russians and Polish, no foreign country invading ours as we have Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Our government has never been covertly overthrown by a powerhouse in the name of “national interest.” I believe this is why so many here are so complacent; it’s comfortable to accept things as long as it doesn’t overtly threaten our lives. It’s why there is a middle class, to keep the larger mass of people blind to what’s going on with the rest of the country.

Sky – I know. It’s so easy to pose questions and point out the problems, but how to battle the giant T-Rex in our backyards is a different problem. HOW! I think all the citizens of ancient giant republics have wrestled with this and it seems that all examples show that change only occurs upon collapse of the giant on its own. Our generation tried to make a permanent change in the 50s, 60s and early 70s, but the T-Rex is still in our yard.

Ms C. – Thank you for that. Now, if you will please, give me back some of my talent you hoarded :-). I’d love to renovate education, just watching the sparkle in the eyes of a child who gets to do what he/she is naturally predisposed towards would be better than any paycheck; wouldn’t it?

Steph - The myths of this country and its system is embarrassing, not so much because the purveyors of the myths exist and promulgate the bullshit, but because so many still believe the myths as absolute truth. Enlightenment is hard to come by with a closed mind and our system loves to close people’s minds.
I feel if they let teachers teach, things would start to change too. Not all teachers but many I work with hate this no child left behind crap and would love freedom to have fun in class again. Singing, dancing, playing together long gone. You have so many great points.
LL - thank you. Schools haven't known "freedom to teach" since the late 19th century, but it seems to be even worse now than when we were kids. I often feel bad for teachers, they're placed in a no-win situation with bureaucracy all around them
First let me say I have read everything you have written since I have had the pleasure of making your acquaintance on OS. This is by far your magnum opus this post is on the next level in both prose and intellectual acumen. I touched on the debilitating and premeditated intellectual incarceration that our current “educational” system is designed to produce in LUCIFER. Public school as it exists today should be abolished after the sixth grade it produces only peasants and helots. Girls that chew gum and think flip flops are formal attire and boys who wear their pants around their knees in an effort to imitate the bipedal apes that the media presents to them as role models. I am reminded of a line by Jim Morrison:

The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
They are saying, "Forget the night
Live with us in forests of azure
Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we is stoned immaculate"

You say we should not blame the teachers I say we should and even more so their administrators. This has nothing to do with communism or capitalism. This is about the deliberate presentation of lies and half baked theories as facts. The overseeing of regimentation designed to punish originality with alienation. Nothing less than a Pol Pot style purge of every animal that has ever stood in front of a black board for the last half century would be the appropriate response. The little darling automatons that they have produced have sealed Americas fate and enslaved the entire world to a system that elevates those who are best suited for bartering over cabbages in the marketplace to the new kings and queens of the earth. I give you wall street and the banks and they give you the Gulf Oil disaster and the coming apocalypse:

I'll tell you this
No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn
I'll tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Soft, driven slow and mad, like some new language
Now, listen to this and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
Wandering the Western dream
Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul
You know you have reached the next level Bob when these fucks start playing with you ratings 3 times I have rated this and it go's to 15 I come back and its 14!
The fifth time it stuck persistence is the mo0ral of this story
Jesus Jack! How in hell do you keep all this in that grape of yours? You're a fascinating person. I don't think I've ever met a person who could rapid-fire such thoughts on such a wide range as quickly as you do.

As always, I'm honored with your comments
The real sad thing is a lot of even recent(in the time line) events are now not taught.

My niece's school skipped the Vietnam War, like it never happened.

Back in my day, we stopped at like 1929, but we were a poor school!! :(
You have touched on so many good poınts and educatıon ıs the heart and soul of the natıon. May all our appıtudes ıncrease ın the wake of world domınence by others wıth less credıbılıty than we have.
am back, sorting out my OS life, would come back to read properly later - I have been reading about this topic since morning and I also feel while pecuniary considerations for education might still be ok in poor countries, in a first world country it should be the way you conclude, the community should have a say in the matter too. Thank you. Missed your voice terribly esply while dealing with some racist overbearing new people around here
You have an excellent analysis on the problems of cirriculum in the American educational system, but you miss the vital fact of human interaction between individual teachers and their students in the classroom. While the teacher's stuck with what he has to teach from the authorities, ultimately it depends on the kind of person that teacher is.

If he's a good humane person who cares about the individuality of his students, a connection can be made and learning can take place.

And that's what you've missed in anotherwise sterling analysis of the dominant paradigm of American education.
This post is Amazing! I have so many thoughts from reading it that I...
uh-oh, there goes the bell. I got PE next. See ya tomorrow.
Just since you wrote this, the efforts by right-wingers to replace public schools with for-profit schools held to no teaching standards have intensified. Heartbreaking.
Hi's me, the jarhead! Are you still out there kickin? Drop me a line if you ever get this!