Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / DeGate / DeSchooling / School’s Purpose /
Drill Absurdities scrapbook
What purpose of schooling is more basic, more central, more important than drilling the young until the grossest absurdities are so familiar as to be rendered invisible: part of the landscape.
Take the idea of government as a contract, for example (or the idea of a social contract: a mythic history promulgated by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau …)
I can imagine a contract between two non-defective adults as being legitimate. You mow the lawn: I’ll pay you. Or: You do the dishes … and be available in my bed: and I’ll support you. But if you’re again mowing the lawn ten years after I die, is my nine and one half year old child responsible for your bill? No: or, only if they themselves duplicated the contract. But according to government, contracts were entered into by our ancestors that are binding on all future generations. Once you let us become your protection racket, then we’ll always have free access to your services, time, property, money …
Now: this absurdity was not invented by the schools; but it is drilled by the schools: and you don’t get into the honor society until you’ve accepted it as though it were sensible.
2013 03 30 This absurdity is extra-current now that Spielberg’s Lincoln is all over. Jefferson argued that secession was a basic right, a human right, common to all. Lincoln and his generals showed that that belief got total war waged against it! Then they went and killed more Indians, stole more land! Enter a contract, enter a cage.
2004 01 11 School is an institution and all institutions serve homeostatic purposes for the culture. Homeostasis maintains balance, limits change: both disease and salvation are hobbled. Governments, churches … are institutions that may lead the culture in change; schools are more likely to follow in change: but costumed in the garments of leadership.
No culture wants to be taught by anyone who knows more than 5% more than the norm. No culture wants to be redirected by anyone who thinks more than 5% differently from the mean. (Naturally, my “5%”s are symbols, not measurements.)
Thus: a principal purpose of school is to make sure that geniuses, know-it-alls, revolutionaries … get diverted, exhausted, bankrupted … if necessary, killed, castrated … except in times of extreme stress: in which cases the culture will make a wise choice only by accident. A poor quality society will make poor quality choices even under stress.
Like judges in a skating competition, the schools eliminate the extreme opinions on both sides of the mean and select from the middle. In skating, that holds for all competitors: everyone has their best and worst ratings disregarded. In schools, it’s the best and worst candidates themselves that are eliminated from the paved path to advancement.
2003 11 17: Today’s thought applies to more than one of our major institutions, but, as deschooling is my bastion, I’ll mention it here first:
Does religion do any harm greater than to encourage the benighted to believe that they are enlightened?
Do schools do any harm greater than to encourage the misinformed, the warped, that they’re “educated”?
The deception leads right into human’s great blind spot: we see that we’ve learned something, know something: therefore it must be true: we’re educated. (We were in school for 12, for 16 or more, years after all.)
The miseducation assures that it will occur to few to test the belief, to falsify it: to look for things that we don’t know! (Or to notice how ineptly we know what we do know.)
Even if I subscribed to a society’s right to coerce education (which I don’t), I still wouldn’t subscribe to schools. Schools are simply a bad educational design for modern societies with modern communications. Schools are unnecessary in primitive societies with primitive communications: that is to say: every one knows everyone and they talk to and about each other. No one would be a stranger: even if they were being shunned. No one’s skills would be unknown to the group: unless the group were blind to those skills: either congenitally or willfully (group blindness is a routine possibility). In a modern society with modern communications, a data base can be established. (The possibility of group blindness is ineradicable.)
scrap to be dealt with later: points from great social critics from Paul Goodman to Ivan Illich. I have also mounted my own sketchbook on the subject and today that gets reorganized. (Perhaps 5% of what I think gets jotted down. Perhaps 5% of that gets mounted as HTML. With help I might get up as much as 70% of the second 5%.)