Tuesday, February 7, 2012


School as a concept:

The concept of school is that a few people (it doesn't matter who) decide what ALL the children should learn. I don't like this because there's no such thing as a basic curriculum that every person needs to know. Every individual's life is different.

School in practice:

And then they force the children to attend the meetings ("classes") and try to force the children to learn everything on the list. I don't like this because it violates the children's ownership of their own bodies and minds.

And then they find that they are failing at getting the children to learn things, so they start trying to eliminiate "distractions", and that's how you get to these day-prisons where you are punished if you move about without permission, talk without permission, look away from the assigment without permission; where you're only allowed to pee and poo and eat on a schedule, someone else's schedule; where your physical fitness deteriorates from being kept like veal for the better part of 7 hours a day, 180 days a year; and your creativity deteriorates from being required to fill out worksheets according to specific, pointless, mundane procedures for hours on end; and your curiosity deteriorates from constantly being told to forget about what interests you and just focus what is in the assignment or on the test. And then you lose your ability to decide anything for yourself and you just have to wait around for some "authority" to tell you what to do.

And I don't like that. Why? Because I've experienced it, and it feels like shit.

I feel sick when I think about those years I spent in school, in a little box, being yelled at and dominated. That alone is enough of a reason to be against school: That it's all about big grown-ups dominating the crap out of helpless little children.

People think that school is somehow supposed to help you. But all it can help you do is prepare for more of the same. You get good at something by having practice in it. So, since school is just being dominated by other people and following stupid instructions, that's what it prepares you for. It doesn't prepare you for making good decisions, because it doesn't prepare you for making decisions at all.

Even if I had just replaced all that time in school with time playing on the playground, I'd be better off. I'd be better off emotionally, at least. And when I was little, I had all kinds of experiments I wanted to try and devices I wanted to build. If I hadn't been forced to waste half my time in school, I could have learned so much more, really learned things from my own experience. But I would have learned stuff from books, too. The key is for it to be my own choice, and for it to be what interests me at the time.

I'm mad at all the hours I was kept locked up like veal, but I'm also mad that I could have been learning things during all that time, but instead I had to sit in a desk, mostly just sitting there.

I think I can sum up everything I learned in elementary school:
-the primary colors of light are red, blue, and green
-a regular polygon has equal sides and equal angles
-the bigger one is a lower magnification in a microscope

High school is harder to sum up, but it was just a bunch of random facts like
-the civil war was about states' rights
-if you type this, that, and the other into the graphing calculator, you get a circle
-a neutron can decompose into a proton and an electron

In other words, it was all a complete fucking waste of time. And energy. And sanity. And money. Supposedly the government spent millions upon millions of dollars for me to spend 11 years learning practically nothing.

And if you think I'm just "irresponsible" for not committing all that crap to memory: It would be stupid of me to continue to waste brain power on information I do not need to know. I was never the one who thought I needed to know it, so I'm not to blame for the fact that I don't. That might seem like strange thinking to you. You're probably quite used to the idea of parents deciding what kids should do and telling the kids to do it and blaming the kids if they don't do it. But that doesn't make any sense. The idea that the kid should do everything the parent says is not an idea the kids come pre-programmed with. So if you as a parent fail to program that into the kid, you, the parent, failed. You had a goal, and you failed to acheive it. And the schools (or the government, or the schoolboard or whoever) had a goal to program me with all that knowledge, and they failed. They failed to get the knowledge into me. They were trying to program me like a computer, and they failed. It's not irresponsible of me to have not memorized all that information, because I wasn't the one who wanted me to know it. If I had had a goal and failed to acheive it, then you could say I was irresponsible; but that's not the case.

So. School is bad because
1) It tries to standardize individuals;
2) It tries to violate people's right of ownership over themselves and their own bodies and minds;
3) It's a disgusting worse-than-a-waste of time that degrades people's physical and mental fitness.

I guess those are the 3 main reasons. I hope I haven't missed anything, and I hope everything is clearly explained.


  1. I want to respectfully disagree with you in this. For a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, there really are some things in life which it is impossible to get through society without knowing - such as basic maths skills, and how to read and write. Schools do a pretty good job of teaching at least that to people. Past that, I agree; A LOT of what you get taught in schools is bullshit, and you'd never use them in life, UNLESS you chose to pursue a career in that subject/field/whatever.

    Secondly, I think you're being unnecessarily harsh on the entire schooling system, based off your own experiences. I definitely can't agree that just attending school deteriorates your physical fitness, because lot's of schools have sports programs, and I'm pretty sure all schools have at least some kind of break where you can run around and do whatever. I don't care what you say, if you don't take advantage of you're own physical fitness when you can, regardless, or even in spite of, whatever school commitments there are - that's irresponsible. Irresponsible to your own body, because it is entirely up to YOU how you take care of it.

    Thirdly, it isn't the school system which is trying to standardise you. This just affirms my suspicions that you might have had a bad school, because any school SHOULD have any number of activities/classes/groups/clubs/whatever which foster creative thinking and individual thoughts. Hence, art class. Repressing creativity is most definitely NOT something which schools do. In fact, what they do is to provide - for lack of a better phrase - gathering points for children to meet up, and this, in turn, fosters societal skills and, yes, creative thinking.

    I don't want to sound like I'm thrashing you're entire argument here - you do make a couple of good points, but what I'm concerned about is that you're making a HUGE generalisation of schools.

    1. You can't assume that every person needs arithmetic (being taught to them in school) or needs to know how to read. You're assuming that everyone lives the kind of life you live. I do think that everyone uses math, but it's intuitive and does not need to be "taught" and actually the way they typically teach it in schools makes it seem counter-intuitive and confusing and it discourages people from using it more.

      When you're a child, you can't be held (completely) responsible for your own well-being. You are genetically programmed to trust your parents and other close adults. If they tell you to sit still in a stupid plastic chair all day, you believe that that's what you're supposed to do. At some point, you have to take responsibility for yourself, but that doesn't change the fact that your life would be a lot better if your parents had helped you rather than hindered you.

      I went to 7 different schools in 2 different states (texas and virginia). It's not a very big sample, but you also can't just shrug it off as "you happened to go to a bad school". All the schools were the same. They were all just regular public schools and they were all the same.