When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must,
I will help you if I can.
When it all comes down to dust
I will help you if I must,
I will kill you if I can.
– Leonard Cohen
Story of Isaac
If you liked School
you’ll love Work.
– from a Seattle sidewalk
Between 1974 and 1985 I lived in Seattle, Washington … in the Wallingford district. West of the University district (and the I-5 freeway), and north of Lake Union.
One evening as I was walking home, I happened to take a route along the ship canal (under the interstate bridge) … and happened upon some graffiti, spray-painted onto the sidewalk :
If you liked School … you’ll love Work.
I wish to say “Thank You!” to whoever it was that wrote that there.
(You are my Teacher and Benefactor)
You helped me to see the connection and continuity between how we are (herded and) handled when we’re students … and how we’re treated when we ‘join the Work-force’. A bell rings … and we all get up and go where we’re supposed to go next … (and do what we’re told).
Yesterday I came across a video (which I watched). It’s with Michael Moore :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHHFGo161Os (Why Finland has the Best Education System)
I would suggest (if you can spare 9 ½ minutes) that you watch it right now.
Apparently – it’s illegal (in Finland) to have a school which charges tuition.
How un-American is that?
We can’t have our superior (rich) children hobnobbing with riff-raff!
And it (most certainly) would not do – to (actually) teach Critical Thinking skills in our public schools!
I mean … what if (when the riff-raff kids grow up) they were to figure out what’s really going on!
They might become Activists (or something awful) … they might get involved in politics and turn our beloved (oligarchical, ‘pretend’) “democracy” … into a Democracy!
That definitely … would not do.
One of the best ever testimonials for learning how to Think … is Alexandre Dumas’ novel – “The Count of Monte Christo”
Early in his story, his main character (‘Edmond Dantes’) finds himself in a (Very Unpleasant) French prison. And he doesn’t even know why. Except that he was framed for the crime he was alleged to have commited.
After 4 or 5 years there, he hears ‘scraping’ … in the wall of his cell, and decides he must aid whoever is tunnelling on the other side. After a few days of digging (fairly ineffectually, except that he had managed to remove a stone from the wall behind his bed) … he happens to make an (aloud) exclamation … and a voice answers him. They have a conversation. Dantes is told to cease digging. Two days later a person emerges from the hole in his wall. A fellow prisoner of the Chateau d’If (since 1811 … four years prior to Dantes’ own imprisonment there). He is ‘Abbe Faria’, a priest (who is highly educated). While Dantes is not the sharpest tool in the toolshed, he very quickly realizes what a brilliant thinker and intelligent man his new friend is. So … Dantes soon asks Faria to help him solve the ‘mystery’ – of why he finds himself in prison. For the priest – this is an easy task. He asks Dantes a number of questions … most importantly – “Who would stand to benefit from his being imprisoned?”
Dantes experiences a great burst of clarity … a (sudden) Opening of the Mind. He excuses himself, goes (through the connecting tunnel) to his room … and spends the whole night thinking through (what he then realized) had befallen him … and what he would do about it.
The next day, he begs the priest to teach him a bit of what he knows. Faria agrees … saying that human knowledge does not amount to much … and that he could teach him everything he knows … in two years – (mathematics, physics, history, and three or four living languages. [I took this to mean – that they would not bother with Latin])
Now, let us leave this story … and come back to our own –
The QUESTION (in our situation) is … WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT FROM OUR HAVING A WEAK EDUCATION SYSTEM?
It’s the Super-Rich.
Who benefits – from the American People – paying SO MUCH attention to Fashions & Sports?
If our lives tend to be increasingly superficial … who benefits?
Who benefits from so many housewives being busy … clipping coupons?
Who benefits – from our being Such Good Consumers?
If college students (upon graduation) find themselves saddled with OVERWHELMING debt …
if a great number of couples find they must both work – just to make ends meet … who benefits?
If (in general) our involvement in politics … our involvement in improving the health of our society – (making a better life for everyone)… is minimized … who benefits?
The Super-Rich …
And … these people are … our enemy.
If someone is trying to destroy me (to kill me) – they are my enemy.
But suppose I am a child in an occupied country; and another nation is committed to bombing my homeland. There is bound to be collateral (sideways) damage. Some civilians (including women and children) will also (if inadvertently) be killed. It is then legitimate for the people (even the civilians) to regard the aggressor nation as an enemy, because they are committed to a course of action which puts them at risk … and those actions are bound to kill some (as “collateral damage”)
The Ruling Elite (the Super-Rich) are committed to a course of action – of keeping us riff-raff distracted, uneducated, struggling, and superficially occupied. Their strategies substantially prevent us from interfering with their scheme to exploit us (as ‘their consumers’).
They deliberately make our lives worse!
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA-jtlV3VNs (Noam Chomsky – 10 strategies of Manipulation)
and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6unS2JF8TA (Chris Hedges – The Pathology of the Rich)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tr0HCqiD1C8 (Story of Isaac – Leonard Cohen)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqznqIpkZz0 (Chomsky – Who Rules the World?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzQYA9Qjsi0 (What the 1% don’t want you to know – Bill Moyers, with Paul Krugman, discussing Thomas Piketty’s book – Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnrBQEAM3rE (Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky)