So I just pulled an allnighter doing an essay. Actually three essays back to back. Most people do this, most people handle this and swallow it like a man or woman. Yet, this was the worst essay I’ve ever done. Both my worst writing ever, and the worst sorts of requirements. The content and material itself was fascinating. Aristotle’s Poetics is an amazing insight into literature, Oedipus and Antigone Greek tragedies are also, though simple-minded in my standards, quite enjoyable and really speaks to your emotions. The themes of human will versus will of the gods or moira, destiny/fate and onwards. It brings out a lot of questions about life. Furthermore, I enjoy learning so so so much. Every class I sit and listen to the professor, which many think is boring, but I am fascinated with the new insight, philosophies and ideas I am absorbing from studies and discussion of historic great thinkers and writers, Plato, Aristotle, Dante onwards. I am really enjoying the learning process.
However, if we stop to think about it. Learning has no place in our education system. The education system isn’t to help students learn. Nor is it for the growth of the mind. Take a step back and look. It is a business. It is still operating on the 19th century model, to create products out of students, to create robots, to work in the work force of society. To serve the system and the bourgeois sitting at the top of the corporations and governing bodies that control the world. The system demands results and excellence, and seeks after a difficult system to throw away those who cannot keep up, or those who refuse to become one of the crowds. Sure, it is debatable that many still have their own rational thought, their own deep understandings and insights. However, many are willing to succumb and settle for less in essence. Intrinsically the system seeks after those who can follow rules and become a high-achieving product.
There are many ways where the education doesn’t function properly. For example, moral and ethics of students, social responsibility, or even ambition, and onwards are all stunted and not addressed. Those with greater thoughts, those who think outside of the box, with their own ideas of about how things should work, or great ambitions, are funneled into this system. You need to finish your degree, regardless of what subject. Most graduates aren’t even doing things related to their degrees. Some just settle for a program they are not even interested in. Most graduates come out and are unemployed nor can find work in a very senior non-retiring work force. Many students are lost.
But I digress, we come back to this essay. Most of our essays or project requirements, really doesn’t prove how much a student has learned. It is like writing in between a contradiction, with rules of all sorts, analyzing text asking you NOT to think on your own, and NOT to regurgitate or paraphrase. Instead of interpreting ideas, and developing your own original thought, you are supposed to work in this box and not allowed to think outside of the box. Rather than what we’ve absorbed in class, it is picking apart words and structures in text… not to find their meaning… but just to pick them apart. There are tons of fascinating themes and meanings in content that we study. Yet, we are not supposed to learn from them.
I really enjoy learning all the insight that are presented in lectures and discussions. Yet, we don’t make use of them. Along with that, the workload and reading load is heavy. Essays back to back, multiple 300-500 page books every week and onwards. Yes university is hard but it is basically hard with no point. Students have not been allowed to show their potential or what they’ve learned. Only to cram for deadlines and throw out bullshit and quotes.
Sure we can say this is a necessary system to train people to think and a system for evaluation. Yet, I completely disagree, because people aren’t thinking. The boxes that are set around us all the time RESTRICTS free thought, forces half-assed scrambles to finish assignments, and doesn’t evaluate what students have absorbed from the course. For example, I’d much prefer to write reflections after each class to hand in next class. Mini-essays to say, about what we’ve learned. But the system of evaluation can be based upon how original thought is, how the student has digested it and made an original writing, instead of paraphrasing what the professor said. More over, the same evaluation for essay can be made, proper thesis, etc. But something like that would prove how much i’ve absorbed, rather than throwing out some useless crap picking apart material we’re given without much of a point. I’ve learned nothing about life, my mind hasn’t grown and the text that is given with its extremely profound nature wasn’t given an opportunity to grow its seeds in our mind.
Okay, this is obviously a rant, and my thoughts are by no means organized. But this is not working for a lot of students. Throughout the entire education system, pretty much you always hear students moaning about workload but not only that, but that they are cramming and writing bs. Every class. Every year. Writing BS. That is a HORRIBLE result. People cramming and writing BS for marks. Make it to the appropriate word counts. Why is that the case? The system and expectations doesn’t encourage students to have deep thought. It encourages students to throw out BS for some ridiculously specific expectations. Then they’re marked on that. How can we exhibit our potential or show our growth?
In reality, this makes sense when we take a step back and look at the system. It is a business, manufacturing products. We aren’t expected to think. We aren’t supposed to think. If we do, either people do it in private, or they have a hard time struggling through school. Those that do make it through school, end up looking for jobs, to survive, to pay off their million dollar debts, and become a robot. It comes down to this. Either you conform and become a robot, or you think you’re not a robot but have to conform anyway in order to survive.
A great grand SECONDLY. Secondly, this is destroying souls. All these years in the education system as well as working, especially if you are to be employed, it destroys souls. Not only does it train you to be an unthinking zombie, but it also discourages and depletes morals. Cramming last minute because the workload is too much or the expectations are ridiculous enough that it is throwing out BS and so forth… Certainly those teach bad morals. Training people to be superficial, just get stuff done, make it look good, get results out there. Fast fast fast. Like a machine. In the work world, I’ve worked in a workplace environment, which for others may consider to be actually a very decent environment. Good hours, great pay, friendly people. But nope. Before I had that full time position, I was much kinder, less angry and so forth. But going through that taught me to be violent. To stand up and fight for yourself, your thoughts, your presentations, fight in meetings, whether or not you are right. Facing pressure from all sides, and a constant power struggle where you merely are a tool that is used. Either you let yourself be used like a machine or you have to fight and become a monster. Yes, it was the choice between the two, numb yourself to the “realities” of employment and be a robot, or become a monster. And when you look around, that’s what you see when it comes down to it. Either you are looking at monsters who have done all kinds of things or have the nature to tear things out of their path in order to get to the destination they need to be or you’re looking at someone who’s seen “reality” and is numb and does things not by will.
You can argue its necessary for life. But is this worth it? What is truth any more? What is your true nature, your true identity? When things have corrupted, so to speak, your body, your mind, your soul. The school system, the work place, and onwards. Where’s the original you? Or, does that even matter? Are you what you become after going through all that? You can argue that you can be optimistic or be strong and change something that negatively influences you, like stress into something better, or find ways to release it, let it help you become a better person. People work and work to save up those holidays, so they can go on a vacation. Some work and work to save up money to buy a bigger house, a better car, or you could say to invest in some things that people enjoy like oh I’ll be a better guitar or something. Really? Do you really believe you can become a better person like that? To be trained NOT to think, succumb to so-called “reality” and then settle with it. Or trained to throw away your ambitions to pursue survival. Sometimes it may be necessary, but in my opinion we should at the very least, consider it as bad. It’s bad to go through this kind of education, its bad to be employed in a workplace that ultimately corrupts your being. I guess what i’m saying, is if ultimately, I or someone else, cannot escape this system, or break through and forge your own path, AT LEAST, consider what you’re going through bad. Consider this conditioning, this brainwashing, this control over your life, bad. And keep thinking. Don’t let the world numb down your sharp intellectual thoughts and philosophies. Don’t let pursuit of momentary stress release or temporary pleasure be the means to an end. Hold on to who we are. And hope that we can change the system still… as hard as it will be.
I’m sorry, my thoughts aren’t organized nor very concise or even accurately describing my mind of turmoil. However, what i feel is very real. I know that I am in a system that is forcing me into a box, as much as I want to think outside of the box. And this conditioning over time will change me. I don’t want it to. Call it naivety, call it immaturity, call it hopeless romanticism, or ideals, or dreams, whatever you think it is, it is very real to me, and I hope to hold on to it, and I think as human beings those things are necessary. Because without it, you are not you any more. You are the product of society. A product of this system.