Are Our Schools Prisons?

From Modern Mythology:

Though potentially alarmist, this documentary points to a process that really started with the advent of the american education system as a part of the rise of industry. Our modern school system, though it has been vastly successful compared to many earlier systems as bad as it is, is indeed based on the whistle-blowing, mechanized and behaviorist perspective of humanity that was popular in the 1920s-50s.

Instead of changing with the times in terms of making kids into machines, and to produce “good workers,” we might consider trying to help create human beings. Because of all the school shootings, in many ways now we are facing a PKD style “thought police” No Tolerance rule toward what someone might do. How does this lack of trust effect the people within the system?

I certainly wouldn’t have made it through this system. Not at all. I barely slipped through in the 90s, until I became an undergrad at Bard and I found an environment that was better suited to my disposition overall (despite issues there as well.)

I imagine that there are more “freaks” like me. They are the ones with capacity for both a type of personal greatness and atrocity. Are those the people you really want to alienate? Bullying is a serious problem in schools.

It was when I was in ‘the system,’ and it certainly is today. But there are more than one approach. And school shootings as I mentioned have also terrified this nation, but our reaction to that fear has been as wrong-minded as the fear reaction that resulted from 9-11. We got so angry and afraid as a nation that we attacked a country that had nothing to do with the attack. We are producing terrorists in the middle east just as we are creating criminals and possibly even terrorists at home. As Aaron Sorkin pointed out in the West Wing episode “the War at Home,” this also has resonance with the war on drugs. “The war is at home. It’s in our classrooms.”

Are our children the enemy?

Read full article on Modern Mythology.

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  • mannyfurious

    I was just thinking about this the other day. For the past six months I’ve been working primarily in schools as a therapist/Mental Health worker and one day it just struck me that schools are only about two steps away from being prisons. I know that sounds, as the article states, “alarmist.” But it’s absolutely fucking true. It’s no wonder why kids are so fucked up. They’re told where to be at what time, what to learn, what to read, when to eat, whether they can take a leak or not, when they can leave, etc. It’s insane. I wonder how I ever managed to get through school. We wonder why kids can’t learn. Well, imagine if you, as a mature adult, had to learn Biology, English, Social Studies, Geometry every single fucking day, whether you wanted to or not. And what if you were locked in a building all day, every day with 2000 other kids, many of whom make your life a living hell. Would you learn? Would you enjoy it? Now imagine you’re an immature, stupid fucking 16-year-old. Ye gods. I’d be a socio-emotional wreck. I’m surprised I wasn’t worse when I was that age.

    The flip side is I don’t have any ideas that are any better.

    • BuzzCoastin

      it’s an interesting state of affairs
      when schools need therapist/Mental Health workers
      that alone should be some kinda clue to someone

      • mannyfurious

        You’d think….

    • Ittabena

      You know I’ve been thinking that most of my life, and it began during my parochial school days. Have you read John Taylor Gatto’s book on the Undrground History of American Education?

      The inscription on the National Archive is the Past is Prologue. Did you know that Carnegie has spent more on the American public education System than the US Gov ever has? The idea was imported from the heavily industrialized area of Austria and Germany and was just what the Industrialists ordered. It was decided we will train the thinkers – well sort of – at the Ivy League schools and the workers in the Public Schools.

      Now let’s fast forward to today. The big experiment is over. The industrial jobs are going to Asia and South America where a tailor made education system is not necessary, hunger and desperation it turns out is a wonderful substitute. And besides, those damn Americans should have kept their filthy hands off the Workers Rights and Union levers, it’s not like we didn’t warn them plenty of times.

      So what do we do with all the factory workers we are still turning out? The answer comes back that they are not the problem, it is the spit ball shooters that we need to worry about. In the old days it was enough to let this person fall by the wayside and become a bartender or a cook or a mechanic. But today things are getting pretty desperate in the worker’s world and if a leader emerges he will be from this group of spitball shooters. Because they are the intelligent ones who cannot or will not be engaged by the mindless repetition and memorization that most will eventually succumb to. Those who will submit, will submit for their entire lives, hoping that there is enough time for them to get through the mill unscathed.

      I dunno… That’s how I see it, and now we have all this in the schools. Is this all an accident? I can’t believe it is. It looks like the next necessary step. We no longer need factory workers, we now need people to help us generate the fear that we are portraying on a daily basis since 9/11.

      Oh yeah, who in the hell is the little dude with the face in the corner of the video? and why?

      • https://sites.google.com/site/themattprather Matt Prather

        “Oh yeah, who in the hell is the little dude with the face in the corner of the video? and why?”

        I really felt like I’d seen that face before on some establishment / mainstream internet website such as CNET.com before.

        But I tried looking there and nothing came up.

        I used TinEye.com and Images.Google.com and I found this:
        1: https://www.facebook.com/freedomlinkradio
        2: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=309833172456740&set=a.309833169123407.63225.309832965790094&type=3&theater

        The image from #1 / #2 goes back only December 2012, but the YouTube upload goes to September 2012.

        I just “know” the image is familiar to me, and not from that Facebook page. The feeling I have is like that feeling of “something on the tip of your tongue.”

        But I’m not going to worry about it. Someone with greater tech savvy than I can figure out where the image came from if it’s really important. I did my best.

        The question of “Are our schools prisons?” is the more important question. (The honest answers to the question lead, more or less, to the answer “Yes, in essence, if not in every likeness.” The question and answer process should lead us all to re-evaluate what school and education should be.)

        * * *

        I’ve been thinking on stuff since we last talked, Ittabena. I haven’t been studying yoga or Buddhism or Hinduism or Gnostic writings, but I have to say that I do feel like I’ve been learning some good lessons. (I finally did watch Byrne’s “Secret”, btw.)

        And, through a process quite apart from what I have and haven’t been studying, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t believe that the logical, objective, Nitzschean, nihilistic, materialist, cold-hard-science way of life is as good of a “default” choice as I once did. (You’ll remember me writing about that, right?) I spent many many years using that perspective as default for making hypotheses when encountering new information.

        Now, I feel like those ways of thinking, if they prevail too much in peoples’ consensuses, are really really bad for people. Consensus should not be nihilistic or cold-hard-materialistic. People should be free to temper reason with faith, and faith with reason. People should create good things from their will, rather than bad things from obedience to the logic of machines or nihilists.

        And the best news (you’ll see that I really have a hearty dose of optimism in me, in spite of all the nihilism) is that now I have deep personal experience of being a scientific, pessimistic, a-gnostic, a-theistic materialist, and I can give others insights from that realm of life without them having to go down that dark route for themselves. I’m someone who can say “I’ve been down that road and I’ve mapped it and I’m here to warn you about it. You can go there, or you can peek at my map, or study it in great detail and then go there, or just take my word for it: it’s not the path to dharmic truth.”

      • https://sites.google.com/site/themattprather Matt Prather

        “Oh yeah, who in the hell is the little dude with the face in the corner of the video? and why?”

        I really felt like I’d seen that face before on some establishment / mainstream internet website such as CNET.com before.

        But I tried looking there and nothing came up.

        I used TinEye.com and Images.Google.com and I found this:
        1: https://www.facebook.com/freedomlinkradio
        2: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=309833172456740&set=a.309833169123407.63225.309832965790094&type=3&theater

        The image from #1 / #2 goes back only December 2012, but the YouTube upload goes to September 2012.

        I just “know” the image is familiar to me, and not from that Facebook page. The feeling I have is like that feeling of “something on the tip of your tongue.”

        But I’m not going to worry about it. Someone with greater tech savvy than I can figure out where the image came from if it’s really important. I did my best.

        The question of “Are our schools prisons?” is the more important question. (The honest answers to the question lead, more or less, to the answer “Yes, in essence, if not in every likeness.” The question and answer process should lead us all to re-evaluate what school and education should be.)

        * * *

        I’ve been thinking on stuff since we last talked, Ittabena. I haven’t been studying yoga or Buddhism or Hinduism or Gnostic writings, but I have to say that I do feel like I’ve been learning some good lessons. (I finally did watch Byrne’s “Secret”, btw.)

        And, through a process quite apart from what I have and haven’t been studying, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t believe that the logical, objective, Nitzschean, nihilistic, materialist, cold-hard-science way of life is as good of a “default” choice as I once did. (You’ll remember me writing about that, right?) I spent many many years using that perspective as default for making hypotheses when encountering new information.

        Now, I feel like those ways of thinking, if they prevail too much in peoples’ consensuses, are really really bad for people. Consensus should not be nihilistic or cold-hard-materialistic. People should be free to temper reason with faith, and faith with reason. People should create good things from their will, rather than bad things from obedience to the logic of machines or nihilists.

        And the best news (you’ll see that I really have a hearty dose of optimism in me, in spite of all the nihilism) is that now I have deep personal experience of being a scientific, pessimistic, a-gnostic, a-theistic materialist, and I can give others insights from that realm of life without them having to go down that dark route for themselves. I’m someone who can say “I’ve been down that road and I’ve mapped it and I’m here to warn you about it. You can go there, or you can peek at my map, or study it in great detail and then go there, or just take my word for it: it’s not the path to dharmic truth.”

        • Ittabena

          Crazy, anecdotal – no empirical evidence – story to follow, but a true one.

          Catholic school got me looking elsewhere for the truth, had the same effect on my sister as well, and I went through a time when I looked at a lot of different religions and even mystery schools. My thinking was that if Aleister Crowley could have enough credibility to work for British Intelligence, Ingo Swann to work for the CIA, and Manly P. Hall to be praised by and visited by numerous POTUS'; well maybe there was something to it.

          So let’s go back to the real world at that time. My roommate and I had a friend who was this totally hot red-head named Cindy. Cindy was married but to a guy who was totally into his pain medication and totally not into personal hygiene or grooming. Because of this Cindy would call our house and flirt with whichever one of us would answer the phone. Well my roommate and I made gentleman’s agreement; whoever made progress first would tell the other one and the other one would back off.

          One day Cindy was coming over and we were going to go sell some CDs at the used CD store. Honestly I was going to be happy with hanging out with her for a while. However, I had been reading and had come across a magic ritual for drawing the one you love to you. So before Cindy arrived that day I went out in the back yard and performed this little ritual. It had to do with facing East and yadda-yadda-yadda. Up until this point I had been using Catherine Ponder’s method of writing each day what you wish to eliminate from your life, what you desire, and what you are thankful for. I had been including Cindy in this list for a while. But Catherine had said do not be afraid, or feel guilty to ask for romantic or sexual desires, being from a Catholic background she needed to say that in the book or I would have never tried any of this stuff.

          So, before Cindy got there I also did my list and under desires was listed to have sex with Cindy today. Truthfully, I never though any of this would work, it was more of an experiment, but within ten minutes of her arrival she had kissed me for the first time. Within another five minutes we were in my room getting naked. Now I could say their were sounds like choirs of angels or that the air was electrically charged, but neither were true. The sex was nervous and great but short, and there were indications that she had not thought this out ahead of time, but in the back of my mind was the constant thought that I had asked for this, unlikely as it was, and now it was happening.

          I have used the “secret” many times and it works really well. (Although it doesn’t always work, since I have repeatedly visualized Bernanke and Obama disbanding the Federal Reserve on a whim. No luck so far.) Two years ago I used it to get much needed firewood to drop out of the sky and land in my back yard, literally! A couple days after i started visualizing the landlord comes by and tells me he is having a tree service cut some trees and big limbs on his property. I asked the guys if I could have the wood and they ended up throwing some hardwood – rare in WA State – over my fence into my back yard That one felt really good too, all winter.

          When you combine personal experiences like these together with the fact that we as a species have always thought we had it all figured out, only to discover later that we were disastrously wrong, I think there must be something out there that we still don’t understand. Science, Magic, Religion, should all be one thing. It is my belief that they will be seen to be one thing when we understand each of them enough and consider them in the light of the idea that all things are interconnected. (That last one was for the Dalai Lama.) It is our Public Education System that has forced us into the habit of categorizing things even before we consider them on their merits and faults.

          Note; Did you see how I got it back on point right at the end there?

        • Ittabena

          Crazy, anecdotal – no empirical evidence – story to follow, but a true one.

          Catholic school got me looking elsewhere for the truth, had the same effect on my sister as well, and I went through a time when I looked at a lot of different religions and even mystery schools. My thinking was that if Aleister Crowley could have enough credibility to work for British Intelligence, Ingo Swann to work for the CIA, and Manly P. Hall to be praised by and visited by numerous POTUS'; well maybe there was something to it.

          So let’s go back to the real world at that time. My roommate and I had a friend who was this totally hot red-head named Cindy. Cindy was married but to a guy who was totally into his pain medication and totally not into personal hygiene or grooming. Because of this Cindy would call our house and flirt with whichever one of us would answer the phone. Well my roommate and I made gentleman’s agreement; whoever made progress first would tell the other one and the other one would back off.

          One day Cindy was coming over and we were going to go sell some CDs at the used CD store. Honestly I was going to be happy with hanging out with her for a while. However, I had been reading and had come across a magic ritual for drawing the one you love to you. So before Cindy arrived that day I went out in the back yard and performed this little ritual. It had to do with facing East and yadda-yadda-yadda. Up until this point I had been using Catherine Ponder’s method of writing each day what you wish to eliminate from your life, what you desire, and what you are thankful for. I had been including Cindy in this list for a while. But Catherine had said do not be afraid, or feel guilty to ask for romantic or sexual desires, being from a Catholic background she needed to say that in the book or I would have never tried any of this stuff.

          So, before Cindy got there I also did my list and under desires was listed to have sex with Cindy today. Truthfully, I never though any of this would work, it was more of an experiment, but within ten minutes of her arrival she had kissed me for the first time. Within another five minutes we were in my room getting naked. Now I could say their were sounds like choirs of angels or that the air was electrically charged, but neither were true. The sex was nervous and great but short, and there were indications that she had not thought this out ahead of time, but in the back of my mind was the constant thought that I had asked for this, unlikely as it was, and now it was happening.

          I have used the “secret” many times and it works really well. (Although it doesn’t always work, since I have repeatedly visualized Bernanke and Obama disbanding the Federal Reserve on a whim. No luck so far.) Two years ago I used it to get much needed firewood to drop out of the sky and land in my back yard, literally! A couple days after i started visualizing the landlord comes by and tells me he is having a tree service cut some trees and big limbs on his property. I asked the guys if I could have the wood and they ended up throwing some hardwood – rare in WA State – over my fence into my back yard That one felt really good too, all winter.

          When you combine personal experiences like these together with the fact that we as a species have always thought we had it all figured out, only to discover later that we were disastrously wrong, I think there must be something out there that we still don’t understand. Science, Magic, Religion, should all be one thing. It is my belief that they will be seen to be one thing when we understand each of them enough and consider them in the light of the idea that all things are interconnected. (That last one was for the Dalai Lama.) It is our Public Education System that has forced us into the habit of categorizing things even before we consider them on their merits and faults.

          Note; Did you see how I got it back on point right at the end there?

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Have you read any John Taylor Gatto?
      d’oh!! Ittabena beat me to it!

      • Calypso_1

        Gatto, I hope, will be enshrined in marble by future generations who survive this society.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          he didn’t die did he?

          • Calypso_1

            no…but my premise was by the time future generations come into being such would be the inevitable outcome. That and the significance of a man’s work is so often under appreciated in his lifetime & Gatto’s is worthy of such foundational embodiment in the future creation of a superior system to our present state.

          • Calypso_1

            no…but my premise was by the time future generations come into being such would be the inevitable outcome. That and the significance of a man’s work is so often under appreciated in his lifetime & Gatto’s is worthy of such foundational embodiment in the future creation of a superior system to our present state.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, I agree. He is awesome!

      • mannyfurious

        No. I’ve heard of him and have a general understanding of his work, but I’ve never actually read anything of his. Between you, Ittabena and Calypso, I suppose I’ll have to get on it.

        Edit: Never mind, I just spent some time on his website, and holy shit, I only had a very superficial understanding of his work. His work seems pretty important and precise… and, of course, ignored. This should be fun….

      • mannyfurious

        No. I’ve heard of him and have a general understanding of his work, but I’ve never actually read anything of his. Between you, Ittabena and Calypso, I suppose I’ll have to get on it.

        Edit: Never mind, I just spent some time on his website, and holy shit, I only had a very superficial understanding of his work. His work seems pretty important and precise… and, of course, ignored. This should be fun….

        • Calypso_1

          Oh he’s been ‘forced’ into ignorment.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Have you read any John Taylor Gatto?
      d’oh!! Ittabena beat me to it!

  • BuzzCoastin

    VF: What is your greatest regret?
    George Carlin: Having wasted nine perfectly good years in school.

    schools are not just prisons
    but prison kinda sums up the situation nicely
    however the schools are only a shadow of the state of Homeland society
    as public spaces are turned into “safe” spaces with school rules
    stand in line single file no talking

  • BuzzCoastin

    VF: What is your greatest regret?
    George Carlin: Having wasted nine perfectly good years in school.

    schools are not just prisons
    but prison kinda sums up the situation nicely
    however the schools are only a shadow of the state of Homeland society
    as public spaces are turned into “safe” spaces with school rules
    stand in line single file no talking

  • salviad

    Thanks for sharing. That was awesome.

  • lazy_friend

    Yup, its all about controlling “wild” kids when parents go to work at their own prisons. Its half day prison and then they give you the work you should be doing in class to do at home to control your mind beyond the prison walls.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    when People come to trust impersonal systems more than natural human relationships, This is the fault of everybody, not simply elites.

    • emperorreagan

      I’d add the caveat at the elites are aware that social interaction is fundamental to human existence, which is why so much money is invested in marketing & various technologies to supplant natural human relationships with artificial, commodified relationships. Even when you’re aware of what is going on, it’s hard to keep your guard up and the wolf out.

  • emperorreagan

    I’m glad my parents were resistant to drugging me and were constantly questioning the recommendations of teachers & counselors. Also glad I was 2 years out of high school when Columbine happened, so I missed the disaster that schools are now.

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