We are on Thunder Bay Beach on Georgian Bay, the southern part of Lake Huron. I have been here a week now with my wife’s family. I realized yesterday and last night that this is my family too. I love them all, even with all their faults and foibles (which are not as pronounced as mine). They are lively and energetic, even if they don’t delve into the mysteries of life as I do. I am the weird one, but they accept me without question. As long as I can play cards and whip up some breakfast, I fit in.
I remembered back when my son’s teacher wanted him tested for ADD, a disease invented to help teachers deal with the problem of bright kids. I fought them. He was in a Catholic school but they were going to send him to the big school district in Billings for testing. I did an end run and paid $300 for a doctor at the Children’s Clinic to test him. I did not have $300. The doctor was kind enough to let me pay him $50 a month for six months.
The verdict? “The kid is bored!” The school’s answer was to set him aside to do some more challenging reading when other kids were … I don’t know … doing easy reading? The real answer, which I did not see at the time, was to get him out of his desk, out into the world, to let him explore. Sitting in a desk is the problem. Sitting, under control, bored, thinking it important to internalize boredom and be a good factory worker … that is the point of industrialized schooling.
Standardized testing (and our overlords surely must know this) is about answering questions. Learning, on the other hand, is about asking questions. It does not matter if the answers are found. Searching is far more important. To ask a question is the key.
The most important answers are never found. Is there an Atlantis? A God? A God particle? What happened to the Pueblo tribe? Why do dogs know when we are angry, even when we try to hide it? Who killed JFK? How exactly does money control politicians? Why are journalists not curious about important matters? Why is there not one identifiable part from four supposed plane crashes? Why do people hide and pretend that there are no conspiracies? How can they be that blind? How does television control our perceptions?
Over the years I have taken countless tests, studied, done my homework, but haven’t learned much. That part of “education” is rote and pointless. Asking questions just about the JFK murder, for example, has led me to question everything I see and hear. My sense of wonder and curiosity never leaves me. Life is a beautiful mystery.
My advice to youth: Quit school. It’ll ruin you. You’ll end up like your teacher, thinking you are educated, not realizing you’re just another brick in the wall.