The dullness factories

I have a son who is a very bright young man. He was bored in school, as all bright people are, and so was restless and acted up. His teacher wanted him to be tested for ADD. I refused to allow that, and instead did an end run, taking him to a private physician for a battery of tests. The result, said the wonderful pediatrician: “The kid is bored.” Thereafter the teacher was instructed to introduce more rigor into his lessons,  the dumbest thing I had ever heard. The answer, to get him out of school, was not practical. I could not home school, and  we are structured to deny basic opportunities to people who have not endured formal schooling. But at least I was able to stop them from drugging him.

We all have family or friends who are treated for ADD, ADHD, aka boredom in school. The kids are not the problem, but rather the schools. The “diseases” are a trap, as there are no defineable physical symptoms, but rather a set of “behaviors” that indicate presence. It is quackery.

The reason it is quackery is because all of us throughout our lives manifest those symptoms at various times. As a CPA I have to sit through tedious seminars, frightfully boring. I deliberately choose large seminars so I can sit in the back and mess with my IPad or daydream. Those are symptoms of ADD. But I not not have ADD. No one has it. It does not exist.

This all comes to mind because I was looking last night for a test given to students in 1910. I had heard of this before and did not take it seriously, as there is so much fakery and distortion in the Internet. But the test is real. I reproduce it at the bottom.

Schooling in the 19th and early 20th century was not a lifetime occupation. People entered trades and professions, even law and medicine, without spending 16-20 years in the classroom. They could do this because education was rigorous and designed to train the mind to think. A person who knows how to think has all the armor needed for life, and can enter any field and figure things out by means and of focus,  exploration and collaboration.

But that all changed with the need for factory workers, bureaucrats (me – that’s all a CPA is) and soldiers. Schools were worked over, truancy laws passed, and we were all introduced to the tedium of lines, bells, and dumbed-down memorization. Further, we were sold the idea that more years of tedium produces better learning, so that a college graduate is a learned person. When I think back now on my intellectual state on graduation from college, I see a man with a very limited mind.

That was bad enough, and was our state of affairs when I was in school in the fifties and sixties. Since then it has only gotten worse, as nothing waits outside for the average person besides a boring job (if lucky), mortgage, student loan, and medical bills. Oh yeah, and elections and the Super Bowl. So the dumbing down process has gotten more intense. The people who designed our education system, with its drugs and testing, know that it produces non-thinking automatons.

They want that outcome. They do not want thinking people who experience the wide range of excitement, challenge, disappointment, pain and ecstasy that we call life. They want that experience narrowed down, and our receptors inhibited.

I experience this daily now as I write here and view comments here and elsewhere, and realize that perhaps half a dozen people who read this blog are capable of dealing with its content. I wrote yesterday about the excitement of solving the McCartney riddle, and got this comment:

You’re still being fooled, and are a fool.

If that sort of comment were not typical, if that person were an exception … but he is not. His range of intellectual motion is stifled, so he cannot experience anything beyond the tedious little world of he-said-she-said politics and pretty faces reading scripted news. He is a product of schooling. He cannot think properly. He cannot imagine things.

Life is an exciting journey that gets even more exciting as we age and learn more. They start us there on mood altering drugs in school to narrow or range of reception. They keep it up with all of these mood medicines, and now legal pot. They want us, they need us dumbed down and uncomplicated, compliant.

And it is sad to watch. It is working.

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About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
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2 Responses to The dullness factories

  1. Sasha Moore says:

    What is ‘wrong’ with ‘memorization’? In a California high school (Class of 55), we were required to memorize a speech from Shakespeare plays studied from 8th grade on including Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth; senior year we studied the opening chapters of Canterbusy Tales and I can still recite the opening lines – in Old/Middle English (which we had to do in class those many years ago). The mother of a piano student who teaches HS English, was astonished and delighted when I recited to her along with the Shakespear speeches.
    In the local curriculum, it seems students are NOT required to memorize these great thoughts. It is very sad. How else will they come to appreciate and learn to love magnificent use of the language?
    So,’thanks and thanks and ever thanks’ (Twelfth Night) from
    Sasha M. Moore, M.A., Music
    PS. I have given classes at Osher on “Shakespeare and Music” (three quarters) … great fun and well taken by the adult students. Alas, I was not able to require my students to memorize … anything.
    PS. You are an excellent writer, tho.

    Like

    • I was required to memorize the Tomorrow soliloquy from MacBeth and carry it with me to this day. I don’t think we are harmed at all by memorization, specially of well-formed poetic verse rich in meaning. However, when it takes over and crowds out imagination, as has happened with focus on testing results, then schooling achieves a different result – kids fear being wrong. It costs them, can keep them out of a ‘good college’. But being wrong is such a fine way to learn.

      Honestly, I think we are done with basic education by fourth or fifth grade, and after that need to go our own way with guiding hands all about. We spend far too much time studying things of no value later in life. I mentioned in an earlier post a woman whose ten-year old son is into aliens and UFOs. It has him enthralled. With guidance, and without anyone slipping him the answer, he can make his way through that stuff and come out the other side a more capable thinker, and without ever being tested on it.

      Thank you for chiming in.

      Like

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