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John Taylor Gatto - About modern schooling

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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:08 AM
Confederacy of Dunces
John Taylor Gatto page
An Underground History of American Education

"Now dumb people aren't just ignorant; they're the victims of the non-thought of secondhand ideas. Dumb people are now well-informed about the opinions of Time magazine and CBS, The New York Times and the President; their job is to choose which pre-thought thoughts, which received opinions, they like best. The élite in this new empire of ignorance are those who know the most pre-thought thoughts.

Mass dumbness is vital to modem society. The dumb person is wonderfully flexible clay for psychological shaping by market research, government policymakers; public-opinion leaders, and any other interest group. The more pre-thought thoughts a person has memorized, the easier it is to predict what choices he or she will make. What dumb people cannot do is think for themselves or ever be alone for very long without feeling crazy. That is the whole point of national forced schooling; we aren't supposed to be able to think for ourselves because independent thinking gets in the way of "professional" think-ing, which is believed to follow rules of scientific precision."


"The new dumbness - the non thought of received ideas - is much more dangerous than simple ignorance, because it's really about thought control. In school, a washing away of the innate power of individual mind takes place, a "cleansing" so comprehensive that original thinking becomes difficult. If you don't believe this development was part of the intentional design of schooling, you should read William Torrey Harris's The Philosophy of Education. Harris was the U.S. Commissioner of Education at the turn of the century and the man most influential in standardizing our schools. Listen to the man.

"Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred," writes Harris, "are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom." This is not all accident, Harris explains, but the "result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual." Scientific education subsumes the individual until his or her behavior becomes robotic. Those are the thoughts of the most influential U.S. Commissioner of Education we've had so far. "


Also search for "Stanford Experiment". You can also see what "educated" people who were good citizens in their own country did at Abu Ghraib. There are thousands of other examples. The Nazis, the Milgram Experiment .

What people who were not given the chance develop themselves and think for themselves do, when they get some freedom from supervision, from law. They can't be what we call "good" people without authority. They never learned it - and this cannot be taught, it has to come from one's own experience. Experience which is denied to them as children. By everyone around them. Parents, teachers - the system. The system itself maintained by the same robots repeating what they have been told.

"Do not look at the finger or you will miss the Moon". A teacher can only point the way. Then let the student develop his own thinking. Modern schools fill people with information and do not create the environment for them to think for themselves. As free humans. Children waste their lives sitting in a room. Never really learning to be responsible for themselves. And it's all planned.

Some videos :

Milgram experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority

Molding Minds - Ascent of Humanity

These features of schooling were designed into it from the very beginning, as stated very explicitly by such guiding organizations as Rockefeller's General Education Board :

In our dreams. . . people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. . . .

[edit on 11-8-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:30 AM
reply to post by pai mei

That's really bad, but I'm with you!

I could see this for a fact that I performed badly at school and learned about science mostly self-taught and doing scientific experiments in my desk or the backyard.

That's why I could hardly be fooled by many 'exciting scientific discoveries' you easily find in the internet just to grab attention or funding, money, etc...

I also find it a fact that some uneducated remote tribes are far more peaceful than educated, 'civilized', people suddenly finding themselves in a situation of life or death - like losing electricity for a week!

Then it actually gets worse in the workplace where the concept is 'kill or get killed'.

[edit on 11-8-2009 by ahnggk]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 03:00 AM
I agree. I am not against learning, I am against "formal education".
Children are not "antisocial" or "lazy". Our schools and society make them to be like that.

I remember as a child doing stuff - which now seems to be as a lot of "work". Building stuff, at one time I even liked solving math problems. But hated homework. Outside of school I did lots of things - but if any of these would have been "taught" at school suddenly they would have become very boring. Liked to read - but hated anything the school gave me to read.

Children like to experiment, to find out stuff . There are no "stupid children". That is a modern myth. Just bored to death by this "education".

I remember how excited I was at school when we entered the chemistry lab. But we only did experiments when the teacher allowed us to. And boredom ruled again. At least 8 years of a child's life spent in a room where he is always told what to do and never allowed even to move from his seat.

That is brainwashing. Conditioned to obey. Taught not to think for yourself. Because if you think - you say : "what am I doing here ?". But you can't leave. So you give up thinking. Accept the situation. Forget you are a free human - if you ever had the chance to know you are.


The Nature of Purpose
Young people know it most certainly; we call that knowledge idealism.

They know that there is a way the world is supposed to be, and a magnificent role for themselves in that more beautiful world. Broken to the lesser lives we offer them, they react with hostility, rage, cynicism, depression, escapism, or self-destruction—all the defining qualities of modern adolescence. Then we blame them for not bringing these qualities under control, and when they finally have given up their idealism we call them mature. Having given up their idealism, they can get on with the business of survival: practicality and security, comfort and safety, which is what we are left with in the absence of purpose. So we suggest they major in something practical, stay out of trouble, don't take risks, build a résumé. We think we are practical and wise in the ways of the world. Really we are just broken and afraid. We are afraid on their behalf, and, less nobly, we are afraid of what their idealism shows us: the plunder and betrayal of our own youthful possibilities.

From Separation to Boredom - Ascent of Humanity

[edit on 11-8-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 06:04 AM

Originally posted by pai mei

So we suggest they major in something practical, stay out of trouble, don't take risks, build a résumé. We think we are practical and wise in the ways of the world. Really we are just broken and afraid. We are afraid on their behalf, and, less nobly, we are afraid of what their idealism shows us: the plunder and betrayal of our own youthful possibilities.

Neat stuff! If everyone just think the opposite of that, we'd be living in paradise now!

Don't think that I'm a hater, I have a job that pays well and I like. But I also feel something deep inside that I shouldn't be just content coding parts of a program - bits of a progress. That I shouldn't just use all my brainpower for a *relatively* insignificant task as compared to the future of humanity...

I still go out of my way from time to time and do some scientific research in my free-time. Many people who knew me have sometimes interpreted it as a sign of immaturity or childishness. Ahh the brainwashing!

posted on Aug, 12 2009 @ 02:43 AM
Making children sit in a chair - under threat is evil. "Discipline" ? What is that ? Tribal children - never beaten, educate, forced to do anything, how come they don't all become lazy or "antisocial" ? Because their nature is not "lazy" or "antisocial" and they do not need "discipline". They need freedom to develop, to test the world around by themselves.

Read "The Continuum Concept". The author describes some tribe in Venezuela - a child age 11 was free to decide for himself where to go, to stay with her and the crew or whatever. Even if that meant going some 3 days alone with them, nobody forced his will on him. His destiny was his own. That's how you build self trust - by having the freedom to do things on your own. As a child. That's how I know I gained self trust. Later as an "educated", molded, broken , brainwashed adult is much harder. You need psychotherapy and stuff.

How school should be : you have the teacher (who knows something from everything, only at college level you have separate teachers). Children go to school and sit where they like. Nobody says anything if they go outside and play. (A playground somewhere in nature would be best).

But children are curious. So at first the teacher will tell them stories, even teaching them history and stuff about our world - but in the form of a story. Then he can show them other stuff, to read, to calculate, and let them freely experiment with it. They stay at school as long as they like. And I am sure they would want to stay there
They will make friends there, they can play or do interesting stuff. Free. [B](By free I mean free to come and go as they chose)[/B] Soon the TV or computer games will be boring. All their friends will be at "School" playing - learning new stuff, I am sure the social and curious nature of children will make them want to be there.

Then the teacher starts telling them about everything : math, biology, chemistry and so on. Gives them books to read. Let's them chose what they like.
No grades, no tests, no schedule. Children can compete among themselves - only if they want to.

How long does school last ? As long as a child wants to. The there will be "college" , after a child has chosen (if he has chosen) something he likes, and after he read some books about it, he goes to the university he wants. Here things are much more specialized - but he has the same freedom. Yes - simple freedom to sit anywhere, go anywhere, and come and go as he pleases. In the middle of the class. This is freedom. This forms character, to be able to decide for yourself. Not freedom like "sit here or there, but sit, do not dare to say you leave !". That is molding, and it's evil. To make the child feel he is too stupid to decide such a simple thing on his own. To make him doubt himself and make him ready to accept whatever he is told by "the [U]smarter [/U]people above"

In the end this "education" will produce anything but the worker consumer of today. Will probably produce a modern tribe, and a gift economy , no boss - servant relations, but that's something else.

[edit on 12-8-2009 by pai mei]

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:03 AM
reply to post by pai mei

Unfortunately the society puts a limit to this in the higher levels of education called opportunity, discrimination, and money. They make you drool when you're young only to slowly make you realize that as you grow old, that more and more things you can't do and have to be happy and content having a home, a family, a stable job but with a broken dream

Which is my case being educated in a poor 3rd world nation. But I have already set my mind to reach space piloting my own spacecraft, which is the whole point of my personal scientific research! That was my ambition since I was able to think!

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 11:22 AM
reply to post by pai mei

thanks for posting about john gatto. i'm finding the information he provides fascinating.

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