February 19, 2016

Indoctrination or Freedom

Just another brick in the wall.

When reporters in 2007 told Doris Lessing that she had won the Nobel Prize for literature, she said, “I couldn’t care less.”

She did care deeply about being free.

"Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly," Lessing said, "throughout his or her school life is something like this:

"You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do.  
What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be.  
You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. 
Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements.  
Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society."

15 comments:

  1. The Daoists always look for unversal truths of our world and follow the way, culture often seems a excuse for greedy and destructive to get what they want. I'm reading my name is Chellis and I'm in recovery from western civilization and this addresses this question well. Alex.

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    1. Alex, I will be looking that book up. Joseph Chilton Pearce blames most of our ills on culture. It can be a destructive force. Civilization, especially of the Western variety, certainly is the most destructive force to ever hit this planet.

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  2. Homeschooling is growing hugely in my area. And largely for the reasons stated above. I homeschool my 7 year old and it's wonderful. He's free to explore his own interests, make friends when he wishes and also be alone when he wishes. He's free of the pressure to fit in through the things he owns. It's really lovely to watch a person grow without the various pressures that come with attending a typical school. John Holt wrote several books in the 70s about how children learn when they're free to learn as they wish. They're wonderful books if you're interested.

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    1. It is a very dedicated parent that will take the time required to home school their child. I think both benefit greatly. I will be looking up John Holt's books. Thank you. Although I am no longer teaching, I am still very interested in education.

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  3. I had a few teachers who in a way told us this. History teacher, teachers of litterature and music...

    I try to tell my students, but most are already neatly molded when they get to me. I hope some get it and dares to resist. It is hard though, not being the shape society wants you to be.

    Thanks for an ever-inspirering blog
    Best wishes
    Terese

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    1. I look up to teachers, whether home schooling parents, or otherwise. It is a difficult and challenging task however it is done. Good luck with your students, especially the ones brave enough to resist. They are on to something.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this - she encapsulates entirely our feelings about the education system (we are in the UK) which is heavily biased towards perpetuating the status quo. This is definitely a quote we'll keep and read again! We always find your blog very inspiring.

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    1. I am happy to hear that you are still with us. I am leery of anything government sponsored these days, and I see that the UK is under constant threat of a nasty, mean-spirited bunch in office. We got rid of our group of meanies in the last election, but our new government has a lot of work to do before I give them the gold star.

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  5. The Teenage Liberation Handbook is great. Check it out.

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    1. I love that title. I needed that book about 40 years ago, but am going to look it up as a lot of my teenage self still lingers.

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  6. Thanks for this post. This sums up my feelings about traditional education as well. My school years were unhappy and unproductive. Once I was out of school and free to learn on my own, I bloomed.

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    1. Miss Marla, I was exactly the same. Right from kindergarten school was a subtle torture for me. By the time I got to university I felt free enough to pursue my educational objectives. But alas, universities are also part of the problem, so individual learning is the way to go. With the internet the possibilities are endless.

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  7. I am in my 60s and whilst I agree that I was "indoctrinated" via a very indifferent schooling (I always used to think I would do better at home with a pile of books in front of me!), I was also passed "values" or "indoctrination" call it what you will by my parents, a lot of it good, a lot of it informed by the way they had been bought up. I also used to read a lot of quite old fashioned books which were informed by the values of a previous age. Some of this I recognised, a lot I did not. So my adult life was one of recognising these and overcoming them. Discussion of ideas, either at school or at home, was not encouraged in my day! What an interesting quote though. Good for Doris Lessing! Frances

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    1. Parents are unwittingly part of the whole culture delivery system, agents of the state just the same as cops and teachers. Congratulations on coming to the realizations that you have, and actively work to overcome them. It is great to be in recovery from institutional education, and culture, and civilization in general. We all just want to be free.

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  8. "You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do."

    While I enjoy some of your posts, some of them are a tad convoluted. In the above quote Doris Lessing makes an accusation, an excuse and an apology. It seems to me the entirety of the quote leaves one empty, as there is blame for 'the system' yet only a pitiful glimmer of hope for those who can "educate themselves" to free themselves of the shackles of Western Civilization! OMG!

    Skimming the comments further reinforces my thoughts that most people just don't have a clue that they have a wide range of freedom in the current system, possibly more so than at any point in history other than living in caves. Seems many just want to whine and complain about how they were "indoctrinated", rather than see that the Western Civilization system has in fact TAUGHT them the importance of freedom and set them up with the ability to attain freedom.

    It's actually quite simple folks. Western Civ for all its negatives (materialism, crony capitalism, etcricism) has allowed for a amazingly abundant growth in freedom (liberty) and knowledge collection. Will it last? Sadly the answer is no. That answer is encased in many of the comments here in fact. You are all free to change your belief patterns and thoughts that Western Civ has allowed you to be free to do, yet you mock the system for being intolerant, repressive, controlling, etc. You want to opt out of the system that has been breaking, rather than fix it.

    Sure it's not a great system, but Doris nailed it in that it "not yet evolved". But then she goes on to apologize and excuse us all saying "it's the best we could do". That I call BS on. It is up to us to make the changes needed to evolve to the next level of true liberty.

    Her entire quote here makes me think of the stupidest man I have ever met. 14 years in university and he came out with a PhD in philosophy and is now teaching 100 level philosophy courses in college. This educated imbecile has completely missed the boat on Plato's allegory of the cave. It is so linear and deprecative of the system that he now works for! Irony abounds, yet it is the flavour of the day amongst post secondary elitists.

    It's well past time for all people to move past the (ironic) prejudice of Western Civilization and focus on the good that the system allows, such as not buying anything!

    Stop blaming... start acting to combat those who are destroying the system that granted us this liberty.

    As for Doris - telling the Nobel Prize crew that she "couldn't care less" negates the negative of winning the prize in my books!

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