What a wonderful thing education is. We get to learn lots of wonderful things about the world we live in. We get to use and develop new skills that help us in our day-to-day lives. We learn to socialise and get along with other people and have respect for authority and the social order. Then we can prove to the world how much knowledge we have and how wonderful we are – look at me!!
When we have completed all the basic stuff we need to know then we can either jump into the big wide world where other people will tell us how wonderful we are, or how inadequate we are, or we can further our education with yet more stuff.
Those pieces of paper will be a passport to opportunity – employment. At last we can achieve our aspirations of earning money and gaining the respect of others. If we are really lucky we can use all those years of learning to work in an area we find interesting or fulfilling.
University – once reserved for people who could remember stuff really, really well is now available to everyone who has ‘done well’ and can remember some stuff. Open to all who have the will, the determination, and focus – for a price. A degree in almost anything – from nuclear physics and mathematics to The Beetles and Klingon! What a rich and diverse range of education we have.
So what is education?
The Oxford dictionary defines education thus:
- 1the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university: a course of education
- the theory and practice of teaching: colleges of education
- [count noun] a body of knowledge acquired while being educated: his education is encyclopedic and eclectic
- information about or training in a particular subject: health education
- 2 (an education) an enlightening experience: Petrus is a good workman—it is an education to watch him
Now let’s look at how the Oxford dictionary defines indoctrinate:
- teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically: broadcasting was a vehicle for indoctrinating the masses
- archaic teach or instruct (someone):he indoctrinated them in systematic theology
Also very interesting.
So what is the difference between education and indoctrination?
The prominent difference seems to be whether the person accepts the teachings critically or not. Is the person able to challenge the teachings or develop their own theories based on the teaching?
Now think about how we educate in schools, colleges, universities today. Perhaps think about your own education. How often are pupils permitted to seriously challenge teachings in our educational institutions? How often are pupils permitted to challenge what is written in the materials used to educate? How often are pupils permitted to consider how other subject matter may impact on the subject they are learning?
Our modern education is system is based on pupils having no knowledge, on pupils being empty vessels which need to be filled before they can have any concept or grasp of a subject. Critical thinking is discouraged because it is presumed by the educators that the pupil cannot possibly know anything of any significance.
The pupil goes to the institution and sits. The pupil is given information. The pupil repeats the information. The pupil is graded on the ability to repeat the information. Sometimes the information is wrong. We have seen degree courses where students are being taught very out dated or technically wrong information.
Examinations to obtain pieces of paper are based on the ability to remember what was taught and to repeat that teaching with little or no critical thinking outside of defined parameters.
Now look back at the definitions for ‘education’ and ‘indoctrination’ and see which you think applies.
The education insists our children go through a process of state education at specific times in their lives.
In general, children start their journey through the ‘education system’ at around four years of age. Some may start sooner through pre-school programmes, and some a little later depending on the society they live in. Then they progress to the next stage – the ‘big’ school – the type of which can vary depending on the achievements made previously and the ability of parents to pay for education. This will probably involve wearing a uniform of some description to make sure the pupils feel they are ‘equal’ (the same).
When the ‘big’ school has finished educating them they have to sit ‘examinations’ – perhaps many of them within a short period of time. These examinations happen during one of the most difficult periods in a human’s development – puberty. A time of hormones, exploring things that certainly seem more interesting than ‘education’ and ‘exams’, a time of confusion and (for some) emotional instability and turmoil. Yet the ‘education system’ expects these pubescent human’s to achieve great things – like remembering and recalling swathes of information in just the right way that the education system is happy with.
So the education system is:
- Get the little human at 4 or earlier.
- Start grooming them to be good little members of society and restrict their ability to truly discover who they are and the wonders of the world around them. Start indoctrinating them with man-made control mechanisms such as religion – again a tactic to stop them discovering their own spirituality and their own ‘truth’. Narrow their focus to exclude other possibilities.
- Send them to ‘big school’ where they have to wear a uniform and comply, restricting any individuality.
- Continue indoctrinating them. Make sure their aspirations are to gain pieces of paper that show they have remembered stuff (as opposed to them challenging the ‘teachings’ or developing their own thinking).
- Make sure they are put under immense pressure to pass ‘exams’ at one of the most difficult stages in human development which will determine their future in the construct of society.
- Make sure that the examination system is one of acceptance or rejection to make sure they stay focussed on the teaching s and have learned to be a compliant future worker.
- If accepted, they can enjoy enhanced opportunities for further education or ‘meaningful’ work in society. In other words, pay higher taxes and have higher aspirations – that they may or may not achieve.
- If rejected they can have other opportunities to comply or be destined for what society considers to be low-level opportunities.
- Those who choose to be indoctrinated at university can repay crippling debt.
- Make sure that the ones who gain employment make significant financial contributions to the state, and have a ready supply of cheap labour from the ‘failures’.
Of course, education is not a bad thing in theory. It is how it is delivered in such a constructed and restrictive way that is a problem. The ‘system’ is designed to restrict the person from discovering who they really are – what their true purpose and beliefs are. It is designed to prevent the person from asking ‘awkward’ questions or seriously challenging old theories and ways of doing things.
What would people believe and discover if they were allowed to discover the world around them and themselves free of restrictive indoctrination? Would they then be compliant members of ‘society’ – or rather the version of society that those in power want?
Some may say that much of a human’s perception of the world comes from the environment they are in and the beliefs of parents etc. But of course – parents and other influences on the human’s life have gone through the same system.
If they are lucky, the human may come to a realisation that all is not as they have been told and will start discovering for themselves – looking for direction outside the modern constrains of ‘the system’. Only then do they truly develop as humans. Others will just comply because it is easy – it is ‘safe’ – another result of indoctrination.
There has been a mass dumbing down of members of society from many directions – not least education. False beliefs instilled by a system that adjusts to make the individual feel as though they are superior in some way – when in fact all that has happened is that those in power have adjusted the requirements for achievement in education to make humans feel more part of (and compliant to) the existing regime.
The problem with ‘dumbing down’ a population is that the achievements within the system become of less value as each ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’ member of that society becomes progressively less skilled in attaining basic skills, and being able to analyse the world around them.
There have been many examples of this in recent times. Perhaps one of the most shocking is that there are some ‘pupils’ lacking in basic skills, such as reading examination papers.
So what affect does this have on a person? They become disillusioned, feel restricted, feel rejected, and see no real future or meaning in life. In turn this will result in behaviour that reflects the restrictive and rejecting environment, an environment where natural social order disappeared centuries ago.
What would happen if children were able to discover who they really are free of the constrictive influences that we have today and the incredible guilt that is nurtured by non-compliance? Would they be happier, have real aspirations (as opposed to the false aspirations imposed by the society we live in), be content, able to communicate, able to engage in a genuine way, able to be true individuals who are part of something greater?
We will never find out while our children are indoctrinated from such a young age – indoctrination that can continue well into adulthood.