In this post http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/13016347, I learned that London had a riot where people were stealing I pods and tvs and other things that people don’t need to survive, but need as sedatives to the challenges of life. But among all this theft and vandalism, one store was untouched “as though it didn’t even exist”, a bookstore. The writer of the article blamed the educational system for the mass of people who were “illeterate” or needed special education, or who didn’t have the skills to enjoy a work of literature, but in my opinion this is just another example of what I saw in my years in Bell High School, people who know how to read but are too lazy to do it, and would rather spend their time texting and buying new phones even though their old phones work just fine. People who buy new tennis shoes just because they belong to a brand they like, even though any kind of shoe, as long as it’s comfortable, can do the job just fine, people who spend their time talking about cars, rappers, and other things which I consider nothing but iron bars in a cage that keeps our society from progressing because it distracts us from what made societies of the past progressive and efficient, knowedge and spiritual ethics. But without further ado, I will post the comment that I completely agree with (it’s not mine)
Focusing entirely on schools is rather pointless. We are being propelled along the road to a possible post-literate culture by the invasive mass media and advertising industries, whose spectacular visual culture is a permanent infantilising distraction from reading, thinking and participation in forms of creative practical activity. Schools and parents are forced to fight a war against this gargantuan moron-making machine for the souls of their children. Some win with a struggle, the majority lose.
Blaming the state and its institutions is simply a liberal habit. The real villain is the commercialised culture we all depend on to inflate demand in the consumer capitalist economy.
Yes, our admiration of consummer goods and services, brands and trends, are all artificial and introduced into our society on purpose by the learders of our market economy. Kids, who are the future generation of our society, are being raised with movies like The Lorax, and with shows from the Disney Channel, which are elongated commericals for the products of their sponsors, motivating the impressionable to create and live within a culture of vanity, consummerism, and shallowness.
With that said, I don’t think it is the school that are to be blammed for the underperformance of students. Libraries have their doors wide open, with seats available, and with air-conditioning. The internet if full of relevant facts, and even youtube is a valuable resource with documentaries, lectures, speeches, news; information that can aid anybody. The government doesn’t need to throw money at schools so that they work better, like the cliche says, change has to come from the bottom up. There is no need to blame “the man” for what we do not take the initiative to.
If people riot and loot food, I do not blame them, because that is something we all need. But if people are looting and stealing i pods, televisions, movies, and other things that people don’t need to survive, than that is something that I’m ashamed of. It makes me feel terrible to learn about things like these. The looters had no need to steal and vandalize to get that junk, and they could have spent their time more productively at home reading a didactic book.
Of course we can say that they were probably looting to resell the gadgets, and to use the money for things that they needed, so we may look at them with compassion and think that they were in very difficult circumstances. Whatever the case, if it was possible for them to instead set up a shop, buy those gadgets at wholesale, and start a franchise, that would have been a more ethical approach that would have included less suffering to other human beings, save the workers in China who work in sub-standard conditions to make make the gadgets.
I hope we all learn from this, and realize that we have so much power as to how we spend our free time, what kind of food we eat, and how we feel. It is like the choice of pills from the movie The Matrix, how we spend our free time can make a gigantic effect on our lives and of those around us, for better or for worse, the choice is yours.