Pushing Against the Mainstream

I was a rebel while in school. I wasn’t the ill-mannered brute beating up smaller kids, and I wasn’t the obnoxious snot-nosed brat who swore at teachers because Daddy and Mommy hadn’t taught any manners, I was simply the type who challenged authority.

Of course my tantrums made no logical sense, and I had an intense resistance to backing down from stupidity, no matter who was “administering” that stupidity. Suffice it to say that life wasn’t all that good for me in a rigid, state school system.

What sort of stupidity am I referring to? Forcing students to wear a long sleeved shirt, neck tie, long trousers and black blazer in the 30 degree African heat – hardly the most intelligent policy. Walking home from school the 5km’s in the mid-day African sun wearing said thick black blazer impressed me as something a garden slug would have managed to conceive as being ill-thought. Get caught without this blazer however, and…

“It teaches discipline!” I was told. Bullshit! It teaches one to override common sense for some “higher thinking body.” When at school, it’s an often arrogant, yet completely worldly-illiterate “product of the system” (aka administrator) that you’re meant to be taking your queues from. God help us.

Some are silly enough to follow others blindly out of the school “system” and into other absurdities such as the military. Continued “discipline” creates something I’ve referred to as the military mind. Not optimal for rational thought.

Having big goals and high aspirations are not encouraged by the “system.” Better to lower your expectations and become part of someone else’s plan. I would go so far as to say that public schooling is a success inhibitor.

Real-time anecdotal evidence

We move on into adult life only to find the same absurdities manifest themselves. I spoke just 2 days ago with a woman who recently left Holland for New Zealand.


She was sick of the fact that she didn’t have the power to change the color of her curtains in a state-owned apartment. The government administered what the curtains should look like and she had to seek approval to change them.

Last weekend while watching my daughter playing football at the local sports club I chatted briefly to a few parents. Two conversations stuck in my mind…

Parent 1: Discussing the topic of schooling.

Me: how are you finding the local schooling for your kids?

Parent: Oh it’s not great, but not bad, so long as they teach them to read and write I guess.

Me: Surely that shouldn’t take 14 years 5 days a week to accomplish..?

Parent: Well, I went through it and it didn’t kill me.

Now I’m sure that in a different conversation these parents would gladly tell you that they’d be willing to do anything for their children. Really?

Parent 2: Discussing schooling overseas.

Parent: So you’re going to live in Asia?

Me: Uh huh.

Parent: But aren’t there poor people there?

If you polled folks living in upper-middle-class neighborhoods in North America, Australia, New Zealand and most parts of Europe these days, I’m sure that survey would reveal no real grasp of geography, history, politics, finance, law or international relations. Worse yet, they don’t care to know about it.

Angry birds, Facebook, the Kardashians and American Idol are far more important. This is a product of education in my opinion. Folks in under-privileged areas don’t even know what a book looks like. If it’s not spoon fed via the idiot box then it isn’t going to get through.

I just recently was having lunch with a friend. His son is 9 years old, speaks fluent Finnish, English, Mandarin and Thai. Kids in the West think they’re still on top of the world. They have no idea what they’re up against.

Why is it that people put up with substandard services, especially education?

I believe it’s because they’ve spent their lives being spoon-fed illogical garbage via dumbass public schooling. It takes a particular mindset to break-away from the mainstream. After interacting with many of the readers of our site, we’re simply humbled by the quality of them… plenty of whom, like us, have likely suffered through those prison blocks they call schools. Many of you have managed to absorb knowledge in spite of, but not because of a public education.

There are so many factors to consider, and so many things broken in education that it’s gratifying to see people like David Blake Jailbreaking education, Dale Stephens at Uncollege.org and of course Salman Khan at Khan Academy. There are many more out there like them actively changing the world for the better.

They face stiff opposition from those interested in the status quo. These folks are the vampire bats in the underwear of controlled education distribution.

Technology has always been the game changer in society. From the invention of the wheel onwards, technology inevitably changes the playing field. I believe we’re going to see a radical shift in the way we educate ourselves over the next 20 years or so.


– Chris

“Acknowledge the complexity of the world and resist the impression that you easily understand it. People are too quick to accept conventional wisdom, because it sounds basically true and it tends to be reinforced by both their peers and opinion leaders, many of whom have never looked at whether the facts support the received wisdom. It’s a basic fact of life that many things ‘everybody knows’ turn out to be wrong.” – Jim Rogers


Leave a Reply