Consequences of our Current Educational System | An Excerpt from Creatively Maladjusted by Theodore Richards
[W]hat are the consequences of our current educational system? First, our school system, in using mechanistic metaphors, raises children to relate to the world as a machine. The consequences of this are clear and devastating. We can talk about “greening” our schools and tell our youth to recycle all we want, but if we continue to instill in them the notion that the world is a machine, they will unthinkingly relate to it as a resource to be used and manipulated. They will not value it.
The consequences of not valuing the Earth, of not holding it sacred, are expressed largely through the system of global, industrial capitalism. The criticism here is not with the notion of “free-enterprise”, but with the notion that the economy is primary, ecology secondary. Economics dominates nearly every aspect of the public discourse, including education. In fact, economics, in its proper place, refers to the way we use and exchange resources. It is a subset of ecology. To be a human being, to survive, requires first to be embedded in a web of life. Without our primary relationship being to ecology, we behave as though we are disconnected from the Earth. When we consider the economy to be primary, we make choices—not simply individual ones, but civilizational choices—that express this devaluing of the Earth.
A myth is most fundamentally about how we understand our place in the world. In the Myth of Modernity, we believe it is our place to manage, subdue, and control the Earth through the mechanisms of global, industrial capitalism. The only answers we can come up within this paradigm continue to reinforce this skewed relation. We believe that capitalism and technology, for example, are the solution to the ecological crisis.
While technology can and should be part of the solution, we cannot solve our problems through the same mentality that created them. Technological and capitalistic solutions are popular with politicians for one simple reason: these solutions do not require a change in mentality or lifestyle on the part of wealthy, Western nations. The reality of the situation is quite different. As resources are depleted, as pollution and global warming intensify, and as species become extinct, we are faced with a choice if we are to survive: either wealthy nations dramatically reduce consumption or we force—and increasingly, this force with truly be enforced by force—the world’s poor to continue to live in squalor. We cannot sustain our current consumption patterns, particularly if the world’s poor demand an increasingly large piece of the pie.
What’s at stake, therefore, is our survival. The Myth of Modernity, reinforced in our educational systems, perpetuates a worldview that not only encourages us to act as we do; it does not allow us to act any other way. Personal discipline or lack of information is not the problem. The problem is that we have been trained by our schools to see the world in a particular way. And this is leading to our demise.
Metaphors, if they are powerful enough, have a way of becoming real no matter how absurd they are.
Creatively Maladjusted is now available on Amazon.com, B&N and right here, in the Hiraeth Press bookstore.
Creatively Maladjusted is also available in Kindle Edition! Along with Theodore Richards’ award-winning book Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth!