Itinerant Professional Vandals | An Excerpt from Creatively Maladjusted by Theodore Richards
The work of education, of course, is not to make better schools, but to make a better world. Too often, I believe, educators forget this obvious and simple truth. Discussions about education seldom reflect the kind of world we might imagine is possible; rather, they focus on achievement and success within a given paradigm. Educators seem not to realize that the way we educate our children creates, reinforces, or shatters the paradigm.
For example, when we assume that the purpose of education is to help students find a job in the global economy, we forget that the “global economy” is not some force of nature. Humans created it. It exists because of the decisions we made, decisions based upon how we view the world, which is based on the way we have been educated.
While what goes on in a school is important in itself—after all, our children spend most of their childhoods there—the ultimate relevance of a school is what kind of civilization it inspires our children to create. A school is not “good” if its students get good test scores but are so unhappy, so disconnected, and so unable to think critically that they go out in the world and commit acts of violence and destruction. Such schools only give more power to the mis-educated, who become what Wendell Berry calls “itinerant professional vandals”. I think I prefer the “bad” schools.
Modern industrial culture is ill equipped to deal with the crises of this moment. For the first time in human history, we face a mass-extinction that threatens the viability of life on the planet. This crisis was largely created by modern industrial culture. Its values can only lead to more destruction.
Look for Creatively Maladjusted March 9th on Amazon.com, B&N and right here, in the Hiraeth Press bookstore.
Creatively Maladjusted will also be available in Kindle Edition! Along with Theodore Richards’ award-winning book Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth!