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On consumerism

By JOHN THE BAPTISED|Published: 04/20/2011
The following is the true story of Ogden Prounrow, the Great Teacher, the man who left us with nothing but his philosophy. Quotes, where given, are direct and word for word. In my time following him I recorded every word he spoke with a portable mp3 player and later categorized the files by topic and date. Comments are welcome, as is discussion; the Great Teacher had much to say but to my mind could sometimes have said it clearer. Opinions, analysis, and/or commentaries, where given, are my own and I take full responsibility for them. Lecture dates are not provided as I chose my own order of presentation when compiling the content for this blog, and anyway the Great Teacher rarely spoke in a linear fashion. It is my hope that these pages will be a place of learning and growth for a world sorely in need of what the Great Teacher had to say. Best wishes—John.

“We buy and buy and buy. We run around hither and dither like we’re on some mad chase, grabbing now this and now that, racing for the cash register with both arms stuffed, clutching onto our soon-to-be possessions like crazed mother hens. And what drives us to this? What makes us so slavishly devoted to spending our hard-earned cash as quickly as it’s given to us? Partly it’s a need for status, partly it’s a fix, and mostly it’s training.

It’s in our nature to try and outdo those around us, and if you think about it from a biological standpoint it makes perfect sense. The most ornate peacock gets chosen to mate with and therefore ensures his survival by passing on his genes. The whole process is entirely subconscious, of course; peacocks don’t strut about overtly thinking that they want to pass on their DNA—rather their minds are filled with the burning physical drive they have to put their pea cock into an accepting female peafowl. Some examples of nature’s ostentatiousness are so extreme as to actually be physically disadvantageous to their bearers except in the one case of attracting a mate. The Argus comes to mind as long as we’re talking about birds and tails, as do certain trends in body piercing and other ornamentations, as long as we’re talking about being physically disadvantageous. You see—and this is something I’ve always tried to communicate to you all, though I’m not sure how well I’ve done—we humans are not nearly as special as we like to think we are. We are animals; we evolved through the very same processes that everything else on this planet did. We find ourselves at the top of the food chain now, but we always haven’t and we may not yet again. The world, the universe, is in a state of constant change—as is every cell in our bodies. So let’s give ourselves some perspective and see that our needs to have an oversized yacht, a luxury car, a house with three empty storage rooms, have their roots in the same place as the peacock’s tail feathers. We give ourselves far too much credit when we think that our hoarding, however sophisticated it may be, signals something more than a giant arrow pointing at our genitals. But you know all this already—it’s an elementary observation. We want to be seen to be at least as good as those around us, and not just to pass on our genes, either. We are hyper-social creatures, and a large part of what that entails is finding our place within the social hierarchy. Even in societies that emphasize egalitarianism there is still a strong element of class and social standing. If your house is much smaller than those around it, if your car is far older than your neighbors’, if your children are dressed in shabbier clothing without the extra strips of cotton emblazoned with some designer’s label, then your standing socially suffers and you are demoted in the eyes of your peers. If left unchecked, this could lead to being shunned, and in certain cases could even cost you a promotion at work or acceptance into an elite club, to name some comparatively milder consequences that we here in this country can no doubt relate to and may even find quite major. The forces that drive this need are real, they are evolved, they are natural, and they are most definitely something that we need to overcome. For this push to purchase and dispose, buy up and throw away, take in and chuck out, binge and purge, is not only harming our psyches, it’s putting a tremendous burden on the planet’s resources. And though this drive for status derived from possessions has probably been with us for a great while, at least since we started settling in places permanently following the agricultural revolution, it has reached a fever pitch in the decades since World War II and has taken on truly sinister proportions in our modern Internet Age.

I said that this drive is a natural one, an evolved one, but yet is still one that we need to overcome—and it is something that we can overcome—but what we must realize is that twenty-first century capitalism has blown it completely out of proportion and well beyond the natural scope that we’ve developed through evolution. It has created an addiction that gnaws at every one of us, and truly tormented me until I finally went cold turkey. It preys on us by tricking us, really, by abusing our natural endorphins and the mild pleasures that those hormones bring—processes meant to reinforce biologically advantageous actions. Why do you think we feel a kind of high after making a purchase? And the bigger we go, the more money we lay out, the bigger that high is. Feeding it becomes more than a desire, it becomes a need in the truest sense of the word. We cannot feel normal unless we’ve scratched that itch, unless we’ve fed our monkey and gotten that fix. Phffffft, uhhhhh, ohhhhh—oblivion. The sweet, sweet taste that we’ve been chasing, the kiss of the gods. You think that I exaggerate? You think that perhaps I’ve finally lost it and am now equating an impulse buy of some plastic toy that looks like a favorite cartoon character with putting a spike into one of my mainlines and pushing that heroin into my brain? Well to me that’s how we all appear! I see no difference between that addiction and this one—except of course in the matter of degree. But the need, the drive, the desire for something outside of ourselves to fulfill ourselves is the same. And it is equally dangerous, not just to all of us as individuals but to our whole human society. Our global society. Our future as a race really does depend on this—it is something we have to overcome! My brothers and sisters, I upbraid you and I scold you, I strike you with my words and scathe with you my looks, but you are all so much better than this, and I suspect that you know it. You who understand me, you who travel with me and attain the heights with me, you are products of the future, born before your time in order to birth it. Now see with me how horribly we’ve been treated! How far our minds have been twisted and abused; see, open your eyes and see, how everything our ancestors built has been hijacked for the grand purpose of brainwashing us from birth to feed this terrible system, this horrendous cycle, this insatiable beast that pins us down and tears at us and chews and chews and chews until we have no flavor left to give, no nutrition left to grant, and are fit only to be defecated out into our final resting place that is three quarters of a meter wide by three long and two deep in the ground. Our lives have been reduced to the meaningless garbage that we fill them with, and it is a terrible weight on the minds of a species that is far nobler than it allows itself to be. We are better than this, we are human beings, we are the most advanced animals on this planet, the best that this beautiful earth has produced, and yet we allow ourselves to be pushed around by such pathetic bullies. Really, this is something that we must overcome.

How are we trained to be like this? How has our nobility been robbed and our minds enslaved? How have we come to create societies and economies that are built on such wretched filth? The answer is quite simple, really—we’ve been caught in our own trap, we’ve slipped into a hamster’s wheel and keep running in the hope that somehow we’ll escape. We’re like a fly caught in a web whose struggles only serve to get it further entangled. Except that we no longer even realize that we’re the fly—we think we’re the spider! All this is of course quite by accident. The architects of this system thought that they were helping people; in their own ways and in the understanding afforded them by their times and education. We must always be careful when reading historic works to do so with a mind for the time they were written, past authors did not have the access to information that we have, they were not products of societies as advanced as ours—despite the great distance we still have to go human society is advancing—they were simply not able to read as widely as we can, and hence their thinking tended to be limited, they had blinders on that were no fault of their own. There were of course exceptions to this, great men and women whose minds transcended time and left the earth with beautiful gems, but even those rare geniuses had their faults and much of the time they were due to contemporary situations. At any rate, a system that was meant to increase human wealth generally, and provide a more comfortable life for everyone, has instead turned into a bittersweet poison that has eaten us from the inside out. I cannot believe that the economists, political philosophers, and thinkers extraordinaire that created this did so with some kind of evil agenda in mind, some kind of grand scheme to lessen and hobble us. Some, if not most, likely had no doubts that the systems they were putting forward would further enrich the wealthy of their time, and also probably hoped to benefit personally from such ventures, but my views on the innate goodness of human beings, and indeed of living beings, do not allow me to see them as malicious puppet-masters. To my mind this is where the communists and socialists get it wrong—there is no grand conspiracy, just sad people who have been fooled into thinking that money will solve all their problems and have both the will and means to pursue personal profit at all costs. We all want to be happy, we all feel that we are suffering and want that to end. The great political philosophers of the left proposed their ideas, their communes, their government programs, their anarchic villages, with hearts full of love for their common humanity, even if many of them also allowed themselves to fall victim to anger and nursed black hatreds of all those whom they labeled bourgeoisie—my own heart, by the way, is firmly with the socialists—but those political philosophers of the right also proposed ideas and theories of governance with the best of intentions for all of society. They approached the world differently; they saw mistrust and fear in people where their left-leaning compatriots instead saw victims of poverty and maltreatment—people who have had chips embedded on their shoulders through life’s hardships. Both sides wanted a better future, both sides wanted happier people, both sides wanted a faster and more expansive progression of their cultures. And in the end it was capitalism of a quasi-controlled kind that wound up spreading furthest around the planet. In our times, anyway, let’s not fool ourselves and imagine that it’s always been this way and always will be. What we have now is a choice that we have all made collectively, and we most certainly can choose otherwise. So what happened? We created societies where freedom in business became equated with political freedom, the two became intertwined over generations to the point that people now actually believe that the freedom to build a convenience store next to another convenience store is just as valuable as the freedom to choose their own religion or compose poetry about any subject they want or discuss matters of state openly in public with their fellows. And this emphasis on business is of course just one symptom of the aforementioned need for possessions. All of these issues are connected; our version of capitalism, whose economic system is based on the spinning wheel of consumption and the constant profit it yields, cannot survive in a controlled market because it needs us to constantly buy, buy, buy. It doesn’t matter if we need the item in question or not, or even if we really want it, what matters is that we spend money somewhere on something and pass that money along to someone else who in turn spends it somewhere on something and passes it along. It sounds simple and in fact it is. The obvious side effect of this is that we have to keep spending. ‘What? You already have a car? Well, get a new one!’ ‘What? You own enough clothing already? But those are last year’s designs, you need new ones!’ ‘What? You’re feeling a little thirsty? Well get away from that nasty water fountain and quench your dry throat with this sweet cola! It has the added benefit of not actually removing your thirst, a problem that’s easily fixed with another cola!’ You hear me, I know that you do, it all leads to a culture where wants, where needs, have to be manufactured. And we have let it get so bad that our entire popular culture is now based on this manufacturing of needs, and it is creeping into our public institutions as well. That’s how we landed in this web. We’ve had plenty of chances to reform our system, to harness a bit of restraint to it or even alter it in significant fashions, and yet time after time our leaders have been persuaded, probably by monetary gains themselves—let’s not forget that they too are products of the same system—not to make any real changes to the overall structure. The system has remained more or less the same, and we’ve no one to blame but ourselves. We could have pushed harder for real change if we had wanted it. But then again we’re products of all this as well, aren’t we? We grew up on the same putrid diet of commercials, infomercials, edumercials, slogans, jingles, bargain-busting prices and slashed innocence. It’s a wonder we’re not all broke! And of course many of us are—in debt up to our eyeballs and still on the hunt for the latest thing. We need to take a step back, we need to see this, we need to change our lifestyles for the good of our families, our societies, ourselves. We need to stop the cycle, our personal cycle, and then maybe we can work on changing things in our communities, our cities, our states, provinces, prefectures, our nations, and our global society. We’ve been controlled by our desire for status, by feeding our addictions, by the subconscious training that none of us chose but we all underwent—but we don’t have to be. Not any longer, we can take control. This is something that we can overcome.”

The Teacher was largely preaching to the choir here. After all, those of us following him had basically dropped everything and just started walking. Some of us didn’t even bother to quit their jobs, they simply stopped going and were no doubt eventually fired. I don’t think the social analysis in this lecture is all that great, really. It’s penetrating, certainly, but all of these things had been said before. I grew up reading a lot of political stuff from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and most of this had been said even way back then. I think the strength of this particular lecture can be found in the fact that it’s a lot of what’s already been said all put together into one neat package, and shot right through with compassion. The Great Teacher doesn’t rail against anyone specifically or blame a group or way of thinking, he just says that we’ve built this terrible system and need to do something about it. And he tells us to start by doing something about ourselves. He was really great that way. He always wanted to give us hope and someplace practical to begin. He always embraced life and every neuron of him thought that deep down we’re all pretty good. Truly good. And so of course we can do better than this, we can build better than this. On and on and always upwards, always better. Makes my eyes a bit moist to remember him this way.

Posted in Teachings|Tagged consumerism, cycle of economics, disposable goods4 Comments

Captainjack says:
Posted 04/21/2011 at 01:12am
i knew it communist!! man get your hands off my parents money thats for me to take lol! get a grip dude the revolution never happened

Freedom99 says:
Posted 04/21/2011 at 10:40am
Captainjack, if you don’t have anything to say then feel free to shut your stupid mouth. This is an important topic and we should all think about it. He’s wrong about socialism helping, history has proven how bad it is, but at least he’s trying to talk about this stuff.

Captainjack says:
Posted 04/21/2011 at 9:50pm
shut up fool youre probably a pinko commy too and i hope you fall off a building somewhere

SusieCue says:
Posted 04/24/2011 at 5:23pm
Right on Teacher!

On reforms to the education system

By JOHN THE BAPTISED|Published: 05/18/2011

The following is the true story of Ogden Prounrow, the Great Teacher, the man who left us with nothing but his philosophy. Quotes, where given, are direct and word for word. In my time following him I recorded every word he spoke with a portable mp3 player and later categorized the files by topic and date. Comments are welcome, as is discussion; the Great Teacher had much to say but to my mind could sometimes have said it clearer. Opinions, analysis, and/or commentaries, where given, are my own and I take full responsibility for them. Lecture dates are not provided as I chose my own order of presentation when compiling the content for this blog, and anyway the Great Teacher rarely spoke in a linear fashion. It is my hope that these pages will be a place of learning and growth for a world sorely in need of what the Great Teacher had to say. Best wishes—John.

“Education is the key to a well-functioning society. It is the basis upon which a culture establishes itself, refines itself, and ultimately expresses itself. How a society chooses to educate its young not only shapes the future of that society, but also reveals that society’s current values and goals. What does our education systems say about us? That we are confused! That we value freedom of choice far too highly and that we are not adequately concerned with the direction our cultures are headed in. Like in so many other aspects, our overvaluation of egalitarianism and personal choice have created systems that leave our young, our precious young, adrift in a stormy sea of conflicting messages and absence of clear direction. We require them to go to school, of course, and we provide them with at least one local public school, tax supported and free to the student, that they can attend all through their compulsory education and even a little beyond. This is a good start; it is a decent structure and has its heart in the right place. It is the content of the systems that bothers me, and the administrations upon which they are run. Other than assuring attendance, these systems seem to have few goals beyond producing more consumers. Do not mishear me; this is not to say that individual teachers aren’t doing their best. They are, of course, by and large doing all that they can and often going well beyond the call of duty. They are people that care about children and care to make sure that children receive the best possible education that they can given the limitations that they face. Teachers, I think it’s safe to make this generality, are aware that they are in charge of shaping young minds and take that responsibility very seriously. The issue does not lie with them, but rather with the direction they’re given, the broader goals of the public education systems as enacted by our governments, and the quasi-control that our governments exercise over private educational institutions. These systems exist, but they seem to me to be patched together, hodge-podges of different ideas that went into effect at different times and were then somehow forced to fit, with no clear overall guiding principles. Students are required to have X amount of Y classes, and annual tests are duly given to see where the nation’s children’s scores are as compared with previous years and with other nations—but just what are we trying to build? Just what kind of culture, what kind of future, are we trying to create through our mandatory education systems? And how can those systems be organized in a more humane, more far-sighted, and more beneficial manner for all involved? If we are going to take the issue seriously then we must start at its very root, at its most basic level, and make some hard choices about what we will require of our children and what we can offer them so that as they become adults they will in turn give back to society and become the next generation of leaders and followers, active members of their communities, decent and loving parents, and fellow citizens of our interconnected planet. Where then do we start, with such sprawling and convoluted systems already in place? We begin by reforming our goals, by stating clearly what exactly it is that we’re trying to do when we set out to educate our invaluable young minds, what teachings we want to impart to them and what kind of people we’re trying to produce through those teachings. Human beings are extremely malleable, our brains are flexible and plastic, easily shaped and influenced—particularly when we’re young. It is therefore of paramount importance that we take the issue of education extremely seriously and realize that what we are actually doing is creating the future of our societies, the future of our planet, the future of our entire race. What should our goals be then? What values do we want to instill and how can we best guarantee a happy and fulfilling future for today’s young?

Before stating our goals for education, we must first recognize the realities in which they will be based. Now hear me out on this friends, and do not let the biases we’ve all been taught creep in before I’ve finished. First and foremost, human beings are not equal. That’s right. We were not created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, as the famous document says. We were not even created at all. Do not put yourselves in God’s image! God did not create us to be like him because there is no God to create. Nor was there—God did not die because he was never alive. We must become our gods! We must take hold of our societies and shape them, mold them, into something that actually values each human life and recognizes that a part of this valuing is admitting limitations. Stay with me on this; I am not saying that we are not equally important, for each and every one of us is just as worthy as another, each life is precious and should always be loved and honored. No, what I’m saying is that we are not equally endowed. We all have different talents and abilities, and some of us are naturally much more gifted than others in one respect or another. This fact should be recognized and handled appropriately, not ignored for reasons of political correctness as happens now. In addition to being differently abled, we are also differently inclined; happily, however, much more often than not people will have a desire to pursue the things at which they are naturally talented, so that abilities and inclinations will often intersect. This allows us to handle each of our students’ differences in a more efficient manner, and for those who have a strong desire to pursue a field at which they have no talent whatsoever, compassionate and pragmatic counseling should be given to them. This natural difference among students is the first reality we must face up to. The second, following along from the first, is that for a society to positively progress it should be run by the best elements found within that society. I do not think this is a point that needs to be argued; who would want to be led by a lesser? What kind of culture would desire to be run by its weaker members? I can think of many examples where idiocy and ineptitude have been lauded for their comic purposes, but I cannot think of an example where an idiot has been purposely put into power because that person was an idiot. You may want to interject here that more than one idiot has been elected to high office, and I would happily agree with you, though I would also point out that there were other factors involved beyond their idiocy itself that led to their being elected. This issue, by the way, of poor electoral candidates and frankly bad decision making en masse in a winner-takes-all dictatorship of the majority—such as our modern ‘liberal’ democracies are—is of course a major problem with democracy itself. This is one of many reasons that I am opposed to the system generally. But let me stress this: I am anti-democratic but I am not aristocratic. I do not believe that power should be wielded by a certain class and inherited by that class’ children, nor do I believe that the wealthy and successful in any system should have an outsized influence on matters of government, as happens now. The case could be argued easily and successfully that all of our beloved market-driven democracies are little more than plutocracies run entirely for the benefit of their wealthiest citizens—a far cry from the values espoused by our leaders. But that is perhaps a discussion for another day. What we are interested in here is how these twin realities will shape the system we wish to produce. So we are differently abled and inclined, and we think that we want to be ruled by the best among us—we can agree up to this point, can’t we?—if we accept these two statements as being true, as reflecting reality and our desire for good leadership, then what goals for a system of education will flow from them? How will we structure the training we give our young to best benefit them and our societies generally? My brothers and sisters, what are we to do? How are we to think?

The first goal we want to emphasize is that of maximum benefit to the students themselves. We must place them before society in our minds, in our theoretical planning—we must think at the individual level in order to build great societies. For the sake of building great societies. How can we equip each person to find happiness and fulfillment in their later lives? That question must guide us. The second goal is that of preparing students for society. We need to impart to each person that they are part of a greater whole, that they are social creatures who need each other and need to consider each other. The two goals are of course intertwined, and mutually dependent. We cannot have a healthy and progressing society without happy and fulfilled members of that society, and we cannot have happy and fulfilled people living isolated lives without regard for others. Either they will live as parasites preying on their fellows and discover the ultimate unhappiness that fighting their evolutionary instincts in that way brings, or they will recognize that greater benefit can be had for all if people are willing to genuinely work together, to live and grow in an environment of trust and respect, tolerance and acceptance. Recognizing our differences with humility towards our superiors and nonjudgmental care towards our inferiors—knowing that we ourselves are inferiors too, and knowing also that our superiors see us the same way. In short, loving everyone as a fellow human being and knowing our place in the whole. So we have our two goals: equip students to be able to maximize their individual happiness and fulfillment, and train them to positively contribute to the societies we all want to build. How do we go about this? The key to building an education system based on these two truths and goals—and these are truths; that humans are not equally abled and inclined and that societies are better run by their most skilled members rather than by other members are both statements that can be verified by observation and experience—the key then is to test students at the youngest age possible for their natural abilities and inclinations and then to separate each student into a study program that will prepare them to succeed in their various future fields and at their various future occupations. This initial analysis can easily be done via a battery of psychological tests. Say, for example, that such tests reveal that Michelle Smith has a mind for mathematics and enjoys studying with numbers. She would then be placed, in the following school year, with other like-minded students and begin a curriculum that is mathematics-heavy in nature along with the various other general education courses that the nation wishes to impart to its children. Year after year, she would continue with this specialized program, studying with her peers all along and mixing with those from other specialties only during her general education classes. As the years pass her education would become increasingly specialized, much like happens now during a student’s university years, until finally she chooses a specific sub-specialization within her field. Once her studies are completed she will be provided with a job in that specific field—for in this system the state would control all aspects of employment and everyone would have guaranteed work; this too is part of having a place in the community and knowing it, a crucial aspect of personal identity and contentment with your life. Since our Michelle is something of an intellectual—she is a mathematician, after all—she will have much more schooling than her brother Steve, who excels at sports. His training would be far different, would end earlier, and he too would then be ushered into a career based on the sub-specialty within his field of sports that he chose. Each and every young Billy and Susie would do the same: start with the same kind of general social play schooling that young children undergo the world over, take the psychological tests to determine their abilities and inclinations at the youngest age allowable by the tests, and then begin their main education in an ever increasingly specialized field that allows them ultimately to choose one sub-set of that field which will become the work that they eventually do, the career they will eventually hold. But they have no choice in the matter, some will say! These poor children are forced into fields that they did not elect to study and then forced into a career based on that field. The poor children, oh, the poor children! Balderdash! As I’ve already said, people tend to want to do what they can do—people pursue fields of their natural talents and interests. The difference under our new system compared with current systems is that students are told what they can do long before they are forced to stab around in the dark and follow some inane pattern of guess-and-check like mice stuck in a labyrinth. And what’s more, they’re trained extensively in their natural talents, making them more effective—and most probably also more efficient—workers in the future. An element of choice also remains; students are allowed to choose their sub-fields and pursue any personal interests that were not discovered by their initial psychological analysis. Should they wish to pursue variant personal interests, those completely outside their field, they can of course do so on their own free time—but they’ll make their living by doing what they’re good at and what they’ve been trained to do. You can see the advantages here, I’m sure. Not only will everyone have their place in their community guaranteed—their occupation and the sense of personal identity that goes along with it—they will also know where they belong in their greater society as well. By extensively training students to do well what they want to do and what they’re good at anyway, we are simultaneously equipping them to maximize their potential—and hence sense of fulfillment and resulting happiness—and to positively contribute to the culture they all share. And we’re doing all this completely without the guesswork that’s needlessly involved now. How many poor young men and women waste years of their lives trying to discover what it is that they want to do? How many squander valuable hours of their time pursuing fields that have been glamorized by the consumer cultures we are all currently victims of only to find much later that they have absolutely no talent for it? Why are we allowing our children and young adults, even older adults, to waste their lives in this way? Because of our ridiculous emphasis on ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’! We would be much better off without such nonsense! And so would our societies, regardless of the nations and cultures involved. These are human issues and as such concern all of human society. Our mammalian brothers and sisters do not specialize themselves in the way that we do, much less the insects, amphibians, reptiles, so on and so forth. No, these are uniquely, for the moment at least, human problems, but they are broadly human problems and are not limited to our sad little democracies or even our neighbors’ theocracies, dictatorships, monarchies, et cetera. So let’s approach them as such, beginning with our own area and seeing where others go from there; for there is nothing less at stake than the future itself. And every one of us deserves to have the brightest and best future possible.”

This really hit home for me. Just before I started following the Great Teacher around I had quit yet another job that was killing me with boredom and was feeling a bit lost. It’s my own fault that I ended up in such a mess, really. Although, in thinking about it now, I guess that the Teacher would tell me that it wasn’t my own fault. He would say that I was simply one of a great many misplaced people who the system had let down with its cold emphasis on choice. In other words, not giving a hoot about anyone. Well, be that as it may, after hearing this the first time and then again just now as I was typing it out to post here, I really think he’s onto something. I ended up majoring in business administration at university. Not because I had any particular interest in it, but simply because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my father told me I couldn’t go wrong with something having to do with business. It wasn’t until much later in my adult years that I found my passion for design, but of course by then I was already stuck in a career trajectory that had nothing to do with it. I could have gone back to school, I guess, and started over from scratch. But if you’re the person doing the hiring and you’ve got two applications on your desk, one from a young kid fresh out of school and full of ideas, and the other from an old fart who just went back to school in his forties, who do you think you’d call for an interview? Exactly. So I felt stuck and I still do, working at office jobs and bouncing from one place to the next until I find something that’s at least tolerable. What a waste, just like the Teacher said.

Speaking of, just after he got done delivering this lecture to us, I remember that he paused a while, took a deep breath and glanced over all of us lost souls, wanderers, and drop-outs sitting there on the grass in front of him in a park somewhere. He looked right at me, smiled, and added that of course if we wanted to quit our jobs under this new system we could, and would then be transferred to a similar post in a new location. I guess he really did know people well, and he really did want everyone to have the best situation they could.

Posted in Teachings|Tagged education reforms, education system, training2 comments

Lucyssky says:
Posted 05/18/2011 at 9:20pm
Interesting, and some good points about how important our careers are to our happiness and sense of belonging. I wonder, what psychological tests, specifically, did he have in mind?

Freedom99 says:
Posted 05/19/2011 at 7:42am
No way do I want the government to tell me what to do. This is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a long time. I’d rather work at some fast food place for minimum wage with a doctorate in physics than be told what to study and then even worse be given a job I have to do. Choice is the only thing that matters, and the choice to fail and be miserable is just as important as any other choice. It’s a basic part of being free.


1. On the absence of a soul
2. On human nature
3. On consumerism
4. On the pitfalls of democracy
5. On the nature of truth
6. On issues of personal identity and community
7. On reforms to the education system
8. On the emerging global culture, its potential, and the
ethics it requires
9. On sex and sexuality
10. On living in the present
11. On living with yourself and others
12. On the taking of life
13. On core values
14. On ownership and letting go
15. On thinking for yourself
16. On past failures and what they can teach us
17. On control socialism
18. On government’s reach and its limits
19. On being content
Notes, comments, and suggestions for further reading

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