Technology Beats Us Senseless

Our human tribalism lost the intentionality race.

Dawn Bevier posted a great article on the challenges of teachers and the apparent prejudice against educators in today’s society.

Her question obviously applies to the educator perspective, and the points are valid. The deeper problem, though, is how humanity’s best qualities (curiosity, cooperation, planning and nurturing ideas into reality) have been beaten down by our own machines, ancient belief systems and technology.

Philip Moriarty also posted a relevant point today:

What is the core machinery (yes, education is just one machine) that is failing us?

Short answer: aristocracy.

Long answer: I understand that teachers are the tail-end Charlie in the System of systems authority scenario, so don’t think I’m trying to pick on them here. Try to think objectively about how long all teachers (Priests, parents, etc) have been teaching hierarchical systems and capitalizing (emotionally and monetarily) on the credentialization process to create and protect their “superhero status”. A superhero is just a dictator by another name: someone with power that illustrates how everyone else is at least one step lower on the pyramid of divinely-dictated authority. Each new mythical level doesn’t raise that one person up: it drives everybody else down. Each new technology (intentional aggression, sharp rocks, spears, agriculture, civilization, money, colonialism, consumerism, education) has set barriers between those with power and those without. These days, market-driven consumerism loves to make everyone feel bad about themselves so they will go out and buy something to feel powerful again. It’s all just more iron tracks for the oppressors’ tank. After being run over, you get to spring up just enough to feel ‘normal’ with everyone else that was run over by the machinery, but you never get to drive.

The teaching profession is an easy example for me. I find a kindred spirit with it not because I’m a teacher, but because I’m a lifelong student of reality. I spent a lot of days as a child with poor health and finding excuses to stay home from school. I hated the rigidity, as well as the unruliness of the other kids. I was terrified of the bullies, the bus rides and the social filtering, and so, if I could miss up to 9 days of school per year, I would miss those 9 days (and more). On those days, I curled up with encyclopedias and National Geographics (Look! Boobies!) and any books I could find (even my textbooks). I made things and I broke things. I played with everything and I watched my parents. I tried to follow my father around as he farmed the old fashioned way: mostly by hand and mostly dirty and frozen, in command of his old machines, animals and their idiosyncracies.

I would then go back to school and be frustrated at a rigid authoritarian structure (Mrs Elliot loved to make you go fetch a “switch” yourself so she could beat you with it; yes, in second grade.), as well as the frustrated dance of most elementary school teachers trying to follow 19th century Puritanical propaganda textbooks (Rah fuckin’ Rah, Dan’l Boone) while the outside world was learning about plate tectonics, DNA, lasers and the Information Age.

Teachers loved and hated me. They loved that I was quiet and I sat and read all day and they didn’t (usually) have to force me to follow the lessons. They hated that I was correcting them in front of the other kids and talking in class (often explaining to the other kids how to understand what the teacher couldn’t make sense of for them).

Little did any of us know that this was the microcosm of what was to come in 50 years. Authority is being corrected and criticized every moment, but nobody is developing an alternative. Public figures and teachers are unable to have a private life because their Myth of Superiority is constantly challenged by the reality of actual Life even as the myth is propped up by legalese of ancient patriarchal standards corseting teachers’ behavior.

Students with ready access to too much information are quick to take advantage of it before they learn that everyone is equally stuck in this quagmire and by doing so, they are just being little assholes following the example of the Big Assholes on TV, who are also stuck in anachronistic perceptions of what a human being actually is.

Parenting is just as far behind. It’s demise had a head start when social change forced parental dictatorial authority to curtail the abusive corporal punishments of yesteryear: the only tool most parents really had ever learned about. Now, it’s all touchy-feely sharing and caring: but who’s got time for that crap when you’re working 3 jobs and trying to stay one step ahead of the repo man?

Our politicians and educational leaders are living in that classroom pictured above: believing that everyone should bow their heads as children “Because we said so, dammit! and if you behave (or die for us), you’ll get a gold star to put in your window” (but not a bigger paycheck). They don’t understand that the future of humanity is really that one kid who didn’t show up on Opening (Rules) Day and is building a nuclear reactor out of smoke detectors in his bedroom. Reaching that kid before religion, absentee parenting, FaecesBook bullies and talk radio turn him into a terrorist is the job of all of his human community; not just the parent or the teacher or the policeman or the social worker.

Humanity hasn’t caught up with its own freedom of information (good, bad or otherwise), but individual humans are racing each other to keep from getting trampled by it as well as by each other.

Technology and its teamsters have accelerated faster than our ability to teach kids to be human beings in this world that’s built on technology’s godhood. The internet makes us all drunk with power and authority, and kids seem the worse for it because they haven’t been upgraded with mental braking mechanisms. They certainly won’t be taught the concept of moderation from the media or our leaders.

Right now, they are learning more about society from COVID-19 than they ever will from our industrialized tribal mechanisms. No sensibly aware internet-connected child can understand why people would want to work or learn in a factory model of life. Unfortunately, too many are now isolated even more from the effects of consumerist behaviors. “Amazon is all done by robots, right Mommy? ALEXA!! MORE TROLLS, NOW!”

This new information age is attacking the classist conditioning that permeates our language, but we haven’t been issued an alternative. We are shaped from birth with assumptions that authority automatically implies superiority (See “Religion”), and vice versa. Individualism is encouraged for market purposes, but each individual is captured, pigeonholed and exploited for any resource they might represent or carry in their own sphere of influence. “Do you want to be a physicist when you grow up? Oh, let us help you follow the right path and get into a private college. What’s that? You’re poor and your family has no connections? Ummm…I think we might have a brochure from a Navy recruiter or a welding class at the tech school for you. You’ll make an excellent drone operator.”

We have to teach children to be cooperative individuals without believing in the failsafe of Authority as the ‘go-to’ hero. The aristocrats have no more clue about being human than anyone else does. When it comes to morality, the higher they have made it, the less they are allowed to treat future or present people morally. We have to find our humanity among the living without buying it from abusive colonialists on payments.

Bottom-up, leveled society has to start with children being connected to their place (Earth) even before we start teaching all of the social necessities of cooperative civilized behaviors. Humanity has to be a contributor to its future resources because we are a resource of the planet, not just servants to our machinery.

If we can’t justify what humans are doing for the future of their places and future people’s places, how can we convince our children that any authority knows what it is doing? “Because we said so”, “Because that’s how it always was” and “Because I’m in charge” are not valid arguments when any child can do a quick search and say, “Well, you’re wrong, Uncle Florida Man. You and your boozed technothority are destroying my planet, so fuck you and the Sportsball Uber you rode in on.”

Reader. Fixer. Maker.

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