Ending Adversarial Parent-Child Relationships

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

Let’s face it: odds are pretty good that the world isn’t doing a very good job of preparing your kids to make their way through it. Young people today likely feel more lost and misdirected about their emotions, identity, and lifestyle choices than any other generation in history. The world is changing so fast that it can be exhausting to try to keep up with it. This is why it is so important to develop awareness and self-discipline early on in life.

Healthy relationships with children ultimately depend upon being able to see the world from their points of view. Dysfunction at home stems from a lack of proper empathy and communication. Parents see the world in a very different way than their kids do. This is completely necessary for helping raise and guide them from your many years of experience, but it leaves a major separation between your mind and theirs. This separation is why so many children do not see their parents as someone they really trust and like. These children see their parents, at best, as necessary evils who feed them at the cost of imposing restrictions.

It shouldn’t be a struggle for control or a contest for superiority. It’s about developing the openness to see the world through each other’s eyes and treat each other with the respect you both deserve. This is the foundation to lifelong happy family relationships. If you are open to it, you’ll find that your kids have just as much to teach you as you do them. Many adults lack the ability to think like children. Instead of guiding kids to find the right answers and make their own progress, they project their own “superior” mentality and experience. They don’t even recognize young people as independent volitional beings. They try to raise children as if they were dogs that needed training.

There is no topic too dark or scary to cover in good parenting. Young men need an older influence they can look up to. They need someone who has traveled a similar journey to them and overcome similar hardships. They need a nurturing mother who demonstrates and teaches the power of feminine strength. Young women need an example of a caring masculine figure who can give them the perspective and guidance of a battle-hardened hero. They will need an experienced female to see how they can be soft and vulnerable but voracious and powerful at the same time. These are fundamental factors in healthy human development.

The world is not ready to give children everything they need for healthy emotional development. Many of these children act out and create problems for themselves. Gifted and unusual children consistently find the social resources available to them inadequate for personal development. You must be willing to question many of your most basic beliefs about the best way to interact with your son or daughter and commit to being accountable for change if you wish to be the parent they need. You should be introspective and search for solutions to the problems you encounter with your family. Your goal should be to treat your children, no matter their age or your relationship with them, as human beings worthy of your respect. This is required if you are ever to expect the same level of respect and love from them.

Define Your Problems and Goals

Many people complain about the enormous number of problems they face at home without even being able to clearly articulate them. The main reasons people fail to make progress toward their goals is that they have not really realized what they actually want. It often takes a powerfully introspective (and sometimes confrontational) form of conversation and questioning to help people make the necessary revelations about what they need.

Identify Their Causes

Behind every surface level problem in family relationships or childhood behavior, there are fundamental principles at work. Some people never make significant progress with their relationships with their children because they spend all their time fighting the symptoms and never addressing what the real issues are. It’s critical to always to identify what the real issue is before attempting a solution.

Create a Practical Plan of Action

The inspiration to change can happen instantly, but in practice it takes time. Meaningful change has to come in realistic and measurable steps. Start by removing obstacles which stop you from reaching your goals. Obstacles can include certain people in your life, stressors, obligations in your daily schedule, emotional hang-ups, and a lack of physical resources. When the impeding objects are removed, you can start making a little progress every week in the direction you want to go.

Keep Yourself on Track

It’s crucial to continually reassess your progress and the trajectory you’ve chosen. You may realize your goal has shifted in a slightly new direction. It is foolhardy to stick to an old goal in light of new awareness and desires. Regular coaching conversations ensure that clients do not fall back into old patterns of thought and action. It is important not to underestimate how hard it can be to change old habits after decades of practice.

There is no stress, no problem, and no pain which cannot be transformed into strength if a person adopts the right mentality. Through learning this discipline, the worst experiences of your life can become your most empowering lessons. When you apply this discipline to your family life and relationship to your children, you can put an end to the unfortunate stereotype that parent/child relationships must always be adversarial.

Of course, the further along your children are in their development and the longer they’ve spent viewing you as a necessary evil instead of a protector, the harder it will be to reverse the trend. This does not mean it’s impossible. Total paradigm changes can happen at any age, and if your mind is still plastic enough to make the shift then certainly theirs will be too when you provide the space for it. You’ll be sparing them the fate of a lifelong nagging hole in their lives from a poor parental relationship, and they’ll be far less likely to pass this hole onto their own kids someday.

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The Next School

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

Education is the process through which an individual mind gains understanding of principles of change, or cause and effect relationships in reality. This differs from training, which is usually just the presentation of conclusions derived from understanding these principles. Education is foremost about gaining an understanding of a system of correlated information. Training is foremost about how to apply information.

To put it one way:

Training is memorizing the fact that the earth revolves around the sun.

Education is understanding the laws of planetary motion which allow you to arrive at that fact.

Consider a mechanic who understands the principles of combustion and the construction of the engine which makes the car work compared to the driver who only needs to know how to turn the steering wheel and which pedal makes it stop. Or the difference between a music theorist and a musical performer. One intimately understands the mathematics and tonal relationships of harmony; the other can follow instructions on command and produce intended notes at the right time on a given instrument. In fact, at some point in history, the terms “musician” and “musical performer” carried these similar but distinct meanings respectively.

Much of what is typically called “education” around the world is actually just training in a specific set of skills or cultural values.

For example, if you look what is called “religious education,” it usually amounts to little more than training a child or recent convert in how to speak, dress, pray, and act in accordance with that religion’s list of rules and values. Rarely is there any real education on major cosmological principles of change. Or consider the concept of etiquette. It is training to condition a child to shake a stranger’s hand when they meet for the first time, or to tuck in their shirt at a formal occasional. While these practices certainly serve their purposes, most are totally arbitrary and esoteric.

Training to perform a task is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It’s a necessary part of navigating the modern world with its constantly shifting technologies and methodologies. The problem comes when training replaces education. The majority of educational institutions around the world specialize in teaching children how to act, not how to think. This creates adults who lack character, ambition, intellectual integrity, and an ever-expanding sense of identity.

Another thing to consider is… It should come as no surprise that learning is not strictly an intellectual process. The ability to learn is dependent upon a student’s level of curiosity, patience, dedication, and sense of self-worth. These are all powerful emotional forces which cannot be neglected and ignored if true education is to be accomplished.

Under natural settings, it would be the duty of parents, family members, and other friendly older figures in a young person’s life to ensure the development of these healthy emotional capacities until they reach adulthood. Under traditional schooling, children are taken away from their parents for the majority of the day and left to develop under the unfamiliar eyes of state-appointed strangers simultaneously tasked with keeping dozens of other children in line. It is a physical impossibility for these types of teachers to act as an instigator of the necessary emotional tools inherent to healthy education and human development.

A proper education must be entirely voluntary and initiated by the curiosity of the student to learn the particular information at hand. A five-year-old will not learn how to read without the desire to know how to read. A teenager will not learn algebra or chemistry without a desire to understand them. This desire can either come from a fear of negative consequences from not learning them (“bad grades,” punishment, parental and social scorn, the pathological fear of being perpetually stuck flipping burgers to make ends meet), or a genuine enthusiasm for gaining new knowledge and abilities.

The inescapable conclusion is that a teacher must become a specialist in creating either fear or enthusiasm in children.

A proper educator should be emotionally qualified to nurture the development of these basic humanities in the age range of children they choose to work with. In other words, if you wouldn’t trust them to raise your children for you, should you really trust them to be their primary emotional influences?

Let’s take a look at the educational options available to most people:

Public School

Public school is almost universally poorly funded. This means there are never enough teachers or learning materials to satisfy the multitudes of students. Furthermore, because public school is funded through taxation and not free market voluntary exchange, it is not subject to a proprietary incentive to continually be improving and optimizing its services. Because it is designed and implemented by the whim of the majority and their elected officials, public schools can never cater to any form of outliers. They are designed for the average person to be able to produce easily quantifiable results and prepare them for college admissions.

Private School

Private schools are prohibitively expensive for most parents, if for no other reason than the fact that the taxes for public school must still be paid whether or not it is ever attended. While generally superior to lackluster public schooling, the quality of education in private schools can vary widely depending upon the limitations and biases of the methodology upon which it is based. They can even create a sense of privilege and entitlement over students who had to go to “regular” school.

Homeschool

Homeschooling, while not particularly expensive, comes with a major opportunity cost that is impossible for many parents to bear. If both parents work full time, homeschooling is impossible. It also depends entirely on the parent’s abilities as instructors, which is a role many are not prepared to play past early childhood for their own kids. If proper attention is not taken to keep the children involved in social activities, it can be very isolating for them. Finally, while homeschooling is gaining in popularity, it is still at a point where it does not carry the same social merit as having attending an “official” schooling institution.

Private Lessons & Tutoring

Individual private instructors are available for almost any subject imaginable. They come in all levels of quality and cost. Because they are seen as supplementary, their effectiveness if often limited by a child’s primary obligation to complete their traditional schooling matters first. The education from these types of teachers usually happens in short sporadic sessions (such as an hour or two a week) so a continuity of thought and progress is difficult to achieve. As with homeschooling, the social merit of taking guitar lessons or learning calculus from a tutor instead of a class is erroneously considered very low.

Self-Education

Finally, humanity’s oldest form of education. Self-education occurs every day through tools like books, videos, images, audio, and good old-fashioned trial and error. Technology has made self-education on any topic a viable option for anyone in the developed world. However, significant self-education requires a student who is intensely naturally driven to learn and expand their knowledge. There is also no live external guide or influence to help a budding mind through trouble spots, incite further curiosity, or aim their attention in new directions they would never see on their own. While self-education is a powerful tool in the right hands, it can never compare to having a second set of eyes to show us what are biases fail to see. It should also go without saying that, except to other self-educators, it will never carry much weight in the world to say you read about something in a book rather than learned it in a classroom.

So…

Why do most schools and educational institutions fail to teach their students how to think?

Why are the fundamental emotional components of learning hardly ever addressed by conventional educators?

The simple truth is that there are thousands of naturally qualified and experienced individuals across North America, Europe, and the rest of the world who could be amazing assets to developing children and their parents. You will never hear about these people because they do not fit the reigning social mold for what a teacher is supposed to look like. They come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, each specializing in their own unique form of mentoring influence.

The best thing a caring parent can do for their children is to be there for them physically, emotionally, and intellectually during their formative years. However, as children get older, they will naturally start to reach out beyond the boundaries of what any single set of parents can provide for them. This is why additional mentors, guides, coaches, and substitute older siblings are so important to the developing mind and personality of a child.

Human history is riddled with social and technological revolutions. It happened when our hunter ancestors adopted agriculture as their primary means of acquiring food. It happened when we began to use electric light or the automobile. It’s happening now with the way we raise our kids and share the dearth of human knowledge acquired in generations past. The revolution of decentralized education may change the world more than any other revolution prior. It could fundamentally change human culture as we know it.

We live now in the age of information, where experts are everywhere and anyone with a laptop can access the majority of knowledge ever discovered. Anyone who wants to learn something will find a way to learn it. But what we are still lacking is a large proportion of people capable of catering to the emotional needs of children and students as they grow. We have no one to challenge us, comfort us, and push us to where we did not know we could go.

Who do you want guiding your children? Someone who relies upon a series of increasing threats to keep them focused and moving along the path society chose for them? Or someone who uses their emotional and intellectual expertise to encourage them along a developmental journey tailored individually for their temperament and interests?

The school of the future isn’t a school at all. It’s a network for connecting the right coaches and mentors with the right students. Its function is to enable every individual learner to determine their own intellectual path according to their natural strengths and interests, and to provide the emotional influence and encouragement necessary to make this happen. Since no two individual minds are exactly identical, the decentralization and degeneralization of education is the only way to make this happen.

When the first priority in education becomes teaching people how to think and helping them choose for themselves what they are most interested in learning, human societies around the world are bound to undergo massive progressive change. We may even make major leaps in ending the various social problems and forms of strife created by populations becoming obsessed with asserting and preserving their training through violent conquest of superficially different people. We may open countless new doorways to philosophical & economic exchange, scientific advancement, and broadening of narrow human mindsets. It’s impossible to see just how amazing and far-reaching this paradigm shift may be in regards to creating a world of greater peace, prosperity, freedom, and overall happiness.

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The Universal Social Problem

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original weekly column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

There is a social problem which affects every person born on this planet. It is the mental phenomenon called culture. It shapes us from birth. It determines how we will interpret information and stimulation throughout our lives. The influences we grow up with stick with us for a long time, and they can be difficult to alter, erase, or add to later in life. Most people grow incapable of seeing the world in terms other than the ones under which they were raised.

Part of what makes childhood so magical and amazing to hardened adults is the overwhelming amount of curiosity and enthusiasm for new adventure children typically hold. Most older people have long lost this inherent drive toward new things. People feel threatened by it, and will take great measures to diminish it in their children. This is the danger that lies in parenting, education, and culture itself. Every bit of influence an adult has upon a child is potentially very powerful, and it may stay with them for the rest of their lives, for better or for worse.

Culture exists for a reason, of course. Generations spent living under roughly the same conditions will develop patterns of action based upon their experiences, which become tradition, and are passed on during the childhood of the latest progeny. Culture is the software installed into the minds of budding young processors so that they will be well-equipped with the acquired knowledge of ancestors to handle the challenges of living in one time and place.

The world is changing faster than it ever did before. Because we can now travel to and access information from new environments faster than our ancestors ever could have imagined, the lessons of the past are no longer necessarily relevant. Yet, they persist. Pride, intellectual rigidity, and an insatiable urge to spread our ideas to others mean that the modern world is now a battlefield of warring practices and beliefs. Many of these practices are found to have an underlying objective nature to them, and the universally true principles which form them make up our scientific understanding of reality. Other ideas persist only because of the exceptional marketing abilities of the people who endorse them.

As intelligent adults tasked with the upbringing of children (whom are blank slates to the cultures and practices of the world) we have to decide what ideas we will introduce into their minds. If we are going to be responsible about it, we have to always remain open to the possibility that the way we do things or interpret events is not the best way to show our kids. We do these things because we love them and want them to benefit from our knowledge, but by pushing our adopted culture too strongly upon them we could be closing them off to other options. We could be inadvertently hurting them.

The victims of culture are the people who are anomalous in their surroundings. Some children see the world differently than their peers and their parents. Maybe they think faster, or their curiosity guides them in a different direction than other people. These are the children who have the hardest time fitting in at school or performing well under conventional education. They quickly reach the practical limits of what their culture has to offer them. Without the necessary further stimulation, they may grow restless and irritable. They may accrue a large amount of emotional damage from being forced to live at the pace of a world so much different than they are. These are the ones we need to enable to live at their highest potential in spite of a world which tries to keep them controlled and submissive to culture.

Sooner or later, clashing ideals will escalate and a victor will remain. The future belongs only to those who are most capable of abandoning their most cherished beliefs and adapt to changing times. It belongs to the children who cannot force fit themselves into the surroundings they were thrust into by accident. It belongs to the rebels and innovators, the people who challenge simply for the sake of challenge and the desire to understand why people act the way they do. They may feel alone in the world. Technology will change that when by accident or intention they make contact with others like themselves. Alone, they are all weak, but together, they are stronger than the unchangeable people around them.

The parents and caretakers of these extremely special young people can provide a safe space for them to grow in their own time and own way apart from the warring cultures around them. They can defend them from the people who would unconsciously seek to override their impressionable minds with their own thoughts and agendas. They can, in time, even create new places on the earth where these unadulterated minds can live more or less freely from interference from those would seek to change them. These innovative communities and institutions are the solution the universal social problem of cultural domination, and it is our duty to our children to create them.

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How to Construct a Cold, Dead Society

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original weekly column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

Don’t touch your kids. What I mean is, have as little physical contact with them as possible in their formative years. This will prevent them from developing any kind of meaningful connection to you, such as learning to recognize you as their guardians, protectors, and emotional supports when things go wrong. It will help create a nagging sense of loneliness and inability to rely on anyone else for anything beyond superficial daily task management. It’s the single most effective way to emotionally neuter a human being, short of neurosurgery.

Never showing affection through touch has the additional benefit of making a developing man or woman totally insecure about forming romantic bonds with members of the opposite sex. If you don’t want your daughter to get knocked up by some young hooligan, simply make sure the concept of safe masculine care and attention is completely unknown to her. If she ever does engage in intercourse, it will probably be brief and unfulfilling because she has no idea how to be emotionally vulnerable under such extreme conditions with a man. She can then pass along this general malaise of ignorance over her own body to her daughter one day.

She may, however, just turn down the opposite path and come to see sex as totally casual and meaningless. Since prostitution tends to be prevalent in emotionally depraved societies, she can even make a lucrative profession out of her inability to feel (at least until she passes her physical prime in a few years time). Maybe some fragile part of her will survive and seek whatever male attention she can get from casual sexual encounters and subservience to a man.

Of course, even children raised by the coldest and deadest parents still have a sliver of a chance of accidently stumbling upon true humanity if left to their own devices for too long. The best way to prevent this is simply to never let them be left on their own. Make sure they attend a school with long hours and repetitive droning of erroneous information. Keep your society as much of a closed system as possible. Information should only recirculate within your culture’s boundaries, and rarely should you seek input from places where people think differently than you do. Your kids should be just like you.

Encourage the upholding of cultural tradition as the highest good a person can achieve. To perpetuate the past is to halt progress, so tradition succeeds in stopping anything from progressing or changing too quickly. Keep your kids in technological darkness. Only make use of as much modern technology and innovation as is necessary to maintain the existence you’ve already been raised with. Remember, if it was good enough for generations prior, it’s good enough for generations future. Change is a scary thing.

In the rare events where circumstances force you to interact with an outsider, never compromise nor change yourself to match them. Demand that they adapt to your way of doing things, even if their proposed alternative is clearly superior from an objective standpoint. Your methods are what you have practiced your entire life. They are what your ancestors practiced. This is all you need to know.

Above all, never let yourself take full responsibility for your own life. This is the key to perpetuating inanity and backwardness. Always in your mind keep the image of someone or something of a higher imagined level of authority. The more authoritarian, monarchical, religious, and subjugated you can keep yourself, your children, and your neighbors, the less individuality and aliveness you will encounter in the society you are infecting upon the world. Regularly reminding yourself through songs and images of your powerlessness and subservience to another being or organization will be the final nail in the coffin of your spirit. Train your children in kind, and strike them down with fury should they EVER question the conclusions and habits you have adopted from your predecessors.

The death of humanity is now assured. Congratulations.

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What Makes Superman Interesting

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original weekly column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

Fans of the Superman mythology know how hard it is to keep a character who can’t be hurt interesting. There’s no space for any real conflict, unless the writer goes to great lengths to introduce it in a usually over-the-top manner. In the recent Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder did an exceptional job (in my opinion, at least) of reinventing a tired and cliché hero into something spectacular and new. He did this by making Superman’s central conflict a psychological burden, not a physical one. To me, this movie was more about the universal struggle of embracing destiny than it was super-powered fights.

Clark Kent is a man blessed and burdened with incomprehensible gifts. The greatest difficulty he faces is not learning to use these gifts; it’s not even the pressure and fear of keeping his nature a secret from the world. Superman’s moment of greatest glory comes when he embraces being a powerful and important figure in the world. When dire circumstances demand it, he steps up and learns to take purposeful action on a scale so much larger than the minor emergencies chance had brought upon his path previously. He graduates from exploding oil rigs to alien invasions because he recognizes an immediate need that only he can fill. That need gives him the boost in confidence he requires to reveal himself to the world and go further with his abilities than ever before.

In this way, all of us can relate to the man of steel. We so easily fall into the entrapment of routine that it can take a drastic change in our comfort and understanding of the world to instigate any meaningful or lasting progress. These moments can come as near-death experiences or the loss of some major fixture in life. Sometimes they happen when we witness something so big that what we previously cared about begins to seem insignificant. It happens when we fall in love, travel to unfamiliar lands, or undertake some major project that pushes us further than we knew we could go. I’m sure that all men who walked on the moon were forever different because of it.

Almost all of us have major gifts and abilities we do not nearly begin to make full use of. Far more common than a lack of ability, is a lack of will. It takes major mental fortitude to begin to adopt a purpose-driven sense of identity and act on a much larger scale in the world. These mental barriers are what stop capable individuals from starting their own small businesses, or small businesses from growing into big businesses, or big businesses from changing the world. It’s probably also the cause of much smaller mental inhibitions, like everyday writer’s block or shyness around a pretty girl. We get so caught up in putting out the small fires that erupt constantly that we never move on to much larger ventures.

In Man of Steel, Clark only made the transition from “hero” to “superhero” when he learned to focus his unique talents on the highest amount of good he could do with them. That’s the part that makes him admirable. That’s what makes the story interesting. That’s the part that gives him heart and makes him human. Everyone could make the same choice if they could recognize their respective abilities for what they were. What’s easy for you might be amazing to others. What you consider normal may be completely unknown elsewhere. Every thinking person has something to offer the world, though devising a realistic plan for doing so may be the hardest part of the process. That’s why a godly amount of determination is even more important to success than a godly amount of talent (though, having both is extremely useful).

The first years of my life were largely spent in contemplation of what I had to offer the world, which required also coming to understand what the world lacked. I feel I’ve finally reached a point where I have a solid impression of the state of humanity and myself. I see very clearly what I could do to have the most impact towards a better future. But part of me is still scared to really act. Part of me is still so comfortable with being a “normal” person that I limit my actions to accepted and standard practice. The first half of the journey is over for me, and now I focus on growing balls large enough to make larger and larger leaps in the world. I have to believe true flight is just around the corner.

I don’t believe in “destiny” or predetermination of human will any more than I believe in fairies. But I believe every person has an optimal state of function, and there is a place in the present state of social development for everyone to make use of their respective abilities. Clark’s optimum functions in the conditions on earth is to become the world-saving Superman. Mine lies elsewhere, though I have a pretty good idea where. Yours will be unique to you and the conditions you enter. It takes a certain skill to learn to evaluate situations well enough to identify what the world immediately around you needs and what you have to offer it. Learning to see the world in this way is a power unto itself. It requires an exceptional level of bravery and self-mastery.

Most everyone seeks to better themselves in one way or another, even if for no other reason than to be able to say they can go further than they were able to yesterday. It’s in our nature to seek improvement, whether it be in how many pounds we can bench press, a high score in a video game, or the amount of money we make annually. A truly noble man is one who also seeks to use his increasing abilities to improve the world outside of himself to the greatest possible extent, just as Superman finally stepped up to do after some three decades of wandering the globe feeling lost and alone. His character remains interesting to me because it is an accurate portrayal of the same struggle every aware person faces, whether or not they have the strength to topple skyscrapers.

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On the Road to a Right Education

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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original weekly column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.

(Editor’s note: Originally written in September 2011.)

We face a profoundly sad state of affairs in human civilization. What is called a conventional education today is little more than mass cultural training in a particular brand of patriotism, including enforced memorization of the current era’s arbitrarily acceptable ideas. The entire public school system operates under one goal: preparing every individual for entrance into a life of laboring as a functional member in the national work force. Large groups of people are prepared for a specific purpose and lifestyle through the process of indoctrination, and seldom does any real education occur through this process. Indoctrination and Education are entirely opposite concepts.

Education is the process of a rational mind coming to healthy maturity, during which the individual adopts accurate conceptions of the world and its various functions. It is a process of self-empowerment, where each new piece of knowledge can be independently verified and remain logically consistent with all other information obtained earlier. It is a voluntary process, fueled only by the individual learner’s inclination toward intrigue and choice to pursue understanding of the unfamiliar.

Indoctrination is a process of externally enforced self-degradation. Subjects are commanded exactly what to think. They are never taught how to rationally differentiate truth from illusion. Each new piece of information obtained is potentially a major danger to the subject, for the student is at the mercy of whoever happens to be the information enforcer for the day. The subject’s scope of reality only narrows further with the passage of time. As the external programming solidifies, curiosity withers, sacrificing the greatest blessings of human individuality; the student comes to reject all notions of existence counter to what has been adopted from the prevailing authority. This process is repeated and strengthened with each new generation.

Education is the engine of progress for humanity while indoctrination is its greatest hindrance. We live in a world where educational institutions no longer function to empower the individual man, woman, or child to think for themselves and develop rational facilities in critical thinking for examining reality. The greatest hope for humanity lies in the undoing of fallacious beliefs and the implementation of a right concept of education.

The most defining features of our species, those traits that separate us most broadly from the so-called “lower” animals, are our capacity for reason, our curiosity to learn, and our physical dexterity for shaping our environment with the utmost precision. The synergistic combination of these traits has enabled us to become a new kind of specialist in the animal kingdom. We are not homo sapien the runner, the climber, the swimmer, nor the flier. We have always and almost exclusively been homo sapien the toolmaker. The tools an individual makes are a direct result of our mental reasoning applied to our naturally curious observations of the world made through the windows of our five senses. Through the application of our hands upon the natural resources available, these new, continually updated, ideas form our technology and livelihood.

In the course of evolutionary events, our tools have taken a variety of forms, ranging from incredibly simple to elaborately complex. Bone clubs, spearheads, fire starters, knives, animal skins, mud huts, stone grinders, plant and animal domestication, agricultural, husbandry, dairy farming, written and spoken language, printing presses, books, bread, mined metals, body armor, swords, gunpowder, cannons, dynamite, log cabins, governments, factories, opera houses, cities, computers, television, digital networks, trombones, internal combustion engines, airplanes, freighters, freezers, microwave ovens, cheeseburgers, frozen microwavable cheeseburgers, recorded music, schools, psychological counseling, hydrogen bombs, hydrogen bomb shelters, mansions, vaccines, nanobots, satellites, and spaceships have all appeared at some time in man’s ascent as the peak of his technology for different functions. Each of these tools, whether used for beneficial or destructive purposes, was made possible by the emergent ideas of individuals in every new era, and the transmission of those ideas to others who are able and willing to understand them.

The first and foremost purpose of a true educator then, is to ignite the natural curiosity found in all people, young and old, to explore the fullest rational capacity of their own minds and the furthest accessible reaches of the universe. Learning is an inherent part of life itself, and education is a personal evolutionary process which is never finished until an individual’s moment of expiration. Only when this natural inclination for learning is understood and catered to can new concepts and skills be effectively explained and demonstrated in meaningful ways to individuals who want to know.

Education is an exciting process for everyone involved when executed correctly. For this to happen, it must always be done with the consent and enthusiasm of both student and teacher. Past concepts of education have almost universally been flawed, if for no other reason than the fact that they have been compulsory. As all major cultures have accepted and believed the false idea that learning is unnatural to a child, ruling classes have felt that their duty and the security of society rested in the creation of institutions which would force children to learn in spite of their perceived natural aversion to it. This fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of human curiosity has been one of the most destructive ideologies to plague the human race, and even today its effects permanently defile the intellectual and emotional health of children and adults in mass quantities all around the world.

Personal discretion, i.e. an individual’s ability to choose for themselves what they want and ought to learn as they mature in their own unique way, is crucial to the development of one’s particular values, preferences, skills, and interests. Healthy education, which in every regard is an extension of healthy parenting, must occur in such a way that it is focused and driven at the discretion of each student. For any real learning to occur and be retained for practical use in the world, it must happen through the inspiration, not the enforcement, of new ideas in learners. The bonds that form between mentors and apprentices in this process can be some of the most beautiful and meaningful relationships in a child’s life, perhaps second only to the child’s connection to its biological parents and guardians. This task of inspiring curiosity and planting right knowledge into willing young minds is so profoundly fragile and important that for the sake of building a sustainable civilization, it cannot remain relegated to the whim of the state and backed with force any longer.

The education revolution, which is occurring with accelerating speed in small groups everywhere, will result in some of the most dramatically beneficial advances for humanity in history. Human understanding of natural phenomena has only just begun, and it is in the minds of the curious and intellectually liberated that the future progress of humanity rests. Our true hope for an indefinitely sustainable civilization lies in the creation of a new kind of educational tool, one which obsoletes and effectively replaces in its entirety the old way, which operated under a fundamental ignorance of human nature. The advancement of our technologies in food creation, transportation, and communication have altered the very structure of society for the better, but will be dwarfed by the advancing overhaul in schooling technology that is about to occur.

People in America today have more choice and freedom to spare their children from the detrimental effects of public schooling than people anywhere else in the world. While no one can legally avoid paying the taxes that fund the state’s compulsory school system, there are other options concerned parents can take to avoid subjecting their vulnerable offspring to these mentally abusive conditions. Various incarnations of homeschooling, some more successful than others, have been gaining popularity in America for many decades. Private schools are an expensive but popular alternative, although most of them are likely to employ many of the same flawed and destructive coercive tactics upon the students as the state. While perhaps being improvements over the state-run schools, none of these alternatives begins to reach the potential of how a truly voluntary and efficient educational institution will function in the future for students of all ages when the paradigms of enough people have been changed to allow them to exist.

I urge parents who are aware and concerned about the state of the education technology around them to consider these options very carefully regarding their own children. Take your children out of public schools as soon as possible; rest assured that whatever benefits they may gain from access to state accredited teachers, textbooks, and peer-based social settings can easily be matched and outdone in every aspect through other common and inexpensive technologies at your disposal. The bond you form with them by remaining their primary intellectual influences in the early years of life will be highly rewarding for both of you, bringing you closer and forming connections that will not easily be undone in their later years of life. There is absolutely nothing your five-year-old needs to learn that you are incapable of teaching them. When the time comes that their desire to learn exceeds your knowledge and capabilities, there is a whole world of people and tools waiting to teach and shape their knowledge in whatever path their natural passion and curiosity may take them. Teach your children to reason first. The rest is just details.

Observation and reason are the absolute adjudicators of truth, and the constant verification of this truth must be practiced through the encouragement of free inquiry and independent analysis. When enough people understand this, new, entirely voluntary educational institutions will begin to develop that cater to these principles. These new voluntary educational institutions will meet and exceed the current level of education technology in every regard, granting their students access to new social influences, tools for examining reality in greater detail, and guidance from minds which have already traversed the intellectual path being laid before the new learners. General knowledge will no longer be shaped by the arbitrary standards of the state representatives in power or by the goal of impressing officials at an accredited university, but by the interests of the students and professional educators’ ability to meet the market demand for that particular interest. The worth and intelligence of individuals will cease to be perceived by the costs of their universities, the number of years attended, or the letters that follow their name, but by the abilities they can demonstrate and the reputation of the individuals and institutions who endorse them. Intellectual honesty will become the keystone to a right concept of education, and no truth should be kept hidden or privileged above anyone else with an earnest desire to learn and make ethical use of the principles of reality.

In the long run, the sharp dividing line between teachers and students becomes blurred and removed as we all become knowledgeable on some subjects and remain vastly ignorant on a large proportion of others. However many years we may currently have, however far along we are in our paths to physical maturity, whatever part of the world we come from, whatever our native culture may be, whatever language we speak, however our genetic coding has shaped our appearances and personalities, whatever stories we may believe about the nature of existence outside the observable universe, we are all just human individuals experiencing our lives together on the same planet and passing along our acquired knowledge and technology to our children. We are all learning new things about ourselves and the rest of the universe in every conscious moment, if we seek it. We remain both teachers and students our entire lives.

An individual’s greatest source of self-esteem and value lies in the mastery over their own life, and such mastery can only be accomplished through the cultivation of a mind capable of grasping the world as it really is and in taking purposeful action which achieves the ends sought. The education revolution will create a civilization where all individuals have access to the tools necessary to become the masters of their own lives and shapers of their own destinies. It will be a civilization that allows for the optimal existence of peace, prosperity, happiness, and human ingenuity. It will forever remain free from the intellectually and emotionally destructive influence of the counterproductive and compulsory schooling system we know today.

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