Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can I ask a question?

Yeah, it's a provocative question. That's what we do around here.

Is it possible that perhaps everything we learn in school -- music lessons and all the homework and sports and SAT tests and grades and getting in to "good colleges" -- is all just a tool to teach us domination (domination over our own bodies and domination over others)?

Isn't that what kids rebel against in school -- the fact they are being taught domination? Isn't that the point of the alienated kid in the John Hughes movie hating the jock -- the alienated kid doesn't hate sports -- he hates the fact that the jock is participating in and perpetuating a system of domination and yet isn't smart enough to realize it or own up to his participation in it. (Isn't that what the insult, "Tool!" is all about -- telling someone they are just a tool of a system of domination?) But of course the alienated kid doesn't have the words to really describe what's going on so he's just pissed all the time and doesn't know why.

Now I get that there are some schools which are really quite extraordinary and really do teach music for a love of music and really do teach history and math and all that for a love of learning. I get that there may be some schools and some teachers who really do love life and teach others how to live and love fully. But I gotta figure there aren't many of those kinds of schools.

Also to be fair (that's gonna be my new phrase for a while) life requires a fair amount of domination. Just think of how much domination needs to happen just to create a single nail -- the ore that has to be mined, the huge furnace to melt and process it, the factory equipment to press out this little piece of metal, the trucks to get that nail to the hardware store. And then think of all the nails that go into building a single simple little house. It seems that life just requires a fair amount of domination in order to survive.

And again to be fair, a world where people lack agency (which is kinda related to domination but not exactly the same thing) I imagine might be awful. Maybe it'd lead to famine and widespread suffering. Or maybe not.

Related question: Is it possible that in fact, students aren't being taught domination but rather submission to a system that requires them to dominate others?

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