Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

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Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:04 pm

People under capitalism(and other advanced top-down systems) live pseudo lives as narrow workers earning a wage, usually totally unconnected with the vital life processes and needs like the procurement of water, food, shelter and clothing. Instead they rely on their wage salary to as consumers procure all their needs.

Has anyone lived a contrarian lifestyle outside of this narrow, dehumanizing, bifurcated consumer-worker dichotomy? I am getting really sick of my job, my family, how I am living and all the zombie wage slaves cum consumers who don't even know what they are infected with around me. I honestly am sicker of life than most ninety year olds ought to be.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:35 pm

Yes. I have lived for many years as a husband, father, son, brother, neighbor, traveler and dharma student.

It sounds to me like you spend too much time in your head and too little trying to relate to others. Patience, kindness and genuine involvement in the lives of those around you can be tremendously healing. I personally think you need to relate to those around you as individuals and not pejorative and dismissive labels. Everybody has a story. You are obviously intelligent and well read, but I am not so sure you have really tried to listen to others without judging. There is more to you than your intellect. There is more to life than thinking and judging.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:09 pm

Sorry, I live in the real world, not your mental fantasies based on how things should be.

Recently a co-worker asked me if I liked a certain sports team, I replied I did not follow sports teams. Now I know had things been different and I followed that nonsense type of escapism, I could have had many pseudo-conversations with him ribbing me about what my team did or did not do after each game. According to NYDailynews, Americans spend 34 hours a week watching TV. That is just insane and absurd. My grandma probably even bests that and she has tv blasting almost all day, very loud, since she can barely hear. So I take counter measures, by listening to headphones most the day, just to not go insane from her noise pollution. Funny enough, I saw a movie, Wasted Youth, where a Greek grandkid did the same to drown out the loud television blaring by their grandparent. I cannot communicate with my family easily most the time, for obvious reasons, and I don't have the desire to anyway. Even without all their loud tv, I may as well be on a different planet than them.

People live hollow lives based on doing what they don't want to do just for money and they pervert themselves and become demented doing it. 34 hours of just tv, in addition to how many hours of internet, video games, etc. as a poor coping method. So everyone essentially doesn't want to be alive much according to what they actually do with their lives, which is what counts, not what they self-report, because they will lie especially in the USA to pretend like everything is fine out of a fear that others will reject them for admitting their unhappiness or dysfunction.

This is reality and I am sick of it and hoping at least someone on this forum has tried or still lives a better or alternative path. I am so ready to punch out on my crappy job and family for good. I don't need cute jokes, aphorisms or quips to pretend everything is ok or meaningful just because others don't want to examine what they and those around them are doing, because that is too inconvenient for their fortress of escapism.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Nosta » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:19 pm

I live like you too.

I am really tired from my stupid job and country.

Perhaps you would like to read the biography (avaiable on ebook, free) of Acarya Mun; he lived as a real monk, in the forests, always seeking the ultimate truth. Its very inspiring.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Seishin » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:59 pm

We live in a degenerative world for sure. And whilst it's not impossible to live without money or a home (like a wondering Yogi) you'll still need to rely on others who rely on money, so you'll never really break the system.

Try reading this thread. viewtopic.php?f=34&t=13022

Gassho,
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Qing Tian » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:59 pm

Actually I enjoy what I do for a living. I derive much joy from being of service to others. For this I get paid a wage it is true, and I do use this money to acquire the usuals - food, shelter, clothing. My life is neither hollow or meaningless. I do not work just for the money.

I have interests that are largely based around self-cultivation and which I pursue with equal enthusiasm and joy. My life is, as stated, netiher hollow nor meaningless.

Thrasymachus, I expect you will now denounce me as another corporate drone kowtowing to the great god of consumerism and toiling away under the soiled boot of the evil State. It's old, man, and getting older. If you truly wish to live your life off the land, away from what you dislike of our current societies then I would say, "good for you' and "you should go and do it rather than bleating about it on the internet". In a decade or two of having such an experience you may wish to pop back in briefly and update us on how it is working out. Perhaps you will not, who can say?

Bottom line is that change starts with you. Please don't shift responsibility for that change onto everyone else.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Dorje Shedrub » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:53 pm

I wash dishes and prep cook for below minimum wage so I can afford beans eggs and tortillas and to pay for a roof over my head, which by the way, I am loosing.

If I was a better practitioner I would see my abusers as bodisattvas, but I'm still working on that.

Dont give up.

DS
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby maybay » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:57 pm

I'm living large, thanks for asking. You must be doing something wrong.
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Luke » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:44 pm

Thrasymachus wrote:People under capitalism(and other advanced top-down systems) live pseudo lives as narrow workers earning a wage, usually totally unconnected with the vital life processes and needs like the procurement of water, food, shelter and clothing. Instead they rely on their wage salary to as consumers procure all their needs.

As a teacher, I am technically a "wage slave" but I also really care about the students I teach, so my reward for teaching is not simply money, but is also the friendship, fun, and great discussions I have with my students.

Also, I occasionally have a long-term impact on my students, and a few of my students have begun to be interested in Buddhism because of conversations they had outside of school with me. However, it can also be a bit scary sometimes because my actions influence hundreds of young people each week...

In my opinion, the best jobs are the ones which allow you to help or care about others. :hug:
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:21 am

Dear Thrasymachus,

I've read a lot of your posts on here with some interest because it's clear to me that you are also a radical and definitely somebody who feels the nausea with capitalism and patriarchy that I do. I lived in anarchist co ops and various forms of radical community for a long time, and it definitely helped me more than I can express. Ultimately--you have a social security number and a bank card, you are never free from being part of the machine--but I tried to some extent to detach or do something against the grain, even if it was just a small gesture toward justice.

That said, I'm gonna give you a lot of perhaps unwelcome advice where I repeatedly say "you need to" and "you should" if that gets under your skin, I apologize. I'm just going to talk to you as I would myself.

Please,

A. DO punch out. Don't keep on agonizing about it.

escape the immediate burdens of your family, wage slavery, conformity, etc. somehow. I'm talking about getting some distance of ANY kind from the culture you're talking about, even if that just means buying in somehow or buying OUT--so long as you do ONE or the other genuinely. There's a point when those situations (the ones you live in) will help you cultivate compassion but it seems more like you feel trapped, disgusted, overwhelmed, and horrified with everything around you.

So long as you remain on the planet earth, you will always be subsumed in some kind of racist, classist, capitalist, patriarchal hegemony, but if you think Buddhism has some value, you need to do everything possible to get out of your current situation and gain the independence to have the leisure to study and practice Dharma. If that seems an antithetical to your ideals, then so be it--you're gonna stay miserable.

If you want to loosen the grip of your aversion and horror with the injustice of this world (enough to actually help others and yourself) you're going to have to find yourself in a cooshier lifestyle (that could actually mean dumpster diving and living with 14 roommates). Find the freedoms and advantages or you will never be able to help others or yourself.

B. find a supportive community. Your posts on here seem to often reference the toxicity of your family and community. Whether it's some anarchist kids in a squat or an organization at a university somewhere...or an intentional farm somewhere...or a sangha...it doesn't matter...at some point the negativity will have to collapse on itself when you find (even just one other person) who genuinely supports you against the whole mess of samsara and what Ginsberg called Moloch.

C. Drive all blames into one. All these systems of oppression, the realities of governments and violence, down to the coworker who is such a douche to you...they're all monstrous twisted products of the 3 poisons, samsaric cycles, and especially ignorance. If you can't feel some pang of sadness or exhaustion with your own aversion based on that, you REALLY need to do "A." Move to a state with more wilderness. Go abroad. Do something different. Run away. Don't be proud. Don't convince yourself you are powerless. Get out.

BTW worker/ consumer wageslave and fat cat only define our life and reality in the materialistic and reductionist of views. These injustices are not something we should ignore or pretend don't exist--because its our physical reality. And they are inexcusable.

But they are still just conceptions. And ultimately you are not just some secular-humanist postmodern special-snowflake --you are absolutely positively Vajrayogini. And so is everybody else. So start acting like it, and stop shoving the well-meaning advice people give you back down their throats.

ultimately I have to ask...do you want to stay in the factory farm of the conceptual slavery, or help destroy it?
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Qing Tian » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:55 am

Thrasymachus, have you considered the effect YOU have on the people around you, and have you done so objectively and honestly?

The reason I ask this simple little question is because just about all your posts seem to be about how it is always something external to you that creates the toxic environment in which you dwell. There is much that you have posited that is clearly well-intentioned, but it is massively overshadowed by the sheer enormity of your negativity. Actually, you very strongly remind me of Rik Mayall in the BBC series 'The Young Ones', always full of vim and vigour, flailing away at 'the SystemTM'.

Bottom line? If someone shows you the door and you don't go through it, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. Harsh, perhaps, but true methinks.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:36 am

My heart goes out to you Thrasymachus.
I am so close to quitting myself....I gave my notice, and they wouldn't let me quit !!!!
Next time there will be no notice.....

I use to crave going on a Buddhist retreat (3 year)
Then realized all the obstacles to hurdle before being ready for that !
(It's expensive & you need to be qualified.)
So I gave up on that.


Could you live with someone, that wouldn't be burdened by it ?
I have often asked my teacher to quit working so I could take care of him,
and he could relax all day and do whatever he wanted....

I have lived as a homemaker/mother, while my boyfriend supported me.
It was so nice to be home all day cooking, cleaning, taking care of babies.....

Would a live-in type job appeal to you ?
(Taking care of your grandma or someone on disability ?)

Have you ever read stuff by W.C.Vetsch ?
Oy Vey.

I came to the conclusion that I will just have to live my life the best I can ....despite it all.......

Taking refuge gives me comfort.

You are still young.....
when you get older, it gets harder to make changes in life.....
you just want to survive without struggling.........

I hope you follow your heart.

:namaste:
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby shel » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:19 am

I think we all know very well what Thrasymachus is talking about. I'm curious what a better lifestyle or situation would be like though. It seems that communism doesn't work out so good, at least with our species.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:51 am

I think how you hold your mind is much more important that how you make a living. As long as you are not engaging in "wrong livelihood" of course. With the right state of mind, it's quite possible to be within the "worker-consumer" life while at the same time being free of it. Just like the Buddha when he got enlightenment, he still lived in the world for many years but at the same time, was free of it.

Teachers teach that the way you see the world is often just a reflection of what's in your own mind. And when people "leave that cruel world" they usually end up taking all those problems with them in some form another, since they come from the mind to begin with. Unless you are talking about becoming a monk, that would be a different situation.

Seeing all the zombie wage slaves consumers who don't even know what they are infected with around, is not all that different from seeing all the living beings stuck in the sea of samsara. Seeing this is a very good practice opportunity IMO. Seeing this can be a cause of the arising of great compassion if one's attention is directed appropriately.

But no, I've never lived as a bum who just walked the earth like Caine in Kung-Fu :lol:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:00 am

@Qing Tian:
Well if you openly ask people: are you happy? Most people will say yes or pretend they are, especially perhaps because people think honesty will make others avoid them, so they put on a mask to act like everything is fine, when it isn't. However look at my previous post, the average American spends 34 hours escaping from their reality because it is so bad, just by watching TV,and that is just one popular form of escapism out of many... So what people self-report isn't the truth, and actually if you asked a question like: what is happiness? You would find they didn't even know or more accurately couldn't be bothered to stop watching tv, dithering on the internet, or playing video games to ponder about it!

In my life I noticed that alot of people may pretend they like their job. However people know there is a hierarchy of jobs, and those who claim to like their jobs really like the pay, benefit structure, relative autonomy and working conditions compared to other jobs, because they know there is much worse out there. But if you know them as a friend you know they constantly harp, gripe and complain about their job, their working conditions, having to go work on Monday, what they want to do in life but cannot because of work, etc.

I don't really think I have a positive effect on people, and I don't have the power to have a positive effect or much desire, since I never really met anyone worth meeting in my whole life. This is my effect on people:
Henry Ibsen wrote:If you take the life lie from an average man, you take away his happiness as well.


@Dorje Shedrub:
I know how you feel partly, my job cleaning trains is also very mind-numbingly monotonous and low in social status, however I have better pay. But that is not enough for me, actually I was happier at other jobs I had before with less pay, as there was less co-worker gossip, micro-managing and stress.

@maybay:
I used to work as a house painter, and I saw well that those who make more money, just have bigger houses, finer cars and they are little better off in terms of happiness. If anyone wants they can search for an interesting program called: "The Fabulous Life of Billion Dollar Wall Street Ballers" broadcast by Vh1 on the Thepiratebay and see the disgusting lives of billionaires who convert 737 or 747 passenger jets into private jets, who have yachts almost as large as military destroyers. But do they actually know enough people to fill up those jets or yachts? Of course not, it is logistically impossible, they just attract gaggles of hangers-on and moochers. "Living large" is bullshit and a false path.

@Luke:
All the professions that claim to help people are the ones that do the most damage to society, cause the most harm, and the self-deluded ideologues who think they are actually helping, are actually doing the most harm. The cynical teachers, who are old-hats in their career, just going the through motions for their paycheck until retirement with little care anymore are doing comparatively less harm than those more invested in the ideology of allegedly helping, in the sinister process of mass schooling.

Thomas Princen wrote:Studies show that children spend up to 50 percent of their play time arguing. Adults find it exasperating: “Will you stop arguing and just play!” What the adults do not understand but child psychologists (and probably quite a few kids) do understand is that arguing is playing, or at least a big and important part of it. What's more, arguments over home and first base, over who goes first, over what's in bounds and what's out, inevitably shift: You can't do that! Why not? It's not fair. Yes it is. Well, that's not how we did it before. So? And so forth. In other words, the arguing shifts from rules to principles, to questions of what is fair, who should benefit, what is the precedent. Kids can't help but invoke or create principles. ...

Source:
Princen, Thomas. Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order. (MIT Press, 2010) p. 65.


The purpose of school is crush this innate ability of children to question their social context, the social structure, the rules of the game of life, to change their surroundings to be more just or fair. By the time they finish high school which in my country takes up till age 18, they have learned that what they think, what they want, how they think things could or should not matter, that they just shut up, do what they are told, and pervert their soul to fit the needs of the domineering institutions that ask to control more and more of our lives. If you took everyone over the age of five and killed them, assuming the kids could grow up and survive, they would sort things out better without the adults telling them to do what they don't want to because they "have to" usually for money, or that "it has always been done like that", or you "cannot do that", etc.

Another example, there is a popular propaganda in my country that the purpose of the police force is to "protect and serve". But who? The rich. Recently there was big news that in New York City, the police department and state lost a court case over their stop and frisk policy. According to the UF-250 forms the officers were filling in only 10-15% of these stops were based on suspect descriptions, instead they check the box that says "high crime areas". The litigants in the case hired statistical experts who examined these forms from 2002-2012 and found that: "when you control for all other factors, race is what is determinative, not-it’s not actually the area and the crime rate." Yet many self-deluded cops who are no jaded really think they are fighting crime and helping people. What they actual do is police the poor, minorities, who are the only large mass with the potential or desire to revolt against the wealthy interests. I made a thread exposing how doctors don't really help heal, instead their actual function is to adjust people to economic growth and its externalities on health.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:11 am

Thrasymachus wrote:If you took everyone over the age of five and killed them, assuming the kids could grow up and survive, they would sort things out better without the adults telling them to do what they don't want to because they "have to" usually for money, or that "it has always been done like that", or you "cannot do that", etc.

Go read "Lord of the Flies".

:reading:
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Qing Tian » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:38 am

Well if you openly ask people: are you happy? Most people will say yes or pretend they are, especially perhaps because people think honesty will make others avoid them, so they put on a mask to act like everything is fine, when it isn't. However look at my previous post, the average American spends 34 hours escaping from their reality because it is so bad, just by watching TV,and that is just one popular form of escapism out of many... So what people self-report isn't the truth, and actually if you asked a question like: what is happiness? You would find they didn't even know or more accurately couldn't be bothered to stop watching tv, dithering on the internet, or playing video games to ponder about it!


There may be some truth in this but it seems a bit harsh to extend that to include all the people you have never met. Especially as you are putting yourself forward as someone who speaks for everyone else. That's a tall order quite frankly, though I do understand where you are coming from even if I don't totally agree with it.

In my life I noticed that alot of people may pretend they like their job. However people know there is a hierarchy of jobs, and those who claim to like their jobs really like the pay, benefit structure, relative autonomy and working conditions compared to other jobs, because they know there is much worse out there. But if you know them as a friend you know they constantly harp, gripe and complain about their job, their working conditions, having to go work on Monday, what they want to do in life but cannot because of work, etc.


And again you extend the example to include even those like myself who really ARE happy in their work. As long as I have space and resources to enable me to expedite my work I am happy. I barely give my pay/benefits any thought and often forget to take leave even when it is mandatory stuff like at Christmas. I am certain there are lots of people like me, but concede that these people haven't necessarily been noted in your sphere of endeavour.

I don't really think I have a positive effect on people, and I don't have the power to have a positive effect or much desire, since I never really met anyone worth meeting in my whole life.


Do you think you are one of those people? By your own set of standards I mean?

I am not arguing for or against you in this. I just think that it doesn't really help all that much to complain about everything else without doing something about it.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:34 am

@Kim O'hara:
That is a novel, but the writer must have been a great writer as he had good observations. Gabor Mate notes that kids today are messed up and troubled because they are extremely peer oriented, so they take their model of how to act from imperfect beings, their fellow students or other peers, who often like to tease, bully or chide each other. Foolish adults today actually think kids are meant to associate with kids, but other societies knew they were meant to interact with caring adults, and act as little adults in training as far as their ability.

I actually really wanted to write if they were taken away from the adults who are their parents and given to other adults with actual humane or naturalistic values that cannot be found within people raised in our type of disgusting hyper-capitalist framework, but I didn't want to offend all the parents add them to my growing list detractors. Like if you could hypothetically take the children of Australia from their colonial-settler parents and have them raised by the Aborginals before they were contacted by the British. In one or two generations they would sort their social structure out for the good.

What is more relevant is the prank calls made to many restaurants in the USA, specifically an incident at a McDonald's in 2004. Essentially someone posed as a police officer over the phone to the manager, Donna Summers and accused one of her young female workers of shoplifting. He said he was too busy to come down right now and got her to strip search Louise Ogborn naked. Later as the McDonald's became more busy, Donna got her fiance to watch the girl. And her fiance, Walter Nix, sexually assaulted Oborn, just because someone posing as a figure of authority told her to. How do people get so obedient to authority? In our society, it is mostly a function of indoctrination in schooling. When you first start you hate and rebel against being told what to do against your own will, but by the time you are done, it becomes the only thing you know. Before it, workers would frequently sabotage their workplaces, fight or dispute with their employers, demand to take off for Saint's Days or other festivities and actually fight back against their enslavement. Now there is almost no such things as civil unrest or pitched battles in societies with compulsory education, because the population is too well educated to revolt.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Nighthawk » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:54 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:I wash dishes and prep cook for below minimum wage so I can afford beans eggs and tortillas and to pay for a roof over my head, which by the way, I am loosing.

If I was a better practitioner I would see my abusers as bodisattvas, but I'm still working on that.

Dont give up.

DS

I don't think there's a Buddhist practice out there that involves being a doormat.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Luke » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:56 am

Thrasymachus wrote:@Luke:
All the professions that claim to help people are the ones that do the most damage to society, cause the most harm, and the self-deluded ideologues who think they are actually helping, are actually doing the most harm. The cynical teachers, who are old-hats in their career, just going the through motions for their paycheck until retirement with little care anymore are doing comparatively less harm than those more invested in the ideology of allegedly helping, in the sinister process of mass schooling.

Yes, being aware of what one is actually doing in his or her job and not blindly thinking that one is great is important. If we think that we are doing things perfectly, we can't improve. And yes, there are certainly burned-out cynical teachers out there, but there are other types of teachers, as well.

Like you, I am also a guy from the northeastern US who thinks too much! I also hated school in the US and felt that it stifled my creativity in most cases and taught mostly propaganda in its history classes, so I am sensitive to your concerns. I hated most of the teachers I ever had in school, so it's important to me to try and be different than they were. However, a few of my teachers in the US were very kind to me and inspired me. My most inspiring teachers were my Spanish teachers because they had the courage to travel and to see things from a different culture's viewpoint. One of them had lived in Costa Rica for a year.

I can see your concerns that teachers are sort of "mouth pieces of government propaganda" to condition students to be obedient workers, but in Hungary, I'm not even really sure what the government propaganda is, so I can't propagate it! lol I just teach conversational English and I encourage debate in my classes (although I admit that I could be much better at this...). Regarding your quote, I sometimes encourage my students to argue a bit, but maybe I should do this more. I am usually just happy that I am getting them to practice English instead of falling back on their native language.

And outside of the classroom, I feel that school trips are great opportunities for students to have the arguments and discussions you mentioned.

Thrasymachus wrote:The purpose of school is crush this innate ability of children to question their social context, the social structure, the rules of the game of life, to change their surroundings to be more just or fair. By the time they finish high school which in my country takes up till age 18, they have learned that what they think, what they want, how they think things could or should not matter, that they just shut up, do what they are told, and pervert their soul to fit the needs of the domineering institutions that ask to control more and more of our lives.

Yes, it can often be this way.

In Hungary, there are many high school programs which are five years! (from grades 9 to 13) Can you imagine that? lol And they have to take 4 to 6-hour tests in many different subects over the course of several months in order to graduate from high school.

However, I wouldn't say that high school completely crushes my students' openness to new ideas and experiences. Many of them would like to travel, learn new languages, or try new hobbies, etc. after high school.

But a much bigger influence than the government or the school system is the culture itself. In America, despite all the negative things about many of its schools, people have more of an entrepreneurial spirit. A lot of innovation in business and new products comes out of America (I know that you will probably just label this is 100% evil capitalism, but these things are just another form of human creativity). Whereas, in Hungary, a spirit of pessism and defeatism seems to be more prevalent in regard to these things. Most people here wouldn't even try to be entrepreneurs because they feel it's hopeless.
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

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