Author Topic: The Underground History of Education  (Read 967 times)

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The Underground History of Education
« on: August 05, 2016, 01:40:47 pm »
Footnote to  The Former Student: A Philosophically Horrific Satire

and Anguish Tabulator


I am really inspired by The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto, recommended to me by a mysterious malcontent who goes by the AKA purple1.

People who know who they are make trouble for schools.

One method people use to find out who they are becoming, before others do, is to keep a journal, where they log what attracts their attention, along with some commentary. In this way, you get to listen to ­yourself instead of listening only to others.

This is great advice. I encourage this as well.

Books can serve as mentors if you learn to read intensely, with every sense alert to nuances. Books can change your life, as mentors do.

Do those of us who know who we are and who are not afraid of revealing who we are make trouble for those who want us to play our assigned roles, read our scripts, and act as if we were what society tells us we are?

“There was a time when the artist mobilized all his defects to produce a work which concealed himself; the notion of exposing his life to the public probably NEVER occurred to him. We do not imagine Dante or Shakespeare keeping track of the trifling incidents of their lives in order to bring them to other people’s attention. Perhaps they even preferred giving a false image of what they were.” ~ Emile M. Cioran

Will there be an audience appreciative of my insights or do I write for my own satisfaction and relief?


Removing my presence from the Internet is something I want to do long before removing my presence from this realm altogether. I want to live as though I will die soon, and yet this, for some reason, compels me to go through my notebooks and type up what is relevant.

Schooling is not about intellectual development, not about character development, but about the inculcation of a synthetic culture in children, one designed to condition its subjects to a continual adjusting of their lives by unseen authorities. Anti-intellectual schooling is determined by the attitudes and the needs of prominent businessmen. Even at the university level, the mathematics departments seem to be funded by “applied math,” technological interests of businessmen.

The crux of the difference between education and schooling is that education nurtures knowledge and comprehension, whereas schooling nurtures discipline and obedience. Schooling, in concert with a controlled workplace retards the development of imagination … intentionally.

The psychological tool is alienation. The trick is to alienate us from our selves so that we can’t turn inward for strength!

This is the essence of scientific management.

Gatto lists what centralized schooling should deliver:

(1)Obedient soldiers to the army
(2)Obedient workers to the factories, farms, and other workplaces
(3)Well-subordinated civil servants, trained in their function
(4)Well-subordinated clerks for industry
(5)Citizens who think alike on mass issues
(6)National uniformity in thought, law, and deed

Welcome to Orwell’s Nightmare, where Freedom is Slavery and Schools make people stupid.

A productive work-force, a growing economy, high material standards of living, high-tech medicine, and a strong military could not be accomplished without second rate systems of education. People like President Obama make the error of equating material prosperity and power with education when affluence in the United States is built, not on education, but schooling.

The truth is that Amerika’s global power and wealth is a direct product of a third-rate educational system, upon whose inefficiency in developing intellect and character depends. If we were educated better, we could not sustain this corporate utopia/distopia. Schools build wealth by tearing down personal sovereignty. (Gatto 2001)

John Taylor Gatto claims that mass society, industrial civilization itself, depends on masses of “dumb” people not only to serve in the “work-force,” but to justify the careers of the managers and engineers of mass society, which include the politicians, ministers, psychiatrists, judges and their court clerks, prosecutors, etc … as well as the Slave Patrol (all forms of police, from the military to the security guard). It sounds cruel and even arrogant to point this out, but it’s true. Consider the Unions of prison guards who think it is in their best interest to keep the prisons full. Job security. Priestly castes depend on the status quo to secure their artificial positions of authority. Many suicides are simply displaying their ultimate POWER in this social arrangement.

People only appear dumb. It has to be an act. It’s inauthentic. I believe the real difference between so-called “intellectuals” and every-day, keep-it-simple, don’t-worry-be-happy types is the latter’s preference to become absorbed in practical pragmatic issues, whereas the former may be more focused on the universal dilemma, which is existence itself.

Where the masses are distracted with the practical, the one who “suffers” an excess of consciousness is concerned with trying to figure out how it has “fallen” into this predicament.

The position of the mental health industry ought to give us a clue: There is an inclination to avoid suffering. If the price to be paid for developing our powers of perception is “mental anguish,” it appears that most prefer less anguish. That’s what I find so inauthentic about psychiatry and even pop philosophy (the self-help therapy scams that go on and on about the “power” of positive thinking). Rather than recognizing mental and emotional disturbances as signals from the human brain responding to its environs, the “experts” and “professionals” try to sell a cure for the unpleasantness of the symptoms rather than acknowledging the legitimacy of the mental states experienced by the so-called sick.

This is like silencing a fire alarm and ignoring the flames.

“The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the careers devoted to tend to them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my proposition: Mass dumbness first had to be imagined. It isn’t real.”

“Once the dumb are wished into existence, they serve valuable functions: as a danger to themselves and others they have to be watched, classified, disciplined, trained, medicated, sterilized, ghettoized, cajoled, coerced, jailed.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

Recall that, essentially, a gort is someone who has missed the bottom line in human consciousness. There is a point beyond which one may not be using one’s brain to the full extent necessary to qualify for a membership card to the human race.

Just because an individual has all the socially approved credentials does not mean they are really using their brains much at all. Think of the “programs” the managers and engineers come up with … Programs are for machines … machines that only understand on and off, if x then y … Machines don’t have consciousness or the power of reflection.

When the program has an error, the electricity follows the instructions blindly.

Mass society requires stupidity. Civilization would collapse without stupidity. Were a generation of youth be encouraged to develop their powers of perception, their critical thinking skills, and gain confidence in following their thoughts to their conclusions, our current social order would be seriously undermined.

philistine – a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes, i.e., the phonies who fancy themselves “the middle class.”


The French Revolution was regarded as the work of a horde of underemployed intellectuals. Are extremely productive workers often deficient in their intellectual capacity? An even more suggestive question would be, “Just how many ‘successful businessmen’ or corporate executives show any interest in Hesse’s Stepppenwolf?”

Richard Stites described Fredrick W. Taylor as an anti-intellectual and a hater of individuals. One could even proclaim with confidence that Taylor was one of the ****s who had such an influence of uniformity and efficiency in the workplace.

I feel I am now hacking at the roots of the poisonous tree. Psychology has been a business from the start – an aggressive business lobbying for jobs and school contracts. Fabian practitioners developed Hegelian principles which they taught alongside Morgan bankers. One Hegelianism was that to push ideas efficiently, it was necessary to co-opt both the political left as well as the political right. They work with military precision to get control of the education of the children of the land.

To prevent mentally independent individuals who stress development of the intellect from becoming role models and mentors, two solutions were proposed around 1903 to make “instruction” teacher-proof: (1) grow a hierarchy of non-teaching administrators (principals, assistant principals, subject coordinators, guidance counselors); (2) the standardized test and subsequent test scores would signal the presence of a deviant teacher who strayed too far from “approved texts.”

Grandfathers of the Universe, behold me! Arthur Schopenhauer, behold me! Hegel, that charlatan, is regarded as “the most influential intellectual thinker in modern history” – what a scandal!

Hegel was important wherever strict social control was an issue. “Ambitious states couldn’t let a single child escape,” said Hegel!

So, when did the Heinrichs and Malmbergs arrive in North America? When did Heinrich become Hentrich? Let’s see … Great Grandmother was born around 1895, so probably around 1910 or thereabouts. By as early as 1882 there had been a struggle to preserve the “American social order.” European immigrants were polarizing the country. There was to be an official Amerikan Highway built from police manuals and schoolteacher training texts.

Between 1890 and 1920, when those who spawned me would have arrived in the Divided Snakes of Amerika, “complete medical control” was launched with a vengeance. Few intimidations are more effective than the threat of a stay in an insane asylum. Between 1890 and 1920, the amount of those committed to institutional confinement more than doubled. Gatto’s work continues to attract my attention. He explores the role the then new discipline of psychology played in social control. Because many immigrants in the United States actually favored Germany over England in the pre World War I conflict, and since the managerial class of the “colonies” was drawn from the Church of England gentry and aristocrats, there was pressure to socialize German children in Amerika as English.

[cyber-footnote: amerika

Schools were “behavioral engineering plants.” Behavioral “healthcare” ???

Urrrrrrrrr ….. All that remained was to convince kids and their parents that there was no place to hide. In 1965 the ESE Act allowed for “interventions” by psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, agencies, and various specialists. All were invited to use schools as satellite offices, in urban ghettos, as a primary office. Now it was the law.

The corporations which offer employment, endow university museums, schools, and churches, actually have a life and death stake in the formation of “correct psychological attitudes” among children toward production and consumption. Schools are about creating loyalty to certain goals and habits. Consumption became the most important end in itself. Good consumers are rewarded with artificial status while the frugal are marginalized as villains. Strong spirits are dangerous to mass societies.

Mass consumption depends on discontent. Spiritually contented individuals are dangerous on many levels and for several reasons. They don’t make reliable servants because they won’t jump at every command. Corporate and financial capitalism are hardly possible on a massive scale once a population finds its spiritual center. Materialistic people tend to assign a price to everything and they avoid spending too much time with those who promise no immediate payback.

John Taylor Gatto examines the perplexity of the corporate state. What is the modern state to do with its masses once they have been degraded to the ranks of the proletariat, and then further rendered superfluous by a stream of inventions? Isn’t this the problem Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was exploring in his first novel, Player Piano? Our modern corporate multiplex society has no adequate outlet of expression for its artists, dancers, poets, painters, singers, film makers, whiskey makers, marijuana growers and renegade intellectuals – no outlet except for corporate work.

What indoctrination strategies are used for building and using psychological tools to create compliant children? Once the doctrine of “exclusive salvation” for the cooperative (and damnation for the critic) is clearly established, rulers will never be seriously questioned. People like myself make do with what they have, but resourcefulness and frugality are “pseudo-criminal” behaviors to a mass-production economy. Such examples threaten to infect others with the same fatal sedition.

School can never deal with really important things. Only education can teach us that quests don’t always work; that even worthy lives most often end in tragedy; that money can’t prevent this; that failure is a regular part of the human condition; that you will never understand evil; that serious pursuits are almost always lonely; that you can’t negotiate love; that money can’t buy much that really matters; that happiness is free.” (Gatto)

“The history of the Hmong yields several lessons that anyone who deals with them might do well to remember. Among the most obvious are that the Hmong do not like to take orders; that they do not like to lose; that they would rather flee, fight, or die, than surrender; that they are not intimidated by being outnumbered, that they are rarely persuaded that the customs of other cultures, even those more powerful than their own, are superior; that they are capable of getting very angry … Those who have tried to defeat, deceive, govern, regulate, constrain, assimilate, or patronize the Hmong, have, as a rule, disliked them intensely.” (Anne Fadiman: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down)

« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 10:41:37 pm by Miserable Mike »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

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Re: The Underground History of Education
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 08:16:49 am »
So true! They will never accept Schopenhauer's ideas-not in a 1000 years-they are paid to not understand him.

They praise Hegel .They praise Holmes. Have you heard of Father Brown?
Unlike the better-known fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown's methods tend to be intuitive rather than deductive. He explains his method in "The Secret of Father Brown": "You see, I had murdered them all myself.... I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully. I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was."

Brown's abilities are also considerably shaped by his experience as a priest and confessor. In "The Blue Cross", when asked by Flambeau, who has been masquerading as a priest, how he knew of all sorts of criminal "horrors," Father Brown responds: "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?"
 Father Brown is characteristically humble and is usually rather quiet, except to say something profound. Although he tends to handle crimes with a steady, realistic approach, he believes in the supernatural as the greatest reason of all.
Father Brown solves his crimes through a strict reasoning process more concerned with  philosophic truths than with scientific details, making him an almost equal counterbalance with Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.

Father Brown is a Catholic who pokes fun at the mechanical thought processes of the Protestants  Sherlock Holmes is the 'Protestant' detective who finds the end of the criminal skein by starting from the outside, relying on science, on experimental method, on induction. Father Brown is the Catholic priest who through the refined psychological experiences offered by confession and by the persistent activity of the fathers' moral casuistry, though not neglecting science and experimentation, but relying especially on introspection, totally defeats Sherlock Holmes, makes him look like a pretentious little boy, shows up his narrowness and pettiness.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 08:29:11 am by Holden »
La Tristesse Durera Toujours                                  (The Sadness Lasts Forever ...)
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The Other Side of the Hedge
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2016, 04:43:26 pm »
The Other Side of the Hedge

by E. M. Forster (1911)

MY PEDOMETER TOLD me that I was twenty-five; and, though it is a shocking thing to stop walking, I was so tired that I sat down on a milestone to rest. People outstripped me, jeering as they did so, but I was too apathetic to feel resentful, and even when Miss Eliza Dimbleby, the great educationist, swept past, exhorting me to persevere, I only smiled and raised my hat.
       At first I thought I was going to be like my brother, whom I had had to leave by the roadside a year or two round the corner. He had wasted his breath on singing, and his strength on helping others. But I had travelled more wisely, and now it was only the monotony of the highway that oppressed me—dust under foot and brown crackling hedges on either side, ever since I could remember.
       And I had already dropped several things—indeed, the road behind was strewn with the things we all had dropped; and the white dust was settling down on them, so that already they looked no better than stones. My muscles were so weary that I could not even bear the weight of those things I still carried. I slid off the milestone into the road, and lay there prostrate, with my face to the great parched hedge, praying that I might give up.
       A little puff of air revived me. It seemed to come from the hedge; and, when I opened my eyes, there was a glint of light through the tangle of boughs and dead leaves. The hedge could not be as thick as usual. In my weak, morbid state, I longed to force my way in, and see what was on the other side. No one was in sight, or I should not have dared to try. For we of the road do not admit in conversation that there is another side at all.
       I yielded to the temptation, saying to myself that I would come back in a minute. The thorns scratched my face, and I had to use my arms as a shield, depending on my feet alone to push me forward. Halfway through I would have gone back, for in the passage all the things I was carrying were sc****d off me, and my clothes were torn. But I was so wedged that return was impossible, and I had to wriggle blindly forward, expecting every moment that my strength would fail me, and that I should perish in the undergrowth.
       Suddenly cold water closed round my head, and I seemed sinking down for ever. I had fallen out of the hedge into a deep pool. I rose to the surface at last, crying for help, and I heard someone on the opposite bank laugh and say: “Another!” And then I was twitched out and laid panting on the dry ground.
       Even when the water was out of my eyes, I was still dazed, for I had never been in so large a space, nor seen such grass and sunshine. The blue sky was no longer a strip, and beneath it the earth had risen grandly into hills—clean, bare buttresses, with beech trees in their folds, and meadows and clear pools at their feet. But the hills were not high, and there was in the landscape a sense of human occupation—so that one might have called it a park, or garden, if the words did not imply a certain triviality and constraint.
       As soon as I got my breath, I turned to my rescuer and said:
       “Where does this place lead to?”
       “Nowhere, thank the Lord!” said he, and laughed. He was a man of fifty or sixty—just the kind of age we mistrust on the road—but there was no anxiety in his manner, and his voice was that of a boy of eighteen.
       “But it must lead somewhere!” I cried, too much surprised at his answer to thank him for saving my life.
       “He wants to know where it leads!” he shouted to some men on the hill side, and they laughed back, and waved their caps.
       I noticed then that the pool into which I had fallen was really a moat which bent round to the left and to the right, and that the hedge followed it continually. The hedge was green on this side—its roots showed through the clear water, and fish swam about in them—and it was wreathed over with dog-roses and Traveller’s Joy. But it was a barrier, and in a moment I lost all pleasure in the grass, the sky, the trees, the happy men and women, and realized that the place was but a prison, for all its beauty and extent.
       We moved away from the boundary, and then followed a path almost parallel to it, across the meadows. I found it difficult walking, for I was always trying to out-distance my companion, and there was no advantage in doing this if the place led nowhere. I had never kept step with anyone since I left my brother.
       I amused him by stopping suddenly and saying disconsolately, “This is perfectly terrible. One cannot advance: one cannot progress. Now we of the road—”
       “Yes. I know.”
       “I was going to say, we advance continually.”
       “I know.”
       “We are always learning, expanding, developing. Why, even in my short life I have seen a great deal of advance—the Transvaal War, the Fiscal Question, Christian Science, Radium. Here for example—”
       I took out my pedometer, but it still marked twenty-five, not a degree more.
       “Oh, it’s stopped! I meant to show you. It should have registered all the time I was walking with you. But it makes me only twenty-five.”
       “Many things don’t work in here,” he said. “One day a man brought in a Lee-Metford, and that wouldn’t work.”
       “The laws of science are universal in their application. It must be the water in the moat that has injured the machinery. In normal conditions everything works. Science and the spirit of emulation—those are the forces that have made us what we are.”
       I had to break off and acknowledge the pleasant greetings of people whom we passed. Some of them were singing, some talking, some engaged in gardening, hay-making, or other rudimentary industries. They all seemed happy; and I might have been happy too, if I could have forgotten that the place led nowhere.
       I was startled by a young man who came sprinting across our path, took a little fence in fine style, and went tearing over a ploughed field till he plunged into a lake, across which he began to swim. Here was true energy, and I exclaimed: “A cross-country race! Where are the others?”
       “There are no others,” my companion replied; and, later on, when we passed some long grass from which came the voice of a girl singing exquisitely to herself, he said again: “There are no others.” I was bewildered at the waste in production, and murmured to myself, “What does it all mean?”
       He said: “It means nothing but itself”—and he repeated the words slowly, as if I were a child.
       “I understand,” I said quietly, “but I do not agree. Every achievement is worthless unless it is a link in the chain of development. And I must not trespass on your kindness any longer. I must get back somehow to the road, and have my pedometer mended.”
       “First, you must see the gates,” he replied, “for we have gates, though we never use them.”
       I yielded politely, and before long we reached the moat again, at a point where it was spanned by a bridge. Over the bridge was a big gate, as white as ivory, which was fitted into a gap in the boundary hedge. The gate opened outwards, and I exclaimed in amazement, for from it ran a road—just such a road as I had left—dusty under foot, with brown crackling hedges on either side as far as the eye could reach.
       “That’s my road!” I cried.
       He shut the gate and said: “But not your part of the road. It is through this gate that humanity went out countless ages ago, when it was first seized with the desire to walk.”
       I denied this, observing that the part of the road I myself had left was not more than two miles off. But with the obstinacy of his years he repeated: “It is the same road. This is the beginning, and though it seems to run straight away from us, it doubles so often, that it is never far from our boundary and sometimes touches it.” He stooped down by the moat, and traced on its moist margin an absurd figure like a maze. As we walked back through the meadows, I tried to convince him of his mistake.
       “The road sometimes doubles, to be sure, but that is part of our discipline. Who can doubt that its general tendency is onward? To what goal we know not—it may be to some mountain where we shall touch the sky, it may be over precipices into the sea. But that it goes forward—who can doubt that? It is the thought of that that makes us strive to excel, each in his own way, and gives us an impetus which is lacking with you. Now that man who passed us—it’s true that he ran well, and jumped well, and swam well; but we have men who can run better, and men who can jump better, and who can swim better. Specialization has produced results which would surprise you. Similarly, that girl—”
       Here I interrupted myself to exclaim: “Good gracious me! I could have sworn it was Miss Eliza Dimbleby over there, with her feet in the fountain!”
       He believed that it was.
       “Impossible! I left her on the road, and she is due to lecture this evening at Tunbridge Wells. Why, her train leaves Cannon Street in—of course my watch has stopped like everything else. She is the last person to be here.”
       “People always are astonished at meeting each other. All kinds come through the hedge, and come at all times—when they are drawing ahead in the race, when they are lagging behind, when they are left for dead. I often stand near the boundary listening to the sounds of the road—you know what they are—and wonder if anyone will turn aside. It is my great happiness to help someone out of the moat, as I helped you. For our country fills up slowly, though it was meant for all mankind.”
       “Mankind have other aims,” I said gently, for I thought him well-meaning; “and I must join them.” I bade him good evening, for the sun was declining, and I wished to be on the road by nightfall. To my alarm, he caught hold of me, crying: “You are not to go yet!” I tried to shake him off, for we had no interests in common, and his civility was becoming irksome to me. But for all my struggles the tiresome old man would not let go; and, as wrestling is not my specialty, I was obliged to follow him.
       It was true that I could have never found alone the place where I came in, and I hoped that, when I had seen the other sights about which he was worrying, he would take me back to it. But I was determined not to sleep in the country, for I mistrusted it, and the people too, for all their friendliness. Hungry though I was, I would not join them in their evening meals of milk and fruit, and, when they gave me flowers, I flung them away as soon as I could do so unobserved. Already they were lying down for the night like cattle—some out on the bare hillside, others in groups under the beeches. In the light of an orange sunset I hurried on with my unwelcome guide, dead tired, faint for want of food, but murmuring indomitably: “Give me life, with its struggles and victories, with its failures and hatreds, with its deep moral meaning and its unknown goal!”
       At last we came to a place where the encircling moat was spanned by another bridge, and where another gate interrupted the line of the boundary hedge. It was different from the first gate; for it was half transparent like horn, and opened inwards. But through it, in the waning light, I saw again just such a road as I had left—monotonous, dusty, with brown crackling hedges on either side, as far as the eye could reach.
       I was strangely disquieted at the sight, which seemed to deprive me of all self-control. A man was passing us, returning for the night to the hills, with a scythe over his shoulder and a can of some liquid in his hand. I forgot the destiny of our race. I forgot the road that lay before my eyes, and I sprang at him, wrenched the can out of his hand, and began to drink.
       It was nothing stronger than beer, but in my exhausted state it overcame me in a moment. As in a dream, I saw the old man shut the gate, and heard him say: “This is where your road ends, and through this gate humanity—all that is left of it—will come in to us.”
       Though my senses were sinking into oblivion, they seemed to expand ere they reached it. They perceived the magic song of nightingales, and the odour of invisible hay, and stars piercing the fading sky. The man whose beer I had stolen lowered me down gently to sleep off its effects, and, as he did so, I saw that he was my brother.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 07:50:38 pm by Holden »
La Tristesse Durera Toujours                                  (The Sadness Lasts Forever ...)
-van Gogh.


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Re: The Underground History of Education
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 05:29:38 pm »
“I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”

– John D. ROCKEFELLER (created the American General Educational Board)


We must think too much to ever become good soldiers or good workers.

Do you think that, just perhaps, there is a tendency to demonize "thinkers" as being useless?

Thinking too much gets you kicked out of bed.  Thinking too much is antisocial behavior!
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~


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The Sad Reality Of This World - You Have No Choice
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2021, 12:32:06 am »

What Now?

Now you go insane. Now our species goes extinct in great epidemics of madness - as suggested by Thomas Ligotti ...  ;)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 01:15:09 am by mike »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~