Friday, 24 January 2014

All the people, imagining

War is over and Yoko has also brought news of a new development in educational reform:
Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can't sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds”.

Students of teachers, susceptible to the promise of escapism marketed by transcendental meditation guru/salespeople, are being encouraged to shut off their minds, shut their eyes and shut their mouths for at least half an hour per day, in the latest attempt to divert and pacify the revolutionary potential of the youth.

This has been shown to be the most effective way of giving teachers time to re-align their chakras, one participant claims it lowered their blood sugar levels, and as cited in this horribly written article shared by Ms Ono, is promoted as the cause of “decreased suspensions, increased attendance and increased grade point averages”.

What is clearly missing in the article is any attempt to factually determine what the causes of these improvements actually are, “Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent”, which could at least be partly attributable to the punishment of suspension being enforced in the first place, equally there is a distinct lack of analysis on what the causes of social unrest claimed to be so prevalent around these schools actually are.

Would it be absurd to think 30 minutes a day could be given to open debate about these relevant issues, possibly including dialogue with inspirational members of the community, willing to share the tools they work with that young people need to help change their environment for the better?

Unfortunately the professionals involved in the scheme's roll out don't think so, they are equally hyperbolic in their support of the program.

Since when has shutting one's eyes, detaching oneself from one's immediate surroundings, and deluding oneself into pseudo-mystical ideological positions, been considered a “valuable tool for life”?

Having sojourned mournfully through the shadowy vale of tears alleged to be their walk to school, dodging “bullets as common as bird droppings”, witnessing poverty, crime,violence and the disintegration of their community, I can't help but feel this half an hours “dropping out” time, is a wasted opportunity to learn what causes communities to descend into such situations in the first place.

In truth this scheme offers nothing to the young people involved that 30 minutes quiet reading, walking around their community, or listening to inspirational community leaders wouldn't provide, it is a pressure release gauge installed for the benefit of staff, who are teaching an inadequate syllabus devoid of relevance to the requirements of young people today.

It is also a method of entrenching the concept of hierarchical organization, and blind acquiescence to the arbitrary dictats of a school board apparently out of control, why are this generation with such wonderful technology at their fingertips, being directed into archaic eastern religious practices, when the potential is there for them to create scientifically informed relaxation techniques for themselves?

The Schools mentioned in the Brochure as having already adopted the program have interesting names, perhaps this hints to an alternative explanation for the uncooperative behaviour of students, "prior to the institution of Quiet Time", maybe students of the "Christ our Saviour Catholic School" were being taught creationism and this was provoking them to fits of homicidal rage?

Many of them also appear (with minimal research admittedly) to be private or religiously oriented schools, who wouldn't be angry if their parents had sent them to a school like that?

In this context it becomes clear Quiet Time and the Lynch foundation are more interested in creating illusions of world peace, training young people to detach from the world for "inner" peace, than they are in working to empower the youth of today to change the actual world, by giving them real tools, connections, inspiration, confidence and the experience  to build a better future.

Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts, and support the young when they show us how to do that very thing, let's not attempt to pacify them with religion (which only serves to fascinate them with factitious illusions) when they long for the better world they deserve, outside of their own heads.

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