Thursday, May 10, 2012
Do We Need College?
I think not. The main purpose of college is not to create large groups of people who are capable of thinking independently, this is disproven on its face by the fact that most people are unaware that industrial civilization's main purpose is the destruction of the planet.
Yes. A simple examination using the basic skills that colleges purport to teach will lead inexorably to this fact. Most of the professions that require a degree are either directly or indirectly involved in the perpetuation of the industrial paradigm. Name a degree that doesn't. Perhaps those few scoffed at degrees such my own, an MFA in creative writing, come to mind. "Do you want fries with that burger" is the usual taunt leveled at me by other minions of the Planet Destroying Machine (PDM). Perhaps those whose degrees are involved with fine arts, dance, etc. may seem to not be supportive of the PDM, but the truth is, they all support the PDM in some fashion or degree.
Next you might challenge the thought of the PDM. Why, I say, I say, without this precious industrialized society, we'd be suffering from bad teeth, poor nutrition, violence, and a lack of stuff. Total horse shit, but that is what is likely to be said. The truth is, the nasty truth that many spend untold hours trying to debunk, is that prior to agriculture the diseases of "civilization" simply did not exist. For further information I highly recommend Lierre Kieth's book "The Vegetarian Myth." Many people cite low average life span as proof of the terrible life that hunter-gatherers endured. This also is fabricated, a matter of statistical prestidigitation. The truth is, when Europeans came to the America's they were short, diseased, and suffering all the diseases of civilization. The natives were tall and healthy, until, of course, they contracted the diseases foisted on them by the Europeans.
Minor digression over. The PDM is easy to spot. Why is it destroying the planet? What makes me think this? Simple. What is the main objective of our industrial economy? Growth. You hear it all the time. "We must grow the economy." "We need more jobs." Next, consider the following statement: WE LIVE ON A SPHERE. This has dramatic repercussions. First, it means that we have finite resources. It means that we can only extract and disperse energy and materials for only so long before it all collapses. This is the easiest truth to apprehend. (Sorry, economists. I did mean to talk over your heads.) So, growth means an ever increasing need for energy and materials. That means ripping it from the Earth, which means the destruction of the planet.
If the goal is to perpetuate the species beyond another hundred years, then the PDM is not the way to go. Industrial society and its corollary of infinite growth will lead to the death of our species and many other innocent species as well. The planet will still go round and round for a very long time, but it may do so without the sound of human laughter.
Do we need college? Not as currently configured. What we need are schools that prepare us for a no- to reverse growth world. Engineers must become de-engineers, trained to help us disassemble the dangerous and poisonous elements of our society such as nuclear facilities, operating and abandoned mines, waste dumps, junkyards, cities, and chemical plants. We need agricultural schools to become permaculture schools. Doctors need to treat the whole person with herbs and natural practices and to, above all, teach people how to avoid contact with industrial civilization. Doctors need to teach how to avoid having children using common herbs. The arts need to tell the truth about planet killing and stop serving as the propaganda arm of the PDM. And, finally, economists need to find a new trade. Their "science" is merely the art of counting the imaginary chits that make the PDM go. In a society without constant growth, there is only one type of economy and that is the gift economy.
How do we escape the grinding wheel of "higher education?" We won't. As long as we live in the expert society driven by people telling us expert lies and us believing those lies because we have been taught to embrace the daddy authority figure for so long that to contradict daddy would cause severe cognitive dissonance. No, the society at large will force march us all to our doom in order to propitiate the PDM. And many of you will feel very smug about the whole thing as you dust your degrees and puff your chests feeling your solidarity with the PDM's expert class. You will engineer the railroad routes, design the cattle cars, study the psychology of frightened masses in order to move them without fear of rebellion, you'll work out superb computer programs to track everyone as they move through the PDM, and you'll design wonderful killing machines and ovens. And, as you pat each other on the back and as the final days of the human species come to pass, you will no doubt write plaintive poetry bemoaning the loss of the golden age of industrial civilization.
I know in many people's eyes, I am a heretic. I've bitten the PDM's all giving hand. What I wish I could do is wrap a massive cord around the PDM's leaden feet and ankles and cause it to trip and crash to the Earth, splintering it into a million pieces. So far, there are few college courses on killing the PDM.
Maybe next semester.