Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Schooling, The Battered and Torn Partial Manual for Life

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I originally wrote this below for a comment at DeadPanAnn's blog, but decided it was worthy of a post here, but I am too tired to clean it up very much just now, so consider this a draft. It has finally stopped snowing outside. My dentist just rescheduled my appointment to tomorrow. The dogs can't make up their minds to be in or out.

"You see, nobody in school or in real life bothers to explain that there is no one manual for how to go about coping with becoming and being an adult human being, and that we read all this stuff (Shakespere, The Scarlet Letter, etc) to get a few clues about what works and what doesn't work, and that many things, many IMPORANT things, are altogether left out of most of the potential manuals, because they offend one religion or another. Teachers need to ask, much more often, "Is there anything in this situation (you may need to update the places and speech, but keep the relationships the same as in the original material) that you would do differently, and why ?" Kids need to build themselves manuals, and writing it down is not a bad idea. I did what amounted to logotherapy before it was invented (it used to be called, "keeping a diary" ) between age 18 and 26. I still have the 30 or so notebooks. No, you may not read them.

Most of the manuals are not even self-aware enough to tell the clueless under-aged that they can be used as partial manuals, adding to the confusion. Autobiographies are WONDERFUL manuals, even the self deluding ones. But you have to think of them, at least in the back of you mind, as manuals, incomplete though each one is, just like this sentence, I think is incomplete, it is fun to write when no one is grading you, and run on and on and on....

School is a mimeographed, pages missing, chapers missing, no index, no table of contents, jumbled manual about how to cope with growing older and eventually dying off, which is not self aware enough or confident to convince the kids that they need a manual. Some of the better manuals we study in school are about having fun while trying to figure out the manuals that are miss-written, or missing altogether.

My favorite manuals are "Tom Jones," "Zorba the Greek," "Dr. Strangelove," and "NeverEnding Story." Oh, "Wizard of Oz," "My Fair Lady," "The Great Escape," "Sound of Music" and much of SciFi. "

Of course there are some people who come up with the ONE AND ONLY manual, which is usually a "their way or the highway" reading of a religious text. It should be very funny to watch conservative conservative Christians (the kind that believe Mormons are Cultists) in the next Presidential election being forced to chose between Hillary, (I think is a Methodist?) and thus technically an "OK" Christian, and Mitt Romney, a Republican and Mormon. My guess is that they'll have to do a write-in of somebody, Pat Robertson ? It will be a fun election this next go round. It's amazing somebody still wants the job, considering the mess we've gotten ourselves into this time.

1 comment:

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