A superintendent of public schools writes into the local bulletin, phrase after empty phrase, breaking local ‘education’s’ arm, patting itself on the back as having been highly successful; as that we’re doing wonderful things. They’re good for almost everyone. Our school district is good.
The report is of vague allusions to ways of working in the classrooms, as well as names of specific programs and processes being used. Details familiar to some, not so much for many ‘hard working’ community people, of what’s being done in the local schools are part of this report, names of programs said to accomplish education’s goals, calling loudly for hard work – work hard to accomplish what you want – as though 8year olds – or 15 – or often 20year olds can guess, let alone be clear about what they want. let alone be able to achieve those, given the many hurdles before them.
Hard work is one I hardily fault. We don’t have to be dedicated to hard work. Our children should not be told they have to work hard. We should all tell us all we want to be able to work ‘easy’ – that we want to make our load of work to maintain ourselves and to enjoy our lives as light a burden as possible. Having to look forward to the lifetime of drudgery told in much of our famous literature, told in our churches and schools, told in our homes, enacted in our homes given the way work is arranged, is hardly the desirable objective. Families are riven by the time required at the job, getting to and from it, getting maintenance supplies on the way home. Keeping up with the requirement that parents are supposed to take charge of their child’s education as well, the process being so confusing in the first place, is another oppression we-people bear. School is the drudgery that portends the days of our lives. Much of our folks’ work, too, is that drudgery. These do not lead us to exuberance over the lessons we’re supposed to grasp. These do not attract us, child and adult.
The goal of our lives though, is to live enjoyably.
I can only hope you have found an environment that supports your sense that it’s all been too hard each day for no good reason, considering that most of our work is done to maintain our Owners, the wealthy Owners of the governments, of the armies, of the laws. The exceptions do not prove the rule – do not prove our lives are to be lived for all of our enjoyment.
Work needs to become to be seen as what we do in order to make life pleasant for us all; that it arises as the days go on; not as created be the exterior force, the boss/es, for their personal profit, power. Many of you who read this will reach into your analysis only so far, in order to say, I love/d school. I love my job.
I was talking with another one of those people just two days ago – the ‘I love my job’ people. She had schooling that prepared her to do the work she got hired and paid to do, in a prestigious location, in a prestigious work environment. Her training was not for a prestigious work.
It didn’t take long in the conversation to find that she loved it for all the reasons most people settle for the work they do; because it’s a job; it’s not too boring, it’s pretty respectable – has responsibilities that require some thinking on her part – it’s not all low level rote; it’s not menial work – the name given to cleaning up after other people or taking care of maintenance needs – the getting coffee level of assignments.
By contrast, the other people near her whose work she supports do it in a kind of ecstasy. Their work is because of their advanced study in a highly specialized field. …people who don’t even share a common speaking language, communicate through the common study they’ve done. This study was in a math or science area; it could have been in music, or in health care – one or another specialty; where common speech language isn’t essential in order to share skill, ideas, exuberance, joy at the work to do.
By comparison, she commented, her job was obviously less rewarding. That was acceptable to her. She settled for the light drudgery which was the result of the years in school that she spent in pursuit of the survival mechanism, the job.
You can see that she was in a peripherally necessary position, not central, certainly not one worthy of accolades for its creativity.
The work that the others were doing that was so exciting was in fields which would advance products with which to war, or to create need for more consumption, – high tech chemical or physical devices and methods to use in modifying the effects of our living on the edge of survival – all of us living on the edge of survival as profit destroys it.
Work allocated meaningfully, pretty much chosen by the person who does it – not all the time – but as needed, by contrast even housekeeping can be rewarding. In contrast to working at exciting research, by comparison, which captivates the theorists for even longer hours than the 40 hour week, maintenance, housekeeping are not done all the time; doing those shared by many people – a common living space with loved or closely related people, turns out not to be a distasteful chore, not to be the lowest level of work to the weakest member of the group, kind of like a punishment for only being 9, while 22 year olds get loftier assignments.
This office worker’s job had her relegated to a certain kind of clean-up position, with good pay, a great physical location – 8 hours a day the same every day, 40 hours a week. And she like so many in similar positions, was pretty but fat – not obese – yet.
All her hard work to get to this position still left her a wage slave, not quite bored out of her mind, but tolerant of… grateful for her position.
Along with abjuring dedication to hard work we also need to refuse to kowtow to opportunity. Everyone must have plenty all the time – plenty of enjoyment and material support. We don’t want to have to be running around trying to find opportunity, making a wrong guess, here; an unsatisfactory guess there; a wrenching hope – this or that attempt might get some security, get some self-respecting position, – or might not… There’s no reason why we can’t every one of us 2yr old 30yr old 90yr old do work and living we enjoy. There’s good work our community wants and needs us to do – for 8 hours a WEEK! or longer if we want and need to. And there’re good assignments we give ourselves, given the chance to assign us our work. Our work has to lop over to playing the piano and to sitting with someone else who plays – to teach and to learn it.
If we’d start to make a list of ‘jobs’ we need to do for our personal and community’s maintenance, the list would never end. There’re endless jobs to do – including creating work because we do this work. Work needs to arise from work, from idea, from our situations, that we do together.
Again, we have to move to where our work does not arise from the need to profit but because our work is successful – does what we in the community want and need to have done.
You’ve seen by this time that this book is to get us in contact with our best feelings about living in a good arrangement – with ourselves, and with everyone. You’ve seen I want to let you work to release us all from 4walled living, let us get outside into the air – which I know can be and is becoming more and more forbidding, limiting of our activities. But we might be able to deal with it – to tolerate the cold and hot weather and work on it to subdue it – to work to change climate change. And meanwhile to work in the middle latitudes middle seasons as well, to live comfortably doing work together pleasantly.
The Superintendent had to write about trying to deal with what really is an unworkable situation. School is not able to be made into a usable institution, that is, usable for humane living. Our question becomes how we can move into formations that let us let the various aged people be at a position with other workers, where they’ll pick up readingwritingandarithmetic the same way we pick up speech, and car driving, and some dancing and all the actions we watch and be with, and then be able to do, little by little or a lot right away. Our work needs largely to be like seeing someone ride a bicycle and eventually hopping on a bicycle and riding it…no one holding us onto the bike, telling us how to do it; us just picking it up and going along and doing it, inviting, by our very involvement, input from someone who knows more, or us researching more about it if that’s relevant. Each of those manymany jobs gives rise to needing to study some related skill and some idea. Living is never ending learning studying teaching.
As to there’s no reason why we can’t live idyllically, I can’t say that. There is the reason why. You know it as well as I do. The reason is the imperialism that runs our lives for our Owners’ benefits. The reason is our captive minds that leave us confused, dismayed, unable because of our financial status as well as because of our confusion, to find and take the path we really want. The wars and aggressions and use of our talents to serve these is the reason.
So for a time our work is to unify, to work to unify us so we can overcome that force, that power, that bad direction by our Owners. That’s the central discussion, study, work of our our times, to escape the bad reasons we live as we do.
The superintendent’s message, like education superintendents’ messages in so many districts, goes on to guarantee the school system is making headway to provide good experiences for the students, the children, here. Meanwhile, classrooms are uncomfortably disorderly, noisy, serviceable for the advantaged child – who can ally with other better off children to survive the limited provision and go on to better circumstances as they grow older. The variously alienated children, poorer, or otherwise marginalized, in difficult family situations, or somehow outside the mainstream at school, continue to dominate the school atmosphere. School is predominantly remedial for a majority of children attending them, never to be well served by these age segregated structures. Perhaps they’ll truant themselves, becoming blamed, like the rest of most people convicted of one or another crime, blamed for their resistive, or disoriented behavior, the behavior caused by the crazed societies’ inability to allow reasonable interactions.
The society that is about tearing up Earth, creating roboticized labor to do that is unable to let us treat us-ourselves reasonably. So the superintendent’s over extenuated wishes cannot materialize to form learning and teaching, study, which we enjoy, and which let us lead ourselves-each other to that ease that is all that’s necessary, given that we’re making a reasonable structure of society.
Socialist – toward communist – cooperative; prohibiting of counter-revolution so that we can build that system of comfort, that device – prohibiting overturning our work to build the structure to serve us all – is called by capitalism, totalitarian, in its own defense. Capitalism cannot stand us struggling for our benefit. It, and its precursors throughout the millennia, have murdered us who rise. They will continue to; we will continue to die, and to be tortured as they remain on the attack against our self-liberation. Our outlook is toward the amassing by our persistence and wisdom, expansion of our unification, so to withstand the incessant onslaught, if Earth abides.