I don’t know if I’m the only one, but the idea that going to University is at all impressive is truly bizarre to me. I’ve talked to people who are either impressed or resentful that I’m in University, one guy saying, “The only way I’d see Queens is if I walked past it”.
This admiration for education isn’t a new phenomenon for me. I’ve talked previously on this blog about how back in A-Level old men, most of whom were old enough to remember when there wasn’t a school there, would come up to me and my school friend while we were out the town having lunch and they’d bemoan how grand that brick shithouse was; “There’s Doctor’s come out of there, Lawyers too” they’d say.
It’s true that my former school did produce many fine doctors and lawyers. So many I could literally count them on one hand. I’d stand there listening to these old men speaking of that institution with such vigorous pride, as if they laid those bricks out themselves. I couldn’t tell them the truth, it’s like telling a loving parent that their kid’s a raging asshole.
In truth the education system I experienced was unimpressive and highly overrated, the students were worse. There were about two hundred people in my year at A-level, I could think of fifty that deserved to be there and ten that genuinely wanted to be there. Most of these kids were just killing time, get out the house, fuck about with friends, try to avoid teen pregnancies- the whole shebang.
Good portion of lads were there solely to play for the school’s Gaelic team, which would be a one-way ticket to playing county. Useless people studied useless subjects and performed uselessly. Most of them won’t be doctors, or lawyers- most of them would live and die in the same corner of earth that was carved out for them at birth.
And fair play to them, some people can thrive in that environment and lifestyle. But education, at least to my experience, abhorred that very lifestyle. Complacency is the enemy of Progression, or at least what education considered progression.
Nearly two decades I’ve spent in education and this one fundamental concept has been drilled into my goddamn head; if you do not succeed you are a waster.
If you do not get a good grade in the eleven plus you will not get into a good secondary school and will become a waster. If you do not get a good score on a test given upon entering that secondary school, you will be put into a pack of morons and will be doomed to become a waster. If you do not get good grades in third year you will only be allowed to do a few GCSE’s and of course that gets you a one-way ticket to Waster University where you can take a course studying wasterism which you’ll drop out of in three months because, well, you’re a waster. Shit GCSE results almost exclusively doom you to becoming a waster, as do shit A-Level results and oh boy if you so much as dare drop out of University that’s a one way ticket to Wasterdam.
A Waster is the worst thing a human being could possibly be. An individual who wastes their talents, their skills, opportunities, who fails not only themselves but their family and by extension community. If you do not find success or even get your life in some semblance of order by twenty five you are a waster and you will not get good money, or a good house, or good food or drinks, you will be denied access to the inherently good successful people and their respect. You will never get laid because you’re poor. You will never be content, you will be regretful, you will never be Happy. You are a Waster and you have earned your misery.
The myth and, let’s face it, truth of the waster propagates the myth that success guarantees happiness. Well, at least how education defines success. Education defines success as getting a good job, getting a good house, getting a good car and getting a good family. All of which can only be attained if you get good grades in GCSE, and A-Level, and University- and whatever pack of thieves is trying to bankrupt you both financially and spiritually. It churns out a few basic assholes like toothpicks.
Success does not guarantee happiness. That good job may pay well, but it’s soul crushing. That good house comes with a mortgage and some cuntish neighbours. The car is cool at first but eventually it becomes a crutch- the only thing in your life that you seem to genuinely like. And that good family is nice for a photo-op, but outside of that you’d just rather they fuck off into a corner and die.
Initially it’s exciting to have a kid, but then they keep waking you up in the middle of the night and you have to commit the reprehensible act of touching literal human shit. To top it off you and your significant other haven’t fucked in ages, haven’t had a good conversation in decades, they’ve lost their good looks and their scent and touch repulses you.
You think that you’re staying together for the kids, but you hate the kids and they hate you, so that’s obviously a lie. In reality you’re staying together because you either know for a fact that you’re too old to find anyone else who finds you remotely appetible or you just don’t want to sleep alone. That and the financial knot you tied yourself into with the mortgage and the marriage. Asking for a Pre-nub is not exactly an easy thing for couples to go through, so most avoid it.
You might not hate your kids, but you’ll be resentful or somewhat disgusted at the way they do things. The way they talk is abhorrent, their hair looks fucking ridiculous, their music is shite and because everything has undoubtedly changed to a degree you find mortifying the whole means of your existence becomes less and less tolerable. You don’t like the way the world sounds, or looks, or acts. You will either find your kids friends repulsive or desperately want to fuck them, which again, detrimental to the whole marriage thing.
You will sit in your success in misery. Death is a breakaway, a relief from the mundane dreg of existence. You might find God, but you’ll find him dull and awkward. The priest or minister will decry all sorts of sins that you secretly cherish. You will live and die in that chunk of earth carved out to you by birth, or flee that land in pursuit of milk and honey. But milk and honey grows stale and you will grow hungry. All sweet things will eventually taste bitter. You will be successful in every aspect but the important ones.
The Wasters aren’t well off either, but they were never expected to be happy. It seems every life is filled with brief moments of happiness, muddled with a stream on contentedness and flooded now and again with misery and despair.
Then again maybe I’m projecting. The World is neither cruel nor wonderful, it just is.
So as you can tell from this article, the education system hasn’t really benefited me. I like to think that my parents were pretty good, so all these rough edges came about in school.
I like to think of my time in education as prison, minus the constant threat of rape. Nobody really wants to be there, everyone divides themselves into packs. Being alone gives off the aroma of weakness, to avoid confrontation you need to fit in. The time you do often causes more harm than good. Anything you learn is almost exclusively damn well unsuitable for the outside world.
School was Heaven for few, Purgatory for most and for some, sadly, it was Hell.
It’s a stupid, outdated system. A system built solely to benefit a few somewhat capable morons. I was assigned to the second lowest class in regards to IQ, the class below me literally had mentally disabled kids. In Primary School I was put into a group of kids, the slow readers. My time at Secondary School was basically fulfilling my destiny the system had assigned to me; being a complete and utter moron.
The faculty don’t explicitly tell you that you’re stupid, the other kids do. You’re pushed into a pack of morons and asked to learn useless shit like what kind of triangles there are and whatever the fuck a noun is. Some of the kids are genuinely moronic, others just aren’t built for the system. Some kids are alright, some aren’t.
It took me a few years to figure out how to not get shit for anything by anyone; be quiet, be polite and follow orders. The quiet kid will get away with everything because they’re the only person that the teacher doesn’t despise. The other kids will leave them alone for the most part, maybe because they’ve gradually grown a semblance of respect or a fear that “oh, that kid is crazy” but mostly they don’t give a fuck.
The quiet kid will never slabber, will never snitch, will never start fights or cause mayhem. People will genuinely forget you exist. To survive in school, you must become a ghost. Unfortunately, that requires a little bit of death on your part. The system will churn out wasters and successful morons. People will grow to detest learning because of their time in school, because you will resent anything that is mandatory. Even if it’s supposedly good for you.
After a while I became a professional fly on the wall. I started zoning out in classes. Seven years in Purgatory and I didn’t study Maths or English- I studied people. In life, people will inadvertently bear their souls to you. I eavesdropped as to packs talked about themselves, who was cool and who was not, who fancied who. I listened to them laugh and cry, espouse great wisdom and bigotry. I saw the best of people, I saw the worst of people.
I would know so much about these people and they would know next to nothing about me. That’s the way I liked it. You’re not supposed to see Ghosts.
The Education System as it stands today, in my humble opinion, is a crock of shit. Wasting countless hours trying to understand whatever the fuck an isosceles triangle is isn’t going to help you pay your taxes, nor will reading of Mice and Men help you understand the fine print of your car insurance and performing an arbitrary science experiment sure as fuck isn’t going to help you with almost any job you will be lucky to find.
School does not prepare you for life, it wastes it.
There’s little to no practical uses to any of the shit you learn. Most people carry on with tech or A-Levels because they literally have nowhere else to go. What was supposed to be a ladder is now a crutch.
So, seeing as the current state of education is less than satisfactory, how would I change it?
For starters get rid of Uniforms. They’re expensive, ugly and aren’t fit for service. Too hot in summer, too cold in winter- fucking useless. As are GCSE’s. That’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of the person who literally created them. School for most students should only be fifteen hours extended over a work week. You teach them the fundamental and genuinely useful basics early on; how to read, how to write, how to do maths and have a basic understanding of science.
After a while you give them options; people who like or are good at maths can do maths, people who like reading can do English, people who like science can study science. The only real mandatory subjects will revolve around practical skills such as cooking, history, governing, politics, law, sex education, how taxes work and how to balance a check book.
Throughout the school year there will be mandatory lectures given by career specialists, that way from a decent age you’re informed about your options. You’re not going to waste two or five years studying subjects and collecting eight to twenty grand of debt just so you can get a job that turns out you’re either unsuitable for or dislike.
In the Summer there should be some kind of internship program that operates similar to the scouts. Kids from all different backgrounds will get to experience different types of careers and lifestyles. Kids from the Country will be sent to the city to experience office life, kids from the city will head out to the country to try out farming. The opportunity for travel and new experiences will create a more empathetic and knowledgeable society.
I can imagine a series of problems with this kind of system, all of which are far better than the problems I see with the current one. You are not done learning at sixteen or eighteen or twenty-three, you are never to finish learning. To forego learning is to submit to ignorance and complacency. We need to stop seeing education as a rite and more as a privilege. Because no matter how benevolent, you will grow to resent any rite.
Despite what people would presume, Uni has about as many Wasters as any other institution. Well, maybe not as much as Tech. But the Wasters at Uni I personally find more repugnant.
Back in School most Wasters had an excuse for their predicament. A culmination between growing up poor with shitty parenting and an early instilment of resentment towards the system. They were fucked from day one. Their upbringing is not a reason, but an excuse. It takes a special kind of person to climb over all these hurdles, most people don’t make the cut. They live and die in their little chunk of dirt, often filled to the brim with regret and resentment. Being stupid doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a Waster, but it doesn’t help.
In University there’s no real excuse to be a Waster. Other than a shitty, middle class upbringing and 60,000 hours of resentment for being stuck in a room with a bunch of repugnant cunts. That resentment leads to an insistence to live your life to the fullest; taking all the drugs, drinking all the beers and cumming till you need to reload. The Craic becomes an addiction, a coping mechanism.
You stop caring about your studies or who you are or where you’ll be or what you’ll do. The future is someone else’s problem.
Unlike the school wasters, I have no sympathy for a Uni waster. You are not a reject, you are not a runt, you were not deemed too stupid or unfit for the system to cultivate. In fact, the system was designed exclusively for people like you to thrive, and you did thrive. But you found a way to fuck it up. You found a way to bankrupt a Casino. To drown a fish. To suffocate on air.
I fucking hate Uni Wasters, that’s just my 60,000 hours of resentment personified. If you drop out of Uni, especially in the first year, for anything other than financial or physical/mental health reasons- you’re a pathetic individual in my eyes.
Then again maybe I’m being harsh. I try to approach everyone as equals. If there’s one thing I hate it’s a person who thinks they’re better than me, more precisely the people too inconsiderate to hide the fact that they think they are your superior. I’ve talked to so many cunts with that same tone of voice, that insistence on engaging in real dialogue when in actuality they’re taking the piss. The eyes betray them though, they look at you like a clown or the village idiot.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence, often times when I interact with people in a polite or friendly manner to signify we’re on the same level, it’s a crock of shit. There’s so many people I know for a fact that are lesser than me personality wise, as do you, as does most people, but I’ll let on that we’re on a level playing field unless they’re a reprehensible cunt.
It just so happens that an overwhelming majority of Uni Wasters tend to be people who think that they are better than whatever the hell I am and by extension people like me. I have a gut feeling that there’s a depressing amount of people like me out there.
My life up to this point has been appallingly mediocre. Grew up in a somewhat middle class family in a nice neighbourhood in the middle of buck fuck nowhere- and by nice neighbourhood I mean; “Non Sectarian Shit-Hole” a low bar for the great state of Northern Ireland. Both parents worked, Dad became redundant during the Financial Crash and spent three years unemployed and on benefits. Mum worked three different jobs, barely scraping by.
These experiences helped turn me into a big ol’ lefty and a hard advocate for the Welfare State. Never went hungry, never went cold, despite issues at school I was an average student. The system tolerated my presence, it could mould me into something vague it might find useful at some point that would never come.
In some circles I would be regarded as privileged, those circles being Hell and Connacht. I was a weird kid. Didn’t have a lot of friends. Talked funny, walked funny, kids gave me shit for that. Eventually one day I just stopped talking and became a Ghost. Few people saw me. Mid way through secondary school I got an idea what the smarter classes were like, outside of good banter and an ability to read better there wasn’t much difference between them and the packs back in the dumber classes.
Eventually I discovered the layout of the system but at that point it was too late. Fourteen odd years of people telling you that you were stupid left it’s mark. I had sense but it wasn’t beneficial in that system. They couldn’t churn me out like these Uni Wasters. At some point I just stopped caring. I didn’t even bother trying to find a pack. Solitude had become my brethren. Most people thought I was weird, some thought I was Gay, some thought I was crazy, some thought I was going to be a legitimate serial killer or rapist, some thought I was funny and interesting.
Those last two still bother me. I don’t find myself particularly interesting, or funny.
I’m not stupid, not smart, I’m not crazy or anything at all like that. I am an appallingly average and mediocre person. Not smart enough to figure out how to cure cancer, but not dumb enough to avoid existential dread and spouts of depression. I am what I am.
When I head out to the pubs back home and where I went to school, I have some issues talking to people. Particularly the older ones. In Ireland there’s a huge gap of understanding between the old and the young. My Dad is about fifty-six and I’m nineteen. When he was about fourteen he was still drinking out of a well. By my age he’d moved “houses” several times. Not to anywhere far away, just up the hill- since their current shack collapsed due to the North Wind.
By the time he was thirty the houses around his area just got sufficient plumbing. A few years later they’d get indoor heating. Mass was a mile-long walk, school was three. He hated school because the teacher would beat him and when he got home his parents would beat him for getting beat in the first place. Like me he learned fuck all and the beating did not teach him anything. It just made him angry, made him resentful.
It’s very hard for people as old as my Dad to understand the world as it is now, just like I struggle to understand how the world was back then. The old men down the pub thing I’m pretty articulate, which I am. It’s an illusion of a grand intelligence that isn’t there. I have enough sense to not accidentally kill myself, no more, no less.
Growing up in these areas, venturing to the city and by extension further education has been…strange. To say the least. I liked to think of myself as too city for the country and too country for the city, but now I just don’t think shit.
In my opinion education has a dividing effect. Carson McCullers briefly touches upon this in her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, with Dr. Copeland. A black doctor who tries desperately to educate his ethnic community on their oppression and how to overcome it with Marxism. But he struggles to build a connection because of the educational gap. He’s quite well educated while his community are not. Ethnically they’re on the same boat but intellectually there’s a divide.
I feel this divide between the educated constantly. Particularly among those on the political ends. I’ve read books about political theory and I’m just thinking “has this guy ever met a normal person?” these intellectuals break themselves off from normal society and analyse every idea that comes up analytically, like a post mortem.
Intellectuals who are bigoted will often espouse some Racial Realism bullshit, the uneducated will just bemoan how there’s more brown people than there were when they grew up and that intimidates them. Both are racist but they’re on different levels.
Likewise lefty intellectuals will constantly frame everything from the perspective of minorities and how society needs to be upheaved so that new structures could be implanted that will benefit these groups. Uneducated lefties just want people to stop shoving dogshit into their brown neighbours letter box and watch some football. Everyone gets on. No one has to go on a diatribe about how to achieve systematic equality, you just treat people decently until everyone does it. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve only ever seen this concept of education creating a dividing effect articulated in one other place; The Business Secrets of Drug Dealing.
In one of the chapters the protagonist, Huey- a black drug dealer in America, goes around canvassing for this political outreach centre in his community. At the time they were intending to spread awareness around LGBTQ issues and from the get go when they’re training him to understand and use these bizarre academic dribble such as “hetero-normative” and whatever the fuck they espouse. Like any normal person, he just knows that these buzzwords will mean nothing to a poor, uneducated and highly religious community.
There’s an ignorance apparent in academia. He articulates it better than I ever could;
“I don’t think knowledge is bad. I just think that the act of acquiring it can have a separating effect. Every level of education you achieve drives you deeper and deeper into an elite group that’s walled itself off like all groups do, with its own language and tribal rituals. The difference with educated people is they think they’re above this, when actually they’re the most tribal of all. It’s fucking sad.”
I was at a lecture today about World Politics and at one point my lecturer says “oh and by the way, there are more than two genders” and…just moves on. Doesn’t back it up, doesn’t explain whatever the fuck that meant- just casually mentions a mind bending theory that most people would scoff at.
Upon hearing this I thought about the kids I grew up, both wasters and supposedly successful people. I thought about the old men and women in the pubs. I thought about everyone I knew back home. People who were still coming to terms with Gay people, let alone Transgenderism. I imagined what kind of reactions you’d get from saying something like that back home, but here it was perfectly normal.
If that’s not a divide, I don’t know what is.
Like Huey, I don’t think that education is necessarily bad. I despise the current system that churns out useful idiots and bankrupts kids who don’t know any better. Like most young and old people, I think the world would work a hell of a lot better if they followed my ideas. But fixing the world is a bitch, because humans are inherently tribal. I am inherently tribal, but self aware.
Like a puppet that sees the strings, most educated people will operate. We are, for now and forever, inadvertently divided. Education is a problem people like me and you ought to fix in the near future. In the mean time I have to worry about present issues. Like how behaviour towards learning in secondary school is not suitable for University and how the way I conduct myself is not helpful on a social level.
For years I lived as a Ghost but now I find myself desperately trying to resurrect myself. Shouldn’t be too hard. Hell, Jon Snow did it- and he knows nothing.