As I sat reflecting on the sunrise beyond Mt. McLoughlin, something rather profound dawned on me. Learning is the purpose of life. We’re all here to learn. We seek knowledge perpetually, and we never get our fill. When are engaged in learning, we are very entertained. The best way to learn anything is to have fun with it, to enjoy trying it over and again and getting better. The thrills of learning to do things, like walk, swim, run, climb, lead us through our lives. We learn songs and stories, people and places. Children are naturally eager to learn and willing to practice tirelessly, so long as they are having fun.
An education in which students are not free pursue their own interests is scarcely an educational, rather an exercise in memory and compliance. One of the things that is attractive about un-schooling is that it allows kids to pick their own interests, and to self direct their own education. Un-schooling is a natural system; formal academic education is part of civilization.
What is a natural system? A natural system is like a forest, the water cycle, flocks of birds, or mycelium. It works all on its own. Why have all forests not gone extinct? Why do the mountains not simply crumble away into memory? Because they are natural. Natural systems persist.
Civilizations are unnatural systems. They are an interference with the energy flows of all the natural systems inherent to our world, a usurpation of the process. Civilization is founded on violent hierarchies of control for the purpose of converting nature into money. Civilization enslaves all land and all life upon it, holding nothing but profits sacred. Mountains are blown apart, forests cleared, rivers polluted and skies poisoned. Animals are completely enslaved, harvested for the productive capacities of their bodies. Humanity is also held captive, being tricked or forced into carrying out this unnatural, destructive process. We man the machines, buy the products, and dump the garbage. We do the math and write the programs, and we teach all of this to our children. We are the reason the world is destroying itself. Our continued compliance with patterns of civilization can no longer serve us. We must redesign our cultural systems, patterning them after natural systems that we know are stable and persistent.
It all begins with children. We must let them be free. We must let them develop without the traumas inherent to what is now considered a normal way to raise children. Any system that is force based, that is not voluntary, is traumatic. Force, compulsion, and aggression are not effective teaching models. If we do not respect their self ownership and allow them to study reality objectively, we cripple their capacity to truly learn and grow into their greatest potential.
Imagine a farmer with a luscious, thriving garden. A passerby remarks that he’s never seen such a flourishing of abundance. When he asks the farmer how he had created such a thing, the farmer merely replied that he loved his plants, and if he simply gave them what they needed, they would thrive all on their own just to please him.
Further down the road was a large farm with endless rows of sad looking plants. The passerby asked him if he was having trouble making his plants thrive. “I don’t know,” scowled the farmer, who was taking off the biohazard suit he wore during applications of pesticide, “I tell them how I want them to grow, I yell at them and beat them when they don’t measure up, and they still won’t do it. I can’t understand why they’re such degenerates!”
Children who are loved and nurtured will thrive far better than those who are forced into compliance. Civilization can’t seem to understand why everything won’t just keep operating by civilization’s rules. Animals always run off and go feral if not closely guarded. Fields will turn to weeds and eventually to forests if left unplowed. Grasses break through pavement and vines consume buildings left untended. All of nature perpetually strives to undo what man has been creating, and yet we persist, thinking that this eventually we’ll get things under control.
It is an illusion to think we can control anything, from the land to the minds of the children. Many may be subjugated, but no amount of violence, no amount of shame, can ever eradicate the impulse to self determine. As soon as the threats of force are removed, all systems revert to their natural state.
Bringing ourselves to higher awareness means becoming conscious the contrast between force based systems and natural systems. It involves letting go of a great many assumptions that we have taken for granted, and often it means the end of many privileges we have grown accustomed to.
That’s why we don’t see more people pursuing real, reasonable solutions to more of the world’s problems; because too many of us are benefiting from the problem, and we don’t want to have to give up the privileges our destructive plunder affords us.
Only those who have not yet been acclimated to, we might even say addicted to, the culture of industrial civilization, have any hope of dismantling its destructive apparati and restoring our world to balance. Hence the need to rewrite the script of parenting and education. Concepts like un-schooling, peaceful parenting, and kin’s domains are already gaining popularity, and I believe they will gain much more as people discover them as an option. How could they not? As more and more people successfully create non-forceful, self motivated education systems, the results will speak for themselves.