“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.” ~ John Adams
At some point in life, all of us flirt with the belief that we were meant to live in another era. It’s almost always a time of the past. With our hindsight perspective, the past seems so simple. And while studying how people conducted their lives 30, 50, 100, or 1000-years ago, we imagine that we could replicate them – and that doing so would alleviate us from our contemporary struggles.
History may repeat itself, but society is a progression. And in that progression, many of the greatest struggles we battle are simply impractical continuations of practices that sustained a previous step in the societal progression. Today, one of those struggles is education.
I’m asking you to be honest. And I’m making the assumption that you have found this article because you have, at some level, the luxury of choice. It is because you’re young, aware, and making a choice is currently the struggle you face.
Society has stigmatized our generation as entitled, lazy, undisciplined, and idealistic. However, I tend towards believing that we are the poets, painters, musicians, and artisans. In the progression described by John Adams in the quote above, we have been fortunate enough to be born into a society, at a specific time, that allows us the luxury of individualism and expression. And those generations before us who disagree are simply confusing our generation for theirs.
Our current education system is one of those impractical continuations. Designed to fulfill a purpose that our generation was not born to serve. The industrial era that many of our parents, and our grandparents, were apart of has given way to a new society. One that can support passion.
However, like the old industrial economies that are responsible for creating academic institutions over a century ago, both remain designed to produce a consistent and homogenized product.
Some of us prefer that. And by that I mean a structured life. But for those whose hearts burn, and cannot sit still, an opportunity that only presents itself every several-hundred or thousand-years is available to you – and to waste it would be cowardly.
If you are one of those people, let no one tell you otherwise. Let no doctor diagnose you with an attention disorder, or medication drug you into obedience. Don’t fight yourself to obey rules, but instead fight rules to obey yourself. But most of all, remember that each generation has a purpose – and it is not to repeat the lives of those before us.
*This article was written for my friends at year13.com.au – check them out!