The view from my classroom in Veneto, north Italy: perhaps the last place on earth,
where the concept of the family is still largely intact.
Then and Now …
The DESIRE to learn – the HUMILITY to learn …
the APPRECIATION for being taught … is a thing that is long gone.
Everything now, it seems, is directed towards:
“How will this make me money?”
It is said that people get the society that they deserve.
Indeed, one is obliged to sadly concur.
Multitudes now delight in being nothing more than
obscenity-spewing machines with beating hearts
– not wanting to “waste time” by slowing down and thinking
while writing words on paper
or even developing the self-discipline
to write clearly and legibly.
I write my Copperplate script using a pen and paper:
it is what distinguishes me … from a machine.
And I will not surrender these things to the contemporary nothingness
… hedonistic apathy … and obscene laziness of the modern world.
To a young person, I would plead:
Never lose the skill.
And teach it, one day, to your children.
Conscientious youths seem few and far between – a mere remnant,
really, amidst a multitude of teenagers whose unbridled arrogance
now impertinently imagines that their personal ‘opinion’
is every bit as valid as that of someone who possesses actual skill,
maturity, and life experience.
I cannot but be filled with a deep feeling of sadness, now,
whenever I see a little child.
Like the little girl being led by the hand of a tattoo-covered
creature screaming across a parking lot at his … ‘woman’
to … “f**king hurry up!”
It makes me incredibly sad to think of what the future will hold
for a little boy or girl, when the ‘parents’ are devoid of anything
resembling the adult characteristics that were commonplace in the 1960’s.
The postman, the milkman, the ‘lollipop man’, ALWAYS had a friendly smile;
and you felt safe, when there were people around.
I remember one obnoxious thug – ( once, as we were all walking home from school )
– telling a girl to … ‘go to hell’,
and ‘old’ ( she must have been at least 40! ) Mrs Johnson
reaching over her garden gate to grab the top of his ear,
and tell the malignant upstart to never use language like that again,
anywhere near her house.
She never released her grip on the wretch until he apologised
– to her, and the girl.
We learned common sense, manners, self-control, and ‘right from wrong’
FROM THE EXAMPLE of the adults around us.
And so did any bullies, who would have preyed upon the weak or the timid.
What a removal from the spectacle of many parents
( “My kid would never do that!” ) today.
If WE did anything wrong – we hoped and prayed that our parents would never find out.
But then – along with those with whom I grew up – we simply would have been
restrained by conscience and the fear of disgracing our parents.
It was what was expected of us.
We didn’t have opinions. And we didn’t talk back.
We were children and had no life experience.
And we knew it.
We didn’t glibly lie … for the simple reason that lying was wrong.
And everyone else’s mum … was our mum too.
All along the 20-minute walk to school, could be heard shouts of:
“You, boy! Stop dragging that school bag!”
“Tuck in your shirt!”
“Run along or you’ll be late for the bell.”
It felt GOOD to have rules.
And to be expected to live up to them.
There was None of this modern, self-esteem arrogance.
Respect was EARNED.
You respected your parents, and teachers; you PROVED that you were
responsible, dependable, and that you deserved to be trusted
and shown some degree of respect.
And when you DID live up to those rules … boy! did that feel good.
Of course, given the all-too-evident, modern reality
of people who cannot even spell:
their minds incapacitated by technology;
morals eradicated by televised debauchery and moral sewage of Hollywood;
and manners obliterated by the eradication of discernment and common decency,
I am not so sure, now, that recalling the joys of those by-gone days
is such a good thing … because the next time I venture past the garden gate,
the grim reality of the 21st century will be all-too readily apparent.
By the end of the 1970′s, public school education in North America
had discarded the classical academic foundations of Reading, Writing,
and Arithmetic ( all of which actually taught the brain to work );
and substituted instead, a system of Pavlovian Conditioning
in which subsequent generations of pupils were taught “critical thinking”
– innovations supplemented by classroom tuition in “Sex Education”,
“Drug Education”, Birth Control, Alternate Lifestyle Awareness,
and Political Correctness.
As reading, writing, grammar, and the ability to think was abolished,
a centralized effort was obviously being made to reshape the will;
to re-define morality, and eliminate objective values of right and wrong.
Tolerance quickly replaced discernment as moral absolutes were discarded
and human beings were now taught to “keep an open mind” …
and that “we must never judge”.
Subservience and Compliance became the main goals of education.
Eradicate the ability to think: memorise and repeat everything that is taught.
The 21st century bears witness that it has been a very observable,
and phenomenal, success.
Not only are barely literate young people being turned out of schools
barely able to read, spell, or carry on an intelligent conversation
– but they will now ‘graduate’ being unable even to physically write.
Unless physically connected to a machine, human “communication”
will be of the most limited capacity possible.
“Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile,
industrious, punctual, thoughtless and contented.
Of these qualities, probably Contentment will be considered
the most important.”
[ Bertrand Russell, Education in a Scientific Society ]
Contented, of course, with liquor, hedonism, iToys and TV.
I have spent my life espousing certain standards – of morality,
self-discipline; of courtesy, consideration, and conscience:
trying to encourage young people – and their parents – to apply themselves;
raise themselves to a higher standard than the lowest common denominator of mediocrity
in the sub-animal existence that prevails today.
Sad to say, given what comes out of the mouths of “adults” today,
it seems to have been an utterly wasted effort.