October 22, 2020 9:47 pm Published by Leave your thoughts
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Article by Beth Porter

Confession time: Despite a lifetime of atheism, I’m a heretic. But please read on before you burn me at the stake. [And don’t burn your steak!]

With so many of us in lock-down or self-isolation for whatever reason, we’ve had plenty of time to reflect on how the pandemic affects us. How we’re coping just now and whether there will ever be a future we might recognise.

Much of the world is rethinking their lie-fed assumptions from disparate governments. The virus is returning to places declared clear. It’s coming back in mutated form. And even those who’ve been struck once are presenting with another bout, just when they thought they’d acquired immunity.

Today’s questions challenge this world perspective, primarily in the context of Europe and the UK. An imaginary zoom call requires no technology, yet you might switch off. Walk away in disgust. Take refuge in those headlines that reinforce your entrenched views.

But if you decide to stay, please help think the unfashionable. As ever, we won’t get definitive answers, but together we may be able to adjust our collective vision.

School’s Out… of the question!
Whatever their age, all children must attend school in order to be educated. Really? I simply ask why? What exactly is education for, who sets the agenda, and whose interests are served by an educational system based on class?

Examining these assumptions leads inevitably onto the quick-sands of the economy, with stops along the way for Brexit betrayals, and the pesky matter of saving the planet.

During the millennia defined by the world’s richest and best protected, the concept of democracy became extruded like molten plastic. It quickly evolved, ready to be moulded into a comfy dream palace, full of pilfered goods. The disparity between such pashas and princes and their malleable servants required some rigid rules. Which is how education became a tool of control.

To test such a heretical theory, we must shake hands with our own history. Picture a scene, any scene anywhere in the world of community life back in the beyond of a written record. Do you imagine men, women, and kids staggering around befuddled? Groping the air, trying to eat it. Hugging a blade of grass with no comprehension of its lonely dance?

No, of course not. For generation after generation, people developed means of survival. They observed the success of other animals around them. They dared to make mistakes, and figured out together how to avoid them in the future.

They saw that future in recurring seasons, star patterns, and by comparing the faces of their parents with those of their children. It was for them they passed on the best of their tools, and staked out signposts for exploration and experiment.

All without language. All without writing. All without school and rules.

No Luddite, m’Lord
It would indeed be social folly to abandon the extraordinary accomplishments, inventions, discoveries of our species. The question isn’t about teaching and learning, but about who controls pedagogy. And especially how to prevent its being synonymous with democracy.

The proof of the inequalities inherent in our educational system is baked into the pudding of funding. Private schools [so confusingly dubbed ‘public schools’] have long prospered from proven and utterly disgusting financial corruption. Centuries of legal justification have ensured the separation of rich and poor. That is and has been the path followed by a ruling elite to be served. Whether or not that class pursues some occupation, it can only be underpinned by the exploitation of a class deemed more lowly and born to serve.

No wonder today’s politicians shout a rallying cry to keep schools open, covid or no covid. How else will they ever find a plumber, a nanny, a Saville Row clothier, a pastry chef, or a ladies maid? Doors are opened for them. Coffee brewed. Chairs pulled out just so. Grouse rifles locked and loaded.

For so many centuries the service class were denied knowledge of their position. Now that technology has opened the curtains on the smug expectations of entitlement, there’s rage and resentment.

Did you know that one of the most coveted jobs around the stately homes and palaces of yore was The Bottom Wiper?

What could be a more potent a symbol of social inequality than that?

Why Should I Believe You?
Back in 1951, screen stars Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell sang a wry duet for the film Royal Wedding. The opening gambit is “Why should I believe you when you say you love me, when I know you’ve been a liar all your life?”

“You must be loony,” Astaire tells her, “to trust a lower-than-low two-timer.” There aren’t many public pronouncements of green-washing that sum up global corporate deception to address climate change.

Public awareness of this most pressing issue is being tackled at last by the more responsible media outlets, both here and abroad. The BBC’s What Planet Are We On, presents a cogent case of some solutions to allow a future that can include us all.

The problem remains, however, that even though the squeaks of climate change deniers are dwindling, the premise for an effective plan remains rooted in some form of capitalism. And, as we’ve seen, that itself is precariously balanced on the inequality of profit and loss.

Trail-blazing throughout the corporate world has unerringly centred on degrees of enslaving people, of ignoring the very safeguards they themselves have set in place to assure a public face of compliance.

I remain a heretic. I cannot trust the politicians and their puppet-masters of profit. They’ve lied and lied again to protect their positions, and all the while the planet is dying. At any rate, the planet we depend on.

If our planet, our beautiful home, our Third Rock is decimated by the lies and corruption of Big Business, then we’re all doomed. So the final question is how can we find the ways and means to challenge those deceivers, and sing along with Gloria Gaynor: We will survive!

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