Patricia V. Davis
What might be worse than destroying someone’s physical body with a gun or a bomb or any other lethal weapon is to pretend they don’t exist. To pretend their thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs do not exist, because they are different than ours.
But the irony is that pretending that someone who is not like you, who doesn’t think as you do, who has a different perspective on any given subject than you do, does not exist, is that it harms you as much as it harms him. Because when there is nothing to challenge your point of view, there is nothing to learn. And when there is nothing left to learn, there is no room for growth. And the opposite of growth is death.
Oh, we might not be physically dead, we might still be sitting on that couch, or going to that church or attending that rally, or posting an opinion on our blogs or on our Facebook pages for only our like-minded friends to nod their heads to in agreement with us.
But our brains and our spirits are dead because we have stopped learning.
And this is why I no longer teach in a high school classroom, or read newspapers and watch news programs that slant to the right or the left, or to the Christian point of view or the atheist point of view or the liberal point of view or the conservative, etc. It’s because each and every one of those outlets is designed to keep its disciples in check.
When we listen and repeat what our teacher says, what a textbook says (or, as in the case at the link below, doesn’t say) what a pundit says, what a religious leader says or what a politician says, we’re not learning — we’re parroting.
That was who was celebrated when I was a classroom teacher: the parrot, not the pupil. The pupil who asked his teachers “Why?” “How?” “What for?” “How do we know?” was considered a BEHAVIOR problem. But the parrot who sat quietly, read the textbook he was given and absorbed wholesale what was in that textbook so he could be tested on how well he’d memorized it, got the cracker.
The same thing is true in most homes, isn’t it? Does the Christian parent exist who wouldn’t be appalled if her child were an atheist, or the liberal who wouldn’t feel disgusted if her child were a conservative? There are those parents who abandon their children emotionally if those children do not conform to what they believe. And some go even further than that —they don’t just emotionally destroy them, they murder them—their own children — and are proud of it, as a matter of “honor.” Western society finds that horrific when they hear about it, but let’s face it—most of us, to a greater or lesser degree, put our children through a death of sorts by not allowing them to think as individuals rather than as an extension of ourselves and of what we were taught to believe. We’re even told by our peers that we’re being good parents when we do so. “It’s very important that my son speak the language I grew up speaking,” “It’s very important that my daughter goes to church,” “It’s very important that my kids not be gay,” are just three of many caveats to their approval and affection I’ve heard parents issue.
Some people who read the article at the link below won’t be upset by the fact there is missing information in these textbooks, any more than they’re upset that there is missing information in the textbooks used by schools in Texas, California, New York, Utah, and many other states in the US. Yet those same people are terribly upset when an Israeli bulldozer knocks down a house that belongs to a Palestinian in the Gaza, or when a gunman comes into a school and slaughters children like fish in a barrel.
Yes, those are terrible things. But just as terrible, perhaps far worse because of its long tail, is the slow zombification of an entire species. That’s what mainstream media, organized religion and the current education systems in each and every country on the planet are doing to us—more horrific than no schooling at all, more horrific than wholesale slaughter of a population, is the systemic agenda to turn all of us into a mindless mass of followers whose sole reason for existing is to eat the brains of the next generation.
And I can’t think of a greater weapon against this than to read everything, question everything, and learn whatever we can about everyone else who is different than we are, without ethnocentricity and xenophobia as the gatekeepers of our learning process.
Patricia V. Davis is the author of The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know and Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece. She is the founder of The Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference