Hey, I’ve got this great idea! If a person wants to do a thing that doesn’t hurt anybody, let’s just let them go about their business!
Weird, trampy tattoo? Piercings? Blue, half shaved hair? It’s no skin off your nose, even if it was a little off of his or hers! Quit being so damn judgy!
That guy dresses up in Civil War garb and acts out major battles? That girl does the same, but with bodice dresses and magic spells? Again, there’s no infringement on your day, not really.
That guy loves another guy? STFU. The worth and quality of their relationship is no more your business than the worth and quality of my hetero marriage.
Nobody’s hurting you with their fashion, their hobbies, or their relationships. Direct all that rage, that vitriol, that bias and willingness to ostracize another human being toward the ones that are hurting: the murderers, oppressors, rapists, abusers, and so on.
Have a nice day. Have it however you like. After all, you’re not hurting anybody, right?
This blog post courtesy of the random dude on the internet, snottily commenting on somebody’s “tramp stamp”.
I’ve been thinking about learning and education pretty much my whole life. First, I was subject to it. Then I chose to continue it. Now I continue learning – on purpose! - both because it helps my job, and because it interests me.
I figured out early that the downside of organized schooling is that “learning” quickly becomes a swear word to children. Having finally achieved a place in my life where there is far more to learning – more fun and more interest and far more value – I’d like to do what I can to combat the side effects of what we consider normal education.
Not to say that school is worthless, because it certainly isn’t. A great deal of the formal education you pick up at school is very worthwhile, as is the set of life skills that goes along with it: for example, putting up with what seemed to be ridiculous orders, and grunt work, and the society of people you wouldn’t ordinarily choose to hang around. And of course the organizational and other non-obvious skills that go along with years of taking orders and following instructions and writing things down.
But as I say, a rigorous and long-term curriculum of formalized education can really suck the fun out of learning anything new. I should know, having gone through it myself and also having watched three of my own children go through the same system (to varying stages and ages, at this point).
I learned a few things, I want you to know them too. I want each other very well.
Knowledge is fluid: First, knowledge is not as concrete as one would expect. Authorities are only kind of authorities. Teachers, publishers, authors, and even on-the-ground historians get things wrong. They get things wrong very badly sometimes, and consistently over decades and centuries. While I wouldn’t want you to get in the habit of thinking that everything that everyone says is complete bullshit, it’s a good idea to develop a healthy skepticism for everything you hear, read, and absorb through societal assumptions. Columbus wasn’t a hero; he was a (rather literally) cutthroat businessman. We know far less about Shakespeare than high school English would have you believe. Women and minorities are badly overlooked in history classes…throughout history in general as a matter of fact. As a result of all this, it’s a good idea to keep that helped us get a sense of skepticism, and to read out from multiple sources. You’re really interested in the topic, look into primary source material. For history that would be journals notebooks and letters, for science I suppose it would be talking to scientists and peers, or reviewing their publications.
Yes of course this sounds like a lot of work. I’m not saying you should spend your life triple checking everything that’s taught to you. But if you have the real understanding that knowledge is not concrete, it will go along way toward curing you of hero worship, ignorance, and mental laziness.
Stuff is way more interesting than it sounds: Second, I have found that school tends to suck the richness and texture out of almost any given topic, most of the time. I doubt that’s on purpose…it’s a result of a number of factors, including but not limited to the resistance of students, the oversight of school boards, the amount of knowledge one has to cram into kids heads for standardized testing, and so forth. Not to mention the expectations of parents, colleges, and future employers.
But the dry topics you’re looking into really aren’t that dry. Science is the study of how reality works, and reality is phenomenally, astoundingly, thrillingly fucked up. Similarly, history is the study of why shit went down. The books I had (through all of school and college) all made it sound like shit went down because it was fated, or something. There were never any real reasons attached to events and dates. “World War I started because this guy was assassinated.” That kind of bland summary sucks all the interest out of a real actual murder. These days, people make action movies out of that sort of thing. Why does the murder of an Archduke have to be to be so boring? Somebody wanted this guy dead, for reasons of greed, or lust, jealousy, or religious hatred, or I don’t even know what, because they never taught me.
Getting the inside scoop from some other source that doesn’t come from school can make things a lot more interesting. Watch a movie about this stuff. Or a documentary, or a Bill Bryson book. Yes, it sounds like more work. But this is really in the interests of not only making your education more entertaining, but make it stick with you better and actually making it mean something. Education can be useful…who knew?
Maybe you don’t like reading. There’s only so much I can help you with that, but my best advice is to find something to do like, even if it’s Calvin and Hobbes comics, and read that. Reading exercises your brain and expands your vocabulary in ways that will make high school and college especially far easier.
If you don’t like what your classes reading right now, again, your best bet is to get extra material on it. Studying Shakespeare? Watch the modern-day production of Othello (or whatever you’re reading). If nothing else, it would give you people to picture and a context for what the story is sort of about, while you’re reading the stuff in class and picking apart every little syllable for meaning.
Check out real life: Finally – and this never occurred to me when I was in school - talk to people. If you don’t understand the math, talk to the teacher, a mathy, or find a video on Khan Academy or YouTube. If geography is boring as hell, get on Reddit or Twitter and find somebody from Poland to talk to you about what life is really like there. Hit up the zoo for the animal handlers that take care of the critters are studying biology. When you connect education to real life, it becomes real, and actually interesting.
Basically, school eventually becomes a process of “do this”, followed by “Do I have to?“ I get that, and I get that you don’t want to do more on top of it. I really encourage you to find the stuff that might interest you at all: the movies, the dirt on people centuries dead, that kind of thing. If you get two pages into a book you picked up and find it dry as hell, put it back down!
The joy of self-education is, you get to pick and choose what you spend your time on.
Love you guys.
My friend @lazypifarm applied for a grant for the farm, and needs votes to make the shortlist. Thanks for helping!
Check out her site for info on her livestock, yarn and fiber work, free fiction and more: http://www.lazypifarm.com
I just realized (finally, on the surface) that this is a societal meme:
“The poor” must be either sad or grateful, never happy or sullen; must be extraordinarily attractive, moral, and/or charming; and must be without any form of common comfort or luxury, down to and including mobile phones and small appliances; in order for them to be considered good, noble, and deserving of aid of any sort.
The short version: Mass data collection is bad, no matter how (allegedly) benign the intentions are of the collecting agency. Every person has the right to privacy, even if (and especially if) you have “nothing to hide”. I have nothing to hide, but I wouldn’t let any random stranger open my mail, take pictures of my kids in my home, or know every single little thing about where I go, what I buy, and who I talk to.
For further reading, see
Feel free to copy this blog wholesale and use it on your blog. Spread the word.
I’ve been thinking about it for years, and finally made myself a standing desk based on a friend’s stand-up desk setup. I took the same general design, which is just a set of wire shelves and a nice board, and the project was done – from shopping to complete desk – in less than 2 hours.
- 72 inch standing shelves, preferably with a good 18″ depth. ~$70
- a nice furniture grade board – these are good wood, already sanded – wider than the shelves. I got a board 2′ by 6′. ~$30
- An electric drill. $30-200
- A 1 1/4 inch bore drill bit. ~$5
- Filing boxes or some other storage/drawer solution (optional)
- A tall chair, if you want. I haven’t bought one yet.
- Assemble the first four shelves. The fourth shelf is your desk area, so make sure that it rests at just under elbow height, for comfortable typing. I spaced the lower shelves vertically with filing boxes.
- Mark your board: Lay the fifth shelf on top of your board 1-2″ from the edges and mark where to drill the holes.
- Drill the holes as marked.
- Optional: Paint or stain the board, if you like. I’ve left mine natural for now, but I may take it off and do something with it sometime.
- Fit the board: Feed the shelf poles through these holes and slide the board down over the shelf supports, until it rests on the wire shelf.
- Put on the top shelf. Make sure it’s high enough to accommodate the tallest thing on your desk, most likely the monitor. I put the top shelf 3 inches below the top, which gives me a little bit of the shelf pole to use as a hat rack or a hook for my headphones.
That’s it! If you already own a drill (or can borrow one), this is a $105 project. That’s a lot of storage and desk space (and standiness!) for less than the cheapest desk at Office Depot.
I doubled my space, as you can see, with a second set of shelves.