Sunday, February 10, 2013

Getting Over The Industrial Age

Are we still livng in the Industrial Age?
I have been thinking a lot about this "Post Industrial" society we live in. How much has changed and how few people and institutions are changing with this new challenging time. One of the first things that needs to change, but is resisting, is the American Education-Industrial Complex. Which is still based on a system built during the Industrial Revolution, a century ago. Churning out "good obedient workers." This system kills creativity and originality, any student who is "different", well, we all know what happens to them. Read Seth Godin's manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams. This guy is brilliant and what he says is important. We are educating kids as if the economy hasn't changed. As if it's going to just "come back" and "recover". Well, it's not. It's gone and we are living in a time of huge transformation. Mr. Godin says we need artists and creative thinkers now, more than ever. The American Education-Industrial Complex is not very good at nurturing that kind of talent. It has been my personal experience that telling teachers I wanted to be an artist was like telling someone you wanted to be Jesus Christ, they think you are crazy or a flake. Basically I was told to go to secretarial school. True story.
 Mr. Godin  says in his manifesto, that it's going to take a generation to fix our backwards school system. I believe it
There's a lot of denial in our culture about a lot of things, like climate change, that Americans are "exceptional" and that this economic crises, brought on by the banks is going to just magically get better. Good luck with that. Just about everyone I know is aware that climate change is happening, BUT, they are completely unaware of how corporations have a stranglehold on our government. Internet access is a perfect example of this.
It gets me really mad when I read about the monopolies that have control over us,  there is no such thing as the 'free market" when it comes to Comcast, Time-Warner & Verizon. We are living in the digital age. Kids can't get a decent education without the internet, people can't apply for jobs unless they can get online. Yet we have the slowest and most expensive access to the internet in the world. Hong-Kong has faster and cheaper internet service than we do. Read all about it here. The Washington Post is calling out the cable companies for being monopolies, but our government does NOTHING. One third of Americans have no access to the internet, because the cable companies don't want to spend the money  to lay cable in rural  areas or where the poor are. They are only interested in neighborhoods with McMansions.
We have a school system still teaching kids, to be "good obedient workers" while the Industrial Age jobs and factory based economy has vanished. People are still way too invested in "what used to be". Few people have any vision for the future. They are just trying to survive today. The worst thing about this new world we are living in is that it doesn't have to be this way. Our government refuses to respond to the needs of the people, because it's not in their interest. 
The present administration is not going to do anything to get any of our problems solved. In short, EVERYTHING needs to change. Our government, our school system, our access to information. You don't hear anyone in the government talking about anything but deficits and the budget and the sequestration-next-recession, as if the country ever recovered from the last one.
We need to just get over the Industrial Age, because it is gone.


  1. Well, we still all use consumer products churned out by factories, so there's still an Industrial Age going on SOMEWHERE. Probably in Third-World countries. Once they develop their own post-industrial societies, it will be interesting to see exactly how out stores get stocked.

    I've often wondered if my childhood addiction to comics and TV might have been channeled into art and drama had my teachers only took notice. I can't blame them for not noticing, really. I was on the tail end of Baby Boom Generation, and they had a whole classroom of kids to worry about. My niece and nephew are enrolled in Montessori schools (sorry if I spelled that wrong) where the instruction is more personalized. That makes more sense to me, though I wonder if it can be replicated on the same mass scale as the current system.

  2. Me again! Sorry to monopolize your comment section, but you've touched on a lot of subjects that interest me.

    Remember in my first comment how I apologized about my possible misspelling of "Montessori"? Turns out I spelled it right, but wonder why I just didn't look it up since I'm online and have a keyboard right at my fingertips? Well, I didn't think I had time to look it up because the following showed up on my screen: "You have one minute left on this computer." You see, I'm part of that one third who has no access to the internet. Home internet, at any rate. I use the computer at the library, and when my time is up, I have to sign in all over again (as I just did.) I don't make that much money and can't afford to go online at home. Well, I could afford it if I just got the internet and nothing else, but everytime I call up the cable company, some bozo always tries to talk me into one of those package deals where you also get cable, phone service, your walls painted, whatever, and all that I can't afford, so it always ends with me hanging the phone up on them in mid-sentence.

  3. Kirk, you may monopolize my comment section anytime.
    It makes me really angry to hear your circumstances. Everyone should have access to the internet. In one article I read, the internet was compared to electricity and basically F.D.R. had to bust up the monopolies so everyone could have electricity. This has to happen with the cable/internet monopolies. I only have internet. I do not have cable BS TV. First I am subsidizing shows I don't even watch (sports) Second, marketing. I am tired of all the BS commercials. Not to mention there are no more journalistic standards on the news anymore. That's why the internet is so important, it's information anyone can and should be able to access. I'm pissed off about your financial situation because of what this economy has become and this country is "too broke" to create jobs, to educate our kids with affordable tuition. But nooo, we can't have that. Corporations need to charge outrageous sums for slow and substandard service. I am going to be interested to hear what the President is going to have to say on Tues. It;s supposed to be about jobs. We'll see, I'm not too hopeful. I hope you get to the library and comment again soon.

  4. Patricia,

    Long lost is the John Adams ideal, “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematicks and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, musick, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelaine.” John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780. (From Yale Book of Quotations)

    In order to let students learn what they whilst, the enforcing of political ideals and other drivel, Barbara Cargill and the Texas School Board.

    There's too many administrators (most of whom never taught) and too many tests for students to learn other than what is cemented into the NCLB bs. But, with the amounts of money to be gained from transferring education to Charter Services and the societal impact many right-wingers feel they can make Education is going to be their target for Domination of the Nation.

  5. Gene, that's an interesting quote from John Adams. It's said, that it takes 3 generations to raise an artist. So that's right on the money.
    I was a substitute teacher for ten years. I am certified to teach art, but could not get a position. Once art teachers retire, the studios are turned into science labs. I know a thing or two about testing. That is a moneymaker for whatever corporations the schools buy the tests from. ("no child left behind", teaching to test) I have known many fine teachers. But you are right about the administrators. They have no understanding of what goes on in a classroom or children. Period. I think privatizing education is the Fright Wings goal. Art, music, theater, poetry, is all frivolous to them. There is no understanding of the fact that artists are problem solvers. Creating is empowering for students, who have very little power in their day to day experience. Science and tech is important, however, DaVinci wrote, "Study the science of art, study the art of science.