JMJ49, on 20 January 2013 - 02:35 PM, said:
To Tree Psychiatrist:
Your comments are insightful and I think, spot on. I taught school for 30 years after leaving the Corps and find them to be a disgrace in so many ways. There are of course good teachers, even great ones, and I am sure there are good schools. As a whole our schools are a failure. The big question is are our schools a failure because of society or is our society failing because of our schools? Probably a lot more complex than this.
As to other comments about war: some are true, some are bs. Every warrior experiences war in different ways. Another complex issue. I have stormed enemy positions, I have defended friendly positions, I have had chronic diarrhea, and been covered with insect bites, leeches, and crabs. i have drank water from bomb craters filled with oil and napalm residue. I have chewed on grass when water wasn't available, I have humped hills with 50-80 pounds of gear on by back praying a sniper would put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery. I have survived ambushes and bobby traps. I have watched my fellow marines get blown to pieces and carried living and dead bodies back to base camp. When I was hit multiple times on a hill near the DMZ on June 18, 1968. I lay there crying, seeing my life pass in front of me, when the corpsman came I pleaded over and over again that I "wanted to go home". War is a horrible thing, beyond description. When my son was sent to Iraq I lived in 10 months of anguish and terror.
Following orders is also a complex issue: under good leadership it can save you, under bad leadership it can kill you. Marines and soldiers sometimes decide what orders to follow and which to ignore.
Keep in mine when you join a fighting force such as the USMC, you need to except that death is a real possibility. For me as an 18 year old trying to escape a two bedroom apartment with 8 kids in the Bronx, it seemed like it was a good choice at the time.
I wish we were all sitting in a livingroom, around a table, with a good pot of coffee brewing. This is such a big, complex subject, and despite all the time we have, sitting in front of our computers, we're STILL all coming across like we're trying to get our short sound-bytes in.
The "problem" I keep trying to address is not a simple, single, tanglible thing that can be put down on paper in so many words.
The big question is are our schools a failure because of society or is our society failing because of our schools? Probably a lot more complex than this.
Excellent insight, right on the money! It's both, in fact. Our schools are a failure because they don't address society's needs, and our society is failing because it has zero insight into itself and awareness of where it was, is, and should be going.
The simple answer is that, if you were to go back into the 19th century, around, say, 1840, people back then could tell you pretty much where things were going to end up. After the War of 1812, the Industrial Revolution raised the prospects of the masses to the point where the middle classes had taken shape.
Why this matters to us now, and what this has to do with the present conversation, is that this is where it all started. This is where the modern house came from, the modern neighbourhood, the modern economy. If you or I were to land plop in the middle of that world, we would know just what to do: find a place to live, find a job, keep working and keep on doing the consumer thing.
People at the time had a very strong sense of where things were going. Why? Because everything we know today was set in motion back then. With the advent of the modern novel, people were soon turning their minds to the future and making predictions. Mary Shelley wrote "The Modern Promethius", aka "Frankenstein". Jules Verne wrote "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea". And these people were rubbing shoulders with Burns and the Brontes, Walter Scott and Dickens. A good many famous 19th century authors, poets and classical composers knew one another and hung out together. They had a sense of the ultra-modern, and the ultra-modern showed up in writing, in art and architecture, and was very much a part of the public consciousness.
If you think progress is happening fast now, it was happening INCREDIBLY fast back then. The world we know came into being after 1812. Rural peasants eking a living out on the land were suddenly moving into the city centres to be near the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Their standard of living increased exponentially, as did their level of social awareness and education. Books, especially novels, became hugely popular as a result of literacy, which had previously been in short supply.
Roads and rail lines sprang up almost over night, replacing horse-trails and country lanes. Cities and homes were being lighted at night. Dance bands and dance halls were a new source of entertainment. The waltz itself was contrived to mimic the rhythm and meshed gears of industrial machinery.
But from the beginning there was also a sickness, an evil at work. To keep the brand-new Middle Classes' minds off politics (there was a lot of violence and there were huge riots after the war of 1812, starting with the Corn Laws and a bunch of other stuff I won't bore you with here- suffice it to say that the early 19th century was very much like the 1960's), a "bread and circuses" approach was taken.
Being a brass musician and historian, I can tell you a lot about this subject. The skinny is that brass musical instruments were made possible because of mining technology. Bluhmel was a sheet-metal worker, Stolzel designed valves for oil, water and steam, and together they invented the valved French horn in 1818. Mining and factory owners, in cahoots with government, in both the UK and in the US, created "work bands". Brass and concert bands became a very popular form of entertainment, but their true purpose was to keep the masses amused, and disinterested in social reform.
This situation continued unabated for the next century, with the Middle Classes trying to improve the world they lived in, and the monied interests working behind the scene, like a warren of snakes, trying their level best to keep the Middle Classes down.
Things eventually came to a head during the Trade Union Movement, when the Middle Classes had had enough, and through riots and social upheaval and a lot of bloodshed, finally gave the Old World an ungodly kick in the nuts, and forced it to back off for a time.
Enter the 1930's- another watershed era:
The REALLY modern world, a world that is completely recogniseable to us today, is the 1930's. The 20's looks very old-fashioned, as does everything that came before, but the 1930's was different. Everything about the 30's looks modern: movie theaters with sound, cars, radios, neon signs, street lights, traffic lights, modern buildings and indoor plumbing, drive-in's, sunglasses, outdoor jazz concerts, modern shoes and modern-looking clothing styles, bubble gum and name brand products, restaurant chains and movie theatres. It's all there.
The thing is, though, that people in the 1830's and 1930's had something we don't have today: a clear sense of themselves and a clear sense of where things are going. And they knew back then that things weren't headed in a good direction, because they had nightmares about the future and where modern society was headed. They sensed that bad things were coming.
One of those "bad things" was of course the "old world", aka the behind-the-scenes snakes that had never gone away. One way to get them to show themselves is by looking at what happens when soldiers and first-responders want to be given their due. Why is there this cloying stick-in-the-mud reaction to something so obviously fair, and in the interest of people who deserve their due?
As I mentioned earlier, there is the matter of certain things being politicised. Once something has been politicised, you can kiss your arse goodbye when it comes to effecting change. And what kinds of things are politicised? Here it is: Old World things, things like prisons, the way our laws are made and processed, things like capital punishment and caring for veterans. Speaking of veterans, they were screwed after the War of 1812, they were screwed in the 1930's during the Bonus March, they were screwed after Korea and Vietnam and the Gulf War, and they're still being screwed today.
The point being that the fabric of our society is sick, and always has been. And today differs from 1812 and 1918. Back then people were very much aware of the strangling tentacles of the behind-the-scenes monied interests. Today, people aren't aware of much of anything. They don't realise that when they're watching the morning news on television, that the S & P index is a piece of this Old World filth that is manipulating markets, not reporting their present state. Michael Cain dutifully regurgitates their evil spew on BNN without the least awareness (to the best of my knowledge) that their market advice is a sham and an insidious poison.
It is this poison that has curdled the underlying psyche of Western Society. It is the reason the future no longer has any clear direction. It is the reason that progress can't be realised, because social vision itself has been corrupted. It is the reason that whole entire cities are sickening and dying, stricken with an invisible, insidious cancer that can't be clearly identified and dealt with. It is the reason for teenage suicide and murderous rampages. And unless we can divest ourselves and reinvent ourselves, things will only devolve and get worse over time.
Edited by gsmonks, 21 January 2013 - 10:40 AM.
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.