Student-Centred Education, Pandemic-Related Conspiracies, and the Traditional Wisdom

by Doru Costache

You might ask me what has granny to do with the machine gun… Well, at face value she might not have anything to do with it, but at close quarters things look quite differently. Let me be very blunt. I suspect that our prized student-centred education—such a sign of maturity and competence in our age of superficiality, indeed the age of stupid—is directly responsible for the pandemic-related conspiracies of our time, including the riots these generate in the name of human rights throughout the brave new world. In other words, first world problems. Very deep and serious.

I shall begin with the pandemic. Here’s where the right and the left, the conservative and the liberal (no, I’m not talking about the Australian charade called liberalism, which is a conservative platform originating in economical greed and in the eighteenth-century “industrial revolution”) cross paths. Political colours forgotten, specimens from both sides shout out loud, scream their guts out, and infect the rest of us in the name of their freedom. What do they know of freedom… Freedom is to stick to the Wisdom and learn the Truth patiently; only the Truth will make us free (John 8:31-32). Delusions of self-importance and free-thinking are inconsequential. Worse, these delusions signify the loss of what these people think they still hold on to (John 8:41,44). Regardless, interesting is that both sides, conservative and liberal, and many others—from the simple case of “we miss the booze and the rest” to the complex “we lost our livelihood”—come together in one place in the land of ignorance. For they all know, or so they believe. They know better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter that the gov’t had paid hefty amounts of money for them to just stay home and be safe. It doesn’t matter that people with real brains and education and research portfolios draw attention to the seriousness of the situation. It does not matter the common sense of most people. No, what matters is that they know. Or so they fancy. And what do they know? They know what butthead influencers tell them. And the underground. And all those places where more buttheads can say whatever their malfunctioning minds can present as ideas—about the inexistent pandemic, and the deliberately harming vaccines, and the chips in the brains, and the devil in the details, and the impending rapture, and the end times. Well, yes, the latter might be coming very soon if we keep doing what we do. But how could they believe what the impostors—religious, sexy, or otherwise—have to say, instead of checking the proper channels of information?

I must now turn to our educational system. Here’s the background. We have become accustomed to thinking that if we live today, in the brave new world, and our term hasn’t expired yet, we are way smarter and more mature than the “precritical” minds of the ancient and medieval founders of our civilisation. Since we’re recent, we must know better. Against this backdrop, we wholeheartedly adhere to the unrealistic manifesto of “I can make up my mind” that gives any single one of us the impression of being an authority. For instance, recently, while attempting a friendly conversation with someone, I got bludgeoned with an endless discourse advocating herbal remedies against covid. The discourse was abundantly seasoned with medical terminology… “So, when did you study medicine?” “I haven’t, but I can read for myself…” Right. This is typical for the age of stupid. We did it to ourselves. What we see throughout the wasteland of the internet—the screams and the shouts of the impostors who deceive those who can make up their minds for themselves without proper education—as well as on the streets—with selfish ignoramuses claiming that their “human” rights and their dubiously acquired knowledge gives them the right to affect the fabric of a society more than an earthquake—is the outcome of our overconfident, self-styled maturity. We did it to ourselves. We proudly provide student-centred education. In plain English, we don’t provide anything, since they already know. “Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!” (honestly, Pink Floyd? I am a big fan, but you lost me there). We replaced the proved educational system of ages past, paideia, the traditional holistic education for life, which entails stages and requires patience, with the immature idea that first-graders already know all there is to it and that, therefore, they need not be taught by competent teachers. They can make up their minds for themselves. And so, here we are, a whole first world of first-graders who have never had a chance to learn anything real because the internet gives us all we need, buttheads and that. No wonder many specimens of mature humankind, anti-vaxxer and anti-lockdown fighters, believe that the globe is flat, hehe, the pandemic is an invention of the governments in collusion with the big pharmaceutical companies, and the vaccines contain chips, which, one could just hope, might wake the ignoramuses up from the slumber of self-congratulatory maturity.

Now, to the traditional wisdom. Irrespective of where the pandemic has originated, and regardless of our capacity to fight it or the possibility of being defeated by it—we’re a failed species anyway, a wise friend told me recently—something must soon change. It will take a leap of humility for our brave new world, but the truth stares us in the face and it can’t be ignored any longer. We can’t continue with the student-centred approach. We can’t keep telling them that they know and that they can obtain knowledge for themselves. What they find out there, in the absence of sound criteria, in the absence of wisdom and discernment, are merely buttheads who tell them that there is no pandemic and that they have the “human” right to spit in the face of health workers and police, or to tear apart the anti-covid masks of the innocent picnicking with their families and friends in parks; who tell them that they can drink bleach and be covid-safe; who tell them that it’s right to create havoc in order to feel alive, since Dan-the-Tyrant denies them the opportunity to scream out loud from their booze-filled, rotten minds, and get infected. We must wake up and return to the wisdom of the tradition. Education takes time. It takes humility and patience. There are stages when we receive information, then stages when we are equipped with criteria and other tools to help us discover accurate information, even the truth, and to process it soundly, and only then stages when we can produce good, solid stuff, contributing to the advancement of this world, not to its destruction. The divine pedagogy itself teaches us that, first, as in an Old Testament of sorts, we must obey the commandments and the prescriptions and the teachings, to then be able to step into the New Testament of initiatives and contributions. We need an educational reform, but better bring classicists and patristics scholars to do it, not more buttheads who irresponsibly experiment with our present and deprive the world of its future.

Some time ago, watching with distress the violence that was happening in the Capital City of the US at the instigation of Nero, the madman, for The Empire Never Ended, I wrote an online petition addressed to the newly elected leadership of that country, pleading for them to prioritise education. I do believe that education is the antidote for the violence we saw in Washington, DC and elsewhere in that country. I did not bother to react, however, to the almost similar events happening throughout Europe, anti-vaxxer, freedom rallies, and all that jazz. It’s because Europe did it to itself. Europe is the embodiment of the brave new world, the workshop where the powers to be consistently experiment, socially, culturally, economically, without having a traditional compass and systematically hating wisdom. So, they lost it. Out of so much maturity, they ended up as first-graders. Me, myself, and I. No surprises there. But I am tempted to write another petition, here, in Oz, where the age of stupid is at home these days. And the age of mean, the age of evil. Before an educational reform, however, I would ask them to institute a state of emergency if not the martial law. I will not write one though. I would address that petition to whom? To Mr hula hula “coal is good” and “you are all so smart”? No, thank you. But granny has everything to do with the machine gun.

26 September 2021 © AIOCS

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