School – Soft Prison?

Would it be fair to surmise that even Homo Sapiens – The Ape Confused by Language – has a “natural” (optimum) way of bringing the newborn to maturity? If, in what follows, we take that as a given, how might that nurture look? And what constraints upon it could be expected to bring about aberrance, both in the child and in the final, fully grown, individual.

To make things easy, I propose that mammal nurture – especially in apes – is a reasonable model, though obviously complex speech does not play a part. Various studies have been made of taking monkeys from their mothers and subjecting them to a range of further privations, generally with appalling results. Might it be reasonable to map these studies onto human children, now taken from their mothers at two and entered into the “modern workhouse”?

I have a growing feeling that the “shutting down” * of the individual, inexorably required to survive the institution of school, paradoxically opens them up to all kinds of state, corporate, and individual iniquities. And these thoughts lead me to wonder if the current state of ‘Western’ (so-called) society (and increasingly of those cultures we have tainted) is not, to a greater or lesser degree, a product of school. Would PC bullying be so rife? Would advertising be so effective? Would alien politicians, for a single moment, be tolerated?

If we extract-out the teaching/learning component from schooling, we are left with the regime that is de rigueur, if tens of individuals are to be held ‘to attention’ for much of the waking component of their formative years. This must surely impact massively on the brain of those so constrained. Has anyone looked for related structures? I note: routine; discipline-with sanctions; unearned ‘respect’ as a start. But as a product of the regime myself, there will be some aspects that I have 100% adapted to, and cannot detect!

Is the school regime – especially being backed, as it is, by law – ‘soft prison’? If so, I feel this supports my hypothesis: the school-leaver, in common with the prison-leaver, may well have lost some facility in autonomy. In societies that we have the effrontery to call ‘primitive’, schooling-to-learn is unknown, yet required life-skills are undoubtedly gained. A notable difference is that these primitive peoples, though inventive (blowpipe, boomerang, bow and arrow, spear-thrower, poisons, medicines and intoxicants) have lived thousands of years in stasis. We, on the other hand have outgrown ourselves through the cancer of cleverness.

* I doubt learning mitigates institutionalisation. One is cerebral and the other closer to visceral.

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