The Price of Discipline
The proliferation of the blog scene has thrown several interesting writers but few can combine original thought and content with an equally strong ability to articulate in prose. David Perell is one of them. Indeed, David takes an online course on writing. In this passionate blog on how our rigid education systems have created unhappy kids who grow up to become ‘successful’ yet frustrated adults. The disciplined environment of schools takes away the freewill of people which causes this lack of fulfilment. Indeed, not just in education, even in sport, the ability to exercise one’s ‘choice’ or lack thereof can make a big difference as he highlights the example of the tennis legend – Andre Agassi. Agassi, who almost took to drugs to cope with the pressure from his father to succeed in tennis, turned around when he eventually ‘chose’ tennis.
“Boomers grew up in a credentialed world where people were defined by the school on their college diploma. Students benefited from college not because of the education they received, but because of sexy diplomas and tight personal networks….Meanwhile, the average college diploma isn’t the signal of prestige it once was. The number of Americans with a college degree has risen by more than 300% since 1970, leading to credential inflation where people need more and more education just to stay in place..
More and more parents are encouraging more and more children to fight zero-sum battles like the college admissions process. This childhood rat race is packaged as ambitious, even though it actually rests behind a facade of sheep-like, anxiety-creating complacency.
As Ivan Illich wrote in Deschooling Society: “The pupil is thereby ‘schooled’ to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.” My grade school teachers said the tough standards would prepare me for high school, my high school teachers said the tough standards would prepare me for college, and my college teachers said the tough standards would prepare me for the professional world. But it was a lie. As I sat in class, I felt like a domesticated animal, training to serve the needs of institutions instead of myself.
Kids who don’t conform to the narrow demands of the education system are diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed addictive psychoactive drugs. As Peter Gray, the author of Free to Learn, has observed, these drugs are designed to suppress a child’s instincts so they can sit down, shut up, and slave through busywork
Tragically, the growth in ADHD prescriptions has accelerated since the turn of the century. In an article called “The Drugging of the American Boy,” Ryan D’Agostino argues that many of these diagnoses are false. Today, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Almost 20 percent of all American boys will now be diagnosed with ADHD by high school, a 37 percent increase since 2003. Instead of building a system that respects the biology of kids, we are destroying childhood — one synthetic pill at a time.
….New York, where I live, is defined by its live-for-the-weekend culture. Young professionals who move to New York have dreams of building fame, wealth, or power by climbing the corporate ladder. The most talented university graduates disproportionately fall into sectors like law, investment banking, and management consulting. To numb the pain of sitting at a desk for 50-80 hours per week and the Hunger Games levels of competition for a small number of competitive positions, New York’s social scene revolves around a culture of binge drinking. y friend said, “My parents tried so hard to make me successful but never stopped to ask if I was enjoying myself. They are proud of what I’m doing, and since I work for an impressive company, they just assume I’m happy.”
….Success shouldn’t be synonymous with how good you are at forcing yourself to do what you don’t want to do. We should rebel against a world that rewards mechanical levels of specialization. In the will to succeed, we subject ourselves to toxic and health-destroying work environments. Instead of questioning our habits, we counterbalance the pain of work with a ritual of reckless bar crawls. Instead of conforming the system to human nature, we conform human nature to the system.
When we discipline people against their will, we create negative repercussions….Suffocating a person’s free will for too long will result in harmful second-order effects for individuals and society at-large. This is the price of discipline.”