This is a paper I wrote on The Seven Lesson School Teacher, an exerpt of Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto.
The Authority Addicted Society
We are a society that is addicted to authority over us, not leadership among us. There is either the aspiration to be one of the controllers, or the training to be one of the controlled. Teachers in the Public School System are forced to teach 7 lessons which work toward creating a broad “mental slave” base of people.
Lesson 1: Confusion. By teaching everything in a disjointed way it communicates to the children that the subjects taught at public school are not able to be learned naturally like walking and talking. It teaches that situations are relative, and that consequences are unrelated. Not much is connected in life. That disassociation affects family relationships, societal behavior, and inhibits the natural desire we have to look for order and organization in our world.
Lesson 2: Class Position. Even as we are taught to have contempt for those in lower classes, we are taught to fear those in a higher class, intuitively knowing that they are being taught to have contempt for us. This creates a permanent mental caste; even if we break into a higher class skill wise, the fear is still there, and so the emotional preparation brings you back to the class the experts have originally placed you. This reinforces their expert position; you should have stayed in the class they put you in.
Lesson 3: Indifference. By keeping us from completing the work we set out to do in a class, we do not get attached to experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks. We learn to seperate ourselves from the work, and yet expect it. We are trained as good little worker ants who will do the jobs assigned us without thinking too deeply about it.
Lesson 4: Emotional Dependency. The accepted and continuous practice of relying on teacher acceptance trains us to seek for that approval. We want the permission to go to the bathroom when we need to, we want the good grades that mean we are worth something and that we have a future in this world. It is something similar to *Stockhom Syndrome.
Lesson 5: Intellectual Dependency. We are told we cannot know what is best to study when. We may have an interest in something, but that is unimportant, and if we are to be “good,” we should ignore what we think or want, and show enthusiasm and desire to learn what the “experts” tell us it is time to learn. We need these experts with their superior knowledge to teach us and to tell us what comes next. Without their assignments we do not know the direction to take with our education.
Lesson 6: Provisional Self-Esteem. Constant evaluation and judging by others, designed to counter unconditional love, which parents give, enforces the belief that expert’s opinions are more important, and more correct. Convincing the children and their parents that there is always room for improvement leaves a constant feeling of self-dissatisfaction. Students and parents look to the experts to tell them what more they should do so they no longer fall short.
Lesson 7: One Can’t Hide. We are forced to accept constant supervision in a Big Brother-like manner. We are monitored everywhere, and the expert’s authority even reaches into our homes in the form of homework and grades, which parents put more and more value on as the student gets older. Also, as the students are encouraged to “snitch” on other students to gain more favor with those in authority, it separates them even more from those around them. It helps convince us that we really cannot be trusted to know what is right and best for ourselves.
Conclusion: The result of these 7 lessons given repetitively from such a young age forward has effectively indoctrinated our society into being addicted to authority. Not all authority is bad; on the contrary, there is a place and a purpose to many different types of authority. This controlling and detrimental type of authority is something we must break away from. It is vital to do so if we are going to recognize the leadership among us, and the leadership within us. Without this vital step, we are bound to slide along on the conveyor belt of Authority Addiction.
*Stockholm Syndrome: The name given to the psychological response of a person in a hostage or dependent situation, in which the person in control has power over the life or future life of the hostage/dependent. At times the controller exerts that power to reinforce the compliance of the captive to their wishes. The term is used to signify the seeming loyalty of the hostage/dependent to their captor.