A Deadened Society
A smart clip from Ken Robinson’s Changing Paradigms in Education:
Describing an Aesthetic Experience as “one in which your senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing you are experiencing, when you are fully alive!” Ken Robinson then contrasts it with Anaesthetic, which is “when you shut your senses off and deaden yourself to what’s happening.”
He then argues that “We’re getting our children through education by anaesthetising them and we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn’t be putting them to sleep; we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves!” This is true at any age, but the older you are the more difficult it becomes.
Presenting a study about the Divergent Thinking (the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question), Ronbinson asserts that 98% of kindergarten children are considered ‘genius’ at it. But that the % of the same children went down as they grew older. This shows that “we all have this capacity for divergent thinking and it mostly deteriorates as we become educated.”
It’s even deeper than that. The standard education system is the product of society. The anaesthetising of children begins with their caretaker even before they reach school-age.
Long before children meet their first teacher, they have already been told to restrict and control their feelings, to deaden themselves. When this pressure persists, it becomes structured in the body in the form of chronic muscular tension. This is the physical reality of the education system and of society.
“As children grow we start to educate them progressively from the waist up, and then we focus on their heads,” Robinson says and highlights the mechanism that creates, maintains, and ensures that we remain deadened.