George Carlin and My Own World ViewPosted: September 10, 2009
George Carlin – The American Dream
If the video has posted above, and you have taken the few minutes to watch it, then I suggest that you watch it again and again and again.
George Carlin still remains to be one of my comedic heroes and great social commentators. Right up there with Bill Hicks (search him on you tube, he died young). And George started right off with the chant that I whole-heartedly believe “education sucks in this country”.
Now I do not want to come off sounding like one of those constant malcontents who is always bashing this great country and always trying to bring things down. Because in truth I am not that radical. But I believe in trying to view things as they are. G.I. Gurdjieff, whose teaching has been the main guide in my life, and I will not use this blog to espouse it, was keen on starting out his teaching with the idea that ALL MEN (and women) are asleep. Civilization is in a state of comatose somnambulism. He died in 1949. He was probably the greatest mystic to have lived in the last few centuries. And here is a short anecdote to illustrate my point.
“At one meeting a man who had just started coming to meetings said, “Mr. Gurdjieff, what are you trying to do?”
“What I try do?” Mr. Gurdjieff- replied, “I try show people when it rains the streets are wet.”
When it rains the streets are wet. That when I see a wall it is a wall and when a hood is being pulled over my eyes, I say, “a hood is being pulled over my eyes”. George Carlin is coming from the same place, although I feel that he is missing a sense of hope. I generally feel that political activism does not accomplish much because the monster we are struggling with is always the same and has pervaded civilized history.
Education sucks. And if you agree with that, then there are many things that can be done. They can be done right in the community where you live. You probably do not have to walk or drive too far to accomplish it. Find people in your community who agree. Post an article or call to action in a local publication or list serve, and find people who are in the vicinity of your thinking. Grassroots is what changes things. If you are hoping for the megalith we call government to change, I would say that your waiting time could be thousands of years. But small grassroots groups are popping up all over America. Right here in my small community of Brooklyn called Victorian Flatbush there are groups concerned with sustainabilty, education, gardening, music, art tours, zoning, landmark commissions, business development, etc.
Consider this: America was founded and settled by grassroots movements. All the major religions of this world were originally small groups of people who gathered together and solidified and codified a way of life.
So is it not possible now? The first thing that needs to happen is we need to lose our addiction to the media. As George Carlin says THEY own everything. Riding home on the subway last night, I noticed an ad from ABC Comedy advertising the new fall shows. It was plastered across an entire side of a subway car. It felt like the same crap they were pushing on us in the 70’s. Innocuous, idiotic, contrived and unfunny family sitcoms. The media conspires to keep you dreaming. It shows images of family that do not exist. Falsehoods, being transmitted into your brain as false hope. Give up the drug and pay attention to what is going on around you. Talk to your kids. Talk to you spouse. Talk to your neighbors. Find out what they are feeling. EVERYONE wants health care. Needs it. In a rich country like this, why is it NOT an option. The reason is in George Carlin’s monologue: there are forces of wealth and power that do not wish it, because it does not serve THEIR bottom line. But what is your bottom line?
And this all ties into why I would blog on education. Why not politics or spirituality? Why not music or art which I am also deeply immersed in? Why not the business of graphic design and the plundering economy’s affect on it?
The reason is that education is the most essential building block to our inner and outer development. It is the very thing that is happening to us the moment we took that first breath. It is happening to us every second we have been alive. And for the most part, we have been completely asleep to it, because that is what is around us. Sleep.
There are things in nature that can help us though. When I was a kid, my friends and I would lay down on a warm summer night on someone’s front lawn and we would gaze up at the starry sky. Light pollution was not as big a factor in those early days in Queens, NY. Many constellations could be seen in the night sky. We would lay there and feel the enormous sense of space that was all around us. It was in these moments that a deep, overwhelming feeling would consume my whole being. A feeling that there is much more to this world than anyone could tell me. It was felt and there was no verbal or educated response that could satisfy it. It is the thing that keeps me going, keeps me questioning, keeps me searching and leads me to sit quietly each morning in order to have some contact with that sense of questioning. Because despite all the greedy tyrants who have marched throughout human history, the sense of questioning in mankind has never been buried. It is that sense of questioning that has given rise to what we now call religion, which in fact has lost that sense of questioning.
And education as I understand it needs to keep that sense of questioning. Encourage it. The institutions, we call schools can never do this. They do not know how. In order for that to happen, the teacher’s, the administrators, the principles and the parents would need to feel the call to this quality of curiosity as opposed to that over bearing sense of “we know, you don’t!”
In the free school there is a sense of trust in the child. We stand as witnesses to the child’s emerging inquisitiveness, and it inspires once again my own inquisitiveness. This is what is natural for us humans. But this sense of inquiry is overshadowed by the demands of a society, that has become a monstrous machine which is rolling over everything. It is worse than Godzilla, because it lies invisible. But once you begin to see the monster, you always see it. It is always there. The truth in George Carlin’s monologue is frighteningly true and very uncomfortable to accept. But if you bring in this sense of “self inquiry” the curtain can rise, and the purpose for one’s existence can begin to emerge. It is fostering this sense of purpose and meaning that SHOULD be at the core of education.
And it is up to us to instill it.