Anti-industrial ageism

My daughter starting school last September, at the tender age of 4, has led to me to discover that many elements of the education system are worryingly similar to many of the unwholesome corporate practices I have witnessed (and am trying to uninstall from myself).

“Industrial age” thinking would appear to be as rife in education and as it is in corporate institutions.  E.g.:

Work: Money in > motivation out

School: Information in > exam results out

Even exercise: Calories in > energy out

It’s all the same – it sees a person as a production unit, not a complex organism.

This is what I’d hope for my kids to learn, in order to have a better chance of getting by in the future, and gaining sustainable fulfilment:

Self-reliance, adventurousness, self-awareness, creativity, diverse practical experience, and a sense of purpose.

Where I see the system engendering:

Dependence, obedience, self-doubt, conventional groupthinking, abstract knowledge, and a sense of despair.

The beginning of my daughter’s industrial processing has resulted in a handful of blog posts that have helped me name my fears, and begin figuring out what the alternatives might be to provide more nourishing conditions for human growth.

So I’ll be posting some of them over the next few weeks, the first one on Friday.

Feel free to lighten my darkness by telling me that I’ve got it all wrong, or fuel my fire that I’ve made one of the most important discoveries of my industrially indoctrinated life…

2 comments on “Anti-industrial ageism
  1. Tony Crabbe says:


    I really like this. I would add a nuance on the word ‘dependence’. I think we do learn a dependence on experts and on the ‘right answer’ and I think we need to encourage more independent thikers.

    However, in addition, I also think we need to develop even more dependence. I think we are trained to aspire to achieve a self-sufficiency of thinking, to be able to solve problems ourselves. In the increasingly interconnected world, we need to build a greater desire to solve through mutual dependence and connection.

    Good thought-provoking stuff for a father of three…since I find I am co-opting with the school system at homework time…

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Tony
      That’s an important point.
      I guess there’s a bad side of dependence, if you are reliant on others to make decisions FOR YOU as you have become incapable.
      And then there’s interdependence, where you make better decisions and come up with better ideas WITH OTHERS. This blends into healthy concepts like family, community and, dare I say, teamwork.
      The meaning of interdependence and a connection with the community would be a highly valuable thing to learn at school (more valuable than trigonometry?). As long as you are in a classroom or a silent exam hall, you won’t see it though…

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