If not Nature, What?

Schools teach students about the facts of life.

The assumption, I suppose, is that the facts of life are so basic that you can ask an administrator of information on behalf of a government agency (we call such folks “teachers”) to deliver them to the students, regardless of context, personal experiences, community commitments, family values, etc.

How, one asks upon thinking about this matter for 11 seconds, did we get to this point?

The answer, of course, is power politics, but that’s only the more immediate answer. How did we get to the point where a parent would allow a government agent, and then later an indirect government agent – one not paid by the government but doing its work for it – to teach something so wonderful and intimate and personal and life-building and glorious in the context of a classroom with a bunch of peers and in interpretive isolation (i.e. even though he is surrounded by his peers, none of them have the wisdom to interpret the information and the agents of the state certainly won’t remove their veil by admitting what they are really about)?

To figure that out requires a non-linear mode of thinking. One has to ask the question, “what is the foundation of their teaching?”

Clearly it is not nature. It is rather obvious by the fact that these teacher stand in front of a group of teens to teach them about their reproductive systems that they don’t know the first thing about sex or human nature.

But if not nature, what?

You’d better sit down for this, because the answer bears implications that extend into every domain of modern life. Literally.

The answer is utility.

We don’t think about the nature of things because we don’t, culturally, believe in the nature of things.

Instead, we think about how we can use things to get what we want. We will go so far as to evaluate the cost of things – i.e. the effects and consequences of a given action.

But we won’t think about those consequences as they concern the eternal soul and family relationships and spiritual state of the child.

We think about utility. Not nature; not purpose; not propriety.

A challenge: did any of you who took a “sex ed” class ever learn about the “nature” of sexuality? Did you learn about its reach into the wider relations it would affect? Did you learn about it as anything more than a physical act?

Did you learn the first thing about the purpose of sex?

I didn’t think so.

What did you learn about the appropriate use of your glorious sexuality? Or was it reduced to “the sex drive,” that abominable, instinctual, animal based concept that cut out your soul when you weren’t looking?

Of course, if propriety was an issue, they wouldn’t have been discussing it with you in the classroom setting.

Oh if only this joke were funny.

It will have to be paid for. It isn’t natural, and nothing good will come of it.”

JRR Tolkien LOTR P. 1

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3 Responses

  1. […] started, here are some things written recently by Andrew Kern about topics from the conference. *If not Nature, What? Nature and Practicality *Philosopher Citizens Why Pragmatism Doesn’t Work A Prayer for All […]

  2. Lori,

    I agree, but I’m not sure what can be done about it. CiRCE is “out of tune,” and I’ve come to accept that.

    Schools are places for adminstrators to oversee technicians who take the place of parents in preparing the children, so I’m not sure why they’d want to come to our conference.

    So I’ll beat the Nature Horse to death and see if anybody hears its cries.

  3. Perhaps this is a good reason for administrators to pass CiRCE conference brochures out to the parents of students in their school. I couldn’t help thinking during the conference how helpful it would be for parents to be educated at this conference each year. Parents need to have their eyes opened to the the nature of education and the realities of the invasive nature of the culture around us.

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