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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

(from a. addair)

Today as I painted and contemplated my gobstopper, I returned to the question of whether or not these screens were born of nature, or erected by man.

hidden curriculum

hidden curriculum

And it responded, in the most persnickety, gobstopperish of ways that the answer (indeed) is both.

As I struggled to make sense of this, I began to envision gobstopper screens as stage curtains, rows of concealing drapes stretching to the back wall of the stage.

The quest for meaning could then be understood as drawing these curtains back, venturing toward a solid and fixed wall, and as a result, getting closer and closer to truth.

All of us humans are on this journey, and for all of history, the wall has been concealed.  A few times a curtain is drawn back to reveal maybe a glimpse or hint of the wall, but more regularly, we  journey deeper in only  to discover another curtain.  But it’s exhilarating and we understand that we are one curtain closer and further captivated by our adventure.  This is satisfying and we journey deeper still.

But I suspect there are some human imposed curtain-screen-gobstoppers that are unnecessary and keep many people way out in the auditorium; never allowing them to explore deeper into the richness of life.  These superficial human imposed screens are so placed to maintain power.  If people are apathetically sitting in the auditorium seats, viewing a flashy, synthetic outer curtain, they may never risk the venture onto stage and into the invigorating mess of critical thought or the hard work of drawing curtains back.  And this ensures the maintenance of the status quo.

hidden curriculum. (detail)

hidden curriculum. (detail)

There are many of these superficial curtain-screen-gobstoppers but the one I painted today is our nation’s system of education.  This curtain is especially hard to look behind because it is lowered before we even learn to recognize it as a curtain.CIMG0140

The aim of school is to “simply reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” (Mencken).

Before you don’t believe me, remember that you are a product of the same twelve year program, and your brain may still be trapped.

To quote John Taylor Gatto, “We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgements and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults”.

hidden curriculum. (detail)

hidden curriculum. (detail)

I am saddened to think of the many people believing that the culture they see (and are fed) is as deep and glorious as the world gets.

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