Thursday, January 15, 2015

Exposing colleges' tactics of attaching the glorified pursuit of knowledge, to their high cost programs
(you'll have to watch it full, or you might misconstrue this video to
be a racist/sexist rant or so)

I liked the fact that he cut through the tactic that latches a
glorified pursuit of knowledge with spending huge amounts of money and
getting into lifelong debt, and introduced the idea that these things
can be pursued equally or even better outside of the colleges' walls.

The second part (the money and the debt!) is very casually forgotten
in many debates about liberal arts /social studies vs engineering,
medicine etc. We need to learn how to cut through the divide.

I have more to share at length; kept it after the links below.
Warning: May be uncomfortable for some.

Another film that I would recommend especially to members of the
homeschooling community who aren't yet extending their critical focus
beyond higher secondary schools:

Scholarslip: A documentary about the student debt crisis

For further more detailed investigation into the college myth, I'd
recommend the "Disciplined Minds" audiobook listed here: (free) (the other
books there are also awesome)


Nikhil's personal, practical and no-holds-barred opinion:

I feel that parents, especially in the homsechooling community, who
want to dispute the traditional domination of
engineering/medicine/finance, are very susceptible to these programs.
In many cases, they come as a relief; as something that we can finally
show to our peers as proof that the decision to homeschool/unschool
our children was a right one. It portrays as a viable step to enable
our child's transition to being part of the real, mainstream world.

Of course, facilitating our kids to pursue their passions is
important. But I just want to point out that you don't need to spend a
lifetime's worth of savings on it; the institutions that take all this
money are NOT delivering the value you think they will, and you really
need to do the detective work and investigate exactly what kind of
damage they're causing to the children entrusted to them. Their
interests are not aligned with your children's best interests. There
ARE other ways, and just because they don't glitter as much doesn't
mean they're not good enough for your child.

And those who think that it's ok as they can afford it : that they can
afford to send their child to a liberal arts program or the like at so
and so university in US or New Zealand or UWC or wherever: I'm sorry,
but you're doing all the other parents not as rich as you a great
disservice, because you are giving credibility to the scam, and they
are getting pressured to mimic you.

Let's be practical here: If you just took all the money you're
planning on spending on your child's college and put it into an FD or
something similar that starts to give a basic monthly payout in three
or four years time (when you would expect your child to start earning
for self), and let it take care of part or all of the basic living
expenses of your child for her/his whole life, then THAT would truly
liberate your child to pursue her/his passions and find a meaningful,
fulfilling way to live their life. And the "investment" remains with
you; it's not vanished into someone else's pockets. Your kid is not
left with a lifelong burden of recovering this investment. When they
start to be financially self-sustaining, they can just return that sum
back to you.. heck, it was never gone. (Now don't get too greedy about
interest and all.. the college wouldn't even have returned you your

If that thing your child wants to do, is just not available in a
proper quality locally or in your country, then that's actually an
opportunity for entrepreneurship. Or, maybe you're not looking in the
right places. It might not be being taught here, but it might be
getting practiced, and an apprenticeship could be on the cards. Or,
maybe your kid has a multitude of interests, including things that are
locally available, and this is just one single petal in that flower
that you've fixated upon and hyped up as an adoring parent who thinks
their child is oh-so unique. (Ouch! "Jab dil pe lagegi, tabhi toh baat
banegi" :D)

And as to what all that amazing program offers : Yes, it's possible
now (maybe not in 1990 but definitely now) to find that peer group and
"exposure" and opportunities that the glitzy university program is
promising. Yes, you can let your child travel to other places that
aren't big colleges, intern with people doing the work she/he is
interested in, and learn on-the-job. And Yes, you CAN let your
children explore their sexuality closer to home, so they don't need to
take the cover of a far-away college program just to get away from you
and seek out the autonomy over their bodies that they want at this

Oh, you think that's not a primary motivating factor for an 18 year
old on par with "more learning" and "greater opportunities"? It looks
ridiculous, but we live in ridiculous and desperate times. We do spend
multiple lakhs of our parents' money just so we can get a proper
chance to explore our sexuality and the phenomenon of being in love
with someone. If we get that chance, we jump for it and cool-ly play
along and agree whole-heartedly with all the other reasonings, taking
great care that this aspect never enters the discussion. Let's admit
to it. And I hope this gets taken as a practical feedback on what's
really important in life, rather than being decried.

We're already refuting so many false assumptions of what human beings
are.. why don't we just take it logically forward and apply it to our
own children? NO, they're NOT going to become lazy bums if they know
that their basic survival needs are guaranteed. That will only bring
them closer to a state that every living being on this planet is
supposed to be in anyway : there is enough in this world for
everyone's needs but not for everyone's greed, remember? Our
conventional value of "earning a living" : which wasn't in existence
100 years ago : is what is killing our planet.That's not the primary
function, or motive, of living beings. Please do some research on this
"value" : who introduced it into popular culture and with what
motives. (The audiobook on Debt listed at that unwelcomeguests link is
a great resource in this topic)

To sum up hastily, No, human beings do not need to attend extremely
expensive college courses in order to be successful or happy or more
knowledgeable or more experienced or "exposed" in life; in simple
practical terms there's a world of better things you'd rather do with
that money / absence of debt.

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