Sunday, November 18, 2012

Analogy : education and love

Advice to educators: The assumption that fancy methods, classroom management techniques, more worksheets, high technology, scientific tracking, attention-grabbing stories, rhymes, charts and toys will help you to teach an objective better to a class..

is as flawed and as short-sighted...

as the thinking that using expensive gifts, pick-up lines, mind games, flamboyance, false promises and preten
ces can get a person to fall in love with you.

In both cases they will respond only if they themselves inherently wanted to, regardless of the efforts you put in. At best you'll only get a partner pretending love for the sake of the money, or a class pretending to learn for the sake of the marks. At worst you'll only end up giving false hopes of a great future and set them up for a big disappointment.

A friend asked me to elaborate upon this. I shared my recent video. Then he asked to elaborate upon it more. So I wrote him this:

Well, it's as I shared in the post. Children are human beings first. The International convention on human rights is supposed to be applied to all human beings. The magic number of 18 (and the assumption that below that, these rights don't apply) is a lie. We are not supposed to hold any human being against their will, no matter how convinced we are that it's for their own good. If any compromise on this stand is to be made for practical reasons, then only parents/family reserve this right. Outsourcing it leads to human rights violations aka the present state of pedagogy.

The 9-year-olds in my class, every last one of them, was capable of learning everything we wanted of them at their own pace. They were all capable of learning non-linearly (like mastering years worth of learning in a few weeks when they really want to - everything on this planet except the education system is non-linear!), there was no need of worrying if one of them can't master adding double-digit numbers right now.  But I held them against their will and tried forcing things on them, in whichever way. That had a net negative effect on them. I witnessed the spark of genius being extinguished in front of my eyes. It harms the natural tendency of the child to like something, pursue it and master it themselves. The outcome of this forced schooling is everything that we find wrong in the people around us today. Most of what we pass off as normal just because everyone else is doing it, is actually abnormal and unnatural, and everyone is suffering.
Adding a moral science subject or one on democracy is bullshit if we're violating their rights and practising dictatorship on them at the same time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Video: My Experiences with Education and TFI

My Experiences with Education and TFI

Dedicated to all the beautiful, amazing, wonderful kids who, at their personal expense, defied all attempts at psychological conditioning and showed me and so many others the ugly truth of what we were doing to them in their names.

Check out the documentary movie "The Forbidden Education" , it sums up most of the elements of the education conundrum that I've mentioned here with clarity and connection. I'll recommend it as a must-watch for all parents as well as teachers.
To download the movie and to read more about their research, go here:

No offence meant here, but since it's about systemic issues, it's bound to be difficult for many who are comfortably settled deep inside the system, and whose jobs and way of life depends on it. Well, there will always be a child who stands out and says "Look! The Emperor has no clothes!"
To dear TFI Fellows : you're amazing people, you're my mates, I love you. We've wondered so many times about why it's so darn difficult -- here's why. Question everything, go back to the drawing board.

If you can't watch the movie linked above here are pointers to the literature:

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Modern Schooling by John Taylor Gatto -

Lots of amazing essays on schooling at :

Where you can get books in this sector :
To see what schools can actually be if we just let go of the urge to control child development, to get a glimpse of the unlimited potential in store for our children, check out:

The Sudbury Valley school,

Why does a Sudbury Valley School work?

Why force Reading?

And Rithmetic


Great thanks to for the technological breakthrough that enabled emailing massive amounts of documentation in a single private attachment in a way that anyone could read through it easily. The management never saw it coming ;)

Trickle down corruption

Where corruption begins :: the trickle down effect

A common statement I see nowadays in the news media: "we all knew corruption was rife at the lower levels, but how could we have ever imagined that the rot extended all the way to the top!!"

I started thinking about this recently while pondering about the origins of corruption and dishonest behaviour. Rather than saying babus do this, do that, I asked some simple questions by first putting myself in the shoes of a babu/public servant (crap, they imply totally opposite meanings yet stand for the same thing!).

So, let me suppose I'm a babu at the frontlines - I deal directly with people in some or the other govt department. Not a clerk; just some falaana (meaning this or that) officer at a falaana desk in a falaana department. Above me there's a whole hierarchy and below me there's a few people, mostly clerks. My job is.. well, something relating to forms and files. People of all sorts keep coming in all day clutching their lives in their hands for getting something that's actually supposed to be theirs without asking, and I have to inspect, approve, send, transfer, whatever. If I'm trying to do something sneaky and make a quick buck on the side that would contribute to my child's college education savings or that would pay towards the down-payment on that new flat so my family is guaranteed a roof over their heads, I'll probably watch out, scared that I might get caught. Now, who would I be most afraid of?

(side note : Education of children? Home and security for the family? Our babu doesn't sound so evil now, does he? NOW do you get my problem with the whole anti-corruption movement? We're all human beings, dude. Anything that dehumanizes anyone, even a bribe-taker, is simply not addressing the roots of the problem.)

Would I be afraid of anyone working below my level in the office hierarchy? Nah, if any of them dares to say anything against me, I'll teach them a lesson by getting them fired or inconveniently transferred or whatever. My equals? Well, the hierarchy is such that there's typically one or just a few persons at a level. And those guys are my colleagues. We share our lunch everyday, our families and kids know each other. They would understand. They certainly wouldn't get me screwed without talking it over with me first.

That leaves just one category : my superiors. My immediate boss, as well as his equals in other departments. Now, they call the shots. One thing out of line they find and it's GAME OVER!

I'd be really scared of a superior at work finding out about me taking a bribe. REALLY scared. If there's even the slightest chance that I might get caught, I won't do it; I won't take the bribe. So if I assume all the public servants in the nation are in a similar position as me, wouldn't this fear of the superior automatically keep corruption levels down?

After all, that's what the purpose of hierarchical organisation is, right? One guys keeps his subordinates in check, they keep theirs in check, and so on up and down the whole chain, from the lowest clerk to the highest position in the state. The entire point of having a top-down heirarchial power structure is to keep things clean and efficient. This should be the last place for corruption to happen. So why is corruption rampant?

Coming back to the babu's shoes... So I'm afraid of my superior. However, what if I know that my superior is also indulging in bribe-taking? After all, he plans to send his son for MS in US by next year.. even for taking a student loan, one needs to show a good enough account balance! And what's my small bunch in front of his big pile? Right, so since the boss is doing it, so can I! And heck, if someone tries to get me screwed for it, he'll cover my ass. Coz if he doesn't and I get the shaft, then Oh Boy, I ain't going down alone!!

Try to observe the immense psychological difference made by the knowledge that even the boss is cheating.
Bribery went from "watch out! be careful!" to "who gives a shit!"

So, Theory: Corruption at lower level becomes rampant when the higher levels are in on it too.
Corollary 1: If you see corruption being rampant at the lower levels, it signifies a high probability that the higher levels are corrupt as well.
Corollary 2: The direction of adoption of corrupt practices travels downward. aka, Trickle-down effect. Superiors practice corruption and then their juniors follow suit.

Extend this to all levels, all departments of government. What this would indicate is that if you find corruption being rampant at the lowest levels of a sector, it means that there's rampant corruption happening at the TOP. And the one at the top, preceded and CAUSED the one at the bottom; not the other way around.

On the other hand, this theory severely reduces the probability that if the junior level officers are messing around, then the boss is blissfully unaware of it. Duh, they're not that stupid.
And this totally screws the long-held advice that if you find an officer doing something corrupt then you should report it to his superior. Because you'll only be reporting to someone who's even more corrupt, and that'll only land you in trouble! SHIT!

So, I'd like to blow the whistle on the long-held assumptions about the top-down hierarchical power structure: This a system designed for the Gods, not for human beings. It doesn't make society clean and efficient as it claims. Rather, this pyramidal structure makes an environment conducive to corruption, red tape, misdirection, vested interests, ego, slowness, disrespect, exploitation... everything that it claimed it would keep out. Any normal person put into this system, has a much greater probability of doing the wrong things because that's what this system is DESIGNED to produce. The benefits it provides at the expense of morality then attracts only those people best suited to it.

So, when a news reporter talking on some newly dug-up scam exclaims "we all knew corruption was rife at the lower levels, but how could we have ever imagined that the rot extended all the way to the top!!"
--> Bazinga! It started FROM the top and THEN came down to where you could see it.

Taking this theory to its logical conclusion, here goes...
If you're finding corruption rampant at the bottom levels of government everywhere in your country,
then use the trickle-down theory and trace it up, up, up...

This leads to some unsolicited advice for anti-corruption movements everywhere: If you really want to do anything about corruption in the long run, keep in mind that even if you manage to wipe out every corrupt official, your most sincere efforts are useless as long as you don't destroy this top-down hierarchical structure which will quickly repopulate itself after the purge and bring forth corruption once again. It is this misguided philosophy of managing things, and not the people doing it, that is the real enemy. And if you're too scared to consider an alternative; if you prefer the security and comfort of control through power structures and fear the imagined chaos that you've been trained to think will come in the absence of these structures, if you have no faith in the power of people to truly govern themselves and sort their own problems without need of authority, then learn to live with corruption and all the evils it brings.

How To watch subtitles on VLC better

If you're watching movies with subtitle files on VLC player, chances are you'll find it a bit difficult to read.
So here's a quick way to change the subtitle display to make it better. I'll explain through screenshots:

You'll have to stop playing the movie (not pause; stop) so the changes can take effect.
Then sit back and enjoy the show. Here's what it'll look like:

And in case you're curious, the video is a paradigm-shifting documentary on education from:
It's in Spanish, but google-translate does a good job :

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Any Other Girl"

Found this shared on facebook:

The sad love story.
Heart breaking Love Story"
Two Lovers Decided to Broke up..
After Few Years When the Boy got Married with Any Other Girl..
His X-Gf Approached him & said..
"How dare you to select my favourite colour as your wedding theme?"
"How dare you to...
use my favourite flowers as your decoration?"
"How dare you to Fix the date on Which I proposed of your marriage ceremony?"
"How dare you to use our song in ur wedding?"
Boy cried and replied..
"This is the only way I can pretend to my heart that I am marrying you"

My reply:
Apparently he's perfectly fine with making a guinea pig out of the wife and she has no right to live a full-fledged life of her own. So what if he's heart-broken, he still needs to make someone else's life useless in order to complete some societal formalities. Hats off to this caring person. Let's print a photo of his ex so he can stick it on the wife's face at night. After all, he does need to placate his poor innocent little broken heart AND meet his bodily needs at the same time.

This story symbolises a lot of what is wrong with the present and past male population (and many of their mothers) : Their utter inability to treat ALL women as full-fledged human beings. Sorry heartborken guys and sorry to their parents, but there is no such thing as "Any Other Girl" that you can marry. You're much better off doing things that lead to a better world where heartbreaks like yours will not happen again.

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