Schooling Created this Consumer Culture

Schooling Created this Consumer Culture

Schooling acts as the reproductive organ of society and reproduces its thought patterns. One of the strongest criticisms of western culture is its over-consumption and resulting environmental degradation of the planet. Schooling created this wacky consumer culture by training us to be consumers whose perceived value increases the more we consume.

Most of us secretly harbor the belief and fear that we are not okay. We were taught this in school.

Because most of school is so excruciatingly boring and irrelevant, teachers need to resort to fear and shame to coerce kids to jump through academic hoops. It is not the teacher’s fault. Teachers are trapped in this unnatural system too.

Schooling is an unnatural way of learning that forces kids to learn the same things and the same time irrespective of interest or ability. Kids know that most of what they are learning is irrelevant to their lives and it is incredibly boring. There is widespread agreement that we are schooling kids for jobs that don’t yet exist. 90% of the data in the world was created in the past 5 years.

Our culture is increasingly fear-based. Negative thought patterns about self and the world are reproduced and reinforced in school.

We have been conditioned to value ourselves by arbitrary grades created by outside authorities.

If we got bad grades, we think we’re stupid. If we got good grades, we will often stay on the performance and achievement treadmill for life. It doesn’t matter that only 5% of people learn in the auditory-sequential-symbolic way that school teaches information.

The institution of school has stoked our inner fires of insecurity and fear to control us, keep our butts in seats at school doing make-work that we usually don’t find interesting or relevant. Threats of bad grades, office referrals, in-school suspension, combined with public ridicule and shame, leave students fearful, stressed, and insecure.

People are suffering because their souls have been schooled and their minds have been institutionalized. You have been conditioned to view the world and your Self in a specific way. We have been told that the world is cold and competitive, good jobs are scarce, and you need to look out for #1. This is simply not true unless we think it is and make it so. Research shows that toddlers are naturally cooperative and compassionate (until it is schooled out of them).

You are insecure and fearful because you have been trained to be so in school.

Absorbing fear and insecurity, you try to consume and achieve your way to feeling okay about yourself and earn the permission to love yourself. Companies and their armies of psychologists, advertisers, and marketers feed and stoke our inner fears and insecurities to sell us everything from cars, closets, makeup, cheeseburgers, beer, therapy, and self-help techniques.

We all believe and fear that we are not enough. 

  • not smart enough
  • not beautiful enough
  • not skinny enough
  • not rich enough
  • not loved enough
  • not popular enough

You have been trained to compete, fight, cheat, look out for our self, claw your way to “the top”. 

We also believe that there is not enough. Not enough to go around:

  • not enough money
  • not enough love
  • not enough friends
  • not enough jobs
  • not enough appreciation

Institutions and companies feed on this energy to sell us stuff and “solutions” to cure our insecurity and self-doubt.

People are losing hope because they don’t understand the source of our problem: a schooled mindset

People are losing hope about the deplorable state of our world. If you are worried about environmental degradation, climate change, over-consumption, mental illness, inequality of income distribution, then you need to look at the source of the problem: schooling. 

Once you realize that schools are the foundations of an exploitative economic system, you can start to make sense of your individual insecurity and mental dis-ease. 

I invested over 15 years trying to create alternatives to factory schooling. In doing so, I saw directly the underbelly of the $1,350 billion U.S. education industry. That’s $1.3 trillion dollars. $1,350,000,000,000. There are a lot of companies making a lot of money – including textbook manufacturers, standardized testing companies, and edTech startups. 

The product of this massive schooling industry are Insecure Consumers who define themselves by how much they consume. 

You’ve been trained by school to see yourself as both the producer and consumer of your own information. Your value in the job market is based on your accumulation of knowledge – that is only demonstrated by proxy with a piece of paper that proves you did your time. 

13 years in school gets you a high school diploma. 6 more years might get you a college degree. 

The reason that economics professor Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education, says that a college degree is mainly a signaling device of employability is because you don’t get any social creds for doing one or two years. He makes a good case.

“Education is a waste of time and money because so much of the payoff for education isn’t really coming from learning useful job skills. Nor is it coming from students savoring the educational experience. Rather, most of what’s going on is that people are showing off — or, as economists call it, they are “signaling.” They are trying to impress future employers by showing how dedicated they are.”

Bryan Caplan, The Case Against Education

Caplan shows in his book that cognitive gains are minimal in college and that most of the knowledge that comes from schooling is “inert”, meaning that it can be applied to test questions that mimic the way the information was taught, but people are unable to apply the knowledge to real world situations. 

So, if you aren’t gaining useful skills and aren’t enjoying the process, then why invest the first 24 years of your life to schooling?

We submit to schooling because there is a strong bias against people who don’t have a college degree. And schooling produces the consumers that our economy needs to survive. 

Let’s see how schooling props up the economy. 

Our economy and monetary system is based on never-ending growth. For the economy to continue growing, we need people to continuously buy and consume stuff. Money is created in our fiat system through debt. When someone takes out a loan, money is created. With no debt, there is no money.  

Why do you buy the latest car, smartphone, fashionable clothes, makeup, home decor, and other stuff? Because you believe that it will make you feel better. Why do you strive to climb the corporate ladder? Because you believe that with a higher position, the prestige and more money will make you feel better about yourself. 

Our psyches are manipulated and we are conditioned to be N.I.C.E.

Neurotic – believing your negative thoughts about yourself and the world

Insecure – believing that you are not enough and not okay

Controlling – trying to control the experiences you have in life so that you feel okay

Ego-Tripper – innocently thinking that you are just are just a body carrying a brain and need to achieve your goals before you have permission to love yourself

When you break the trance of schooling and let go of a schooled mindset, you will stop being N.I.C.E. You can embrace a creator mindset.

A creator mindset doesn’t need to compare or compete. A creator mindset sees work as play and delights in failing on the way to success. As a fearless creator, you can rest into your natural state of mental health, peace of mind, and joy. You were born to be a creator not a consumer.

Are you tired of being fearful and insecure? Do you think it’s a personal problem? Join me on November 4th to DeSchool Your Self – a 3 week online group coaching experience. We will break the trance of schooling and shift from a schooled mindset to a creator mindset. The world needs your gifts and talents.