This post was written by my friend David Bessel, who has given permission to repost his article here.
Random thoughts that I think should be written down somewhere. Should be common sense to most.
Secondary education in America perpetually churns out jaded, aggressive people, instilled with the most condemnable values imaginable. We live in a society predicated on capitalism, a world where dogs eat other dogs alive. It's no longer a society of survival of the fittest, but survival of the most unscrupulous, the most vicious, the most inhuman. True talent that has the ability to alter the world continues to live in the shadows of the brutal and shrewd. Glorified bullshit is prioritized over true progress.
The root of the problem is education. From an early age, we're groomed to fit into the archetype of the model citizen of corporate America. We're instilled with the idea that all it's about is being the best: getting the highest grade, scoring in the 99th percentile on standardized tests, winning meaningless contests, all for the common goal of padding up our resumes and getting into a prestigious institution, where we can continue our ultra competitive ways. Doesn't really get better for graduate school or our first jobs.
I've bought into this doctrine for 17 years of my life. My mind has been thoroughly molded by society. Being the best student, scoring the highest score on a test has been the purpose of my existence from an early age, just so that I can get the opportunity to continue being a complete douchebag in some yuppie oligarchic institution. I sacrificed my humanity for a few (relatively) meaningless test scores. And for what? I am not a better person for it. If I get into Yale, I will not be a better person. I'm not a particularly more intelligent person because of this cut throat competition; in fact, the courses offered in school are narrow and specific and don't offer a particularly vast wealth of knowledge.
I wasted three years of my high school career fretting and stressing and growing into a monstrous person in the process. The past few weeks have been indicative of how horrible I've grown as a person, but I don't feel like I'm wholly to blame. I can't even blame the thousands of like-minded students vying to get into the same top colleges I'm applying to. There is something fundamentally wrong with education and society as a whole. Anything that forces us to compromise our values and lose sight of who we are as people cannot be a positive force in society.
What's done is done. I've wasted three years of my high school career in panic and sleep deprivation and adhering to general douchebaggery. But unfortunately it's a fixture of society that I cannot help or change. My mind is too far in to be saved. For those that haven't been confounded by the machinery, save yourself while you can. It only gets worse from here.