I believe in KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. I consider that acronym a variation of Occam’s Razor – look for the simplest explanation, don’t multiply things unnecessarily.
Having said those things, I will give my definition of art: to wake up people. It’s the same definition Ezra Pound used, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.
Now let’s take school for an example. Or actually, I should say education. The real purpose of education is to wake students up - to make them aware of their natural talents. That means education is actually art, and since I make no distinction between art and science, education is both.
Notice I make a distinction between school and education. If the purpose of education is to wake students up, the purpose of schools is to put them to sleep. Through boredom, which is rampant in schools. It certainly was when I was in school, which is why I daydreamed all the time.
Public schools appear to be designed to bore students. How can any student not be bored sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher, then walking to another desk and another teacher? All doing this all day, five days a week, for 12 years?
Treating students the way they are treated, it seems to me the purpose of schools is to create a standardized product. This means schools are actually factories. Five-year-olds come in at one end and exit the other 12 years later, as 17-year-olds.
Education is supposed to waken students’ intelligence and fill them with useful knowledge. It doesn’t do this, and hasn’t for a long time.
H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury of April 1924 that the aim of public schools is not “to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States... and that is its aim everywhere else.”
What all of today’s awful schools have in common is that they are “public” schools, which is camouflage for “government” schools. The purpose of government schools, avowed or not, is to create bored students. You can see this boredom is such famous movie as Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and less well-known films as Donnie Darko.
One thing I will say about public schools is that they are experts in the Science of Boredom. The question is, are schools purposely designed to be boring? I don’t know.
There are, however, terrible problems associated with boredom. Boredom has traditionally been considered a sin, that of acedia. One of the main problems with boredom among the young is the abuse of drugs and alcohol. So it doesn’t take too much of connect-the-dots to realize public schools are unwittingly designed to encourage drug abuse among students.
I saw this use of drugs and alcohol when I was in high school. It’s now got down to middle school, and has for a long time. The mentality of politicians, police and some parents is to use the law to prevent this drug use, while the boredom of school encourages it. This is the same thing as pressing on the accelerator and the brake at the same time, which is about the best definition of government I’ve ever heard.
I see no way out of these problems whatsoever except to close the public schools down.