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  • Anna Brix Thomsen

How to Stop Educating Children to become Consumer-Zombies: DAY 3

Yet another day of teaching, dragging myself to the slaughter house (school) where the innocent little lambs (children) will be terminated (educated). It is astounding how we as humans – in particular in the west – can walk around, day in and day out, send our kids to school, pick them up again without a care in the world. Because we have to go to work and that is important because we have to make money… someone’s got to do it. Meanwhile our children are sucked dry of life force in the class rooms where light after light of natural curiosity and innocence is flicked off only to be replaced by neon bright consumer eye candy blinking and blinding any real vision. Yes – it is THAT bad. I talked about this in yesterday’s video, how children seem to become more and more apathetic the older they get. And of course when you reach adulthood – you’re a goner. You’re not even there anymore. All that is left is a consumer-robot chasing after ‘real experiences’, ‘real happiness’, ‘real adventure’ – all of which it tries to find among plastic toys and glittering images while the actual real reality gets contaminated and blown to pieces before our eyes.

So that is most certainly a problem. But what is then the role of the teacher? What can we as teachers do to not educate children to become consumer zombies? Actually the answer lies close to home. Because we ourselves have been raised in that exact same wonderful tradition. I got my first Barbie when I was three. I adored ‘My little pony’. I’ve been obsessed with celebrities and I’ve not given one iota of thought to how the world is actually interconnected and interdependent where the children starving in Africa are actually suffering the outflow consequence of the consumerist system. So we are as human beings contaminated. And that means that our good intentions of raising children in good conscience are delusional to say the least. To believe that we can somehow eradicate a flawed humanity and replace it with a shiny new one – is megalomaniac. You might be a good teacher – but you’re not THAT good.

So the obvious answer is that first we have to teach ourselves.

First WE have to teach ourselves to become dignified human beings that live principled within a self-directed decision to stop being a consumer-zombie. And here I am not referring to going on a product-strike. Because those things doesn’t work. In fact it is another delusion to believe that one is affecting the larger scheme of things simply by not buying a product. In a way it is megalomaniac too. And by the way: I’m only able to say these things because that’s what I’ve done myself. Because see – by simply not buying things, one is first of all accepting the consumer system still as a form of authority that one then believe one has to stand up against. It is similar to sanctioning one’s children in a desperate attempt to control them. It usually doesn’t work. And second of all, even if one is not buying that product, one is buying another product – and it virtually isn’t possible to not participate in the abuse inherent in the consumer-system. Even if you live alone on a deserted island, you can’t escape the fact that you’re part of this world – whether you like it or not. And that means that you too, are responsible. So buying different products is actually a form of abdication of responsibility, especially if one believes that one has now done one’s civic duty and can rest assured that everything is okay in the Universe. It is not.

So – if that’s not the solution, what is?

If we bring the discussion back to the teacher and the point of teaching ourselves to live principled instead of based on consumer-commandments – they point is to realize and see and understand what it is that is driving one’s decisions. If I buy that fancy bottle of water instead of that cheap bottle of water – why am I doing that? Have I seen it on TV? Do I believe I will become famous if I do? Or happy? Or that I’ll find the love of my life? Or that it’ll make me super skinny? Whatever it is, it is those beliefs/ideas/fantasies we want to stop. Once we’ve identified them and been self-honest about the fact that they do exist within us, we can begin the process of disengaging them – and it is from there we can begin making real informed decisions about our participation in the world. A world that we don’t see only in the context of our own little sphere of influence – but where we realize that all is interconnected and therefore the consequences of our actions are also interconnected. If we don’t change the way we function first and foremost – how can we teach children to live differently? To grow up and become different people than who we are now? That’s why it is the responsibility of the adult to stand as living examples – because we do already whether we like it or not. Children have no other point of reference to what it means to be a human being.

We will go up to here for now with this discussion… because I have go to work after all. In the next discussion we will look more in detail on how teachers can contribute to educating children to dignity and principled living instead of to becoming consumer-zombies and we will also look at how the world can benefit from this. Thanks.

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