Where Is My Society??

The country I want to live in is a place where I feel free to express my opinions and share in other peoples ideas. I truly believe that a humane, progressive, adventurous, worldly and successful society is TRULY possible. Surely all it takes is a large dose of respect, a pinch of understanding and some empathy thrown in for good measure. I had previously assumed that within each and every so called “good” person you could find these things.

Turns out that you can purport to be such a “good” person and not need these traits at all!! I am thinking politicians and those ‘upstanding’ members of our community whose opinion bears a lot of weight (for some reason). OR you can have these traits but be willing and/or able to BURY them. Looking AT YOU Peter Garrett. Isn’t this the definition of being two faced? Isn’t that how the System wins?? Anyway, I digress.

Where Is My Society??? 

Where is the fair and just society that was promised me if I grew up well, developed empathy and became a good citizen? Why did you teach me to have empathy and be responsible when you struggle, NO FAIL, to do the same. Why THE FUCK can’t you just do what you say? Persecuting innocent people is a major NO NO. Well it is in my book. Maybe it is just me but if the general populace gets a hold of the idea that there is no justice, only convenient, economically driven, ignorant, racist but unfortunately popular opinions and ideas and THAT is what our society is based on then isn’t that a FREEWAY to revolution? Or do people truly not give a fuck anymore?

Just sayin’.

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BEST TEACHER I EVER HAD By David Owen

This is one of my favourite stories about the importance of asking questions and how valuable it is to know as much as you can, assume nothing!! I had a teacher like this for a short time and she changed everything for me.

Extracted from Reader’s Digest (Asian Edition), April 1991, pp. 47-48.

Mr. Whitson taught sixth-grade science. On the first day of class, he gave us a lecture about a creature called the cattywampus, an ill-adapted nocturnal animal that was wiped out during the Ice Age. He passed around a skull as he talked. We all took notes and later had a quiz.

When he returned my paper, I was shocked. There was a big red X through each of my answers. I had failed. There had to be some mistake! I had written down exactly what Mr. Whitson said. Then I realized that everyone in the class had failed. What had happened?

Very simple, Mr. Whitson explained. He had made up all the stuff about the cattywampus. There had never been any such animal. The information in our notes was, therefore, incorrect. Did we expect credit for incorrect answers?

Needless to say, we were outraged. What kind of test was this? And what kind of teacher?

We should have figured it out, Mr. Whitson said. After all, at the every moment he was passing around the cattywampus skull (in truth, a cat’s), hadn’t he been telling us that no trace of the animal remained? He had described its amazing night vision, the color of its fur and any number of other facts he couldn’t have known. He had given the animal a ridiculous name, and we still hadn’t been suspicious. The zeroes on our papers would be recorded in his grade book, he said. And they were.

Mr. Whitson said he hoped we would learn something from this experience. Teachers and textbooks are not infallable. In fact, no one is. He told us not to let our minds go to sleep, and to speak up if we ever thought he or the textbook was wrong.

Every class was an adventure with Mr. Whitson. I can still remember some science periods almost from beginning to end. On day he told us that his Volkswagon was a living organism. It took us two full days to put together a refutation he would accept. He didn’t let us off the hook until we had proved not only that we knew what an organism was but also that we had the fortitude to stand up for the truth.

We carried our brand-new skepticism into all our classes. This caused problems for the other teachers, who weren’t used to being challenged. Our history teacher would be lecturing about something, and then there would be clearings of the throat and someone would say ‘cattywampus.’

If I’m ever asked to propose a solution to the problems in our schools, it will be Mr. Whitson. I haven’t made any great scientific discoveries, but Mr. Whitson’s class gave me and my classmates something just as important: the courage to look people in the eye and tell them they are wrong. He also showed us that you can fun doing it.

Not everyone sees the value in this. I once told an elementary school teacher about Mr. Whitson. The teacher was appalled. “He shouldn’t have tricked you like that,” he said. I looked that teacher right in the eye and told him that he was wrong.