When the world goes mad, one must accept madness as sanity; since sanity is, in the last analysis, nothing but the madness on which the whole world happens to agree.
George Bernard Shaw
My Adventures in Everyday Madness have continued to find new places to visit. I also return to some older places in order to uncover evidence of my supposition. More than any other site of archaeological interest has been the rich pickings of education.
My assertion has long held it to be the case that it is in this area that we find the greatest divergence from presupposed norms of society. In their day, schools were safe places as long as one could navigate one’s way between the accepted school bullies and the kids who just wanted to kick crap out of you for a bit of fun. At least the neanderthals on the playground stopped when they got bored. Teachers sometimes felt that they had a duty to beat some civilised behaviour into you.
I am over-egging this last bit a little in order to bring some Dickensian perspective to the whole issue. The beating we got from teachers were usually well deserved intentions, and totally in line with contemporary thinking. In those days, teachers were trying to help build a better society. Schools of today seem not to know what they are doing or why they are supposed to be doing it.
Once upon a time there were league tables. It was like an everyman’s Saturday tea-time when the football results came in. The pundits would tot up the scores and the results and put the football teams (not soccer; although we did go through a stage in the 1970s when we called it so..what was all that about?)into some logical order. At the end of the season, the teams with the most points got to call themselves the best, until the next season started. This was sport, not education.
In recent years, sport has become the opium of the people and the gangs who run it are called big business. It’s all suited and booted, hedge-funds, managing for success, and muchas, muchas money. Education, the great circus of society, has followed. And it has left me behind wondering what on earth is going on.
I can remember back in the ‘noughties’ when schools started becoming mini marketing machines. Flashy booklets were printed to encourage parents to send their offspring (little cash calves) to various places of instruction. Posters of smiling kids studying seriously took to the back of buses. And press-melees would form outside of successful or very unsuccessful schools on results day. I can remember thinking that this was the start of some form of popular insanity.
As time has worn on, this has become so much part of the norm that anyone who suggests otherwise needs urgent reprogramming or placed in an institution (or a supermarket stacking shelves).
Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. he knew he did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed. And, abruptly, the concept came, amusing to him even in his pain.
A coughing chuckle filled his throat. he turned and leaned against the wall while he swallowed his pills. Full circle, he thought while the final lethargy crept into his limbs. full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever.
I am legend.