Education as Murder

Education, especially good education, is all about murder. As a student, you are the murder victim – or rather, parts of you are the victim.

As we grow and develop, we inherit a lot of ideas from all sorts of sources: parents, siblings, family, friends, teachers, TV, society at large, etc. Each idea takes up a specific place in your head, and there it looks like an angelic figure, radiating truth.

This truth then informs your thoughts, actions, relations of other ideas, etc. A good education, especially in philosophy, tries to alter the lighting in your head, to give you a different perspective on these figures. And, quite often, under different lighting, it turns out that what you had thought was an angel is a goblin… in drag.

Once you recognize the goblin for what it is, there are two choices left: go back and pretend the goblin is an angel, or kill the goblin. Goblins are very territorial and won’t simply leave.

But there’s a problem; the longer a goblin has lived in your head, the bigger and stronger it is. On top of that, you have no real weapons to fight it with. On the other hand, it is armed to the teeth. So, here you are… facing a 6’ goblin in drag wielding all manner of medieval murder toys, and you have a plastic spork.

If you win, if you manage to stand up – covered in goblin goo, your own blood, and covered in cuts, scrapes, and gashes – and raise your spork high, then, you can upgrade to a plastic fork (or if you’re lucky, you can dual-wield the fork and the spork).

The goblins are endless, and so is the fight. As you make room in your head (by means of murder), new ideas can move in. Some of them will turn out to be goblins too, but maybe you can manage to get some legitimate angels in there as well.

Those ideas can then be used to build a new and better you – more angel, less goblin. However, that too is part of the fight. Every new project will be beset by marauding goblins, each of which has to be killed off, for the project to proceed.

This is a good education; allowing you to recognize the goblins in your head for what they are. Education can’t fight them for you, and it can’t make you fight them. It can only change the lighting in your head. A good education allows you to murder those parts of you that are false, and gives you the opportunity to replace them with ideas that may be true. But it is your choice. No educator or argument can ever make you do what you yourself do not want to do.

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