Monday, March 24, 2008

Wash My Brain, Please!

News media has been filled with stories of my native country’s “shockingly” successful school system. Here is a link to the story in the Wall Street Journal. Kids start school late, at 7, and usually don’t learn to read until then but become totally fluent within six months. There are no programs for the gifted, no “honor societies”. The youngsters listen to the same heavy metal and other headache-causing music and experiment with drugs as any typical Western student would. However, by middle school, they are light years ahead of most teenagers in other countries and nobody seems to understand this “miracle”. The Finns are more or less comfortable in many languages which in a small country with a highly unusual mother tongue is a must. Unlike here where the emphasis is on reading, and hopefully as a by-product, writing skills, plus rudimentary math, my countrymen as youngsters know their geography, biology, world history, chemistry, physics and even religion. The latter is taught in the individual’s own faith, or if preferred, as a course on philosophy that focuses on moral and ethical values. All the above is a no-brainer to me, and doesn’t speak so much about the country’s superior schooling as the inferior one in others, especially in America.

I am more and more convinced that population is kept ignorant on purpose. Masses are much easier to handle if they don’t ask too many questions and are easily brainwashed. To be sure of the success of the plan, just throw a fundamentalist religious element into the equation. All of a sudden there is no need for sciences. Knowledge of the Bible is enough. Those words have been translated from one language to another and back again, as in the case of Hebrew and Greek, and can easily be taken out of context and twisted in any way to suit the purpose, whatever it might be. No wonder only a small percentage of the population gives any credit to evolution as a science. We won’t believe in the lies that our world and cosmos is millions and billions years old instead of 5768. The world is flat (we can all see that with our eyes) and the center of everything. We have never been to the moon, except in science fiction books and movies.

We were told enough times that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were connected to Saddam Hussein. Now, 4,000 military casualties of our own later, people are finally feeling like they have been cheated, even if they choose to ignore the number of Iraqi civilian casualties which probably well exceeds the number of dead after our nuclear attacks on Japanese non-military targets at the end of WWII. As a result of the invasion and the murder of Saddam and his family, we were supposed to acquire an endless supply of cheap oil from Iraq. Well, the crude is approaching $110 a barrel and a visit to the gas station is always a shock these days. This, with the increase in food prices, is the real reason of the unhappiness of the masses.

Repeating a false fact often enough makes people believe in it, even those who don’t quite take the “if the President says so, it must be true” for real. In the art world a Benihana Veriyaki auditorium becomes a splendid creation in people’s minds, at least in a town that has become the retirement and nursing home for musicians and various directors alike. A new library is an architectural masterpiece even if people don’t like to visit it because they have trouble finding their way out. I look with sadness at pictures of this city’s old library that was torn down many decades ago. It reminds me of the similar institutions in New York City and Boston. Granted, it was probably getting too crowded and small, but surely there would have been a way to extend or enlarge it. At a time when anything old was undesirable, it was torn down to make space for an awful Lego-like structure which had to be demolished rather soon. Of course today we would designate the original place as a historical landmark, but it obviously is too late in this case.

Yesterday was Easter which for Christians is (or should be) the most important event of the year. Unlike Christmas which has a set day, Easter and other events following it are based on the old lunar calendar that the Jews and Muslims still use. Easter, interestingly named in English after a pagan holiday honoring the goddess Eostre, should be celebrated at the same time as Passover and even last year that indeed was the case. This year the Jewish calendar added their Second Adar month, pushing the Holidays 29 days into the future. Easter is celebrated as a festival of death and life, commemorating the murder and resurrection of history’s first true known socialist or one might even say religious communist, Jesus Christ. Interestingly, although Jews don’t give Him the credit due, Israel’s famous kibbutzim were designed after principles that Jesus tried to teach his people. He wasn’t fond of money and possessions, and would feel sick today seeing a popular preacher pray that all of his congregation members and television viewers should get a new Mercedes or BMW as they “deserve” it. Even now the authorities would have problems with Jesus, as in many societies, democratic and dictatorial alike, Christ would probably end behind bars for his teachings. The “religious right” would hate Him for befriending gays, lesbians and addicts, as according to the four Gospels (and the unofficial ones as well) Jesus always took the side of the unwanted and untouchables and was in other words a true troublemaker and rebel.

There are rumors that in a toxic dough few Antichrists of various kinds are trying to rise, in honor of their own festival, the Yeaster. Like in a septic tank, we know what ends up on the top. I won’t name any names; those who see themselves in the description know who they are.

Image from ITT website