Quotes added on Sunday, January 17 2016

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I've walked around
broken, emotionally
FROZEN, GETTING IT ON,
getting it wrong.

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How do you 
love someone
without getting hurt?
How do you love someone
without crawling in the dirt?
 

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   A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.

 

    it's easy for someone to joke 








  
  aBouT scaRs
                   
                                if they've never been cut.

I wish Life had A fast-forward Button. I want To see Where and How I end Up in Ten years.

Ageism begins at school.

They categorize you and segregate you in “grades” by age. They only let you interact with other people your own age and with a few adults who are categorized as “teachers” who cannot be your friends and who must be obeyed.

It makes you grow up thinking that it’s somehow unnatural to interact with people who are of different ages than you are, but what’s really unnatural is only interacting with people your age.

School teaches you the strange dichotomy that on the one hand, you’re not supposed to get to know any adults personally, but on the other hand, you must obey them. That’s a dangerous way to think. It puts you at risk of obeying predators.

The school system leaves you unfamiliar with people who are not your age. It leaves a gaping hole in your people skills.

You start to think that there’s something a little wrong with people who are not your age. You fear the big kids who are only slightly older. You look down on the little kids who are only slightly younger. You misunderstand the function of adults because you only see a few contrived examples.

When you proceed from grade school to high school and college, you still end up interacting primarily with people your own age. You get segregated into categories of “freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors” with “professors” replacing the teachers. You might start to question if some of the information they are trying to teach you might be incorrect. However, you fear voicing those questions because everyone tells you that you need to do well on tests in order to make it through. You start to accept that it’s more efficient to learn what they’re saying by rote in order to do well on a test and then forget the information later rather than really think about it and question it when you first hear it. Because you start to resent having to learn ideas that you can’t question, you start to think that anyone older than you is a stupid person who blindly holds onto bad ideas. You start to think that you can’t communicate with people who are not your age because they are too stupid to understand what you’re thinking.

Most of us blindly adopt the false meme that society is divided into “generations” and that our particular generation is the only one that knows what’s going on. In reality, new people are generated randomly and continually, resulting in a nearly continuous spectrum of ages throughout the population.

If you graduate and become a teacher, you view students similarly to how they view you but in the opposite direction. You think that they are stupid and naïve. You feel that it’s your duty to relay certain facts to them for their own good. You don’t think they are smart enough to question those facts, so you don’t entertain any criticism. You think they should be grateful to you. You forget that you once questioned those very facts yourself.

If two people of different ages do occasionally get into a discussion, it quickly becomes frustrating for both. Each thinks the other is too stupid to understand the correct opinion, which is the opinion that each holds.

When you leave college and get a job, you find it hard to relate to older and younger coworkers. Companies suffer in productivity because of the poor communication skills between employees of different ages caused by being segregated from one another during their entire educations. People tend to hire or recommend other people of their same age. Ageism in the workplace is illegal, but people commit it all the time without even realizing it, because they’ve been trained since childhood to feel uncomfortable interacting with people of other ages.

People of all ages have value to impart to each other. If we had a healthy society composed of healthy communities, everyone would be interacting with everyone else all the time, looking out for each other, giving advice, being friendly, voicing opinions, offering alternative outlooks, arguing respectfully, making jokes, and even teasing each other.

Young people need to know that older people can be other things than authority figures. If a few well-meaning adults teased and tricked little kids occasionally, the way a devilish but caring uncle might do, it would help kids start to become more aware of the intentions of others and to look out for themselves more and not be so gullible. It would better prepare them against the few adults who are actually dangerous out there. Young people need to know that teachers are not the only older people holding valuable knowledge. Sometimes young people need a dose of common sense from the normal everyday older people all around them who have already been through what they’re going through and can help them with some practical answers.

Older people need young people to remind them that they are still flexible, still learning, still growing, and still changing. They need to have their ideas questioned so they don’t get stagnant. Old people are vitalized by interacting with young people. It’s not sick. It’s not parasitic. It’s natural. How unfortunate it is that we are trained to think it’s unnatural. How unfortunate it is that when we see people of different ages interacting, our first impulse is to be suspicious.

We are taught to grow up disconnected from the larger part of our potential community, and we suffer because of that loss. Most of us never question the normalcy of avoiding interactions with the majority of the other people around us simply because our ages are different. Most people don’t even realize how bizarre it is to live that way.

That kind of segregation by age is only a recent development. It began during the time of the invention of clocks and factories. It forced people to behave like machines in an assembly line. Before that time, the young learned by helping their parents and other nearby adults with daily activities. They also learned higher skills by taking apprenticeships with selected elders who had multiple apprentices of varying ages. They would learn as much by watching the older apprentices as by watching the master.

A school should not be modelled after a factory. People are not mass-produced products. We are not supposed to be packaged in segregated boxes of identical numbers of identical pieces. We are not supposed to pop out of the tray at the same time like batches of muffins.

We all learn at different paces and by different methods. Curiosity is the strongest driver of learning, not pre-scheduled force-feedings of one-size-fits-all sequences of facts.

We need our culture to wake up and regain what it lost. We need to change the education system to allow kids of different ages to help each other with their studies. We need classrooms of mixed ages. Young kids are very curious about what older kids know, but they don’t get the chance to watch them and learn from them. We need more than one teacher per class, so kids can see adults interact and question each other instead of thinking that each teacher is a monolithic authority.

We need to teach people that it’s reasonable to consider and question ideas continually throughout life. We need to let children know that teachers are not the only ones with wisdom and knowledge. We need to start reintroducing our children to the other adults around them so that they have a healthy understanding of how different people act, what can be gained from them, and how to tell when someone is trying to trick them.
 
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I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.
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