“The one fact that shocked me was that Noam Chomsky had searched mainstream U.S. media for 22 years for a single reference to American aggression in South Vietnam, and had found none. (…) I’m still taken aback at the extent of indoctrination and propaganda in the United States. It is as if people there are being reared in a sort of altered reality, like broiler chickens or pigs in a pen. (…) Reading Chomsky gave me an idea of how unfree the free world is, really. How uninformed. How indoctrinated.
There was a poignant moment in an old interview by Chomsky when he talked about being a 15 year old boy when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. He said that there wasn’t a single person with whom he could share his outrage. And that struck me as a most extreme form of loneliness. It was a loneliness which evidently nurtured a mind that was not willing to align itself with any ideology.”
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“If you look at the logic underlaying an act of terrorism and the logic underlaying a retaliatory war against terrorism, they are the same. Both terrorists and governments make ordinary people pay for the actions of their governments. Osama Bin Laden is making people pay for the actions of the U.S. State, wheter it’s in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, or Afghanistan. The U.S. government is making the people of Iraq pay for the actions of Saddam Hussein. The people of Afghanistan pay for the crimes of the Taliban. The logic is the same.
Osama Bin Laden and George Bush are both terrorists. They are both building international networks that perpetrate terror and devastate people’s lives. Bush, with the Pentagon, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank. Osama Bin Laden with Al Qaeda. The difference is that nobody elected Bin Laden. Bush was elected (in a manner of speaking), so U.S. citizens are more responsible for his actions than Iraqis are for the actions of Saddam Hussein or Afghan for the Taliban. And yet hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have been killed, either by economic sanctions or cruise missiles, and we’re told that this deaths are the result of “just wars” If there is such a thing as a just war, who is to decide what is just and what is not? Whose God is going to decide that?
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“You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination…. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be.” – Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature
“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom.”– Albert Einstein
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If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it?
You would change the way it educates its children.
The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a ‘better’ life for indigenous children.
But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture’s way of learning and understanding the world with our own? SCHOOLING THE WORLD takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures.
Beautifully shot on location in the Buddhist culture of Ladakh in the northern Indian Himalayas, the film weaves the voices of Ladakhi people through a conversation between four carefully chosen original thinkers; anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence; Helena Norberg-Hodge and Vandana Shiva, both recipients of the Right Livelihood Award for their work with traditional peoples in India; and Manish Jain, a former architect of education programs with UNESCO, USAID, and the World Bank.
The film examines the hidden assumption of cultural superiority behind education aid projects, which overtly aim to help children “escape” to a “better life” – despite mounting evidence of the environmental, social, and mental health costs of our own modern consumer lifestyles, from epidemic rates of childhood depression and substance abuse to pollution and climate change.
It looks at the failure of institutional education to deliver on its promise of a way out of poverty – here in the United States as well as in the so-called “developing” world.
And it questions our very definitions of wealth and poverty – and of knowledge and ignorance – as it uncovers the role of schools in the destruction of traditional sustainable agricultural and ecological knowledge, in the breakup of extended families and communities, and in the devaluation of elders and ancient spiritual traditions.
Finally, SCHOOLING THE WORLD calls for a “deeper dialogue” between cultures, suggesting that we have at least as much to learn as we have to teach, and that these ancient sustainable societies may harbor knowledge which is vital for our own survival in the coming millennia.
SCHOOLING THE WORLD – THE WHITE MAN’S LART BURDEN [FULL DOC]
With Wade Davis, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Masnish Jain and Dolma Tsering.
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