Labels and the Theft of Self Efficacy

Oct 31, 2011 by

Students strive for a label. They concentrate so much of their effort and generate stress levels that are unhealthy for their minds. They wake up at early hours even though the developing teenage body usually requires more hours of sleep than those of adults. They, along with their parents, allow themselves to become dulled out and carved into perfect little gears to allow the perpetuation of the machine. To make a generalization, most schools do not teach. They are institutions of programming. But I do not wish to turn them into the target of an anti-educational rant. Education should be an opportunity to sharpen the mind. If this purpose is not being met, then is the institution serving its purpose?

There are two tools, which make up the construct of learning: Intellect and Wisdom. Intellect is the ability of the human mind to gather information. This applies to doing research, creating structure, and organization. While having a powerful and experienced intellect is a great asset, to understand the best way to apply this information, one must utilize wisdom. Wisdom is the way we process the events that take place. After we have taken notes and organized each of the elements using our Intellect (and the tools which fall under this categorization) we can make use of them by reassembling them together as whole to gain a better understanding. With Wisdom, we acquire a familiarity with the principles behind the things that go on within our environment.

Knowing this, we can begin to craft an image of what education SHOULD look like, and we can compare the way we have been taught to this ideal image. It should be a red flag to anyone if someone is trying to compromise the way you are able to access information and takes away your resources to do so, chances are they are trying to manipulate you by keeping you stupid, weak, and afraid. Instilling an ideology within a person under the guise of wisdom or truth is nothing short of evil because the objective of the instigator of that way of thinking is to attack the audience by means of providing a false pretense…. a false principle, into the minds of those who are ignorant of the truth. It is an atrocious means of manipulation, one that goes on in every corner of society, in every organized structure, not just education. Add a system of social ranking, rather, a labeling system, and you create the proper setting for a hierarchy of inequality. Labels add motives and motives bring forth agendas. What I mean by this is that people want to play some sort of role in a community and when there is a hierarchy, they usually desire to be at the higher end. But when the wrong type of person wants to reach the top because they feel that is the only way they matter, they usually go about doing so by trampling upon others through some form of elaborate machination. It is all reduced to a question of who can muscle in their power to get what they want, while escaping ridicule and judgment by means of dishonesty.

I see this generation and within their eyes I see an understanding, I see wisdom, but I also see something that terrifies me. I see uncertainty, lack of confidence, despair. I am witness to a lot of “almosts”. A sense of hesitation hinders completion of tasks and innovation. This world demands success. Failure is not an option. If you can’t win, if you can’t overcome the challenge thrown upon you, then you’re just another incompetent loser. That is the mentality that we have come to known, but it is wrong. Only you know what you are capable of, society wins if it can get you to think you need to rely on its opinion of you for survival, but this isn’t so. If you truly were not capable of knowing what it is you did wrong in a given situation then you wouldn’t be held responsible, and yet every time we make a mistake, we are blamed for it because those that are in higher positions know the truth. Anyone who attempts to apply a label on you only does so because they can only understand things in terms of labels and if you act contrary to that, it will tear apart their ideological worlds of illusions they have set up around themselves because it’s the only way they have control. Labels do one of two things: they get you to think you are weak, or they make you think others are better than you. If you look at the people who persecuted Jesus, their position in society seemed to justify that they had a right to chase after Jesus the way they did, after all Jesus would have been bearer of the label of lowly carpenter. Jesus was not royalty; he was not a slave master or land baron of any kind. But strip these labels away and those who sought to kill him are left with nothing. They are revealed to be bullies that clinged desperately unto their titles for survival in society, while Jesus on the other hand, is revealed to be a great and virtuous man, to say the least.

In Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, one of the very first points he relays to the reader is that all action must be aimed at some good. The deed must surpass the barrier of materialism and transcend the action itself. In order for an action to have purpose, its product must not be limited by the ends of simply doing the action for the sake of doing it, but rather expand its influence to include and specifically target the benefit of the majority. This is important to note as it has a great impact on what you can call actual education. Actual education cannot simply be the adaptation of ideologies or the absorption of facts. You don’t try to get an A just because you want to get an A. You don’t study to look smart or to get ahead of others; you get an A as a result of being well organized, prudent, and a hard worker that gives the subject the respect it deserves. “Give a man a Truth, and he will think for a day. Teach a man to reason, and he will think for a lifetime”. You can feed a dog food and it will learn to come to you for nourishment and care, but the moment you stop feeding it, the dog will starve. Teach the dog how to hunt on the other hand, and it will survive with or without you. The difference between a teacher and a manipulator is that the manipulator will keep you coming back to them for guidance while the teacher forfeits his hold over you and sets you free to go into the world with the newfound wisdom he has provided you.

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