Article by L. Ron Hubbard
No longer, in our schools, do we have the rule of the rod insofar as I know. We do have a great deal of overwork in many of our schools as well as a great deal of useless baggage in the way of subjects.
But here and now let me say that a man who has had an unhappy schooling will never be able to find happiness unless he is capable of “arriving” at such eminence that it dizzies one to think about it.
It is appalling how education tries to reduce all children to the same level mentally. There are just as many degrees and kinds of intelligence as there are children.
The most heartless, useless, damnable thing ever invented was the group examination. It is here the class learns individual bitterness. The “bright boy” is not always bright. He has had a chance because he has security at home and his only fear in this life is that he will not become, perhaps, an engineer.
Such a boy is always infuriating. Such a girl is always just a little too smug.
“It is appalling how education tries to reduce all children to the same level mentally. There are just as many degrees and kinds of intelligence as there are children.”
Because on the examination paper, that boy or girl is shown to have more “intelligence” than the rest of the class.
“Society” is run for this boy and girl. Their mental equipment is average, their home life good. They have clothes just good enough and also looks just good enough.
Put to the real test, the boy and the girl are often found to be lacking in imagination but have what we call an excellent memory.
This is their main characteristic (and here we can almost generalize at that): they have complete confidence in their teacher. Their houses are well run and they are never hampered by a feeling of insecurity there.
The school puts its stamp on their diplomas and lo! The world takes it for granted that here is number-one boy and number-one girl and so it comes about that the boy gets a job.
He is told to go down to the dock and see how much gravel there is on a barge. Six hours later his boss comes down to see what is keeping him and lo! There is the boy sitting on a bitt, surrounded by sheets of paper, working his slide rule wildly, trying to arrive at the curve which will summate the gravel and...
It takes the boss five seconds. Scornfully he calls attention to the barge’s draft and problem is solved.
This has so bewildered old-time engineers by its oft-repeated happening that a very unhealthy idea is current that College guys is dumb!”
“I am trying to say that a mountain of facts memorized is not education, never will be education and unless its practice is abandoned along with general examinations, we will continue to play havoc and will continue to drive our geniuses into the solitudes...”
Naturally this boy was able to walk lightly through life on a very good brain and, too late, starts to use his stacked and uncorrelated memory files. When he sees a curve, he is deluged with formulas about curves and nothing else.
He has no imagination, they say. And this is right. He has had more facts than he has had problems—and those little things in the text are not problems.
Well, saith the professor with unction, then we have at last the perfect mind!
Not so. I am trying to say that a mountain of facts memorized is not education, never will be education and unless its practice is abandoned along with general examinations, we will continue to play havoc and will continue to drive our geniuses into the solitudes where they sometimes find happiness but where, more often, they blow out their brains.
This boy could have been made the equal of any high-ranking engineer or whatever on his graduation day simply by forgetting this foolish cram-cram-cram of facts, facts, facts without ever trying to correlate them.
How can that man’s channels ever develop if all facts seem to be equal facts? Thus, when he thinks about a cow, ten texts on biology and six on industry and nine on animal husbandry instantly flood him and drown him.
And all the time, he merely wanted to know how to drive a cow.