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The Kindergarten Realization

Updated: Feb 21

A colorful house

A crucial philosophical question is -- what is the role of society? Thomas Hobbes argued that its purpose is to serve a social contract between ourselves in the name of a common interest -- the selfish interest for survival, security, and so on. However, in reality, this "social contract" is an illusion because, society forces us to do things we don't want to do, beginning with kindergarten.

What is kindergarten? It's the first place where you are forcibly and truly separated from your family for the sake of the collective. I remember, as a young child, seeing other children being dragged on the streets and onto the bus, begging their parents not to forsake them (even though this isn't necessarily a permanent separation at all).

Looking back at this memory, I can't help but ask myself. Does society really know what's best for its members, when it forcibly demands they receive its socialization, a.k.a., its long teachings to shape the individual?

Of course, compulsory education is considered an advanced, first-world thing to enforce in your country, because then you give -- by force -- the chance for others to be more educated than they otherwise could've been. You teach them how to read, write, and so on. But, beyond the necessities, of reading and writing, is there any of Hobbes' idea of a mutually beneficial "social contract"?

How is old literature going to make me a better person in society, How could it contribute to my survival? The same goes to literally any subject of public education that is imperative for an individual to get through in life.

For those going the more traditional route of life, kindergarten is the first realization that your life might not belong to you, but to others. Even when I was in high school, I was told by my teacher that, "sometimes you'll have to do things you don't want to do". If society forces me to do things, I believe are not necessary for me, for some people have better judgment — why should one desire a society that does not care for your own interests, but instead, cares for its own?

That is the hypocrisy of society -- the fact that it is egotistical by nature, since it puts its own desire for human resources, over the desires of those whom it sees as "human resources". It forced me and you to be at kindergarten, and later at school, because it needs people like us to run it.

Socialization, in the end, is a set of excuses you are given to not forsake a larger entity that sees you as a resource, like oil, iron, and aluminum. And where does it do it? In compulsory education, of course, regardless of how effective it is in keeping future generations from becoming hermits such as myself.

That's why, beyond teaching you the basic things in life, public education is not that important on the individual level -- yours and mine. Once we can read and write, operate a computer, are we basically set for life with these necessities? Why? Because public education's purpose is already fulfilled by the jobs you'll be taking over the course of your life.

After all, workers are expected to know what they're doing, and when they work properly, they can survive and perhaps maintain other things as well. Why do I need a teacher to tell me what to expect in the "real world" when my supervisor or boss already does it on their own? Math, the sciences, and even sports -- all unnecessary subjects that supposedly intend to make you acquainted with the world outside.

I've learned a lot of things in school, but many of them I have now forgotten. All my dedication and anxiety toward it truly feel like a waste of time. That teacher, who told me that I can't always do what I want, is mostly wrong.

I sure hope it is the same for you too, right? Society just expects us to believe that we'll have to bend ourselves, even when we're free of its compulsory institutions, simply because that's what it wants us to believe. The more we bend ourselves for the sake of others, the more benefit society gains. And that realization, that you are being used, begins at kindergarten, where you are physically powerless against the institutions that put you there.

Isn't that, ultimately, what society wants its individuals to feel? Powerless against it? After all, a quiet worker is a good worker, and a submissive student shouldn't cause any problems. This dogma, that you cannot always do what you want, even though life belongs to you -- is a very toxic, depressing one. It was no surprise, then, that I felt very depressed and defeated throughout my 13 years of public education.

It was only when I became an adult, that I realized how happy I am to live life the way I want, not the way society wants. And because of it, I unfortunately can't see how efficient Hobbes' "social contrast" idea is.

Even here in Israel, should you be demanded to be enlisted in the ranks of the armed forces, and should you refuse -- you'll be sent to military prison. As a soldier, you are the government's property. That is why they did not want me to enlist. People like me risk their reputations and money. What kind of people? People with certain illnesses, such as panic disorders and whatnot. But I digress.

And finally, an old word from one of my former psychologists: "Once you become an adult, few, if not none, will care for your thoughts. You will just be another part in a larger machine", or something like that.

It's ironic how people's confidence deludes them. It does not skip even the professionals.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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