The Cynic’s Guide to Life – Birth, Childhood and Early Schooling

Since you’re reading this I’m sadly assuming that the message held within these pages has come way past its useful time. Nonetheless, I think it bears repeating all the same. Life so far has been a whirlwind of illogical events, so it’s wise to recapitulate what you’ve gone through to reach this point.

The long and short of it is that the very first two cells, which created you, were brought into contact in a moment of extreme bliss for at least one of the parties involved. Thereafter, everything went south. The vast majority of you sneaked in with that blissful experience, and you lodged yourselves in your new home for the next nine months a little time thereafter. At that time, your soon-to-be parents were blissfully unaware of your uninvited presence. However, you soon made your existence known.

In the months that followed, after a realization that life would never be the same, you became your mum’s pride and joy, and the bump you called your home was petted by random strangers, as if it were some kind of a Buddhist good luck charm. In any case, you were born in a particularly uneventful fashion and, as a taste for things to come; you were slapped as a means of welcome.

At some point, you’ll be sent home with your new family. Everything will seem novel to you, because it is. Everything holds something fascinating for you, and can keep you interested in it for hours as you learn about existence. Life is grand. However, someone has determined, long before you were born, that such pursuits must be done in a rigid environment. So, you’ll eventually be carted off to an institution called “school”. This is truly were the fun begins.

On the first few days, some will cry and some will be immersed in their new environment. There are other creatures like you! Some are bucktoothed though, and others have rather goofy ways of speaking. Nevertheless, you share more with them than the giants that herd you around to do activities. Take note, for these shall be your friends for many years to come. You’ll sing, play, and won’t actually do much learning. I mean, screw it! You’re only at the stage in your development where you can absorb the most information in the least amount of time. Under no circumstances should anyone be taught anything useful like critical thought, logic, or actually generate an interest for the intricacies of the world that surround them.

No, you’ll use the massive intellectual capabilities you now have to learn nursery rhymes, fables and stories which will have absolutely no basis in reality, and which some of the dimmer ones among you will confuse with the real world well into adulthood. The key at this stage is to create an environment which generates sociability. You’ll be given certain freedoms to give you the illusion of choice, but none of it actually matters. After a few hours have elapsed, you’ll be sent back to your parents from which you’ve come from. Then you’ll be sent back to school the next day, and so on and so on and so on.

Needless to say, this will generate a routine and just as you’re starting to think that you’ve got this life thing pegged down, you’re sent to a different location. They’ll tell you that you’ve been elevated to the next year. Here you don’t have quite as much freedom though. You’re made to sit in rows of desks for hours at a time. Meanwhile, a mad old hag keeps yapping on about god knows what. The boredom here is generally crippling, but you try to stave it off by doodling on your notebook – it doesn’t help. However, there’s a glimmer of hope. At one point, there’s this magical ringing sound which lets you be outside. During that time, your experiences bare an uncanny resemblance to your time last year.

60% of your school existence in one picture
60% of your school existence in one picture

It’s different though, as it doesn’t really hold a few of your friends. Furthermore, you’ve been grouped in with older pupils. These might not be the friendliest of sorts, and they might pick on some of your classmates because they show some sign of weakness. Be warned though, should one of these unfortunate fellows be one of you, you must act quickly or you will be taken advantage of for a long, long time to come. The character traits you acquire during this time will, more than likely, remain with you for the rest of your life. You might build character through adversity though, but by the time you manage to learn not to care about public opinion, and you’ve actually learned how to be happy, this stage will have long since passed.

As you pass the time in a comatose state during classes, the hag keeps yapping day in and day out. At some point you actually do pay attention to her; she’ll talk about people and places you’ve never heard of. She’ll also talk about something called “maths” and similar obscure things. To you, in your day to day life, it all seems irrelevant. Yet you are forced to regurgitate these facts on command, not because of a strange compulsion of your own, but because if you fail to memorize them you get a “failing grade”, whatever that is. You wouldn’t really care about these vague references of performance though, were it not because your parents think it’s important. To them, it seems that these chicken scratches are of great importance. Oftentimes, when you bring positive marks, they’ll make vague references to something called a “job”, “university” and your “future”.

So, because of your emotional attachment to your parents, you’ll feel the need to get good marks. You thus learn these obscure references of which you have absolutely no idea of their true significance. This goes on for a while, and you’ll get promoted to the next level, and the next level. Eventually it all seems a blur, you can’t really say anything specifically which happened at one point or another because they’re all so alike.

In any case, during that time you will, more than likely, never be taught the purpose of what you learn. At one point, or another, you grow curious though, and you decide to question the people who harangue you with useless facts all day. “What’s the purpose of that, miss?” you’ll belt out one day in an otherwise uneventful class. The teacher’s monologue will then come to a screeching halt, you’ve broken their preset speech – not a very wise action. She, will consider you for a second, and more than likely will answer something to the tone of “you’ll need it for college” (or some point in the distant future). Another possible answer you might get is “you’ll need to learn it to pass the test.” The purpose of what you’re taught is never really addressed.

Besides that, because of recent developments in the political and work arena, you’ll be forced to work in groups. This is done to develop teamwork among your classmates, or so you’re told. In reality, you’ll learn one of two things: either that if you’re too incompetent to do your own work there’ll always be some poor idiot who can do the work for you, or you’ll develop a deep hatred for humanity and all it stands for. I leave it up to the reader to guess in what philosophical track I developed into.

At home, if your parents are still with each other, there’ll be constant bickering – pointless, petty bickering. You’ll think to yourself as a child, that somehow it’ll make sense as an adult. Trust me, it really doesn’t. Best case scenario, your parents are one of the few people who married and can actually tolerate each other. There’s typically around a twenty-five percent divorce ratio in many western societies. So, at the very least, you’ll see the fights at least once or twice during your childhood.

Whatever though, at least there are some things which keep you happy, right? Like Christmas, Easter and similar festivities which bring constant cheer to the whole family. You have no idea how wrong you are. Firstly, let’s get it out of the way: Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Same goes for any fantastic being your parents tried to convince you about. The truth is that your parents bullshit you in one way or another for most of your early childhood. Take note of this, adults are generally not trustworthy, if you find a trustworthy one, make him your lifelong friend. Secondly, behind that entire fantastical facade you see as a kid in the holidays, there are a lot of people having an awful time. This happens to such an extent that there’s a myth, which most people believe, that the rate of suicide skyrockets around this time. The truth of the matter is that most suicides occur during spring or summer. It doesn’t happen around Christmas as most people think. Nevertheless, so many people are going through a shitty time that they assume this, if any, must be the best time of the year to kill themselves.

Regardless of how happy or miserable this experience actually was, most of you will view it as a carefree time – a time where you didn’t have to worry about anything because you were taken care of. Really, the only thing that changes in your life are the preoccupations you have, the worries you feel all seem very relevant at the timeOnce you hit the next big stage in life, the board changes but the rules remain the same. At this point you’ve reached puberty. Congratulations! If you enjoy being chemically imbalanced, in every sense of the phrase, this is the time for you!

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