Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Condition of Alienation"

This poem is spillover from the March 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "urban decay" square in my 1-1-18 card for the Apocalypse Bingo fest.


"The Condition of Alienation"


Students come into the schools
full of life and laughter, each one
as unique as flowers in a field.

The teachers pick them apart
and put them back together
in ways that are more pleasing
to the people in power.

The ones who rebel
are sent to the principal
to be lectured and punished,
turned into robots who say
and do only what is permitted.

The ones who still rebel
are sent to prison for being
ungovernable, when really,
they simply aren't submissive.

Human livestock is more valuable
than free-range humans anyway.

Jobs aren't really work anymore,
all the decisions taken away,
workers reading mindlessly
from prewritten scripts.

Even the teachers don't
truly teach anything,
just recite lessons
right out of the books.

The condition of alienation
comes about when the mind
is isolated from itself, and when
knowledge is split from experience.

The condition of being unconscious,
of being out of one’s mind, is what
reduces us to a world of sleepwalkers.

The condition of being a robot
is the state of the normal man.

Society values its normal men,
as it does not value those
who think for themselves,
who are called abnormal
just for being free.

It educates children
to lose themselves
and to become absurd,
thereby becoming normal.

It is a form of urban decay
as vivid as the school buildings
fallen to ruin where rats run
among moldering books.

The schools churn out people
who are so set in their ways
that they cannot change.

But life is change;
there is nothing in
the world so certain
as the nature of change.

To teach people
to be unable to change
is to destroy the foundations

of civilization itself.

* * *

Notes:

“The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal.”
R.D. Laing

Rigid educational practices aim to turn students into robots.

Similarly, discipline aimed at crushing rebellion also crushes creativity, and it pushes children into prison.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, education, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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