A Tale of Systemic Tyranny


Art by Judith Romero

Diana Garza, Co-Editor in Chief/Webmaster/Co-Sports Editor

Although this is a world where institutions are applauded and the status quo is admired, I will not be satisfied by the mediocrity of either. At the detrimental age of 17, life as I know it seems to be at an end, and I can’t help but grieve for what could have been. It’s as if I’ve been turned into a marble slab—atrophied by stagnation—victim to a system who is carving me into the imperfect prodigy, destined to become a mindless statue. 

“The System” refers to—although is not limited to—society’s hierarchical and rigid subjugation to systemic education. You see, school has become a tool of conformity, turning out employees rather than evolved individuals. 

The evolution of school as conformist and collective is quite ironic considering the word’s etymology. “School” is a derivative of the Greek scholē, which means “leisure.” Although it’s  quite paradoxical that a place of great stress was originally intended as a place of recreation, the connection is not so distant. To the Greeks, idle hours were not wasted time. They were crucial periods of philosophy, conversation, and insightful thinking. School meant to congregate with peers and learn for the sake of knowledge, not power or greed or image. 

While I love learning, I can’t help but want more from “The System” that delivers  a uniform education. A student’s everyday regime is a conventional gateway for compliant nine-to-fivers. Such rigidness devalues the essence of knowledge—curiosity—and is completely alien to the concept of school as an avenue for enlightenment. The importance in earning the graciousness of an A is more significant than empowering young minds. Consequently, students aim to please, not cultivate themselves. The grading system has been so thoroughly infused into the bones of education that students can’t learn without seeking its validation. Although I believe I’m worth more than my grades, I admit there’s still an insatiable thirst for an A. 

But learning is personal, so why should my performance be compared to that of my peers? Why is my brain being measured by a derogatory and inaccurate scale? 

School has made me reliant on its reward system, unquestionably adherent to regulations and numb to working unhappily. As pupils we are trained to understand that leisure is a taboo and self-satisfaction is only achievable by systemic orthodoxy. 

Not only is “The System” proficient at turning out robots, it’s great at setting social stations. Those who are not ‘fit’ for school or can not pay for higher education (which in itself is its own issue) face less desirable choices: drop out, join the military, work for minimum wage, and even become government dependents. Of course there are many who find success and joy off of the clear path, but my point is that those who fall into the above categories were failed. School’s monopoly over future prosperity enforces class distinctions by discriminating against those who don’t conform to the standard. 

Humans have corrupted school, allowing it to become a corporate agent. And while I am infatuated with education, I can’t help but loath “The System” that has torn me out of love with learning. Sadly, knowledge is reduced to memorization for the next exam, and curiosity is impractical under rapid course progression. I hope that one day education will become an elastic phenomenon, liberated from systemic tyranny.