A friend introduced me to this remarkable video and I was so moved, I had to write to the young filmmaker in reply.
When my teenaged son was diagnosed with ADD I said, if you’re going to medicate him you have to medicate me, because I am as ADD as he is, if there is such a thing. So I was tested and sure enough, over the top adult ADD. The doctor told me that both of us would be doomed to lives of failure if we did not follow his prescription. In the interests of a fair trial we took the drugs for a week. Both of us hated it and threw the meds away. My son was, and is, a sensitive, spiritually awake soul caught in a system that didn’t understand him. The answer is not to force a child or youth to be something false, but rather change the system and wake up to what is going on in our world.
ADD is a name invented within a limited medical model to describe what happens to bright, creative people when they are forced into a rigid paradigm where creativity is not valued and individuality is denied. These drugs are designed by a powerful and deeply corrupt pharmaceutical industry that is fundamentally flawed and dangerous. There are exceptions in education – rare schools and teachers who see through what is being done to the children. My solution, after trying various alternatives, was to take my kids out of school altogether and let them learn in their own way. One of my sons was admitted this past year into Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. He is doing well in a very rigorous program, and has been recommended for further scholarships. He attended no more than three years of elementary school throughout his whole life, and no high school at all. He is, of course, an artist by nature, as you are Josh, evidenced by this wonderful film.
In this writing I won’t go into detail about the habits of a culture that does not know how to trust children, joyfully mine their potential or invite a healthy self love. The roots of these challenges run deep, and in my passion for the subject I could easily write a book, not just a blog post. But Josh, in our video you touch upon a very clear manifestation of the demand for conformity and control that is at the heart of what we presently call education, and it is time for this way of thinking to end.
The qualities that make it hard for you to sit at a desk while someone talks at the front of the room about a subject determined by a curriculum committee, are the same characteristics that make you an expansive, creative thinker. The part of you that has trouble reading text books or memorizing meaningless information, is the part of you that wants a visceral experience in life: to touch, to feel, to explore and to play. Einstein said that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. You don’t see any indication of this understanding in most classrooms today.
The majority of those who graduate from our modern school system do indeed live lives of “quiet desperation”. Most are focused upon survival and ego-driven competition, and have long forgotten what brings true joy. In their numbness they perpetuate their own experience upon those who have the least power in our world, the children. But Josh, nothing can stop you once you accept yourself, love yourself, and commit to living the truth of yourself in the world. Even if no one else gets it, if you do, that is all that matters. Grades are not only irrelevant, they are damaging to everyone in the long run, including the kids who excel. The challenges you face in terms of concentration and grades are because your learning style is not understood. You are not meant to cram your head full of meaningless “facts” that will be out of date tomorrow. You are not meant to memorize information by reading about others doing things. You are meant to get up and start doing things yourself.
There is a massive, global shift going on on our planet, energetically, spiritually, politically, culturally.. and the current education system is failing on all levels – it is coming down. Our present model was originally designed in Prussia to crush independence and create obedient soldiers who would sustain a controlling elite. Don’t wait for this thinking to change Josh, change it for yourself. Read, research, learn about the many choices and alternatives that are available to you and act on them. Be the creative insurgent that you are, keep making great films and know that the suffering and challenges you face now are what will define your emergence in the future.
This is one of my favourite Ted talks of all time, full of wit and wisdom about the educational system as seen from the inside. If you have not heard Sir Kenneth speak, you must see this.
And this is another wonderful talk by a young man like you Josh, who dares to suggest that we deserve to be happy above all. He shows us some of the amazing options available to inquiring families who choose to set their children free.
Josh, your creative nature is a treasured gift. Honour it, hold it close to your heart and seek others like yourself who will understand you. It is the artists, activists, rebels, outsiders and non-conformists that are the future of our transforming world. I wish you continued courage on your journey. You are not alone.
much love, Adi
P.S. A transmission on the spiritual nature of special kids can be found here.