School of Actual Life

I fantasize about a school that prioritizes the learning of real-life skills over our current study of modern civilization, the latter of which in no way addresses how to be a living organism on this planet.

I imagine there was a time when parents and teachers taught children how to build shelter, what’s okay to eat in the forest, proper courtship techniques, etc. Today most of us learn none of these things. If we did, there might be no such thing as, say, “homelessness”, since in theory anyone who knows how to shield themself from the elements using natural materials could always have a home.

Instead, we outsource life skills through the use of money, an arbitrary concept — and thus a shaky foundation — on which to rely. If money stops being a thing, or you just run out of it, you’re in deep trouble if you’ve invested your education only in the acquisition of money rather than directly in the knowledge and skills it replaces.

I myself am the product of modern education: I can balance a checkbook, I’ve read some literature, I can tell you who the first president was of this thing we’ve agreed to call the “United States”. But I don’t know how to tell if a melon is ripe, I don’t know how to tie a knot, and it took me 35 years to only begin to know how to talk to a woman. But I’m trying (on all fronts). The more of these real-world skills I learn, the more capably I can exist on this planet…and the less money I need to do it.