All The World Is Staged! OR I Wuz Framed!

Posted on November 10, 2009


The rant that follows is long overdue. It’s a splatter of pent up answers and comebacks;an accumulation of everything I’ve wanted to relay over the past year. What can I say, I’m all shook up.

I’ve probably had a million conversations that go like this:

Person I’m Meeting After A While: Hey, It’s been ages! What are you doing now?
Me: Oh, I’m in PR at the mo. Also trying to start up some freelance creative writing on the side. And you?
PIMAAW: Whoa…hang on. Didn’t you do a science-something degree?
Me: Biotechnology.
PIMAAW: Yea, that. What happened??
Me: Oh, just expanding my horizons. Next on the agenda is space travel.

And as we chuckle at that little cliché-quip combo, I secretly congratulate myself on the successful avoidance of yet another of that tiresome dialogue.

So what??” I really want to say. “Want to take this outside??

But of course (and lamentably) Shakespeare was just being symbolic when he likened this world to a stage.
And West Side Story is sadly, purely fictional. So any chance of a ‘rumble’ was quashed, while afore-mentioned PIMAAW walked away from the conversation assuming that I was yet another confused soul who didn’t know what she wanted out of life.

There was a time when just knowing how to read and write made you the brightest of the lot. Then, a high school education became a mandatory prerequisite. A couple of decades down the line, a Graduate diploma was vital for some semblance of recognition, and now it’s either a Master’s degree or nothing.

The 5-lane highway you initially started out on eventually leads into a 3-lane road. We take a right and find ourselves on a 2-way street. We keep on going, and only when it’s too late do we finally comprehend that we’re stuck on a one-way track with a predefined destination.
Some of us are comfortable with our vehicles being set on autopilot. Others would rather get lost a little, experiment on the way, and maybe finally come to a conclusive decision on their route of choice.

What we fail to realize here, is that more than qualifying us for a profession, sectarian academics is actually paving us a very restricted path when it comes to life choices.

I remember my first day of 9th grade, when we excitedly clamoured around a roster announcing where each of us were to be ‘allocated’ for the years ahead.
Attaining an overall average of above 70% meant you were ‘worthy’ of the Science field of study, and the rest who didn’t make ‘the cut’ were shoved into The Arts or Business stream irrespective of whether they preferred it or not.
I remember feeling darned good at having made it (albeit barely) into that seemingly ‘elite’ club. Before I had even begun my syllabus, I’d felt smarter already.

But in retrospect, I now realize that the very notion that Science is more challenging a field than Accountancy for example, is a stupid, let alone archaic assumption.
We stage protests against racism, caste-systems and the like, but when we drop our picket signs to head home, we’re ironically resuming a life where we do just that. Segregate.

There is no pressing need to classify intelligence in the first place. Nor is there an urgency to put down in numbers a quotient with which to measure brilliance.
For if we’re learning something new every day, how often must we be tested then?
Literacy might be justified by numbers, but Knowledge most certainly cannot.

So as we leap from speciality to speciality, we ourselves are moulded into believing that we’re capable of only what we’ve been trained our whole lives to do.
We don’t even attempt escape, governed by the fear that we might fail trying; under the allusion that maybe it’s not worth the effort after all. Even if the fire you initially started out with, is now just a half-baked flicker struggling to stay aflame.

The probable logic behind this streaming of the masses, is that we as people are not comfortable without a hierarchy of sorts governing everything we do.
We’ve carved ourselves a little niche with this herd mentality, so much so that anything that strays even slightly from the norm is deemed ‘rebellious’ or ‘irrational.’
We like to have things clear-cut, so that each one of us can fall in line.
Black or white? Optimist or Pessimist? Fat or thin? Yes or No?

Then what about the Browns, the Realists, the Average-sized and the Maybe’s?

We’re all brain-washed into thinking that each one of us has this incremental slot in society we’re obligated to fill.
But if you think about it, it’s actually quite hard to sieve the global population on basis of profession. Try classifying the function of a Teacher for example.
As a university professor, you’re teaching a subject. As a mother, you advise your children against making wrong decisions. At work you train new employees. As team captain you coach your fellow players. And just by re-telling a story, you’re educating your listeners.

See what I’m getting at here?
Just because we’ve chosen a particular path for ourselves, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re restricted in doing solely that.

Maybe a Broadway star wants to make a shift into Advertising. Maybe a Mathematician would like to switch to an English major. Maybe an ex-marine is considering taking up crochet lessons.
And who are we to stop them?

Unfortunately for us, we’re living in an age where materialism reigns supreme over genuine drive.
They couldn’t give a toss if you’re passionate about the position. Going for a job interview without a degree(at least one)to fortify your resume is like a fashion designer sending her/his models down the ramp naked.

I’m not trying to rally against the educational system. Far from it. What I’m truly opposed to is the limitations created by society on education.

The point I’m trying to make is this.
Halfway down the line / up the ladder (use metaphor of choice), I’d like to have the liberty to change my mind. Or at least ponder what I’m doing there in the first place.
You might argue that it’s too expensive to start all over, or too tedious to re-trace, but don’t ever tell me it’s too late. Don’t ever tell me that I can’t.

Annnd, cut! Sorry for that emotional outburst folks, but thanks for listening.
Over and out.


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