The Chopping Board
Countless years of misery spent inside a poorly insulated classroom, countless years spent waiting to escape a system of sludge and mush to trudge forward where perhaps you will escape this reprehensible maze of exams. Line up in droves, locked shoulders, keep your mouth shut because it’s for your own good. Summer vacation, new year, homework, tests, blood, sweat and tears in circles and circles and c i r c l e s .
The student is a lifeless entity, controlled by the enigmatic, educational powers that be, influencing their moves from the ripe age of 12 or 13. Humans are locomotive organisms, that’s what the science textbook says, but in reality, there’s a monster under your bed. A septuagenarian bald male named MR. CAPITALISM plans to bite your head and feast on you for dinner. He picks you from the farm when you’ve finished sprouting, fresh, smelling of dirt and you are picked out for consumption by a customer.
“We are learning this for your own future,” says the teacher, hiding the standardised test syllabus. “Put your head down. You don’t have a degree.” You’re an obedient vegetable, doing just what the customer asks from you. Ripe and dedicated, a teacher’s pet who knows they will be rewarded one day. You graduate through the classes, taken from the farmer’s market to the personal kitchen and into the refrigerator. One day, the cycle is complete -- your education is complete, you’re mature now, a know-it-all for sure. Better than everyone in your class! True joy is obsolete in the face of high marks on your tests, of course.
One day, the customer pulls you out of the refrigerator. You’ve succeeded. You will receive love. Satisfaction. Pleasure. Everything you wanted.
Mr Capitalism has entered the kitchen, and in his hand is a silver knife, glistening.
Here we go again, another set to the slaughter. The knife swings down as we turn the page, praying our memory serves us well. Yet deep down we know we’re destined to fail, to flail around in hopeless attempts to overcome the soul-sucking system of labour. The puppeteer you thought you could resist has revealed itself to be none other than Capitalism & Co. Ltd., and it will chop you up into pieces onto the chopping board of the economy.
Two options remain. Get hypnotised into the doctrine of proletarian pain or stop being a vegetable. Become a human. Grow a pair of legs, and a brain. Read a book to learn, not to study for a test. Only critical thinking and undermining the system through genuine education can rescue you from the bloodthirsty plights of Mr Capitalism.
By Eshal Zahur
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