Why we should teach meditation as a basic skill in primary and secondary schools (and why most likely it will not happen).
The purpose of education is to give everyone the same chances of developing themselves depending on their abilities. And another task of education is to make people resilient in the society. For example, you learn math so that you know how much you are spending and you will not so easily be fooled by a slick seller of pre-pension schemes (… maybe a bad example). For this reason math is taught on all school levels as opposed to Latin which is only taught on the higher school levels.
Now our current society is faced with a massive information overload driven to enhance consumption. This information overload is so enormous that it is safe to say that a new form of mental slavery exists. There is a large group of people who are so much influenced by external stimuli, that they can hardly make up their own mind. I feel it is the task of our education system to restore this balance.
The occasion of my plea, was this text by Dion Fortune as early as April 1943:
“The application of psychology to salesmanship did not stop at the cultivation of the personality of the salesman, however, but went on to study the use of mental suggestion by means of advertisement. This has been worked out with great skill in the drink trade, wherein a realistic picture of an overflowing glass and a slogan concerning its medicinal nature are widely used. The suggestion of health value supplies an excuse, and the sight of the overflowing glass awakens desire. The path of an inebriate striving to overcome his craving is made indefinitely harder by such pictorial publicity, and it ought to be prohibited for the same reason as pornography is prohibited. Other examples of such trading in human weakness are those which exploit snobbery in the cause of soap, less harmful no doubt, but equally illegitimate in principle.”
80 year later marketing and pornography are all surrounding and are far beyond prohibition. The only way to deal with this is to make the people themselves resilient against these kinds of unwanted influences. And here is the thing. People who are better educated are usually better able to do this. They are able to discern fact from fiction, have their own thoughts and options and are able to find peace and quiet in their minds from time to time. People with less education often are not able to do so. These people do not have the means to think for themselves and are programmed subconsciously. In this sense we are not that far from 1984 or the Matrix.
For this reason I propose to have meditation classes in primary and secondary schools. The goal is make children aware of outside mental influences and to teach them free thinking. But also for the same reason I think my proposal will not be accepted. You reap what you sow. Our society seems not to be interested in individual critical thought. Our society seems to be more interested in people who work and consume as much as possible. It would be a task for the left wing parties (PVDA and SP) with their historical aim to raise the level of the lower classes in society to put this topic on the political agenda.