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The lies we were told as children


About Subversive

Do you have your own gripe with your local or state government? And what are the streets like in your part of town, in your home state?

If you'd like me to fire a rocket up them, or a shoddy business, I'm listening! You can email me here.


I don’t think my parents were habitual liars. But why were we, as children, told so many things that were false?

Have you ever reflected on the things you were told as a kid that turned out to be untrue? I certainly do!

Were you told lies, too?? Picture: Shutterstock.

Were you told lies, too?? Picture: Shutterstock

I don’t think my parents were habitual liars, or that people in general were, either. I do not really know what it was, but we were all told so many things that turned out to be false.

Consider.

From a very young age, I was told that the secret to success was hard work, which I've since found relates more to a romantic notion arising from the Protestant work ethic than reality. I am not suggesting that work is romantic, but that the notion of reward for effort most certainly is.

Read more from Subversive Sam: Together, the over-50s can change the world

While it is true that hard work is a factor in the success of many, it is equally evident that many people work themselves to death with very little reward. Consider the underground coal miner who sweats all day, every day, breathing toxic fumes, burning thousands of calories, and risking life and limb to earn a minimum wage that will barely feed his children - and will certainly never see his children receive a private school education.

Compare this with the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, who works long hours but has it easy compared to the coal miner and takes home $12 million a year.

You may also consider the likes of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, who were in the right place at the right time, enabling them to leverage their smarts in a way few can.

The relationship between success and hard work is tenuous at best.

Computers began to appear in my late teens/early 20s. We were told that in addition to making data easier and faster to process, these new inventions would same us time and money, make life easier and increase leisure time significantly. I don’t know about you, but I was led to believe that by mid-life, I would be working less hours and my children would be learning how to use excessive leisure time.

Well, I am past midlife now and working longer than ever. My kids had to complete at least one post graduate qualification, and the closest they get to increased leisure time is when they are unemployed - a natural outcome, at least briefly, for even the most well-qualified graduate. Then when they get a job, they work harder than I do and certainly for as many hours.

Rather than making life easier and increasing leisure time, computers have enabled employers to rationalise and demand more of the remaining employees. The system is the only winner here, with fewer people controlling more of the wealth, making it harder for the others to do anything fun with the leisure time they have.

When I started school, I was told that that I would be educated. I was told that school would teach me all the things I needed to know to make my way in life, whatever occupation I chose to pursue. I was led to believe that school would be fun and that the benefits of my education would include personal growth and self-discovery. I was told that I would find a purpose and get the skills to live it.

Instead, I found school an agonising grind, far more focused on socialisation than education and far more concerned with obedience and conformity than personal growth.

In the years since leaving school, I have come to realise that the only purpose a human being has is the one they create. The main skills I needed to realise my purpose were objective, critical and lateral thinking, skills not only ignored, but actively discouraged when you are at school.

School then, and largely now, is a hangover from the industrial revolution preparing workers for their toil rather than human beings for life.

When at school, John Lennon was asked to write about what he was going to do when he grew up. He wrote about being happy. His teacher said that he didn’t understand the assignment. Lennon in response said: "No Miss, you don’t understand life!"

What lies were you told growing up? What were you told that never came to pass?

How were you misled by parents, family, teachers and friends?

Please share. I am really interested?

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