Face The Front

I find it increasingly difficult to go to anything where I am required to Face The Front. The cinema, or a festival, for example. The problem started when I was working as a teaching assistant in a secondary school. Facing The Front, even if it was watching my favourite band, felt like being at school.

Facing the Front is taught in schools. Starting from age 4, we are trained to Face The Front, Pay Attention, and Follow Instructions. The teachers are teaching this because they are following instructions themselves.

Pay Attention. Give your attention elsewhere, not to yourself. Make a payment of your attention. Your energy is being given elsewhere, to someone else’s agenda. You must neglect yourself, and become one of the masses, all behaving the same way. You “attend” school, you “attend” an event, to pay it your attention.

Follow Instructions. Just like a computer. Don’t think for yourself, do as you’re told. Be a robot.

Face the Front, all face the same way. Face the teacher or instructor or the screen or the stage. Watch, listen, copy and be programmed. A variation on the theme is the stadium layout, where everyone faces the centre. Another variation is when millions of people simultaneously face their nearest TV screen.

If you go to school 5 days a week, you might watch TV in the evening, go to the cinema on Saturday, and Church on Sunday. Not much time left inbetween to think for yourself, or work out how to function without external instructions. Maybe you don’t even want to, maybe it’s more comfortable having something at the front telling you what to do.

Rows of seats are really starting to bug me.

Cinema, classroom, TV, screens, theatre, concerts, festivals, talks, church, entertainment, stadiums, sports. All the same. And if you don’t go to Glastonbury or Wimbledon, you can face the front in the comfort of your own home, on the sofa, watching the TV, because everything is televised nowadays, so that more people can simultaneously give their energy away to the same thing.

People watch TV to relax, to switch off. Perfect state for being hypnotised, and having the thing at the front enter and take over your mind. Enter.tain.ment means enter and hold mind.

Where’s all that energy going, the energy that we are giving away to the front? Not to be used for our benefit, I am sure.

Isn’t there something better we could do with our energy? How much time and energy would we have if we weren’t doing all these Facing The Front activities? Life would be very different.

(See also: Ofsted Control, It’s What We Do, Do As You’re Told Days, Kids Art, The Kid That Knows Birthdays, The Royal Olympic Fertility Ritual, Cloud and Screens, Invasion of The Telescreens, Who is TED)

See John Taylor Gatto books for analysis of modern day schooling… http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

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9 Responses to Face The Front

  1. wow, you are an incredibly insightful person and is why i read your blog. I have had a long fascination with the megalithic structures of this world we inhabit especially the pyramids and other land marks, your breakdown of words and language are also very good, i did not have a formal education and know what i know just through reading( a bug i did not pick up until i was 18). there seems to be another or several layers working against free thought and critical thinking and find your view very refreshing.

    • suliwebster says:

      Thanks, Andy. I am increasingly thinking that lack of formal education is an advantage. Even though I had one right through to University level. I wanted to escape at 16, but my path was blocked by well meaning teachers and parents, who wanted “the best” for me. I have learnt far more from self studying, and being out in the world, and on-the-job learning.

  2. dognamedblue says:

    been quite a while since I came out with the schooling mantra 🙂
    [I don’t think anyone was listening at the time]

  3. dognamedblue says:

    oh forgot the mantra always ended with the classic “repeat after me” 🙂

    • suliwebster says:

      Thanks dogbamedblue. Repeat After Me sounds very familiar too. I guess the teachers are just repeating what they have been told to repeat from someone else too. Who started this chain?

  4. Nixon Scraypes says:

    This one really made me laugh,it’s great to know someone else has these feelings.

  5. Noonoo says:

    I didn’t get what this ‘face the front’, ‘do as you’re told’, schooly agenda thing was about until I had a ‘special’ child who just couldn’t do it. Gave up on school eventually and home educated for 6 years, spent lots of time on the floor with books and big pieces of paper, ended up with a very un-academic but highly creative teenager who’s just found a college place for the design course she wants to do. I’ve learned an awful lot from this process myself. Brilliant blog post, thank you.

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