Between structures and agencies

On one hand, there is a container without the contained, and then on the other side, there is the water free-flowing without the container. With no form at all, the water free-falls into infinity without its absolute enthusiasm being harnessed or deviated to productivity. But then there is also the container all empty, all purposeless. The container as structure and water as the agent- if observed will seem to complement: since the agency defines the other as structure while accepting itself to have the role of an agent and vice-versa.

I believe that education is supposed to be a structure to frame the chaos of free-thought. For a though without the frame of words or language will never have the chance of being communicated. But our obsession to label and structure has shifted to over-structuralization while over-looking the agent. The importance today has turned too much towards complicating a discourse with complex terminology when simple words could have efficiently conveyed the meaning.

It is the same with the system of education in place. What we have in place is functional, for it overlooks the fact that every human body functions differently. You just can’t have every child in the class bringing out the best of his or her creativity in a 9:00 am drawing class. You can’t! And to judge everyone on the same scale of efficiency-output is utterly unjust, almost torturous. Maybe I read well at 3:00am or work amazingly on calculus after a sleep filled with night-mares. And to judge it with my brother’s skills to frame mathematical theorems in his English class would be an insult to both our respective skills.
Every individual is an agent and every agent is different. And you cannot tell them to be structures, because they are not. We are not made to be factory-produced. And it is this that the globalization-pressures on countries like India are doing: produce engineers and doctors who think and produce the same quality and quantity of work, which lacks in any form of innovation or soul. They fail at application: so telling them to apply mathematical know-how to philosophy would result into absolute disaster.

I don’t know if solutions exist. But I know that there is a road to something better. Only if we could tell our children to stop judging themselves on grades that they bring back from school may lead to huge shifts. I have known little arty kids who stop painting because the class graded them a ‘C’. We have lost innumerable scientists, mathematicians, doctors and strange innovators to the system that worships structural imitation. And I hope that someday, we can change it!

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About Shreya Parikh

I am Shreya. Project Rethought is my attempt to rethink my own observations as a brown woman of Indian origin. I currently live in Paris where I teach at Sciences Po Paris and Parsons Paris-The New School.
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