I found this post while revisiting one of my old blogs. I thought it deserved a re-post.
I have a fondness for bonsai trees. They are quite amazing, and if I had the patience to grow them, or money to buy them, my home would certainly be a bonsai forest.
As I was sitting and thinking of the techniques used in growing bonsais: The pruning, trimming, clamping, and wiring. And thinking also of the outcome: The size, the artificial appearance of maturity, the constant care that is required. I compared these aspects to those of their wild counterparts, which are tall and majestic, with spreading branches, elaborate root systems, and no need for human hands to care for them.
Is it unfair for me to draw these same comparisons between the schooled mind, and the mind that was free to learn for itself?
At school, children are shaped into a form that may not be natural for them, but is acceptable to society. They acquire an appearance of maturity, but it is merely an illusion based in fear. They are kept contained for 6 hours (or more) a day so that their roots cannot reach deep into the ground, and find their own source of happiness. Without school, children are limited only by their nature. They are free to become themselves, whether that be a shrub or a sequoia, they will be themselves, and in that, there is much joy.
The main difference is that the growth of the bonsai gives a sense of joy and accomplishment to the grower, while the growth of the wild tree gives a sense of accomplishment and joy to the tree.
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