“Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” ~ Cassio
Tell someone you support homeschooling and the first thing they ask is how will the poor kids be “socialized?” I can understand Satanists asking that question but when a nominal Christian asks it, I feel like strangling them. Or at the very least, shaking them until they realize they’re openly advocating for the death of the child’s soul. They follow up their argument by noting that most parents lack the talent for teaching. I tell them the child would be better off raised by wolves than attend government school. But they have one bullet left in their arsenal: “most people today can’t afford homeschooling. It’s a luxury for the rich.” Well, rich in soul and life maybe, but you don’t have to be rich in the wallet.
I can understand and sympathize with Christians who ask about time, cost, and ability. They’re indoctrinated by the government schools themselves and have lived with the institution so long it’s hard for them to consider life without it. But I cannot forgive the ones who offer the “socialization” argument. (Well I can forgive them too, eventually, but their objection is far more sinister than the others). Government school “socialization” amounts to soul-murder. They’re advocating for the murder of young souls.
What is a soul? And how do the government schools murder it?
On that first, I’ve read many books and philosophical essays on the topic (Richard Swinburne, Elenore Stump, Lynne Rudder-Baker, Alvin Plantinga, Nick Wolterstorff, John Searle, etc.) but I realize now how utterly useless all of it was. Philosophers talk about the mind / body problem (or if you’re Mrs. Baker, the “person / body” problem), but none of them care about the function of the soul. They’re like expert chefs who squabble among themselves about the best way to cook a steak, but none of them ever enjoy the full supper experience; not just tasting the cooked steak, but the anticipation of eating, the joy of being around the table with loved ones, the conversation, the prayers, the songs, etc. For that, with respect to the soul, you need poets and songwriters, not philosophers. For our purposes the soul is that part of us left alive after our body dies. It’s our inner life. For the rest, Oliver Goldsmith:
“Let schoolmasters puzzle their brains,
With wisdom and nonsense and learnin’,
Good liquor I stoutly maintain…
Give genus’ a better discernin’!”
It might be the Southern agrarian in me but I think of people like plants and God like a gardener. Our souls are immortal and part of the seed God plants. No matter what the soil or conditions there are parts of that seed that are unique to the individual and cannot be morphed or transmuted by sick social alchemists. The soil, conditions, and care play an important part in the growth of any plant though, and if the social alchemists are cruel, they could take a healthy seed and drip poison on it everyday, causing it to grow deformed and stunted.
But never forget God is in charge of the entire Garden and while sick social alchemists may have charge of various plants for a time, He’s coming one day to see that all of us fulfill the potential inherent in our seeds.
In the meantime though, the government schools are the sick social alchemists and they will, if allowed, twist and deform good children, ensuring they grow to have seared consciences and dead souls. Literally. They murder the soul through a process called “public shaming”.
I’ve just read Jon Ronson’s book on public shaming and he concludes that it is, quite literally, the killing of the soul (he realizes this after talking to a prison psychologist who studied habitual humiliation among the prisoners). One’s status in the community is far more important, in many cases, than life itself; people are willing to kill or be killed over points of honor. When someone is thoroughly shamed, he oftentimes commits suicide.
One’s status in the community, or what I call one’s “place” or one’s “context, is like the soil a seed is planted in. When someone is torn out of that “place” by an act of public shaming, it’s like ripping a plant out of its soil. The soul dies just like the plant would.
I intended this post to be a review of Jon Ronson’s book and an in-depth look at the process of public shaming (especially since the alchemists have tried to publicly shame me at various points in my life, even on the national stage with Jon Stewart and Chris Matthews getting involved), but I think I’ll conclude on a lighter note by doing something Ronson failed to do: I’d like to offer a helpful way to re-vitalize and repair a soul that’s been ritualistically and publicly shamed.
1 – If you’ve been publicly shamed, especially if you’ve been shamed wrongly (as I have been), you need to own what’s happened to you. In your mind say something like: “I’ve been publicly shamed and I’m not going to simply live with it!” Part of the problem with shaming is that people are so willing to make the pain stop, they accept the shame then go into hyper-conformity mode. They give up and put themselves at the complete mercy of the sick social alchemists. Think of the politician who accidentally says something perceived to be “racist” and immediately comes out with a tearful apology. Don’t do that.
2 – You need to take time to be alone. A time of fasting and prayer, at least twenty to thirty days of it. Get away from television, radio, and especially social media. If you’re in government school, simply stop attending; you can go two weeks or so before they’ll wise up and contact your parents, at which point you either plead with your parents to let you stay home another few weeks, feign illness, or, as a last resort if you’re forced back, sock one of the “shamers” right in their demonic nose and don’t let up until someone pulls you off. That way, the school will expel you and you can finish out your time of fasting and prayer.
3 – You need to take charge of your own “soil”. Tell your parents that you’re not going back to that hell-hole of a school. If you were shamed at work you need to quit (if being fired wasn’t part of the shaming). You need to get out and go somewhere rural. Change your soil. It’s important you keep in mind that you’re not running from the shaming (see 1), you’re simply changing your soil. You don’t need to go someplace where no one knows you; in fact, it’s probably better you stay in town. The temptation to run away and start over may be strong but if you take that route, you’ll always carry the shame deep inside of you and it will affect your new relationships wherever you go. Don’t carry it with you. Own it and defy it; but change your soil.
What you’re looking for in new soil is a place where you can rebuild your social status. Maybe you start a new job but you come in on the ground floor (so to speak). There, you work your way up and earn respect along the way. Also, while it’s not ideal, you should fire up the internet at this stage and seek out a circle of friends on social media who agree with you, support you, and give you a dignified place among them. Without this circle of friends, I’m not sure how I would have taken my national “shaming”.
But most importantly, throughout this entire process, never forget that you worship a savior who experienced the ultimate public shaming. We worship a God who condescended to us and was humiliated for it. And yet, He rose again, both spiritually and in the body.
…He really did stoop to conquer (hat tip to Oliver Goldsmith again).