Essays - Part 16
Switch on the TV and you are sure to find a negative news item about public schools: violence, teenage crime and a low level of knowledge are often mentioned among the problems related to many public schools, especially in depressed areas of big cities. Terrified with the perspective of their child growing up in this kind of surrounding, many people seek for an alternative from of education. Homeschooling seems one of the options, but what are its advantages and disadvantages if compared to public schools?
When I was little, I often had nightmares about monsters. I used to wake up at night and call my dad who was supposed to frighten them away. Once I asked him if he had ever had bad dreams, my father answered that he often had a nightmare about losing his job. I was puzzled: what was his job compared to my monsters? Only many years later I realized what he meant.
Unemployment has always been an important social problem. However, in the last decades it has gained even larger significance. The reasons for that are both demographic and economic. On the one hand, we are a society of an extensive type, which means that the mortality rate is higher than the birth rate and our nation is actually aging. As a result, each year there are more retired people and fewer middle-aged ones who mainly pay taxes and ensure the state budget can guarantee all the social payments.
When I am asked about my hobbies, I usually say that my main hobby is to prove that appearance is different from reality. And although I sometimes find it difficult and tiresome, deep down I still enjoy it immensely.
I first faced the problem of being judged according to my appearance, but not my abilities, when I was four years old and wanted to learn ballet dance. My mom took me to the dancing studio, but the teacher did not seem very eager to accept me. I was a plump girl who looked slightly clumsy and not a bit graceful. However, I begged her so much that she simply could not refuse. In fifteen years she confessed that she had never been so mistaken in her life. My inner desire was so strong that it helped me to succeed, and I even considered the possibility to pursue a dancing career.
A lion is chasing a herd of antelopes, the predator stretches in an attempt to catch its prey, the strong and healthy animals escape, but the weakest one is torn into pieces with claws. This is how natural selection process works. This is how our civilization developed, scientists claim. But is it really what determines the future of the mankind? I firmly believe that the process of natural selection when applied to people is much more complicated than the idea of the strongest individual surviving.
To start with, the history of our civilization proves that the strength is definitely not the most important human quality. If we consider Sparta, which was famous for its citizens to be physically flawless, we will find out, that it was the only Ancient Greek state which could not boast of a single philosopher. The basic principle of the natural selection was made into a law with only the strongest babies given the chance to survive, however, this artificial implementation of the idea proved to be harmful.
The general idea behind the raising of alcoholic drinking age is that it protects young people who are still incapable of accepting responsibilities, from the abuse of alcohol. It is, however, very doubtful whether it performs this function.
The matter is, the more something is prohibited, the more appealing it looks for those who are prohibited to do it. A person who would have been drinking from time to time, if he were allowed to, will be drinking immoderately and in secret if he is forbidden to do it, for the simple reason of it being cool. Moreover, with the minimum alcohol drinking age being 21 years, the situation looks especially ridiculous. At 18 people are considered to be mature enough to take responsibilities, get married, vote, sign contracts and be persecuted by law if they break it; but officially they still are not allowed to drink until they turn 21.
In this or that form military recruiters were often associated with high schools; yet, with the beginning of the Iraq War this presence became much more noticeable and led to controversy in the recent years. For some reasons, the society and, most notably, parents consider high school students to be far less intelligent than the ones studying in college, only a couple of years older, and try to prevent them from taking rash decisions.
The main problem with questions like this one is their, on the one hand, ambiguity and, on the other hand, relentlessness with which those who ask them require to be answered. What kind of decisions? About what? If we think along the lines presupposed by the question, we should define the unified age when teenagers should be let to both choose what they would have for breakfast and whom to marry.
The whole idea of imposing the usage of biofuels looks precisely like what it actually is – hysteria sponsored by governments and enforced by ecologists.
The idea of forcing the racing industry to use them looks all this plus also mad. What is it supposed to achieve? Decrease in the use of fossil fuels? All the fuel used by the racing industry is less than a drop in the ocean of what is used by usual motorists; even if all of this will be substituted by biofuels, it won’t make any difference – however difference it is supposed to make.
This idea may look ridiculous and absurd, yet be sure that there is always someone who just dreams about restricting the list of products people are allowed to eat or, on the contrary, wants to make people eat certain products. Such ideas are never about the ones who create them – they either already follow that idea or don’t care about the sphere restricted by it altogether. These people care only about changing the life of others, not their own ones.
The question about instant replay in baseball is rather a tricky one. There are certain advantages as well as disadvantages in the system. But since it has already been adopted as a regular feature of the game, there is nothing more that can be done about it. We can just hope that the advantages will be further enhanced and the disadvantages minimized.