Money 46

I was never a morning person really. The summer school-holiday mornings I spent lying in till noonish, if marked off, would black out swathes of calendar space making them look like documents reluctantly released by the DoJ which, of late, have been heavily redacted. I don’t think it had anything to do with preferring a night life, I may well have gravitated to preferring staying up than getting up, naturally. Gosh, just when your development needs your beauty sleep you’re being dragged awake to grab a cuppa and off to the school bus. In retrospect I would say I did enjoy my school days. After chapel and breakfast I felt ready to deal with the day. Especially after myself and a couple of cronies discovered the location of the teachers’ pot of strong, sweet, coffee in the kitchen. But what does this school thing mean in our lives? Not quite a cave up in the mountains with the benign Centaur, skilled in the healing arts, Chiron, clattering up and down between his students among whom such luminary figures from Greek Mythology as Ajax, Theseus, Achilles, Jason [of Argo fame] and Perseus but a more formalized arrangement where groups of pupils under the tutelage of groups of persons, hopefully qualified, to impart the knowledge they possess about a subject. But the school in general and teachers in particular are considered to be ‘in loco parentis’, meaning they substitute for parents in the environs of the pergula/scholae. And herein could lie the rub.
As parents we entrust our children to this place for about 8 hours a day – for around 180 days in the US. The school year is based around the agrarian calendar so your school kids can work the family farm during the summer. You thought we had heard it all from grandparents who would talk about walking two miles to school uphill in both directions and carry a sack of provisions on the way back?
Here’s something to think about. Even a well-matched set of parents might have different ideas, tolerances and attitudes about many topics including what kind of people they would like their children to grow up to be. Of course a course to success naturally, but one parent might think it a corporate lifestyle while the other would prefer the child follow his or her muse into the creative arts. Teachers are supposed to hover and guide but they have subconscious and subjective ideas about the best track to pursue too, and that’s if all works as planned. What happens when the child doesn’t fit into the pre-conceived pattern? The teaching staff assumes he/she is being obdurate. The kid is labelled, worried parents dragged into meetings to discuss this and horrors, medication is touted as the cure-all.
During my stint as a music teacher I’d have occasion to come across students on medication, purportedly for ADD and ADHD. Some of them acted like it was a badge of, I don’t know, being different from the crowd? Maybe all they were, were bored with the level and pace of the instruction. The drug of choice is also used to treat narcolepsy, depression and chronic fatigue. It’s a stimulant used to tackle hyperactivity. What kind of devil’s magic is this? Among the side effects can be nervousness, insomnia and anorexia. This penchant to turn to non natural remedies has resulted, for instance, and albeit treating pain management, in an opioid epidemic. Over time, mistrust in medication builds and small wonder many adult sufferers choose to self medicate with the Devil’s Weed rather than mess with the preparations that have so many side effects.
I wonder what the control and treatment of illnesses would currently look like had mankind, spurred on by the patriarchal religions, not decimated the ‘wise women’ healers by accusing them of malevolence and being the devil’s minions? Ancient civilizations worshipped many female deities and women were priestesses and practitioners of the holy rituals. These women were considered wise and positive figures consulted by kings and queens. They made house calls [try asking for that nowadays] delivered babies and treated infertility and impotence.
Was it the spread of the male warrior and gods of war that overcame the female deities and the female influence? The defeat of Amazonian cultures? More likely, when we consider the history, the fact that the spread of a male-centric, monotheistic religion with a creation story weirdly exclusionary of women became widespread. Witchcraft was condemned and considered dangerous and prohibited as a pagan practice. After all as the Inquisitors Springer and Kramer [not a comedy act] were to write centuries later in their Malleus Maleficarum [the ‘how-to’ of witch hunting] witches, as women, were sexually vulnerable and easy prey for demons: “What else is a woman but a foe to friendship?” wrote the monks. “They are evil, lecherous, vein [sic], and lustful. All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is, in women, insatiable.” Shades of Eden much?
By the time the great plague had been through a number of incarnations in the mid 1600s hysteria was at fever [sorry] pitch. One third of the population in England and Europe had succumbed to it and a systemic eradication of women suspected and accused of witchcraft and causing the disease, spread throughout the Continent. Mostly in France and Germany [where some towns ended up with no women left]. England had a self-proclaimed Witchfinder General mainly operating in East Anglia. But of course it wasn’t the devil, it was fleas.
We are finding out all over again as natural remedies proliferate once more, that maybe the old ways were the best. And why not? They were proven over countless centuries. We marvel when we see animals treating their own ailments with various plants yet we don’t allow for human tradition to have picked out similar cures over the vast period of time we’ve been around. Am I suggesting we treat school children with Marijuana? No but the use of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) is becoming more acceptable and used in various treatments. It may well be time to stop dosing one and all with manufactured drugs often with side effects that knowingly or unknowingly are frequently hidden and erupt like time bombs. Or plague?

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