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14.02.2016

School grades do not prepare you for life

Proponents of grades often argue that they prepare you for real life where your efforts are evaluated based on merit. This is ridiculously wrong. The way your efforts are evaluated in real life is practically the direct opposite of how they are evaluated at school.

At school, you have an established authority. This person represents the standard and individual taste against which your efforts will be evaluated. Usually, this person is not even free in that. Rather, that person in itself is a representant of established globalized norms and standards.

A whole country learns the same things by the same standards and everybody’s efforts are evaluated against the codified rules of this standard.

This is the polar opposite of reality, where following the rules is the sure fire way to get absolutely nowhere.

I mean, sure, you always get judged. But in real life, people judge you by whether you fulfill some need of theirs. And people’s needs are diverse. And I promise you that no person has the deep-seated emotional need of a grade A from the federal government. Unless this person is an office shredder.

And since nobody really has a need for a piece of paper that says that you are smart, there is no need to focus your efforts on acquiring the skills necessary to get such a paper.

My own experiences

A couple of years back, I had a knack for videos. Just did it for fun. Eventually, the brother of a school friend saw one of my videos. He asked me to do stuff for him and I later ended up creating videos for a public event with an audience of 500. For him, I also created a ton of trailers for various other events. Here is one of them:

Later, some other guy heard of my work – I forgot how or from whom. He hired me to film little music gigs at a pub and paid me a hundred bucks each time. From this, I got in contact with a band for which I filmed a few concerts and created a music video.

This got me into contact with an asshole called Mickey Monroe, for whom I filmed a concert and a music video – but never got paid. I also did some concert videos for Mickey’s lead guitarist who also did not pay me. Oh well. But this got me in contact with another band called Sonopack whom I then had the pleasure of filming with 8 cameras simultaneously in a philharmonic orchestra. I did not think about the standard way to do it – I just did it. And I got paid for that. I no longer have the video, but the band uploaded a few pieces in miserable quality. Here is one:

I also created a video for the bassist of Mickey Monroe and got paid for that. And a few others not necessarily worth mentioning.

This whole chain of gigs ensued simply because I had fun doing what I was doing. Would I say that I did it well? What, like objectively? That brings us back to asking what is good? Well? If it follows the rules? But what rules? Who knows!

The fact is that I did it the way I wanted to do it and somebody responded to it. I did it the way I thought it was great and I found people who found it great as well.

Following the rules?

I never received any formal education in video production, but when I actually studied at a university that also offered film courses, I occasionally dropped in or talked to the students and my knowledge – especially my practical skills – were miles ahead of theirs. They were totally obsessed with following the rules.

When I asked one of them to help me out on that concert with 8 cameras, he immediately started rambling about what he had learned. Do I have professional equipment? Does my equipment have timecode? Well, no, it does not. My cameras are low-grade fuck, basically. But they deliver all I need. But you can not synchronize without timecode! Sure I can, I just use the audio waveforms. But your image does not have enough bits depth of color! Well, so what? Look at the medium people normally use to watch your videos – Youtube, television, DVDs; nobody will ever see that purely technical and hypothetical quality.

Now he is a camera assistant working his way up the dick-sucking hierarchy of the German monopolized government media. And last time I met him in 2014, he still said that he admired my natural experience. And I am not that good.

There are reasons why I did not pursue this path in my life. One of them is that I have psychological problems and a quiet rage against the world, but I was never confident about it and thus I was practically unable to ever come up with any kind of story and stand behind it. All I was ever good at was to shoot cool angles and edit them with cool music.

The other reason is that I did not want to end up doing commercials for companies I did not care about. I did a few and I hated it. One of them:

In this particular video, I had actually protested against the overall concept as it was totally silly and cliched. The video is technically well done, but fuck boring. Nobody will ever really want to watch it. Actually, it is painful and embarassing to watch. Only the beginning and end are cool. Sure, there are real ads like it that do work. But guess what: They work because of repetition. Big media spreads them with big money until annoyance turns to capitulation. I hated creating this video and it was eating up my soul. I hope I will never have to do that kind of brainless shit again, but this was in a phase of my life where my head was full of those stupid self-denying work hard ass-kissing mantras.

Anyway, you can imagine that the feedback to this video was underwhelming, if existent at all. It was in some aspects well done, but that was it. Nobody cared about this video. Nobody’s heart was in it.

Last time I did a video worth watching, my boss found it too politically incorrect.

Do your style

But the point is: I almost never gave a damn if others liked the way I did it. Even back when I did Counter Strike videos, I was doing original stuff that I liked while everybody else was following tutorials and creating boring copies of other copies.

And yet, it was simply my style. My style was a lot different from others who were doing enjoyable videos. If I had to be a video teacher, how could I possibly put this shit into rules? Yeah, I know. I would do it as they did it at the university. I would technicalize it all. I would find objective criteria like: Is it correctly lit? Did he use color correction? Does his story follow the three act structure? Did he use a dolly and a Steadicam? Are the angles hard to shoot? Did the student put the school logo into the intro and outro? Was an outro created? Did the student take care of copyright? Blah blah. You basically create a check list of stuff to do; stuff that has been done before. Hell, one of the criteria for the grade was actually the length of the video!

I have seen the videos of those film students. The ones showcased by the school. They were shit. A few of them were good and that was when the guys were actually into it and usually when they had already had former experience.

Now, you could say: Alright, you need better rules! You need to judge the artistic merit! But what the fuck is that? Is the movie then suddenly good only when it is black-and-white, grainy and is concerned with social injustices? Like filming some beggar on the street? Yeah? That is deep? Good art?

My point here is not to show off my work and say Look how great it is. My point here is to show you that I just let myself flow in what I loved and life, all by itself, brought me opportunities to live that. Law of attraction. I did not need to do it right. I did not need to do it like they do it in Hollywood. I just did what I loved and others wanted me to do it with them. It is nothing special. It is just normal, as it should be. And with time, I gained an understanding of the matter which put me ahead of any of those stupid rule followers who never exceeded that. I even saw videos of people who actually earn their money with video production – and I find their videos mostly conservative, soulless and technically badly executed. A job title is no guarantee for skill or joy.

The truth is that in the real world, you simply create that which expresses yourself. And then you see who reacts to it. There are no fucking rules. I mean, look at this blog. Is this comparable to any other manosphere blog out there? I doubt it. If there are similarities – and there surely are – they are there by accident. Is my blog better than others? Hell, no. It is simply mine. And people comment here, god knows what kind of pleasure they find in it. And I love that fact.

Sure, I am not making any money with this blog. And yet, I get cool engagement and people who respond to precisely that which is important to me. This thing is one year old. Give me another two and who knows what is possible. But even if I never earn money with it, who cares? That is a total fear mindset. I am not sufficient. I must copy others. Yeah? Is that safer? So tell me, how many of you Just Another Hercules Tutorial copycat blogs are making big money, hah? How many and how much?

Other experiences

I had similar experiences with that which I earned the most money with, programming. A school teacher offered a course to those who were interested. No grades, just fun. I was intrigued and was one of maybe 8 people who went in there. Most dropped it, but I stayed at it privately and started playing around with that shit.

Eventually, a friend of a friend heard that I had once said that I had done some HTML. He knew a guy who had this club here in Munich, with a website that needed an administrator. So I overtook that thing, at first almost for free. Eventually, I got a pretty well paid job out of it which I eventually dropped because it had become way too easy and I hated it.

I also studied web development, but that was long after I had accepted that job the first time. When I studied it, I was way ahead of anybody in class and frankly, I bet I would have done well even without it, because I knew most of the stuff we learned already.

Then I became a teacher there myself. I always encouraged people to just try stuff out, to play around – as opposed to the other teachers. Most students did not care for that. They encountered an error and grew frustrated and just wanted the right way to get what they wanted, step by step. They wanted to do a cool website without having any personal idea about what a cool website even meant to them. They wanted to program cool features without even caring about programming. They were obsessed with getting approval and doing it so that everybody will agree it is great. Predictably, their results were average, boring and shit. The girls in my class and a few guys would not have even passed the final test – programming a site – without my help, which I white-knightedly gladly provided.

And last but not least, I am also an amateur photographer. Just a natural interest of mine. I am not that great, but it got me a few jobs and I am satisfied with my work. Over the course of my lifetime, I easily earned some 5000 EUR with it, despite it being just a little side hobby. Why? I did pictures the way I wanted to do them and some liked them. My old boss, the idiot, always said: Great camera! Yeah, right. If it is all about the camera, why do you need me?

School is about fear

Grades mean nothing. There are no standards in life. The world wants you – meanwhile school teaches you that you are irrelevant. School teaches you to give up and hate the only thing that is of value to the world. Your self and your free expression of it.

Who sets the standards? Some people. How many? Even if it is a 1000 people who set the standards, they are merely about 0,001% of the German population. That is right, 0,001%! Germany has 80 million citizens. How can those – hypothetical – 1000 people know exactly what everybody else wants and values? They just know what they value. And if it is 10.000 people, then it is a mind-boggling 0,01% of the population. You are trusting some 0,01% of the population to be clairvoyant and know just what you need to learn and do to be accepted by everyone. Now if that is not equality!

Who gave those educators that skill? How do they know? More than that, when it comes to making actual decisions about the teaching materials, I bet it comes down to a handful of people who make the ultimate decisions. Think of this madness. A handful of people or ministers setting the standards for 80 million people. That is 80.000.000 people.

Think about it a bit more. If just 0,001% of those 80 million people will love your work – depending on what you do – you could be set up alright. What kind of probabilities are those for doing the thing you love?

But instead, you get engaged in rote learning and repetition of bullshit to do it the way others have done it before you. There is no place for free thinking. How could there be? 30 curious minds and one single teacher to satisfy them all? No way.

School is based on fear. The fear of not surviving. School is based on the delusional attempt to guarantee that you will have a job and a lot of money. So you basically look at what others have done before you successfully, abstract it and tada, make rules out of it. It is all politics. And intense fear and need for safety. Do it all right, do it all by the rules, and surely life will reward you. No, it will notSchool rewards you for being a sheep. Life just laughs at your pathetic attempts to imitate the success of others.

Do you know why there is no need for you to imitate others? Because they already exist or existed. And because they already exist or existed, there is no need for them to exist again. There is no need in this world for a replica of another human being. If there is one Robbie Williams, that is the only proof you need that there does not need to be a second Robbie Williams.

Think of it. If you want to listen to Robbie Williams, do you listen to Robbie Williams or somebody who imitates Robbie Williams?

Exactly.

Conclusion

In real life, you have to convince real people, not books of rules. You have to convince real people like yourself to spend money or time on you. Do you convince them by telling them that you work by some standards they do not understand? Do you tell them but the teachers said!? Maybe, if they are idiots. But would you spend money on music just because it is good by some rules, well produced or whatever? Or would you simply choose by how well it vibes with you? Hell, I love classical music, but I know people who get nervous listening to it.

You can look at my videos and say well, they are not that awesome. You can find a thousand things I did wrong in them. And yet, when I showed them to the people I did them for, they had smiles on their faces and liked to pay me. Would they have had smiles on their faces if I had only followed rules and told them how my videos were objectively superb? Told them why they should like them?

I saw videos that were technically superior to mine. I never really did videos in HD and with good lenses back in my music video days. Some people wanted that, but I said it was irrelevant. Oh well, today I may think a bit differently. Other people did use HD and good lenses. But their editing and pacing was just horrible. They used horrible angles, operated the camera without any feeling, without any good creative use of focal length. They had no sense for the rhythm. Then again, I had people tell me that my own videos were lacking in those areas. So when is the rhythm good? When the cut is exactly on the beat? Or slightly behind? Or when it is a movement? Or a movement alternated with cuts? Or mixed up? You could make a science out of it and still end up with rules that only express one particular style – and by creating those rules, you would stop the style from evolving.

In real life, people have to vibe with your work and you have to vibe with their expectations. Going by rules is to give in to the fear that you will never vibe with anyone. But how exactly do rules guarantee that you will? They do not. So if uncertainty is certain, you may as well try to vibe on your own frequency.

Do you want to just stick your head in the mud, follow the rules and then hope that magically, success will appear? Or would you rather stick your head in the mud, do as you want, and then magically hope that success will appear?

Do you want to listen to rules that school teaches you and then defiantly protest when life giggles at your stupidity? Or do you want to be yourself and flow freely, and trust that life will bring to you all the opportunities you need?

Reality and your soul will, in the long run, punish you for the deal with the devil, for this attempt to trick life. Life wants you to surrender and live yourself, not trick a safety out of it that it never promised you. If you do try to trick safety out of life, it will make you suffer with failure, mediocrity and unhappiness over a job you hate. It will make you suffer so long until you learn the lesson.

Only today, as I thought about it, I realized that I kinda never in my life made any money with anything besides the things I more or less taught myself. Videos, photography, programming. All I ever earned money with. And the twelve years of school? Did not teach me one skill apart maybe from writing and basic math that I ever needed to earn money.

I nevertheless usually had good grades.

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  • BlueEyedDevil

    Very interesting thoughts here Tom. As usual. You analyze things in a way that would never occur to me, and you make me think. Bravo.

  • You do a great job here demonstrating why schools and the college/careerist mentality is fundamentally philosophically wrong.
    It’s all disconnected from the truth that it’s all about providing value to others.
    Outstanding writing, Tom.