I Can’t Believe this is how Society wants me to Spend my Time.

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I honestly cannot believe this is how society wants me to spend my time.

It is a beautiful autumn day; the birds are chirping and the sun is shining over the crystalline water of the river. A cool breeze is blowing through the trees.

So much beauty to be discovered out in the world, yet this is how society wants me to spend my day—locked inside this cement school building, solving 10-part algebra problems that will serve no purpose in my life, that will help me grow in no way. Trapped sitting at my desk, my math worksheet lit by the glow of the computer screen and the lamp, slowly atrophying my muscles, worsening my vision by the second.

What’s the purpose? Why do they want me to know how to combine 4x and 5y? Why do they want me to memorize the rules of dividing monomials?

How will this help me grow as a person? Why, oh why, am I wasting my precious human life like this?

I am 16.

I should be walking through the forest, discovering Mother Nature’s mysteries.

I should be talking with my friends, learning to communicate with and console each other.

We kids should be playing, enjoying the beauty of life itself, learning to follow our instincts, and trust our intuition. We should be outside running, the dappled sunlight bathing our skin, absorbing the vitamins that we desperately need.

As I sit crying over my failed math sheet, I wonder why does it surprise us that we have such a screwed up society when all the adults leading us seem to be emotionally damaged in some way? How can they want us to be responsible future members of society when we are thrown onto the conveyor belt of society’s sweatshop as soon as we’re barely five years old?

What did they expect?

Sometimes, it feels like society is completely anti-human.

How in their right minds can they believe that we will build a better tomorrow when we’ve been taught from the moment we were old enough to read that “good” grades are all that matter. That we need to get them so we can be accepted into a “good” college or university that will brainwash us to believe that material wealth should be our top priority.

Buy this house and you’ll be happy!
Buy this car and all your worries will be gone!
Buy this perfume and everyone will like you!

Am I the only one who realizes that our capitalist society is the result of extremely emotionally unbalanced human beings?

Am I the only one?

We consume and consume, trying to obtain that perfect life that they dangle before our eyes, but what we usually don’t realize, until it’s too late, is that buying all that crap will never get us what we want. Unless we open our eyes and look inside, we will never shift from this pattern of consumerism—this horrendous cycle of “work, buy, consume, and die” that has been fooling us for years, making us believe that happiness is but millimeters away, and that all we need is one more thing.

One more car, one more house, one more shirt, one more. Just one more.

And only when we dare to peer inside ourselves and our surroundings will we be able to see the nasty environment that we’ve created. All the dying forests, the murdered creatures, the foggy skies—they are a reflection of what we are doing to ourselves.

Opening our eyes won’t be easy, because we’ve been unconscious for so long that some of us might have even forgotten that our eyelids have a function. The beginning will be so difficult that we may wish we’d never opened our eyes in the first place. But if we are wise, we will see that something must be done.

Because beneath all the muck that we have been building up within our souls, the ancient wisdom of the universe is still glowing faintly.

That happiness we’ve been searching for—that we’ve been trying to obtain by consuming—has been inside us all along. We have just been trained to ignore it, to ignore our intuition and our inner glow, and instead pretend that material wealth is the ultimate goal.

Seeing a tiny glimmer of that inner glow buried inside us will give us hope, will remind us that we are not alone, that the universe has been within us all along. We are the oneness of all creatures united; once we know that, the healing can begin. Once we manage to lift our heavy eyelids, our instincts and intuition will start coming back to us—whispers from our soul giving us the answers we have so long been searching for.

Our energy will begin to flow freely like it once did, long before society tricked us into damming it.

~

~

Author: Jaci Bujanda
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton

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Jaci Bujanda

Jaci Bujanda is a 16-year-old artist. When she is not at school, she likes to spend her time practicing yoga, going for long walks along the Hudson river, and developing photographs in the darkroom.

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Galina Singer Feb 19, 2018 9:51am

What wisdom at such a young age! Thank you for writing this. As a parent of two 16-year-old girls I take what you say close to heart and agree with you on so many points. I struggle between my desire that my children become "successful" members of society and my wish for them to be free and happy, whatever that may mean for them. Having amassed several diplomas, I can say with conviction that most important things I have learned in my life did not come from schools. And yet, knowledge is power, and in some parts of the world women are still fighting for the right to go to school and learn more than just from their instincts and intuition. Education is important, but perhaps your generation can start implementing changes in the society you speak of, to include more balance in our lives. Congratulations on following your passion and putting yourself out there!

Angela Nolan Feb 18, 2018 4:13pm

Jaci, I enjoyed your article and you make a fine point about how our society chooses to educate children when there are other, better, ways. I had a difficult time with geometry and calculus and more recently a college biology class, but I grew and learned, maybe more, through the difficult subjects, than the subjects that came easier to me. The same is true with situations in "real life." I read all the comments and I noticed that you only replied to people who fully endorsed your view, and at 16, I can understand that. But, I wanted to point out to you that everyone who commented has a valid view and one worth listening to and engaging. I would even say that in today's society (and I fully agree with you that is dehumanizing and insane) being able to communicate, disagree, back up your argument, and negotiate may be some of the most important skills you will learn. Good luck to you! You are a bright, beautiful young woman with much to offer the world!

Lita Brooker Feb 18, 2018 3:19pm

With that much clarity of thought, at the tender age of sixteen, and your succinct use of language - maybe learnt at school? ;) - it's wonderful to realise that you, and your contemporaries, are the future. I love the idea of the world being de-cluttered and cleared of all the nonsense with which the human species has littered it. A mind that is open to alternative ways of journeying through life is not new, of course. There have always been people who are eager to find another way. It's fantastic that, through people like you, future generations will still be looking for other ways to live with this planet, rather than depleting all its abundant resources for selfish, acquisitive reasons. All the very best to you, Jaci. ~ Lita

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:50pm

Certainly not. Thank you for understanding <3

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:50pm

<3 <3 <3

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:50pm

Hendrik, I'm so happy that you felt such connection to my words! <3

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:49pm

Thankful for teachers who actually care, like you!

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:48pm

Thank you very much, Kalyn! <3

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:47pm

So reassuring to know that there are teachers who understand where I'm coming from!

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:47pm

Much love and thanks for your support <3

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:46pm

100% agreed, we must be brave enough to follow these alternative paths.

Jaci Bujanda Feb 16, 2018 4:46pm

Thank you for your kind words, Jeannine <3

Abraham Kou Feb 16, 2018 3:04pm

Beautiful. Wholeheartedly agree. This modern way of existing is not the way that we were intended to live.

Ismene Tsaconakos Feb 16, 2018 2:40am

Beautiful! You are so young and so wise already. Keep writing, keep sharing.

Hendrik Gideonse Feb 16, 2018 1:33am

So heartening. It's given me a real boost, and I thank you. I'm six weeks (protoplasmyically) into my 82nd year. I'm wintering with my son, his wife, and two granddaughters because reason says it's not wise for me to be alone in winter raking my roofs in Maine and dodging under-eave snowpiles. (After I got her in December the soon-to-be seven-year-old asked me to teach her knots! I have been. She knows ten now, by name, purpose, and ability to tie! She loves it! I love it! Her parents can hardly believe it! We're just going to keep on going . . . ) I brought my birdfeeeders from Maine to Massachusetts recruiting to my windows black and grey squirrels and also sparrows, juncos, chickadees, pine siskins and cardinals. I miss my 40+ acre wood, my stream and pond, my sauna, my slumbering vegetable garden, my potluck circle, but the dogs some of them bring are welcome placeholders for my four-years-gone Aussie whose pictures came down here with me along with that of my brother (now twenty years gone to eternity). It happens to us all, but to prepare ourselves for what my father used to call the perspective of eternity it helps to begin by starting the trip while awareness still lights you up! You are clearly there! I salute you, kindred spirit. Keep on asking why. I'm betting as you travel, some of the answers that came up empty early will begin to fill in for you some. One of your basic points -- teachers' obligations to acquire and use effectively the ability to provide convincing justifications for what they ask students to do -- is absolutely correct. If they can't satisfy you, either they haven't been adequately prepared (that would have been my failure as a former teacher educator) or they're insufficiently motivated to fulfill their obligations to you. The latter would be on them. Thanks for letting me walk the Hudson with you. It functioned for me as a pleasant return to Croton where my parents first settled in New York when I was two.

Kathleen Fauquier Guest Feb 15, 2018 7:33pm

Congratualations! You think and wonder. Namaste. Just a small idea. Try staying away from umbrella phrases and statements. You are more likely to begin realizeing some answers. I wish you had been a student of mine.

Michelle Lynn Feb 15, 2018 6:22pm

BEAUTIFUL.I work in a high school (but soon leaving to go on my own life affirming adventures) and I feel like we do this to our students daily. I work hard to provide meaningful, character developing and engaging ways to teach my students. Keep shining and keep being drawn to what is beautiful and curious to you, you will find your way I promise <3

Kalyn Parker Feb 15, 2018 6:19pm

What incredible insight from a 16 year old! Jaci, you go girl! Flow with your intuition, live your life on your terms and value your creative freedom over the confines of conventional schooling! You rock! xo

Prema Lynn Felder Feb 15, 2018 6:14pm

I get it. I couldn't sit stil in school. Would much rather be wandering through the woods and swamps of S.C., but wisdom will come to you through every means. I struggled with math in high school but whizzed through math requirements in college. Teach your brain every trick there is and then put it in the service of your heart. Good luck and OM Shanti!

Carin Aichele Feb 15, 2018 6:14pm

You are not the only one and your voice matters. Namaste Jaci

Alice Mathis Feb 15, 2018 5:46pm

Jaci, there is room in every life for both algebra and walking through the woods. That algebra problem is trying to turn you into the type of person who ponders and figures things out, who doesn't grasp the superficial answer or the easiest way to solve any problem. Stick with it and ask for help, and walk through the woods when you need a break. You can say no to consuming, but please, don't say no to trying to think deeply.

Mark LaPorta Feb 15, 2018 5:32pm

While you're at it, WHO is society?

Rebecca Anne Recco Feb 15, 2018 5:22pm

Jaci, as a teacher, I totally get you. I am struggling with this greatly, too. It's almost like schools are designed to remove any desire to learn, to explore, to experiment, to understand the world around us. <3 to you.

Sitara Morgenster Feb 15, 2018 5:17pm

Amen. You are Right and you Know it. You have a Bright future, right now already. Society IS anti-human, simply set up to keep people enslaved to whatever empire is run at the time. No, you are not the only one, but you are still in a minority, and the forces of "what "is"" are weighty. But You Are and you are Stronger

James Askew Feb 15, 2018 5:05pm

Curiously, it our society's teaching that "math" is a useless endeavor that I see as the cause of the problems you speak, not the learning of math itself. The value of Math, just as in all learning, is not contained in the "problem" itself, but in the teaching the mind to solve problems, and as one who loves the "art" of math, I see this absense of logical thinking, this ability, even passion, for working through "complex patterns of thinking" as the root of the problems you astutely note, not the cause of those problems. There is time for everything in life if you allow for it, and don't negate the value of reason and problem solving in your ultimate pursuit for a full, rich and awakened life. Reason, logic, problem-solving will improve your understanding of the world, not diminish it, and don't equally let our society's rejection of science steal that from you, either.