Education must transform itself into sociology

All political instruction finally should be centered upon the idea that Auschwitz should never happen again… This would be possible only when it devotes itself openly, without fear of offending any authorities, to this most important of problems. To do this, education must transform itself into sociology, that is, it must teach about the societal play of forces that operates beneath the surface of political forms.”

Theodor Adorno, Education After Auschwitz

There are more things affecting society than which political party is in power. Things like systemic racism and income inequality aren’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue, they’re a cultural issue. “The societal play of forces the operate beneath the surface of political forms”. That’s the content of the entertainment we consume. It’s the attitudes on social media we put up with. They’re things we accept as normative because they’re pervasive and seemingly always have been.

Critical thinking must be taught. Question authority at every turn. Not just political authority but cultural authority. The sitcom plotlines and the thing the influencer did and the stories that the news chooses to cover. We need to be able to see not just the way things really are, but to imagine where they may lead. And then we need to take action when that scares the hell out of us.

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Education must transform itself into sociology

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