This is education.

The monotonous voice of the instructor, reciting the unfailing and lifeless material which it has repeated in the same fashion over the tedious years. It is a giant, standing phonograph, spitting out words of its own language. 

The room is subtly animated, besides the ruling sound from the phonograph and the rumble of the air-conditioner, which is mimicking the sound of the talking machine. “Any questions?” follows an empty silence and a perpetuated period of the flipping of pages. There, education lives in the sound of light snores, in the rustling of shoe soles against the carpet, in the tapping of pencils, in the unapolegetic statements of confusion. 

Eventually, the pupils have acquired the function of the phonograph: they can print word for word from the recording of the machine by hand, and replay it in their minds. At intervals, they are asked to mark dark bubbles as a demonstration of competence. Good pupils always mark their bubbles darker and harder–an effect from the higher concentration of caffeine per milliliter of their blood. In such a manner, men have preserved their knowledge and succeeded in passing it on through the phonographs, expecting futilely for that sporadic sparkle in the few intellectual minds. 

Long lives education. 

Photo by Niamat Ullah

Written by

Jiaqi Yin

Jiaqi Yin, senior, is a writer who loves nearly everything about humanities: literature, philosophy, history, and linguistics. She loves to read and collect weird tales and anecdotes—sometimes she even writes some of her own. Her favorite writing style is creative or narrative writing. She loves learning languages as well, because to her they are beautiful symbols, each with their own glamour and magical means to reveal a great mind.