Can You Guess What Is The ‘New’ Opiate For The Masses?

Poppy Fields

(Photographer Unknown To Me)

Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opiate of the people”. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on any of this. But, to me, I don’t think he was condemning religion at all but rather was just stating that, to him, he saw religion and all of its peculiarities, branches and differing philosophies as an opiate–a psychological and spiritual drug which became the perfect diversion or panacea from having to live life day after day trying to sort out and deal with life’s disappointments, distractions, conundrums, coincidences, violence and it’s fears. It’s easier to place that burden, some possible solutions and the responsibility on the shoulders of a higher and more capable deity–the supreme commander of an unexplained and impossible to ‘prove’ existence in a different realm. There are many ‘challengers’vying for the chance to become the new ‘opiate’, such as Prozac and cannabis and alcohol has always been in the background yelling ‘what about me–take me.’ But the one that has shown to be the more resilient and a more powerful ‘opiate’ for the people is MONEY. People today will do most anything to acquire it, get more of it and to keep what they have of it at present. It has become the single most important driving force we have known and partly because of the power that often comes with it. We will cheat to get it, lie to those we care for to get it and we become secretive around how much of it we have. We have been known to sell our soul for it as well. Sounds like a religion of sorts.

This is only my perspective (something that we all have and exercise) of course but I believe money is the most dangerous ‘opiate’ for the people–ever. I use the word perspective here in this context. Let’s consider the word ‘hot’ for instance. Heat can be used as a good thing like using it to purify or it can be used to harm someone or something–to destroy. If we consider ‘assistance’ it can be seen as ‘charity’ and ‘enabling’ or it can be seen as ‘helping and caring’. No right or wrong. With money it can be seen as a tool for good or an instrument to gain power in order to get more money. So ones’ perspective is important when we consider ‘opiates’ for anything.

Where I am going with this is back to Parliament Hill where 40 ‘new’ Senators are being investigated for, allegedly, fudging their expense accounts. In some cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. And this just isn’t Conservative Senators but Senators from all parties. Again, for me, this is just about greed and entitlement but the real concern is that they believe that what they are doing is justified–that is is OK. There is no remorse or contrition here. Even with their hands implanted firmly in the ‘cookie jar’ they stand defiant. They have no reasonable perspective–there doesn’t seem to be another view to explain their behaviour. That’s what makes it dangerous to me. Move over Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. This has become the new ‘opiate’. People will now corrupt themselves, work two jobs, all but abandon their families and their responsibilities to their children for the chase and the capture of money. Many have given up their ‘religious’ affiliations to pursue yet more money because they have more time and offer out less in terms of the collection plate at church. The good service work that many churches do both domestically and on foreign soil is stopping because there is a dwindling sense of purpose. Just as Marx saw ‘religion’ as the perfect diversion for many the pursuit of money has now supplanted it as the next or new ‘opiate’. No matter however much you have it is never enough and more effort is put into gaining and controlling more of it. Mr. Harper is throwing our money around like it is his. He is buying personal favour in the world following his defeat in the next election. He may be many things but stupid is not one of them. His latest bit of federal business will cost the Canadian taxpayer $528,000,000.00 in exchange for one years military service to the ‘alliance’ to bomb the hell out of people they can’t or don’t know. This ‘generosity’ comes at a time when seniors are told that their complaints about the rates of CPP and OAS are greedy and ill founded and not going to happen. Can you imagine the politicians telling US that we are greedy. The arrogance is near criminal. But this is how the ‘opiate’ works. It kills pain and it kills perspective–both casualties attributed to this group in Ottawa.

My recommendation would be this: for all and any of those who are found to be guilty of padding their expense accounts–in effect wilfully cheating the taxpayers–would be enough cause for them to lose their pensions-completely and immediately, then they should be removed from the senate, immediately’ and for there to be a referendum called and placed on the next federal ticket at election time so that the whole country gets to decide how much longer we would like to be fleeced by those who seem to have difficulty keeping their hands in their own pockets and have lost or misplaced their perspective. If fraud is committed should they not be charged just like an ordinary citizen? Actually I think they should be held to a much higher standard because they are in breech of the public trust. Perhaps a jail term of some kind would be appropriate as well.

I end this with a simple thought. What do our children learn from the adults around them and how could we expect anything different than what we are seeing from many of our kids right now. We need to be ashamed of ourselves, as adults, for letting our kids be a part of what is allowed to happen today.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

To make any comments please contact me at: OR
Your comments are always welcomed whether you agree or disagree. If you know of any others out there who may benefit from this article please forward it to them–with my thanks.

So Help Me Understand: What Is It They Are Teaching Our Kids?

Albert Einstein About Technology

I remember when I was going to school and how I felt about the teachers that I had. Although it was a while ago I can still remember the respect I had for most of them. As I got older and moved into high school I still felt the same but not for as many. It seemed there were more teachers who didn’t quite present the same sense of urgency and desire to share the knowledge that I believed they were there to impart–their hearts didn’t seem to be in it. I have come to understand that they were but casualties of the system. They were expected to put out what they were told was relevant and that change was a good thing. I once read that the only thing for sure is change will happen. However, the changes that have been made that involve school curricula have taken us down a path that has been nothing but a failure. The scheduled changes, I fear, will not fare much better. Part of being responsible educators, it seems to me, is about recognizing mistakes, admitting them, correcting them and then moving on. I am not looking for perfection but rather honesty and leadership.

There was a time when our educational system and our world ranking kept us ahead of the pack. Those very standards have slipped more than dramatically and still the brilliant minds that shape our learning experiences continue to defend thinking that has proven to be more than defective and without vision. When we look at what has happened we see that the testing standards and outcome expectations have decreased substantially. We are more worried about a students self esteem then we are his/her capability to learn and to compete. You can’t spend self esteem and it, alone, will not get you a job or prepare it’s owner for the future.

Not so many years ago students could not bring any electronic devices into a classroom and certainly not during a test or exam. Now they are encouraged to do so because the process of finding the answer is not as important as being able to come up with the right answer. I was taught that if you understood the process then you could apply that process to find the answer to almost every similar problem you face. Teach someone how to hunt and he will always be able to feed his family. Give him dinner and he only learns how to eat.

What would happen to us if suddenly there was no power to drive our computers and our electronic gadgets?? The educational system and the wizards that direct it don’t encourage the simplest of math skills–addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills and the theory behind them. Some kids find it difficult to read at more than a ‘Dick and Jane’ level, to write at basic levels let alone create complex sentences, articles or passages one might find at the university level. Spelling is a joke–spell check is quicker. And now they have turned their attention to writing skills and have decided not to continue to teach our kids how to perform the most basic writing tasks by limiting the time spent on cursive skill development. It’s surprising how many kids can’t even fill out a cheque or manage a cheque book. Now they are also considering eliminating the need for homework and lessening the possibility of rote learning. How do we help our children understand that success takes some work and that it will not always be given to them. It wont be from a system that was once a leader in education and our pride in the world. Other nations are more likely to look at what we are doing regarding education and do the opposite. We worry more about how many students we can claim graduate and not the standard that is shrinking to attain those numbers.

So where will our ‘graduates’ find work in the future? Will they be able to work in a foreign country? Will they be able to compete right here at home with foreign students who are likely to be more competitive and better prepared for the workplace? What will they be able to teach their kids? What skills will they bring to the table? It has been our high standards and our doggedness to detail that have created and brought forth the thinkers, the writers, the poets and the dreamers–the creators that have separated us from many other countries.

I don’t blame anyone for this mess and certainly not our teachers. This is a systemic problem. Currently the system is showcasing a group of tired thinkers too stubborn to reach out to fresh ideas. Perhaps it’s time to include a broader based influence group to help the tired. We need to hear from the captains of industry, labour leaders, ceo’s, international players, legal and social representatives. Not only do we need to hear them but they need to have some power and influence in the development of curricula. They are the ones who really understand what the world looks like, where it is going and how we need to function to get back to the top of the list of first world nations who lead the way to success with passion and compassion. The system needs a new vision.

Take a good look at the photo at the top of this page and read again the quote by one of the greatest minds of our time and then think about where your kids are going and how prepared they will be to be a world citizen and to contribute on, at least, a basic level playing field with kids from other nations.

That’s how I see it, anyways–Jim

Always enjoy feedback pro/con

Contact me at: e-mail

More about my book ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ at:


Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning