I have come to the end of the road with A Different Kind of Teacher.
I could bring out more discussion points from another essay or two, but I’m sure you are bored with it already. If you aren’t, then I do recommend that you find a copy local to you.
What I will finish off with are some snippets from the remaining essays that can stand alone and without much discussion or context setting.
The Economist announced recently that seventy percent of all the lawyers in the world are in the United States. We have twenty-five times the number of lawyers per capita that Japan does, three and a half times the number that England has, two and a half times the number per capita in Germany. If you add our public and private practice lawyers together, about one in every 250 Americans is a lawyer.
He goes on to develop his ideas around this startling statistic, involving the basic common law ideas of breach of promise or actions leading to forms of criminal law. Another great quote from this section is,
Lawsuits are the way we get the other guy’s attention because we have lost the normal interest in each other, lost the concern for human face-to-face justice, lost the taste for plain speaking that marks a healthy people.
Then there is the last piece in the book called The Art of True Conversation. I enjoyed his ideas here. He outlines five flavours of social talk and three kinds of spirit talk. I would love to go in to this in more detail, but I know the only way to do it justice is to reproduce the entire chapter. Suffice it to say he is as biting with regards to the way people
don’t hold a meaningful conversation as he is about the schooling system. As part of this he muses on human relationships,
All lasting human connections – marriages, friendships, partnerships, living communities – are only possible to those who constantly solve and re-solve the problem of entropy, the drift toward boredom, the mistaken belief there is nothing left to discover in each other.
Quite an apt observation in this day and age where you can blink twice and be divorced.
Taken as a whole, I would recommend reading Gatto’s work. You may vehemently disagree with his conclusions or the road he takes to reach them, but he will make you stretch and justify your viewpoint. And I like that in a book.