Thorns – Part 9

“Delphorian boys, you have left the sheltered and limited confines of your nurseries. You have been plucked from the arms of soft gentle women and introduced to the harsh realities of the thorn. Our race is a cursed race. We brought it upon ourselves. In the old times we conquered and enslaved the whole world. We were arrogant and in one of our laboratories the plague was created. The plague escaped and rendered as weak and dying. In our moment of humility, our former slaves the Kelites, who were immune to this plague, graciously provided us with the solution to our folly: the thorns.

“Praise be to the Kelites!”

The hall erupted with a chant of praise to the Kelites.

“Give thanks for the thorns!”

The hall answered the headmaster in kind.

“May our debts be paid in full!”

Ready for it this time, I joined in the chant with the other boys.

“With the nursery behind you and your first thorn in place; you are ready to learn how to be useful citizens for the world. Our race owes a great debt to this world. A debt we must pay off. The rivers are dirty, the sky is mottled, and the land reeks of our sin. We have lived in excess, but we will work to make the Earth bountiful and fertile again for everyone.

“You are about to embark on the next stage of your studies. You are privileged to receive from our magnanimous Kelite overlords the finest system of schooling ever devised. In the past schooling was chaotic and individualistic, creating a society full of inequalities in outcomes and thus leading to the jealousies that brought about endless warfare and consumption. Our collectivist schooling system provides for a stable, equal, and happy society. Our society may not be as efficient as other societies, but we have created an equal society. We recognise that inequality is the true source of all unhappiness and only through a careful systematic socialist teaching can we achieve stability and happiness for all.

“Praise be to the Kelites!”


“Give thanks for the thorns!”


“May our debts be paid in full!”


“Our curriculum has been handed down to us and codified into eighty-four units of knowledge. Each month you are tasked to complete one of these units. Each unit will contain new words, new numbers, new laws, and new facts to memorise. No one will be left behind. No one will be permitted to learn more than what our Kelite benefactors have set out for us to learn in each unit. When we graduate from here we will all know the same words, the same numbers, the same laws, and the same facts. We will all be equal and of equal value. We will have a unity in conformity, we will be equal in skill and knowledge. So go forth now and start a new month of studies. Learn all that you are told to learn. Do not ask to know more. Do not seek to learn more than you need to know. Do not make others jealous. Help those who are slow to pass. Never allow yourself to know the sin of pride! Trust in the Kelites, trust in the thorns, pay off your debts!

“Praise be to the Kelites!”


And so on.

Everyone month it was the same routine. We had this assembly, we listened to this speech, we went to class, we were given a list of things to learn by the end of the month. We listened to what we were told. We recited what we were told. We copied out what we were told. We read out what we had written. Then at the end of the first week we were tested, and if someone failed we repeated everything all over again for the following month. About half the class passed the test in the first week, nine tenths the second week, one or two boys failed the third week, and everyone the fourth week. If someone had failed then the entire class would be kept down for a month to redo the unit. This sometimes happened.

There were thirteen months of four weeks each year. So in theory we could finish school after only six and half years. However, the fail rate of all the classes was such that we always seemed to get held down at least once per year. Over the years we noticed that the same boys were in the group struggling each month. I never struggled. Occasionally I would fail the first test, but most of the time I learned everything in the first week and then spent the rest of the month day-dreaming to deal with the repetition and boredom. In the early months we pointed out to the teacher that some boys were struggling to remember all the things we were taught. We were so afraid of having to repeat a month, the smarter boys were so angry with the slower boys for keeping them down. We were such an angry group of boys by the end of the second year there.

Kevin suffered from this the most. Even though Kevin almost always failed the first week, he typically pass the second week’s test. However, when Lonnie alone failed unit 31 in the fourth week test it was too much for Kevin. He ran across the classroom and start punching Lonnie. The teacher dragged Kevin up to the front of the class.

“Class, this is exactly why we Delphorians are in so much debt. Why we must be thorned. Hating people because they are struggling is sinful. It breeds war and debt. Kevin here is showing signs of degeneracy in attacking poor Lonnie. Kevin needs to be punished. This is what will happen to you if you fail to pull up the weakest people. We must have quality, and if we must make sacrifices to achieve it, then it is always better than the alternative.”

The teacher tied Kevin down onto a desk and proceeded to beat him with a leather strap until he passed out. I will never forget the big stupid grin on Lonnie’s face afterwards.

Author: philosophicaltherapist

I am philosophical therapist based in Australia. However, I offer Skype services for people who live in regional districts, or internationally providing the time zones do not clash. In my practice I emphasise honesty, self-knowledge, curiosity, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, compassion, empathy, respect for emotions, and understanding how key relationships work.

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