NPCs and Herd Mentality – What School Does to Children

What is an NPC?

NPC stands for Non-Playable Character. They are the perfect descriptor for those advocating herd consensus. NPCs are an element in video games. When you are running around the virtual landscape of a video game, whether it be a medieval fantasy world similar to Lord of the Rings, or whether it be on an alien planet in a sci-fi game, you’ll run into other characters who are not being controlled by any player.

A real person is autonomous, with free will and endless choices. Real people have a degree of unpredictability. Despite tending to act a certain way, they can change for better or worse. The change might even be a neutral change. One month they might be snacking on potato chips, the next on tortilla chips.

The nature of a video game is that its programming is limited. As a result, NPCs will be very robotic. While the graphics might be impressive and life-like, the NPC’s actions are limited to its programming. It will walk only along a certain route, or may even stay in one spot. When it comes to dialogue, the NPC may only speak lines of dialogue it has been programmed with. If you approach the NPC and click a button to speak with them, they will deliver their pre-written lines. Talk to them again and they’ll say the same thing. They may have a few different lines of dialogue they rotate through, but outside of the lines they have been programmed with they can say nothing else. Their actions are similar. They can only do that which they have been programmed to do.

Have you ever been reading a book or watching a movie and when you finish, experience the sensation of snapping back to reality? You became so engrossed in the story you mentally became immersed in it, almost forgetting the real world around you. Video games can produce a similar state of immersion. However, the stark contrast between that immersion and a NPC’s behavior can quickly shatter that illusion producing a comedic effect.

My brothers and I used to play a Harry Potter video game. In a tavern known as the Leaky Cauldron, Tom the bartender tells Harry, complete with voice acting, “There’s more than Butterbeer down in the cellar, y’know, Mr. Potter.” It’s the game designer’s way of giving the player a hint of where to go explore to progress in the game. If you keep talking to Tom, he’ll keep repeating the line with the exact same delivery. We found that pretty funny and would keep talking to him just to hear him deliver the line again.

The NPC Meme

The NPC has become quite a popular way to describe people who espouse mainstream ideas, and nothing else. They signify no capacity to think for themselves. Their opinions and worldviews have been shaped by others, typically the media, think tanks, or the elites. These people don’t have the cognitive infrastructure to arrive at a conclusion that deviates from that which is popular. They haven’t the ability or the courage to defy that which is popular. To say something for which there is not mass support is beyond them. In short, they act and think as if they have no free will. They are an NPC.

It has become quite the meme as well. You may have seen it without understanding what it was. The NPC has been depicted as a generic outline of a person, colored as gray with simple emotions. NPCs are typically depicted with a neutral blank stare, expressing their passivity and lack of neuroactivity. They are also frequently shown becoming angry after someone says something quite simple and rational which challenges whatever the NPC has said.

NPC Crowd with herd mentality
NPC Meme Elect Women
Meme Orange Man Bad NPCs laugh
NPC Meme Format

NPC memes

The latest evolution of the NPC metaphor is that NPCs “supports the current thing.” This phrase is meant to mock generally those who are supporting a mainstream stance that is currently trending, and those specifically on social media who change their profile pictures to include filters or symbols that display support for those stances.

Examples of stances which are the embodiment of “the current thing” include:

  • BLM (Black Lives Matter)
  • Gay Pride / Support of the LGBTQ, especially during June which has been declared as “pride month”
  • Support of Covid Vaccines and masking
  • The most recent is “supporting” or “standing with Ukraine”

The NPC has been instructed by their programming to support that which the media and society tells them to support. They are incapable of unique perspectives. They don’t seek their own information, conduct their own research, or arrive at individually established conclusions. Their diet consists of nuance free soundbites.

Case in point- for all those who care about and “stand with Ukraine”, they should ask themselves if they care about (or have even heard of):

  • The Civil War in Guatemala which killed over 100,000 people
  • The Iraq/Iran war which killed 1 million people
  • The Congo Civil War which killed 5.5 million people
  • The drug wars in Mexico which have killed 375,000 people
  • What about the ongoing Tigray War (Ethiopian Civil Conflict) started in November 2020 with an estimated 300,000-500,000 dead?
  • Or how about the Internal conflict in Myanmar, also known as the world’s longest civil war spanning 7 decades with around 150,000 killed?

The point being that they only care about what the news and their society tells them to care about and their familiarity with the Ukraine-Russia conflict is not a result of them acting independently for themselves to be aware of world conflict, but rather it’s the result of a conglomerate of elites acting upon them. As in programmers deciding what the NPCs should think, do, and say. And on a dime, the whole nation collectively decided that they “stand with Ukraine.” It was almost literally overnight that the media decided America would care about it. The media spoke and behold: America cared. If that doesn’t terrify you, you might be an NPC.

I’m not saying that caring about the Russia-Ukraine conflict is bad. I’m merely pointing out that the public is being controlled, and quite easily at that.

How Schools Make Children into NPCs

“A new system of schooling was the instrument out of which Prussian vengeance was shaped, a system that reduced human beings during their malleable years to reliable machine parts, human machinery dependent upon the state for its mission and purpose.”

John Taylor Gatto

Obedience

The United States’ current industrial model of schooling was imported from Prussia, as recommended by some, most notably Horace Mann. Just about every aspect of school is designed to condition children into becoming people who blindly obey authority, and who lack the ability and desire to question it. They start by taking children at age 5 (and some even younger in preschools). It starts at or near the age most people’s memory begins to have continuity. They teach children to engage in only that which the teacher instructs them to engage in. Even the freer form assignments are only permitted when the teacher says they are.

Students are not permitted to decide their own curriculums or topics of study. Even the choices they are presented with are incredibly limited choices, manufactured to strengthen the illusion that they are not prisoners of the state. These “choices” are typically the extracurriculars: sports, singing, band, art, or theatre. Additionally, these extracurriculars function as “circuses,” especially the sports. “Bread and Circuses” is a phrase meaning, “a diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile.” As long as families and students are kept busy, they don’t have time or the mental energy to spare to ask what is really going on, or why they are at school in the first place.

What about learning to speak Arabic, drawing manga, learning how to start a business, learning medical practices, pedagogy, math courses higher than what the school offers, robotics, origami, dirt bike racing, paintball, caving, climbing, massage therapy, hunting, gardening, metalworking, genealogy, HVAC training, plumbing, international travel, politics, warfare tactics, glassblowing, triathlons, beekeeping, the study of mold (which optimized Japanese subways), humanitarian work, construction, etc.?

Sure, some schools offer some of those, but the point is that they mostly offer what they offer and nothing else. The schools don’t exist to help the individual pursue their own growth, they exist to maintain control over the populace and to bring in those sweet, sweet tax dollars (and many more of them every year).

Once they get to middle school (and sometimes earlier) they are conditioned heavily to bells. Start when the bell tells you to. Stop when the bell tells you to. Go home when the bell tells you to. Return when the bell tells you to. Go to the next class when the bell tells you to. Stop what you’re doing and start doing something else, regardless of whether you want or need to. Schools don’t teach children how useless most of the curriculum is. Do it. Do it next year. Do it the year after that. Do it on the weekends. Do some over summer break for good measure.

Why toil away all those years and hours? Never you mind that. What’s the opportunity cost of K12 schooling? Don’t think about it. How can you anyways? You have as much homework as you can handle due on Monday and a soccer match on Thursday you have to practice for.

Confusion

None of it makes sense. It’s confusing, which is the point. The school is an extension of the government and from age 5 the children are taught that it doesn’t matter that their authority isn’t doing things that make sense. They are conditioned into believing that they can’t change their circumstances so might as well be content with them.

Confusion is the status quo. Why did the government just pass a law with a new regulation on small businesses? It doesn’t really make sense, but since when does anything? Confusion is normal. The powers that be being stupid, well that’s just normal. No need to read into it, right?

Once out of school, this attitude translates directly into indifference towards the government and their actions.

Indifference

Indifference and apathy are another way schools turn your children into NPCs. The child’s weaknesses, talents, proclivities, passions, and curiosities are totally ignored. They will follow the lesson plan. They are not empowered to pursue that which they would choose to pursue.  Take away students’ choices for 13 years, all from inside the same dull 4 walls day after day. All while sitting quietly in neat and tidy rows of desks. Monotony is the drum beat they follow.

Why care about yourself and your path? You can’t change things. Why care about what career you might pursue in 10 years? You still have to do your assignments. Why care about others or the world around them? They can’t even do anything for themselves. So, after 13 years, they get a diploma, all in exchange for their vitality.

Why care that the government just passed another tax? It’s not like they can change the outcome. Besides they’ve got work, feeding their children, and paying the bills to worry about. Caring hasn’t gotten them anywhere.

Herd Consensus / Mentality

While there are more ways that schools turn your child into an NPC, the last I’ll touch on is herd consensus/mentality. At school, an artificial social enviornment is constructed. The people there are largely the ones children will be around until they are adults. Even upon switching schools, the other students will all be there the next day, the next, and the one after that. And with school being 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, for 13 years, school is almost all of many or most children’s lives.

Becoming branded as a loser, weird, undesirable, or gaining any other negative stigma can carry consequences for years or possibly the entirety of childhood. Children are under constant stress worrying about what others think of them. Especially with the advent of social media and every child having a smart phone with a camera, one mistake could spell social ruin for a child. Mockery and harassment, are inescapable for most children if it starts. Many children are mean and nasty. Even the ones who aren’t usually lack a spine, unable to go against the grain.

Kids get picked on for everything: what clothes they wear, who they hang out with, which parties they didn’t get invited to, their interests, their idiosyncrasies, and more. Forget having a significantly different world view. If the teacher says something and you express disagreement, many a times this brings heckling.When you say that you believe evolution is false you quickly become labeled as backwards and dated. If you express that abstinence until marriage is the only acceptable choice in a sex education course, you’ll definitely be mocked as an undesirable loser. When the teacher assigns an inappropriate book to read or puts on an inappropriate movie to watch and you object, you’ll be seen and labeled as a pathetic or whiny child who can’t handle the “real world”.

So why speak up? Why stand out? Why be different? Why think differently? Why concern yourself with what is either true, rational, or right? Afterall, what good would it do? Is it really worth whatever harassment or mockery you’re bound to get? So many go about with their heads down, going with the flow. How bad can the crowd really be? Then one starts asking themself if the herd can really be wrong. Then students might find themselves asking how someone could say or do something that counters with the group’s consensus.

What are the odds?

Surely your child isn’t becoming an NPC, right? “How would you know?” is my counter ask. Like the frog being warmed up in a pot of water, you might not know your child is boiling…until they are. What’s one degree warmer? Not boiling, right? Will your child come out of school being courageous, willing to defy what the crowd has to say? Or will your child hit 18, move out, and then you find out they move in with their girlfriend/boyfriend. Then you find out they support baby murder. You find out they support state control of healthcare. Then you find out they aren’t against prostitution being legalized. Then you find out that they are “spiritual, but not religious” or perhaps outright agnostic or atheistic.

But then it is all too late. You handed them to government hired strangers and said, “let’s roll the dice because it’s rather convenient and that’s what everyone else does.” Sending your child to school is just what you do when they turn 5. It’s the program. And taking them out halfway? Well, there’s nothing in the programming that says that’s “normal”, so it’s best avoided.”

If you do what most every parent is doing, and subject your child to all the aforementioned governmental conditioning, what reason do you have to believe your child will turn out different from the throngs of Babylon?

Call to Action

What is to be done then? Homeschool. Immediately there are a thousand objections to this. I don’t have time, I’m not a teacher, that’s inconvenient, that will turn my child into a weirdo, my child won’t be ready for college, my child will turn into a basement dweller…blah blah blah.

Let me ask, do you have any idea what homeschooling can do for children? Or did you once meet someone who homeschooled their kids whose kids were weird and decide, all of your preconceived notions and prejudices have just been confirmed by the anecdotal experience?

Why has homeschooling been growing steadily, from approximately 1.75% of students in 1999 to 4% in 2020? Maybe there is more to it than you previously thought. I ask that you be open to having your perceptions of homeschooling change. I ask whether you would ever choose any kind of 13-year career commitment without studying the options. If the answer is no, I would ask you if by sending your children to school, if you haven’t just made such a choice for them.

Take some time right now: click on the links below to watch the videos. Watch 1 or 2 and come back and watch some more later. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Perhaps this is the start of a brand new adventure!

Help, I’m not a Teacher! How can I homeschool my Kids?

Heidi St. John – Is Homeschool Curriculum Expensive?

Why is Homeschooling Growing? Andrew Pudewa on Education

Can Single Parents Homeschool? Encouragement for single moms and dads, from Israel Wayne

What does “Homeschool” really mean? – Aby Rinella on Home-Based

Everything You Need to Know (About Homeschooling)! Lea Ann Garfias, Part 1

How do we answer the CRITICS? What if my friends and family don’t approve of homeschooling?

Start Homeschooling in 5 EASY Steps – with Stephanie Lambert

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