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A Millennium Ago
"Really, Jinee, they used to be the same."
"No way, Elicia! It wouldn't
even be possible."
"I read it. First in history
files, then scans. I even went to the Textual Archives and read
Jinee was stunned. As were the other children
who'd broken off their social play to listen and ask their own
"You got permission for the Textual Archives?
What's it like?"
"Full of files you hold in your hand.
Reading them's hard work; they're heavy. You have to keep turning
papers. But like I said, education used to be like social play.
All of the children together in one room and doing lessons."
"Wow. Think of the fun they must have
had! Social group as lessons. Too stellar."
"But no two children learn at the same
rate. How'd they pace?"
"A human teacher did it. And no computers
"But how could one human know enough?"
"A lot less to know back then, I guess."
"But how could thirty children be kept
in order for lessons?"
"I wondered about that too. The computer
file and scans couldn't tell me. That's why I got permission
for the Textual Archive."
Elicia paused dramatically. This was where
her story was leading.
"The human teacher maintained order through
"Everybody knows violence is the basis
Elicia raised her hand to the chorus of protests
which met her.
"That's what I read. Children who broke
rules or didn't complete lessons were punished violently."
Her social playgroup stared. No one had ever
heard of a child being punished, not even in their grandparents'
time. Only adults who repeatedly resisted Remotivation were
"How were the children punished?"
"The teacher administered beatings on
children's legs and bottom with a thin flexible rod or a flat
wooden paddle. Or on their hands. All that varied according
to where on the planet they lived."
Questions came fast and furious. Elicia didn't
exactly know all the answers so she made some up.
"Yes the others watched - as a warning
to them too."
"Uh-huh, on bare skin. Their clothing
was taken off. And they got lots of hits. More than ten I'm
"No, they couldn't go home and complain.
Their parents did the same to them at home!"
"But what did punishment
The question hung in the air as the Scheduler
announced the end of the day's social group. No one could imagine.
"No new information has
been entered for ten minutes. Please explain difficulties."
She jerked up in her chair. Elicia hadn't
been thinking about her lessons. She'd been thinking about children
taking group lessons. And imagining the fun they'd had.
Now she imagined a human teacher punishing
her for daydreaming during lessons. With a whippy rod on her
bare bottom. Without thinking about it she took down her clothes
so she was uncovered, rubbing her bottom against the seat cushion,
feeling a burning friction.
Punishment burned, the young historian decided.
Back to Mija's
to the treehouse