I think this quote hits the nail on the head. The so-called transformation starts with parenting strategies by the family, goes on to influences at school and then slowly to a lot of obsessed and maddening groups in the society. I'd be surprised if I come across anyone who thinks they have managed to get away untouched by the society! But, yes, the degree of influence varies. I wonder what it really takes to remain oneself when a huge crowd of people are desperately trying to 'chisel' you according to their preferences. The worst of such a situation is when people don't just share their 'perceptions' but emphasize that what they're saying is 'right' while what others are saying is 'wrong'! Education should be about learning to think for ourselves, discovering our own minds and what is 'good' for us. That is probably one of the most fundamental and radical of changes that we need to bring about in our society if each of us is to remain what we 'are'. Life is indeed a paradox that demands we manage ourselves while also managing our relationships with others (whose influences we are, therefore, constantly going to be subjected to).
Update: @davidgurteen discovered this post and liked it. He spread the word on Twitter and also messaged me on Twitter and pointed me to a related - wonderful -quote that I must add to this post! :-)
Thanks, David! I think this quote must be read and understood by all those who are patronizing.
Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them. - John Holt (American Educator)
Here's another related post from Luis. (The video is on the lines of what I've dreamed of as 'KM for Schools')