top of page

Education vs. Indoctrination

Every instructor has their own way of doing things. Sometimes it is dictated by a shop. Or an agency. Or a mentor. Sometimes they’ve made shit up on their own, having discovered their way through experience (long or short) or meditation or whatever. Sometimes it’s proven and solid and awesome. Sometimes it’s complete bollocks, easily refuted in only a few brief questions. Question is: Education or Indoctrination? You’ve seen it. I’m not just talking about cave diving or tech diving… fuck… I’m not even just talking about diving. I used to be super-psyched about cycling before I realised that cycling is hard and terrible. But I saw this same dynamic at every bike ship I’d ever known. I was also really into fencing (#epee4ever) and saw the same thing there. And thought it was bloody stupid in both of those arenas, too. And I’m reminded of this after talking to someone today who was indoctrinated at. You MUST do this. You must NOT do that. You are not one of us unless you do THIS. You are a fuckface jerk-off if you do THAT. Way to enjoy a pastime. Patting ourselves on the back for being better than everyone else. For doing the recreation way more hardcore. **slow clap** This is not to say that there aren’t important points. Diving: Don’t hold your breath as you ascend. You’ll actually die. It would suck. Cycling: Don’t do it at all. It’s expensive and stupid. Your legs hurt all the time. It’s not healthy. Fencing: Wear a helmet. That’s really about it. Otherwise… who cares? It’s fencing. This is all by way of education. Which is really for the benefit of the student. “Here are the rules. This is what you’ll need to know to do this safely and, maybe, have some fun.” Education establishes the base and then elaborates. Creates a foundation and the builds, and builds and builds. Leaves the opportunity to branch ones’ understanding and implementation of a discipline into fun and funky and unexpected ways to enjoy oneself. Indoctrination is different. It is not for the benefit of the student. Not even a little. It’s for the benefit of the shop. Or the instructor. Or the agency. Indoctrination is a way to keep people in line. To ensure compliance. To keep “our shop” important in the face of actual, objective irrelevance. And, frankly, to earn a lot of money. Fucking capitalists. I like being an educator. I have always despised indoctrination. Wanna impress me? Dive accidents happen at a rate of 2 in 100,000 throughout the entire sport. If you can show me data that says if you wear a helmet with an attached flashlight, and only dive backmount and wear a specific brand of wing, using a single colour bungee, and have c-cards printed in one color ink, and that lowers your risk of dive incident/accident… I’ll listen. Otherwise…. It’s a hobby where you look at wet stuff. Calm the fuck down.

Recent Posts

See All


Nelly tells a story from Roatan where, on her daily boat, there was one of THOSE divers. “DIVE CADDY!” they’d continually call all week. For reasons that could vary from, “I’d like my hot towel and my

Eenie, Meanie, Miney...

How do you pick an instructor when you don’t know shit? At any level of diving? You need an instructor because you don’t know shit… but you want to. You’re hiring someone who knows something you w

How Hard is it to Ask?

1 in 4 women have experienced sexual assault to some degree in their lives. This is not to suggest that every 4th woman that you meet has been violently raped at knifepoint - but, statistically, you


bottom of page