I was probably in grammar school when I heard this for the first time and it was in car of my father, or at least I think so because he likes these kinds of bands and even today often listens to them, and like any kid of probably any age I loved the thought because I focused only on the “we do not need no education” or maybe even just “need no education”. Because school was seriously boring and teachers were mean and most of the time I felt as if they were telling me that i was stupid just because I did not understand something – I think many of us experienced something like this.
But this is not about not needing education and school at all even if it would be nice thought. The song is more like a rock opera and the video fits the concept and maybe even should help with determing what is it that they want to tell you.
Personally I think that the song is not about rejecting education but rejecting education that tells you what and how to think, that tells you that there is one answer to question especially if that question was already answered. It is about rejectig teachers who are mean and make fun of students and tell them that they are stupid and reject students creativity and do not help them develop skills more – about teachers who just make student into “another brick i nthe wall” maybe because this is the only thing that they can do since this is what they themselves are.
It is about the students feeling isolated in the world that attempts to control the way they think and create. It is about feeling like you can not do anything about it and that no one actually wants you to be yourself because being yourself means creaing something and thinking on your own and that means you can think differently and be different than others.
It is actually a very Romantic thought following the likes of Emerson or Byron and others, who said that you should reject inherited knowledge and thoughts and just think for yourself and see and explore and find your answers and understanding to all the things.
The song I think shows the same desire to be able to think for yourself not just be another piece in the wall full of same looking bricks- that is people who say and think the same things. It does not mean that we can not be parts of wall, of something bigger like say human race but it means that even if we are and even if we are somehow connected and even should work together we should also be able to think on our own, we should want to be able to do this. Even thought we are part of something bigger and even thought we are connected we should still think on our own because this way new original thoughts and things come into existence.
So we should not reject education but we should try to think about what we hear, reject what teachers say as the one and only correct answer and we should want to try and educate ourselves more even outside of school.
Be part of the bigger thing the wall – human race – but realise that not even the brick in the wall are 100% the same that there are small differences even between bricks and for humans those differences are not just looks but also ability to think, feel and percieve differently than others.