"An essay is something you write to try to figure something out.
Figure out what? You don't know yet. And so you can't begin with a thesis, because you don't have one, and may never have one. An essay doesn't begin with a statement, but with a question. In a real essay, you don't take a position and defend it. You notice a door that's ajar, and you open it and walk in to see what's inside.
If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything, though? Why not just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne's great discovery. Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them.
In the things you write in school you are, in theory, merely explaining yourself to the reader. In a real essay you're writing for yourself. You're thinking out loud.
But not quite. Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well. So it does matter to have an audience. The things I've written just for myself are no good. They tend to peter out. When I run into difficulties, I find I conclude with a few vague questions and then drift off to get a cup of tea."
But what the hell am I trying to figure out? I sit down to write this thing, maybe with an idea and that's about it. So this stuff you're reading is just a glimpse of what goes on inside my head all day, scary as that may be. In fact, when I go to bed I have to consciously force myself into a vegetative state or I just won't sleep. Sometimes I read my old posts and can see where I was wrong, I learn more about how I think. For instance, my dad always claimed I had a fear of success. Looking at it now it's clear that I simply have a fear of hiding from reality behind piles of "work." A quote from The Underground History of American Education.
"When a Colorado coalminer testified before authorities in 1871 that eight hours underground was long enough for any man because "he has no time to improve his intellect if he works more," the coaldigger could hardly have realized his very deficiency was value added to the market equation."
Automation has changed things, the majority of the workforce is now knowledge based. So if the author of the above quote is correct(I'm not entirely sure he is) then my hatred of school was a logical response to the outdated, industrial era bureaucracy that is K-12. If I ever have kids I'm going to seriously consider home schooling them, I just need to find a weathly lady with child bearing hips first. Maybe I'll just get one of those robotic vacuums and re-program it instead of homeschooling a real person.