Daily Archives: August 3, 2004

School of Osmosis: A Declaration of Purpose

So often, the concept of education is limited to a model where information flows one way, from an educator to pupils, with the assumption that what is being taught is a set of static instructions that must be imparted in a specific way, with specific focus, disseminated from trained minds to shape and mold untrained ones. But in reality, learning does not REALLY occur that way. Wisdom, as opposed to book knowledge, is acquired by absorption, by immersion — one could almost say, by contamination. And often, those who fulfill the “teacher” role end up learning more about their subject in the process than those who are labeled “students”.

And it is only in the antiseptic, sterile halls of academia where one branch of knowledge is not intimately interconnected with other branches. Only in such a classroom is art separate from history, mathematics separate from philosophy, physics separate from spirituality.

Education is about learning as a multi-disciplinary pursuit. It must include self-teaching. It is about soaking up information from a variety of sources and acquiring the facility to interpret reality as an individual. For oneself. It is a step beyond the preconceived notions of how we learn, what we should be learning, and the ways in which those bits of scholarship fit together to construct the unique, complex and individual puzzle that is human existence.

It is also about “coming of age.” Not as a poet, writer, philosopher, scientist, priest, historian, musician or any separately defined area of “expertise.” But coming of age as a complete human being. With the goal of the lesson to learn the meaning of humanity. Not just its purpose, or its origins, or its current state of affairs. But to glean from the school of experience, the process of osmosis by which each separate occurrence or instance of data becomes part of a larger whole.

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All Things Zero

What is the point to the great war
that we have waged three thousand years?
Have we discovered any more
than better ways to produce gears?

The revolution that gave birth
to so-called luxury and ease —
has our great process on been worth
renouncing evolution? Please

Tell me the path we’ve named as right
that names us, humans, beyond laws
with which we learned to walk upright
and claimed as gods our noble cause:

To take for just ourselves, by right,
the entire world without remorse;
to judge what lives and what should die
and from the gods except our course.

To prove our story is not false,
the one that tells us we are kings,
we’ll turn the world to a death waltz
and put an end to living things

But those that live include us, too;
At this war’s end, we, the great hero,
must kill ourselves to see it through.
The end score – us, one, all things, zero.

03 AUG 2004

after reading Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael, again

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