Tag Archives: discipline

What Happens If

What happens if, as a martyr in training,
you learn self-abandonment, lose fear of death,
imagine your sacrifice each waking moment,
practice your from-the-flames speech in the mirror,
give not a thought to your present or future,
trust that your cause will provide and protect you,
turn away mere earthly love and companions,
scorn little day-to-day dreams as unworthy,
then find the required persecution won’t come?

What happens if, as a rebel in waiting,
you learn discipline, self-denial and hate,
imagine your enemies each waking moment,
practice your from-the-front-lines stance for hours,
give not a thought to your present or future,
trust that your cause will provide and protect you,
turn away mere earthly love and companions,
scorn little day-to-day dreams as unworthy,
then find your great revolution won’t come?

29 JUL 2005

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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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