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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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The guru appears when the student is ready,
at other times, they pass by un-noticed;
only when the thirst for truth is steady
can one drink from the cup of the lotus.

Because to discern the saint from fool
one must be open to the options
beyond lessons, wisdom and rules;
one becomes a student by adoption –

recognizing the whole behind the parts,
looking past the illusion of knowing;
there is where the guru’s work starts,
tilling soil where seeds already are growing.

Unless you can envision the other shore,
the bridge is but a pier, nothing more.

26 JUN 2003

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