Education is the enquiry into life, for life. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, it is always an enquiry into life.
Maths is known as the purest science, the language of the universe . A simple sum like 1+1=2 is also a great truth, a truth that remains true no matter where we might be in the universe and no matter the language or culture. Maths is the bedrock of our understanding the universe.
On the other side lie the Arts, the wonder of creativity, without which life would be infinitely poorer and dull. Imagine living without songs and music and the visual arts or stories or poetry or dance and physical expression or the creative use of language to express our humanity and wonder of life. I cannot imagine such a dreadful, awful place. Without the arts, we’d be in a barren wasteland. Fundamentally, being expressive is about being excited about life and living and exploring the wonders of life in the most creative way we can imagine or choose.
Life itself is the pinnacle of the evolutionary process in the universe, our minds and bodies are the highest expression of nature which is, frankly, vastly under appreciated.
If you undervalue education, as I used to many years ago on leaving school, as something dull and boring from which your escape was a relief, then you’ve been sold a pup. You’ve been educated out of education, cheated and fiddled out of a life times journey of exploration and a wild and untamed journey into the bargain. Your teachers were jailers and their legacy a crime against life. Whatever they gave you was not education, but a dull facsimile posing as such, nothing more than you could shunt out of a photocopier.
If, however, you have ever stopped and listened to bird song and wondered why birds sing, or what the dawn chorus is about, learning, the entire purpose of education, is alive and well inside you. If you have a favourite song and a love of music, the enquiry of your soul into life is alive and kicking and in grand shape. If you have ever been stopped by awe at a sunset, a view or something so beautiful your whole being pauses just to soak it in, you aren’t bored with education and curiosity, you’re alive with it.
Being open to life is to be open to learning. It’s what a baby does the moment it arrives in the world. Without language or coherent thought, babies begin to explore the world about them, you can see them doing it, it’s self evidently true, and within two years a normal, healthy, child will have learnt an entire language and how to walk along with a prodigious range of stuff all about life and living, kitting itself out for life. Watch children at what we call play and you’ll quickly see that what they are doing is exploring. That, we could say, is their job. They are not ready to live independently, but everything they do is about kitting themselves out to do just that when they are suitably physically, mentally and biologically developed and capable.
This post was inspired by a comment this morning from a new blogger that I am following on education, Love Anddaisypetals – Scribblings of a Petal Rebel. Her first post is here . I was immediately fired up because education and learning do that to me.
I am inspired by learning and life and the need to take back the world for the good of the world and our own good. The world is changing second by second and no one knows what the world will look like in even ten years time and the need to pay attention right now is extremely urgent, not in a state of panic, but as an act of profound love. If we love life, we’ll listen to it. No one listens in a panic and tearing around like headless chickens is not any kind of answer. We need to be calm and the very best way I know get calm is to be amongst nature and pay attention to nature. Nature is the stuff of our life, we are ourselves nature. Whatever good we can do in the world needs to come from a profound love of life. That is the very first thing we need to learn if we haven’t got there yet and that’s the very best use of our time until we get it. All else follows. No one can fix a hole in a roof in a blind panic, it requires understanding, resources, skill and patience, and the bigger the hole, the more understanding, resources, skill and patience we need. The very best people to handle any crisis are calm people, people who are good in a crisis and can apply all the resources at their disposal well and expertly. The very worst thing we can do is to start beating people over the head or guilt tripping them to become headless chickens without a clue what they are doing.
If you, like me, don’t know what to do, it might well be that’s because no one does, or very few. I don’t see too many answers out there, but I do see a lot of panic and panic has no place in education. The truth is that there may not be any answers, we may be coming to the end, but if we are, we don’t know that for certain either, so now is the time for our best efforts to learn, to exercise ourselves whilst we can and are able to and put on the back burner a future that is as yet unknown and to be present, here and now. Being here now is not something that we seem to be able to do very well.
Formal education is mostly future focused and ambitious for our personal futures, that isn’t going to work here. The future of the world lies in our hands here and now and that’s where we need to focus our attention and resources, both physical and mental. As we seek to learn in the present, the future will naturally unfold from it. We need to husband our resources, not exploit them, and use them wisely and well and to let go of fear. To Quote Frank Herbert in his science fiction epic, Dune, “Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration..” Art mimics life.
Creative people are the hope of the world and where creative people work best is in the present, not as passengers, but as drivers, but right at the front there are trail blazers, those who study the way ahead and suggest the direction of travel and exploration. Another name for them might be seers, without whom we are groping blind for a way ahead and lastly, whatever we do must be done cooperatively, that’s how humankind developed. It in only in the age of capitalism that cooperation was abandoned for competition and greed and free market economics, which are anything but free, that’s what paved the way for and created our present problems.
That’s the road in which the majority were forced to be passengers and consumers only and that was a disastrous road which has been deliberately confused and conflated with technical advancement and achievement. Capitalism has exploited technical advancement, but had nothing to do with creating it. The Industrial Revolution came out of genius and inspiration, capitalism came later along with the new aristocracy of greed. The World Wide Web was a free gift from a creative man, Tim Berners-Lee. It is capitalism that seeks to restrict it and exploit it for profit. Capitalism was not and is not inevitable.
It is the likes of Tim Berners Lee who are needed now, not self serving greed.
Keith Lindsay-Cameron. 20 September 2020.