“Under Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the “reason of unreason.” Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so. In their political conduct the structure of the new mentality is revealed in the rawest, most convincing manner. The average man finds himself with “ideas” in his head, but he lacks the faculty of ideation. He has no conception even of the rare atmosphere in which ideals live. He wishes to have opinions, but is unwilling to accept the conditions and presuppositions that underlie all opinion. Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words”

José Ortega y Gasset – The Revolt Of The Masses

 

Current mainstream educational models lead to a uniformity of thought, force everyone to work at the same pace so the people on the margins, those who learn too fast or those who learn at a slower pace are often left frustrated and discouraged – left to think that they are stupid simply because they can’t adapt to a rigid system that was not created to evolve while trying to mould a mind that is constantly doing so. 

Once you’ve taught people rudimentary skills: arithmetics, reading, writing, the art of conversation in oral cultures and critical thought, let their mind wonder without your constrictions. Maybe the key to someone’s understanding of science is in PE but because you don’t let them explore that you quell whatever they could learn then punish their “stupidity” while you are the one who failed to adequately educate.

The way school is (for the most part) structured affects the way we think. It gets us used to being spoon fed information instead of going out and looking for it and examining it for ourselves, creates a culture of slaves who also expect to be served, makes us docile and unquestioning. There are many things you can outsource, thinking should not be one of them. If anything it should be a collaborative effort. The world is changing so why isn’t the way we are educated changing with it? The world we want (perhaps need) won’t be created if we keep churning out subservient individuals to be “workers for the state, and cannon fodder for the states army“.

Education should be about theory of thought and application by now. We all (to certain degrees anyway) have access to a wide array of information in our current times. We should be teaching people how best to process it, judge it and apply the synthesized knowledge within whatever cultural frame they inhabit, allow as many people to self actualize in a healthy supportive environment.

Education as following different trains of thought framed within what ever organizational pattern suits the learner.

Education as self-optimization in a symbiotic environment in perpetual motion.

A few things to consider for further exploration:

  • Teacher should be a guide not a dictator
  • Expert is a presumptuous title – assuming mastery over a field that is in constant evolution. All our attempts at reasoning is asymptotic to truth. At best.
  • Knowing more isn’t always knowing better
  • Is a mind really free if one not using it in all the dimensions that one can? it’s like you’re given a master key and you use it to only open one door – the case for polymathism

I think I love my thoughts too much to reduce them to aphorisms – more precisely my thoughts rarely appear in such conveniently condensed packages, usually taking the form of multiple interconnected streams that are better suited for long form or in some cases, non-verbal medium. I prefer to present my thoughts in whatever form suits them best as opposed to bending them into a space they were never meant to occupy in the first place. This is the real reason I think I feel the need to master as many modes of communication as I can.

I’m not too big on self promotion. I used to be convinced this was a self esteem issue but upon closer inspection I’ve come to realize that I’ve always been pretty confident in my skill and capability – almost to the point of maniacal egotism. I tend to keep that confidence to either myself or the select few privy to my complete honesty.

This may be as a result of a fundamentally spilt identity. There’s the double trouble pull from the West; the semi-assimilation of individualistic culture coupled with a reaction to the West’s homogenization of African identity have led to the development of a somewhat strong “I”, one that wants or needs perhaps to set itself apart. This influence works against the strong communal sensibilities of the African continent resulting in two co-occurring self constructs: the self that feels as an individual apart and the self that is an inextricable part of a whole. How do I reconcile the “I” with the “one/we”? More importantly can I and should I?

 I’ve also managed to pin point another gnawing sensation, a sense that no matter how much I learn I will still be gloriously ignorant (that is, relative to the infinite knowledge to be gained on this our little blue dot, let alone the universe). What some may confuse for humility is simply caution. I want to be sure of what I am and what I say – to a certain extent anyway – before I share it. That’s hard when you consider yours to be a position of perpetual ignorance, thesis constantly crashing against antithesis, forever synthesizing. I can’t sit long enough on any thought without questioning it. This isn’t necessarily doubt in the traditional sense, just me fine-combing my truths in a world that I have come to see as contingent.

 Right now I can only learn what is framed by the English and French language, framed by human understanding and perception and by the limitations of the forces in our corner of the universe. This doesn’t make me sad, but I wish I would get over the mental block because if I wish – and I do – to be relatively self sufficient, I better learn to blow my own horn every now and then.

Tales of a maladjusted adult pt 3

I forget what it feels like to have a mind that doesn’t betray me, a mind where up is up and down is down. I want to be able to control all these thoughts but they have grown wings. They are them and I am me. What did I expect though? I fed them, nurtured them, pruned and shaped them. How could they not want to be free, to wander, to grow, simply BE. They are king now and their word is law. I am only a vessel. I think therefore I am? No – I am and now my thought too, are. They run, jump, explode – a multitude of tiny bombs, one setting off its neighbour unleashing a kaleidoscopic mosaic of memories, dreams and visions all intertwined by some thread I can’t seem to find.

How can I not love these thoughts though? How can I not indulge in their LIFE? It is not without sacrifice. I must first give in to them, only then can I even begin to try to reign them in. But what is flesh against the forces of a great wind? How can I begin to control them when I am only starting to grasp their power?