1.17.2010

Speaking of Enlightenment...

It's my view that what was lost in Education, what needs to be rediscovered, is the aim of it--its final purpose. I believe that thinkers like Spinoza and Leibniz and Descartes and even Kant understood that Education could be a kind of springboard to realization. And I mean that in very nearly a spiritual sense.

On the other hand, I'm convinced that the problem with Religion is that people think they know what the end of it is (its final purpose) when the vast majority of people have no reason to think they know that kind of thing. Great mystics in every religious tradition have recognized that the purpose of Religion cannot be given at second-hand, that the aim of Religion cannot be disclosed in words or through the understanding. Instead, only experience will do. So I like what I read tonight on this website:
Later I understood the meaning of spirituality and came to the conclusion that it is as discardable as dishwater. Therefore I am in no way concerned with spirituality.
So here's my solution: Education needs to reunify under a single, "higher" aim: no amount of formal degrees can guarantee that an educator has undergone the liberating, transformative experience that ought to be the purpose and final aim of education. And Religion needs to forget about things like "salvation," "awakening," "enlightenment," and so on. Religion needs to reclaim mystery as its final phase: or at least, Religion needs to stop speaking of what comes at the "end."

Ho hum. Just typing aloud here.

3 comments:

Wishydig said...

whoa, back up.

solution to what?

what's the problem now that education has lost what you think it did?

what is your complaint about religion other than that you want mystery and you don't see it embracing that. in other words: "so?"

and where do you stand that you see "religion" as a single thing? all sacred creeds? really?

Casey said...

"Religion" as a single thing... absolutely. There's only One. Monotheism, you know?

Of course, that leaves room for multiple manifestations of the One. But manifesting the One ain't no joke. I'm excluding the likes of Pat Robertson and Jeremiah Wright and other dividers.

That means I see Jesus' teaching as pointing toward the same spiritual/psychological experience as Buddha's teachings. Same goes for Zen and Hinduism and Judaism and Ellen G. White, unless she was a false prophet (I haven't studied her enough to know).

Education used to point toward that same experience: philosophy did when it was young, though it may have been corrupted by its institutionalization at Plato's academy.

Education as most Westerners know it is a product of Hermetic and Monastic traditions.

So I suppose it was during the Enlightenment that education ceased to be about divine wisdom: Descartes and Newton, however, were very adamant about their hopes to come closer to "G-d" by their studies.

So to reiterate: the problem now that education has lost that higher aim is that it's scattershot. It is only organized at all insofar as it leans on traditions established before it lost its aim. Everyone's heard the trope about how we all sit in rows because of the industrial revolution model of education. That was a "lower" aim, but now even that has been lost (we almost never prepare students for specific jobs; even my most business-oriented student gets a degree and then, once he is hired, undergoes a training period at that job where he learns the ins and outs of it).

So the problem is that education has become a holding ground--a place to put people until we need them in the labor market. There are very few incentives (none of which are internal: ask your students how many of them would "take the degree an run" without learning another thing if they could). Students are herded along like cattle, and they like it, because they can drink while they're being herded.

As for what's wrong with religion... I can barely think of anything that's right with contemporary religion.

I guess I was just grumbling, huh? I'm starting to think there's a talented ten percent who "gets it" -- the rest are doomed to inherit their religious and educational "forms" from the dead.

Casey said...

Wait I take it back. That stuff about the 10% is stupid. I'm sure everyone's fine... everything's good. Keep it all the same.