Sunday, November 25, 2012

Embarrassing but Crucial!

Image Courtesy: Telegraph.co.uk

What I intend to talk about is the chasm between what one believes and one talks about in a teacher’s life. What inspired me to think in this stream is the post I made in my blog lately. It was about how a poem by Rabindranath Tagore has been taught in colleges and universities and how I see it. The poem is never given its spiritual significance and is never placed against the realities of the formless world one is constantly in contact with, the world of spirituality, or the worlds of psychic realities.

Spirituality gives us glimpses of what lies beyond what we know and see in form around us, in the so-called physical world. Another route to reach to those non-formal realities or non-physical realities is psychic reality—the unique world of the mind.

Teaching this poem or any other book, the teacher is forced to tell the students about the ideas and ideological backgrounds that supposedly played crucial roles in writing of a particular work of literature, even if this information is not given apt or sensible. What is true should be kept at bay, instead what is given in course material had to be fed directly to the young minds, which will be then handled down to their younger generations and they then handle this knowledge (if we can call it so) to their next generation and so on. This is one reason why a single type of education becomes the base of a large culture. This substantiates the idea why so many people believe in the same thing even if proven otherwise, in a vast demographic.

Rather than sweeping the smoke, let me invite a solid ‘real life’ example from my own life here. Mr. Example, would you please unveil yourself here, in front of us, people who think and smoke their heads like it’s a piece of weed?

What? You will consider? Oh, No, Mr. Example, I need your presence now itself. Can you please come over?

Oh, No, Mr. Example, don’t say that!!!!

Did you hear people, what Mr. Example replied to my request of making a guest appearance here on my blog, on this humble virtual institution of words and pictures?

He says, as we have already denied ‘reality’ or at least, we do not seem people with much respect to what wonders realty is capable of doing for mankind, he won’t set foot in this space.

Well, it’s my mistake. I apologize, Mr. Example. Ok, let me make it clear. I did not deny reality. The attempt was to point out how often our educational system denies a particular possibility of reading a work of literature. OK? I just said there are different ways to read a particular poem or story, etc. OK now?
Thank God! So here is Mr. Example, friends, although he had a slight discomfort about what was going on in the blog, he took the time to analyze the factors closely and to arrive at a just decision, personally. And here he is!

Image Courtesy: Google
Critical Reasoning is a text book prescribed for general English course in graduation classes throughout Cannanore. This text book, professes that only through reason, rational thinking and logic one can achieve integrity and maturity of thoughts.

The question is not whether we see these ideas as true or not, but it is if they are acceptable in an academic sense or not. When I say academic sense, I mean, the tendencies to go deeper into any idea or thought through variegated thinking strategies. The textbooks that so stress rationality tend to undermine the factors that determine life, much of them purely random and co-incidental, according to the same science these textbook makers proclaim themselves of service at.

According to Carl Gustav Jung,

The irrationality of events is shown in what we call chance, which we are obviously compelled to deny because we cannot in principle think of any process that is not causal and necessary, whence it follows that it cannot happen by chance. In practice, however, chance reigns everywhere, and so obtrusively that we might as well put our causal philosophy in our pocket. The plenitude of life is governed by law and yet not governed by law, rational and yet irrational. Hence reason and the will that is grounded in reason are valid only up to a point. The further we go in the direction selected by reason, the surer we may be that we are excluding the irrational possibilities of life which have just as much right to be lived.

[pp: 49, On the Psychology of the Unconscious, 1943]

The above mentioned part clearly supports my argument that what the course-structures want the teachers to teach do not always be the right lessons. They could be wrong too, in this case, undermine “the irrational possibilities of life which have just as much right to be lived.” This conflict between people who prepare materials and those who teach the prepared teaching materials is a silent one [only in some cases teachers dare to complain, since most of the people on the top are well guarded by the power of their position and by different political affiliations]. Though silent, this conflict is the prime corroding element in the educational sector in India at present.

Image Courtesy: Google
It’s embarrassing for a teacher to know what they teach is simply nonsense or only part of a truth, as in the case of the poem by Tagore. In many instances, teachers tend to open up to students and reveal certain information in the classes as part of giving them an out-of-syllabus experience in an attempt to cover this chasm I mentioned at the beginning. However some prejudiced interventions of certain Heads of the institutions bar the teachers from taking such consolatory measures towards their students. In most cases, the Heads or the responsible persons are often part of those political organizations that harbor those who prepare the course materials. This sinful affiliation permanently disables that part of their brain with which a human being is usually supposed to show commiseration in dealing with others. Thus such Heads are reluctant to take the decisive step in leaving the teachers free.

Still, it’s not entirely a hopeless system. Through its Himalayan paradoxes and the chasms it opens up, it gives the possibility of observing such tendencies up-close. One such instance is this article itself. Those slaves of such systems are an embarrassment, indeed, for learning community, but they are crucial too. These people have to be there in their positions, for at least the binary of wisdom and stupidity to be demonstrative.  

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