The Problem With ‘Education’ Is ‘Knowledge’
I always intuited that ‘something was wrong’ with my uneducated grandparents and moderately educated parents to wish that their grandchildren would receive what they had missed out on; i.e. a ‘superior education’.
Education too often seemed to be a bypassing of life experience; the rich sort of life experience that they had had, for which education could never be a substitute. That is, it was ‘education’ of ‘another kind’ as John Abbott indicates in the title of his book ‘Over-schooled and Under-educated’.
One thing is for sure, education imparts ‘knowledge’ or ‘know-how’ to its clients which changes their behaviour.
How does ‘education’ change one’s behaviour?
It would appear that ‘education’ involves the acquisition of ‘knowledge’ and ‘knowledge’ can be used to inform ‘purpose’ so as to render the achieving of purpose more efficient.
This seems to be the problem, The way that education (often) changes the behaviour of the educated person is by making him over into a machine for ‘getting things done’; i.e. education facilitates purposive behaviour.
Fine, you say, ‘what’s wrong with that’?
When people are close to nature, their behaviours are shaped and orchestrated by the dynamics of the habitat they are included in. The seasons orchestrate their actions, the light of day orchestrates their actions, the behaviour of soil brings out a tilling, planting and harvesting behaviour in them. The resonances in their habitat-inhabitant engagement orchestrate their individual and collective behaviour. The wildgeese are induced by the fluid dynamic they are included in, to organize collectively into a ‘V’ formation and to let their wings flap so as to sustain the advantageous resonances (that allow them to fly faster and farther at less expenditure of energy than they could ever do in solo mode) that associate with the ‘V’.
Wildgeese do not move around in absolute fixed and empty Euclidian space as if they were local, independently-existing systems with their own locally originating, knowledge-informed purpose-driven behaviour. Such a ‘positivist’ vision wherein the behaviour is seen as being fully driven out of interior of the individual (by knowledge-informed purpose) so that we say that the ‘V’ is a ‘cooperative effort’ as if it were purposeful on the part of the wildgeese, is the same old, same old Euclidian simplification we like to make in western science. It is the same simplification we make when we say that a feather and a cannon ball will fall to earth at the same speed. .. in your dreams! In your dreams where the objects are dropped in an absolute fixed and empty (Euclidian) space, a space that is unknown in nature.
The alleged ‘cooperation’ of the geese that purports to explain why the geese fly in a ‘V’ formation is ‘in your dreams’. But one thing about it, it saves us from having to work with the messiness of the real world, where we are included in ‘habitat dynamics’ that are impossible to isolate from our ‘inhabitant dynamics’. Which moves first wind or flag, as the Zen parable goes and the answer is that wind, flag and mind all move together.
Space is a participant in our dynamics. The wildgeese are not ‘purposive systems’, they keep moving into temperate thermal space and the temperate thermal space moves from the north to south and then north again and stay keep themselves in it. Outside observers will say that they ‘migrated’ from north to south to north, but it wasn’t them that ‘migrated’, it was the temperate thermal zone. They do not have a ‘purpose’ to ‘migrate’, they have a ‘purpose’ to sustain a resonant relationship with the habitat dynamic they are included in. The Nenets of the European and Siberian arctic do not have a ‘purpose’ to ‘migrate’; they go where the reindeer go. The reindeer do not have a ‘purpose’ to ‘migrate’, they go where the exposed patches of lichen go. The exposed patches of lichen do not have a ‘purpose’ to ‘migrate’, the lichens experience exposure where the zones of sunlight and sparser precipitation go.
While a ‘goose’ is not a purposive system, an airplane is. An airplane is programmed with ‘knowledge’ that serves to direct its behaviour and it is ‘destination oriented’ while the wildgoose seeks to sustain resonance with the dynamic habitat it is included in (it is not the destination but the journey that orchestrates its behaviour.). ‘Resonance’ is something that is ‘felt’ in the continuing ‘now’ and as in the wind-flag dynamic, it is not generated by something ‘one does’, it is a conjugate habitat-inhabitant dynamic relation.
That is where my ‘something is wrong’ intuition in ‘getting the education that my grandparents never had’ was coming from. If you gave the wildgoose a university education, it might come back as a small feathered aircraft, now with locally originating, internal knowledge-informed purpose-directed behaviour.
“This is your captain speaking’, …’while we still fly, squawk and act like a goose, we now have onboard technology called ‘knowledge’ and ‘purpose’ to inform and direct our behaviour. The knowledge has been cached in our memory system as a ‘how-to-do’ program which informs our destination-oriented purpose as it directs our flight.’ ‘Because there is no longer any need for it, our resonance sensing has been disabled and during the trip, you will notice that there will no longer be the banks to port and starboard to bask in warm patches or to be massaged by feather-ruffling turbulent zones. Neither will there be any more of the indefinite stopovers that associated with relaxing ‘in the zone’; i.e. in the stalled migration of regional temperate weather zones. Our analysts have captured our behavioural patterns of the past several years in terms of a space and time itinerary. Now that we have reduced our behaviour to pure positivist terms of ‘what we wildgeese do’, we are able to use this ‘what wildgeese do knowledge’ to replicate our actions without the distraction of having to rely on our resonance-sensing capabilities. The entire down and back flight itinerary has been programmed in terms of destination-oriented goals and objectives, a purpose-directed sequence that will be supported by our ‘what wildgeese do’ knowledge archive. And if you look in the pouch in the seatback in front of you, you will find a complimentary copy of the ‘Educated Sex for Wildgeese’ by Mallard and Jackdaw, the suppliers of our flight technology, which will equip you with the knowledge to go efficiently and directly to your various destinations without having to drift about aimlessly ‘in the zone’ wherever the zone crops up and takes you.’
The point is, ‘knowledge-informed purpose’ is all there is in a worldview where space is an absolute fixed and empty container as was the simplifying assumption of Aristotle with his notions of teleology and the idea that the acorn archived within it, the encoded destination-oriented knowledge of how to become an oak tree (no habitat-inhabitant resonance allowed!), an unnatural idea that was copied and used by Darwin.
The observers of wildgeese and humans cannot see the habitat-inhabitant resonances, the in-the-zone’ feelings that orchestrate our individual and collective behaviour, and since they base their inquiry on visual observations, they leave the behaviour-shaping influence of resonance out of their theory and teachings. ‘Feelings’ are not totally discarded but are reduced to one-sided positivist feelings that originate fully and solely with the individual because absolute Euclidian space cannot participate with humans or wildgeese in their dynamics. The source of ‘feelings’ becomes purely internal in this case, and one must postulate some less visible internal positivist causal mechanism such as a biochemical process to substitute for ‘resonance’ where the individual is conceived of as inhabiting an absolute fixed and empty space.
As anyone can see and feel, however, fluids have characteristic responses to ‘intruders’ and thus the ‘intruder’ who is sensitive to these responses will be able to ‘feel’ when he is ‘in the zone’ of resonant engagement and thus able to penetrate more harmoniously and with less expenditure of energy. The sailboat naturally moves within the trough that forms from the bow and stern wave, the potential energy well that forms from its habitat-inhabitant engaging. The boat operator has the option to put on a big outboard and to put his ‘destination orientation’ into primacy over sustaining his ‘in-the-zone’ experience, but that is not the issue. The issue is; given that behaviour can be ‘purposive’ (destination-oriented) and that it has a natural tendency for being shaped by habitat-inhabitant resonance, how does education ‘play into this’?
The answer is; scientific inquiry is by way of visual observation of the behaviour of things. The visually observable movements of organisms can always be implied to be locally originating, purpose-directed behaviour (the behaviour shaping influence of habitat-inhabitant resonances can be ignored). Education has and continues to be influenced by Aristotelian thinking such as Aristotle’s ‘teleology’ which imputes ‘purpose’ to be what is directing the behaviour of the individual, local, organism. Therefore, our habit is to extract knowledge of behaviours in terms of ‘purposeful’ behaviours; the ‘know-how’ that is responsible for the achievement of a goal..
Thus, even though the movements of the wildgeese are shaped by the movements of the dynamic spatial conditions they are included in (e.g. the cycling transformation of the thermal field they are included in), our habit is to re-render this behaviour in terms of ‘time’ and’ location’, alleging that the wildgeese ‘know’ where to be at what time.of the year (i.e. that their behaviour is directed by a purposeful ‘migration plan’ with time-and-location objectives). The origin and shaping of the dynamics thus shifts from actional experiential sensing of spatial-relational transformation to the purely notional time-and-space based knowledge-directed behaviour of local systems (i.e. ‘what local things do’, as if the ‘local things’ are acting/interacting in an absolute fixed and empty space)..
As already mentioned, this ‘knowledge-informed-purpose-directed’ view of behaviour ignores the role of ‘resonances’ in the shaping of behaviour, ‘resonances’ that originate neither from the ‘inhabitant’ nor from the ‘habitat’ but from ‘both’ at the same time, as in the ‘wind-and-flag’ parable.
In so far as education is permeated with Aristotelian logic, the knowledge that is passed on in the educational system is in the positivist terms of ‘purposive’ and/or ‘causal’ behaviour. There is no room in Aristotelian knowledge for behaviour to arise from and be shaped in the ‘experiential now’ by ‘resonances’. There is room to acknowledge that the ‘V’ flight formation of the wildgeese is more efficient, but Aristotelian logic would then say that the geese ‘cooperate’ with the purpose of achieving this greater efficiency. This is backwards. As the motorcyclist in a group of motorcyclists understands, everyone is enveloped in an invisible ‘V’ of air turbulence, which, as they interfere, do so more or less constructively or destructively. If the bikers let their relative positions adjust like the wildgeese, they find that certain relative positions associate with lower rather than higher turbulence. If they opt to move so as to sustain the lower turbulence, they are then ‘tuning’ their habitat-inhabitant dynamic and letting this attuning orchestrate their individual and collective behaviour.
Should we say that they are doing this ‘intentionally’; i.e. that ‘they know what they are doing?’
As in the Mallards and Jackdaw sex manual, acquiring the knowledge of how to get to a given result/destination is certainly possible, but it does not reflect the dynamics of nature that take you there as an innocent on a voyage of discovery. Similarly, ‘survival’ as a ‘purpose’ is where one sees ‘living’ as a difficult-to-achieve ‘destination’ where resonances are removed from their instructive primacy, an instructive primacy that is ever-prevalent when ‘living’ is a journey rather than a destination.
As in “An Inclusional World View’ and ‘Is Calculus Taking Science (And Us) on a Mad Joy-Ride?’, there is a problem with the notion of ‘purpose’ and ‘cause’ in that they reduce our habitat-inhabitant experience to a notional positivist dynamic that obfuscates the way our experience informs us that the world works. Imputing ‘purposive drive’ to humans and ‘causal powers’ to material systems makes them ‘positivist’ and arbitrarily removes the participation of the dynamic space in which these organisms and systems are included. By dismissing the participation of space we dismiss the experiencing of invisible habitat-inhabitant resonances.
The problem with ‘education’ then, is that where it is influenced by Aristotelian ‘teleology’, it deals in ‘knowledge’ that is cast in terms of what things do in ‘time’ and ‘space’. For example, if several bathers who are treading water in a tidal current move in an unusual trajectory, an observer may ask them a question such as; ‘why did you go halfway across the channel and then come quickly back?’ … when the bathers were simply staying within a warm spot in flux of cold and warm waters. Their behaviour, rather than being ‘purposive’ in a time-based sense was orchestrated by the transforming spatial field of thermal energy they were included. And if many gather at the same time and same place, on the intertidal flats and are seen picking claims, the Aristotelian thinker may conclude that they their purpose has directed them to come there at that time. But one could argue that the transformation of space has orchestrated their individual and collective behaviour. The clam-pickers themselves may insist that the chose to come there, that they exercised their own free will. But this doesn’t explain why so many came to the same place at the same time, unless one assumes that ‘great minds think alike’; i.e. that clam pickers are more or less alike. Does that include the seagulls?’
Similarly, why does a huge crowd of streptococcus pneumonia bugs show up in the same body at the same time? Are they all there with the purpose ‘to do mischief’? Or was their arrival orchestrated by the dynamics of the space they are included in? In the case where people have a vitamin C deficiency, these bugs often show up in crowds; because the spatial conditions are fertile for their proliferation. The proliferation of bacteria is the result of illness (imbalance in the terrain) rather than the cause of it (‘cause’ implies ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’).
Pick any of your activities/behaviours that you like, … and like the clam-diggers you can argue that you are there out of your own free will, choice and purpose, that it was your pre-calculated goal to come and pick clams; i.e. that your behaviour is purposive and destination-oriented. The world is your oyster, so you say (and believe). On the other hand, your position may be that your behaviour is orchestrated by resonances in-the-now’ of your engaging with the habitat. You don’t know what will unfold in the dynamic habitat that you inhabit but as it unfolds, your sensors are on the hunt for resonances and you let your movements and behaviour be orchestrated by these.
Some say that the product of education is ‘improved learning skills’ as could contribute to improving the hunt for resonances.
But, more popularly, the product of education seems to be ‘knowledge’ which allows the skilled ‘by rote’ replication of behaviours in a manner that bypasses the hunt for movement/behaviour-orchestrating resonances. This converts you into a feathered metal bird with internally programmed purposive behaviour..
The ‘problem’ with ‘education’ is, in this sense, ‘knowledge’. It starts from confusing the idealized Aristotelian notion of ‘teleology’ for ‘reality’.
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