16 Apr 2005
Have the courage to trust your own judgment
As a class of sentient beings we are born free, we are born to be individual, not passive victims of ‘circumstance’ – be it physical, cultural, or psychological. We are raised to believe what qualities should be valued and what is important to our existence on this magmatic void and few of us question or grow beyond this to create our own relative belief systems. We are trained how to think and most become captive in that structure, trusting our parents, elders, and leaders to ‘know what’s best’.
Can anyone really escape this terminal identity of mass culture in decline?
The voice of the masses is plowing ever forward, oblivious to the individual voices that compose the whole. Every individual personality is molded by a particular mode of life and these differentiating structures lead to disparity between cultures. This inequality can lead to war and brutality when certain ideals are not agreed upon. Each individual mode of life is determined by the governing economic system and because of the imperative need for self-preservation children are forced to accept (and fundamentally thrive under) the conditions under which they are born. Eventually these modes of life grow to be taken for granted and the idea of change becomes illogical or implausible, this does not mean one cannot try with others to alter these certain political and economic ideologies.
Since cultures with unifying goals learn and grow more rapidly than those that lack them if the common goal among humanity were to encompass the understanding and acceptance of each individual mode of life an autocatalytic growth of learning would follow, unifying all cultures in the process. Man’s destiny is to learn and experience (if only because cultures with knowledge dominate those without) ; therefore through the pursuit and acceptance of individuality humanity will prosper and conflict will resolve.
The original purpose and misconception of Western education was for a small (mostly privileged) band of people in society (i.e. Lawyers, scribes, thinkers etc.) to ‘know’ things and have absolute and unchanging answers for everyone that came to them for advice. This structure persuades people to learn and follow the intellectual leaders of their culture, accepting what they think and say without thinking about it for ourselves. In this aspect education and knowledge have always been more important than exploring, only through exploring and challenging the unknown can true knowledge and understanding arise. Since this concept of knowledge was originally introduced by the gang of three (Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato) the figureheads of our modern Socratic teaching systems, it has not been questioned or updated since its creation. Socrates was concerned with the search for ‘truth’. According to him one would not design truth, instead it would reveal itself to the questioner. He believed truth to be constant and unchanging but truth, in the long run, is relative. It is that which is not taught, but what is discovered in self. I believe it is time to step back and view how closed-minded schools are making today’s young adults and how pitiful our thought processes have become. Students are taught with a simple question and answer formula, usually with only one answer accepted as correct. Instead of cultivating new methods of perception society has become stuck in a century of judgmental criticism, picking apart the elements that don’t work but failing to accept the need for new, seemingly radical ideas of life. This judgment/analysis of information allows us to select an idea from an existing repertoire of standard ideas but not cultivate new ones. Judgment is about description, putting things into hard edged boxes and cutting off the excess where it doesn’t fit. Society should instead focus on creation, finding out as much as we can and designing life around every experience as well as allowing each experience to design us. The only constant in this world is change so why work under a system that does not accommodate new and changing circumstances?
A future is rushing down upon our culture, one that will require us to look past the outer surface of human existence and dig deep into the wisdom of non-material experience. In the end it is our inner world of thought that makes life worth living. The real purpose of the outer world is to keep us alive and to feed the dreams of the inner world. Concepts such as morality, justice, and beauty only exist in our minds; it is up to us to bring that into the outer world. Only if we become capable of taking different approaches to both our inner and outer worlds, look past any cultural differences, and into the common essence of human existence (while maintaining a constant communion and a living balance among each) can we hope to do justice to each moment of our existence and create the most for those following in our footsteps.
Old class assignment