On learning

You gotta be empty.
 
One of my first leaps in understanding was when I was reading Jean-Paul Sartre “Being and nothingness”.
 
I battled with that text for weeks then one day I realized my problem was that I was trying to get it to say what I believed… once I let go of that it was like an explosion went off in me nut.
 
Bodybuilding is a good analogy. All the activity one does in order to get bigger muscles is actually destroying the muscles… only once you have destroyed muscle through effort can the body rebuild bigger, better and stronger.
 
In learning the activity we do is one of destroying or ignoring already existing belief structures in order to make room for the new understanding…
 
In a sense we can live without believing anything… just let thoughts come and go without caring about their truth…
 
Of course in practical affairs – like should I drink the bleach if I care about my health – it’s different but even there before you can see whether a thing is true or false you have to know it and in order to know it you have to at least pretend to believe it for a bit and let it show itself to you.
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Education, Grading and Obedience

In formal education the student is taught that truth is a function of authority. There is a teacher who knows more than him and to whom the student goes to get a grade.

The problem with grading is that essentially what it is doing is converting an essay, a series of propositions organized into paragraphs into a letter or a number.

In order to do this fairly the standard must be universal. That is to say that the grade doesn’t take into account the uniqueness or truth of the piece that is being graded.

For example one of the means of grading is to number the points that are made and backed up with evidence and that offer an explanation of how the evidence confirms the point. So the teacher would go through the text, number the instances of this and use the result as part of the grade.

Another example would be grammar; a point deducted for each breach of grammar.

The problem here is that the content, the understanding of the individual isn’t really addressed or treated as important. All that is important is the grade which is made up of universals.

When I was in college I studied English language and literature. The highest score I got in any exam was for a paper on Joyce’s “Dubliners”. This was shocking because the night before I had taken a stupid amount of LSD and didn’t feel at all with it.

I knew that in the test I didn’t write well – I wrote grammatically correct English but there was no passion in it, no me in it.

I sat before the paper and just thought “Point, example, explain”. Just throw together any argument and P.E.E, P.E.E, P.E.E. I can’t even remember the argument but I knew it was spurious nonsense yet I scored the 2nd highest score for it in my college!

The reason I quit college was because I can’t maintain that kind of coldness and distance from what I write. I write with passion about whatever is gripping me at the time and I believe this way of writing is “right”. So my experience of formal education was that it filters out those who are truly passionate about subjects; instead it allows through those who can jump through the hoops.

As Noam Chomsky said Go to any elite university and you are usually speaking to very disciplined people, people who have been selected for obedience.”

Learning is so easy, when you see it you’ll kick yourself!

The truth is that learning is so easy that it takes the establishment 11 years of conditioning called school to convince us otherwise.

Here is the secret: Pick up the book, say in your head what’s written on the page and continue until an epiphany occurs.

You don’t produce the understanding; the understanding just happens itself. All you do is say in your head words… that’s it.

Now for some people it may take longer than others for the understanding to occur but whether it takes 5 minutes or 5 years to understand E=MC^2 is irrelevant… both people have the same understanding.

Be comfortable with being baffled. Bafflement and confusion are the first steps on the path to intelligence and understanding.

A trivial difficulty may occur: boredom. I would advise taking it slow. Read the book for a couple minutes at a time at first. Build up your endurance.

Why is it that no-one blinks an eye at the fact that in order to learn to play an instrument you have to practice and spend time on it.

That in order to lift heavy weights and become a body-builder you have to spend time lifting weights, progressing from light to heavier weights.

Why is this accepted and applauded but the exact same thing in the context of understanding and reading isn’t?

People bad mouth difficult texts because they are difficult. The fact is as one progresses in understanding and articulating that understanding words need to be invented that do the work of many words.

Education has turned this simple task, no different in essence to the most simple of tasks – bodybuilding (aka picking stuff up and putting it back down again) – into something it isn’t.

Learning isn’t complex or difficult. The results of learning are complex and wondrous.

On education

Education – as it is now – is one of the foundational tools used by the establishment in their hidden campaign against their own subjects.

The establishment does not want people to be able to intelligently question and intelligently judge questions and answers. It’s ideal would be a situation in which everyone sat down, kept quiet and did what they were told.

So education in the very way it is organized now turns learning, creativity and passion into a chore. It has taken the true treasure of life and convinced everyone that it’s only a means to an end, something they’d rather not do but do because they want money or esteem.

How does this happen?

The child is forced into school with threats of legal action against his parents if he plays truant and with promises of rewards if he attends and scores well. So learning becomes a means to please his parents or get some goodies.

The naughty kids realize this reality on an intuitive level. They see that school is essentially a prison in which they are told what to think, how to think, when to think and what to think for.

The problem is that when you see something as a chore you are only going to do it if there is reward to be had or punishment to be avoided. This means that when the child leaves school and the stick and the carrot are taken away the child rapidly degrades into a state of vapid ignorance because his intelligence isn’t being force-fed anymore.

This is why so many people are dull, blunt copies of everyone else who hate what everyone else hates. If you don’t think for yourself, if you don’t stand up for your own preferences and perspective of reality someone else will shove their preferences and perspective down your lobotomised gob.

In order to be you, to truly be the unique individual you are you need to develop intellectually. You need to train yourself in the understanding and use of language because it is through language that you project yourself outside of yourself and can carry on a conversation with yourself about yourself and gradually bring out into the light of day the individual that you are.

Guess what one of the main subjects studied in academia and taught at schools is? Language and literature.

Everyone Understands Everything

I know this sounds like an extreme statement but I believe I can show you that you understand everything.

Let’s take a biggie to demonstrate: What happens after you die?

I think this is a question most people would claim to not understand.

In answer to this question there are a couple of answers I can come up with. We could wake up in heaven, there could be nothing, it could be hell, or a shifting of awareness from the individual to the universal.

I don’t know which one is the case but each of them I understand and so do you.

This shows us that when we use the word understand we haven’t been pure in how we use it. Instead we have mixed up in it concepts like certainty or knowing which understanding is the correct one.

Some may say that we don’t understand these answers because we can’t conceive of them. This is a bit like the claim that we can’t understand infinity.

We can clearly understand infinity because we can perform maths with it and make statements about it. Whether or not any of these understandings of infinity are “correct” (which means nothing less than that they are the correct expression of what is actually the case (where-ever you want to place that actuality)) is irrelevant to what I’m getting at. There will be a correct answer and because it is an answer you will be able to understand it.

But aside from this the claim that you don’t understand a thing if you can’t visualize it or imagine it is clearly refuted by number.

What is the number “2”? It isn’t the symbol because II and 10 are all symbols for the same thing.

It isn’t any quantity of objects you imagine. This is because 2 can be said of any couple of objects irrespective of what they are. That is to say that in any attempt to locate 2 in any 2 objects will fail because 2 is not an object that can be seen.

But to bring it to point, the fact is we all clearly understand numbers because we use them. A mathematician may have a richer or more explicit understanding but you who are not a mathematician still understand it at a fundamental level.

To demonstrate this imagine changing the lengths and angles of a triangle in your mind. You can do this and you’ll see the triangle changing in a certain way. You may not even be aware that you are aware of the relation of angles and lengths but you are and that understanding or relation is demonstrated in the imagined triangles.

All that a mathematician does is try to pin this understanding down into a statement or equation that it is easier to do work with.

But just as a mathematician knows he has the correct equation because he can produce many triangles from those equations so you too can produce many triangles in your mind all of which will conform to the laws of triangles and this demonstrates that at a very fundamental level you understand triangles.

So we may not yet know that we understand everything but that’s only because we haven’t been aware of everything. But any answer to any question is going to be intelligible because it is an answer, because that is what an answer is.

Teacher/Student

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The act of teaching as it is done today is of “the one hole fits all” type.

The problem is that not only is each individual unique; but that each individual steps from one uniqueness to another with each passing moment.

This produces a problem: How are we to teach anyone anything given the unique and protean nature of human beings?

The only way that I can see of resolving this issue is by open non-judgemental communication between individuals.

Now we come to another question: what is the act of teaching and the act of learning?

Given our current mode of communication to learn something is to make something that is unintelligible intelligible in such a way that the person who is learning can articulate statements about it; the act of teaching is that of an aid to this process.

The teacher is someone to who already knows that which is to be taught and is already able to articulate statements concerning it.

How is the teacher to go about making these statements intelligible?

One way is to have the object that is to be made intelligible before the two of them. The teacher makes statements about it whilst pointing out in the object what the statements concern. Showing the correspondence between certain statements and certain features of the object.

But the object is not always present. So what is to be done in this case?

I will use the analogy of a tree. Each branching off of the tree represent statements already known by the individual about a wide range of subjects.

This mesh of branches are a framework through which a person understands the world and what is said.

So in order for someone to teach someone something – I mean really teach them something and not merely make them able to utter a list of subjectively meaningless statements – they would have to know the framework with which the other understands statements and the world.

The teacher would first have to become student to the student; then he could translate into the student’s framework what the student wants to know but doesn’t.

Why isn’t this done?

Nice answer: Logistics

Nasty answer: THEY – who ever “THEY” are – don’t want us to know things in a subjectively meaningful way.

I’m just in kindergarten as far as painting goes as you can no doubt tell. But I hope to make more available the meaning that I am attempting to convey by melding the mediums of painting and writing.

Why I think people are stupid!

The thing is… I don’t think people are stupid; People think people are stupid.

 

Obviously they don’t think this explicitly but subconsciously. It is something that is inculcated into them from a young age.

Primary and secondary school (If I remember correctly and I may not) was mainly concerned with learning facts.

Picture the set-up: You are in a class room with a teacher.

Pause.

Now what is the teacher? The teacher is an authority figure. That is; if you have a question you go to the teacher. This is another way of saying “If you have a question do not go to your classmates.” The implicit reason for which – and because it’s implicit it’s the reason the sub-conscious gets its greasy mitts on it – is that teacher is clever and your class-mates are stupid.

Play.

 

The teacher writes stuff up on the board and hands out text books. Often the teacher is incapable of answering a lot of the questions that he/she is posed. This shows that the source of the facts is so far removed from the child that the teacher becomes almost a priest. She dishes out the facts that are required for passing a test like a priest dishing out sermons from the bible.

The teacher even has a pulpit:  the desk behind which she sits.

 

All this encourages the sit down and shut up because what you have to say is worthless ethic in the children. It is this that has tricked people into thinking they are stupid.

 

Of course the child grown to adulthood doesn’t think he is stupid! He’s got exam results to prove he isn’t. Nevertheless an exam result is a measurement of obedience and not intelligence!

 

We all have the capacity to produce valid facts/opinions (I think the only difference between the two is that facts are opinions accepted by many people). The scientific method is open to all. The methods philosophers use to create systems of thought and theories are open to all.

 

But because of the manner in which most are taught this capacity is hidden from them.

 

This is of course because you don’t need slaves to ask questions you just need them to be able to operate machinery.