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Category Archives: On Teaching

Scientist: …I hardly know anymore who and where I am.
Teacher: None of us knows that, as soon as we stop fooling ourselves.
Scholar: And yet we still have our path?
Teacher: To be sure. But by forgetting it too quickly we give up thinking.

 

– Heidegger (Discourse on Thinking, pg. 62)

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“There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.”

― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

How does one convey the problem? How do you discover those who have broken away? Why does society, you and me, continually do the same thing….shun those who are different? Luckily, society doesn’t seem to kill the different anymore(?) but if society, you and me, are so perfect…how come there is still war? How come we are in the midst of a hundred years and counting of war? Supposedly our enlightened and educated society understands that we are the world and the world is us (an experience one can have through Ayahuasca or DMT) then it must be us who are making these wars…either directly or indirectly, by not facing fear and understanding the human condition. Enslavement Blues we can call it…enslaved to emotion and the running away that comes when the superficial self is not surrendered to the truth.

So if transformation can only happen through emotion then we all, quite easily, can take the first step…but it is the next step that is most troublesome.

The step where what is being asked of you: to allow yourself to feel and go through the emotions while at the same time not judging them; is never realized. Once you’ve judged them it is all over and you have fallen into the trap of the superficial self that seeks to save itself above all else and will weave incredible stories and excuses for not going further. Namely the person who tries to bring this about becomes the scapegoat and is therefore shunned or in Socrates’ case killed due to the ignorance of his society…you and me.

They can also be simply pushed to the side as Heidegger would say:

“When the creators have disappeared from the people, when they are barely tolerated as irrelevant curiosities, as ornaments, as eccentrics alien to life, when authentic struggle ceases and shifts into the merely polemical, into the intrigues and machinations of human beings within the present-at-hand, then the decline has already begun. For even when an age still makes an effort just to uphold the inherited level and dignity of its Dasein, the level already sinks. It can be upheld only insofar as at all times it is creatively transcended.”
– Heidegger (Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 67)

Questioner: What do you think “the human condition” is?

That is hard to answer but if I can bring anything to words that will hopefully speak then let it be this:

The human condition basically consists of the real life realization of the eternal truths. As in the limitedness of our consciousness and ability to know. A non-superficial understanding of this brings to one the understanding that we are always ignorant. That there is always something that we do not know and that we can only make our judgments based on what we know and so we need to continually re-look, re-see, re-adapt to the new insights and impressions life has given us…therefore we are forever in transformation.

This means, if these words will speak, that the truth, uncertainty, is the very thing that gives us the sight and power to create society and culture in the first place.

And while that fact operates any society, doesn’t matter what society, is always limited because it is made by man and therefore has to eternally be “creatively transcended”…

Which in the words of the I Ching means Return…to Return to the beginning and surrender to the truth, uncertainty. We then re-enter into that innocence of relation with truth and rebuild culture and all our relationships to people, thoughts, and things.

In short all “true” knowledge is only true when we start from ignorance. Not from the assumption that we are “correct”.

[More insight regarding Truth, Aletheia (ἀλήθεια), un-concealment, dis-covery and truth becoming “correctness” of propositions can be ‘un-covered’ in Martin Heidegger’s ‘The Essence of Truth: On Plato’s Cave Allegory and Theaetetus.’]

But I would like to raise another problem here, one that, it seems, will take some time to overcome…And this problem, I think will, probably, come to be known as: ‘The Oblivion of the Obvious’ or ‘Oblivion in the Obvious’.

For purely “practical” reasons, for ease of speaking and so we can move on quickly to other things, and in a sense to maintain our dullness and to not meet life head on; we level-down into more easily and readily graspable, “tough” concepts and ideas. Or rather to escape from the headache of truly thinking, in the present moment, we, as I did above, “shorten” or distill. Which for me, this whole attempt is a leveling down. Because it doesn’t properly go into and bring about an actual conscious experience of the event or process by which one consciously, authentically, experiences uncertainty without judgment. So, in this sense, when we “play” with words and throw them about we are adding to the confusion, the noise. And instead of seeking and attempting to get to the bottom and experience the phenomenon themselves, we pride ourselves on the superficial, on the word, on that which merely points towards what is true. Or as Krishnamurti might say: “We take the word, the description, the scientific treatise…what have you, as the thing itself.” And in the obviousness of the ‘correctness of our propositions’ we let the truth, Alethiea, the un-concealment of what is, slip into oblivion, where we remain uncreative and continue upon our merry way as if there are no such things as problems and heartache. And therefore have no tie, no relationship to the rest of world…to live as if we are actually separate. To hold to the attitude that: “I, already know how to treat people. That I, already know how thinking thinks. That I, already have, without a doubt, the truth and it is only the inferior who have to strive for something that is obvious to me.”

So to come full circle and to return to the beginning:

How does one convey the problem?

solitudinus

The form of representation peculiar to the unconscious is not that of the conscious mind. It neither attempts nor is able to seize hold of and define its object in a series of discursive explanations, and reduce them to clarity by logical analysis. The way of  the unconscious is different. Symbols gather round the thing to be explained, understood, interpreted. The act of becoming conscious consists in the concentric grouping of symbols around the object, all circumscribing and describing the unknown from many sides. Each symbol lays bare another essential side of the object to be grasped, points to another facet of meaning. Only the canon of these symbols congregating about the center in question, the coherent symbol group, can lead to an understanding of what the symbols point to and of what they are trying to express.

-Erich Neumann

 

And here we see the potency and importance of patience, for the child and learner does not know; is not conscious enough to grasp the whole. He may see many parts or sides but he does not see the whole as of yet. The symbols are only beginning to rise up into consciousness and with them the possibility of seeing and grasping the whole of what they are merely a part. And for this reason the true teacher does not tell or merely show those under his care what he knows or thinks he knows but involves them in this process of bringing the unknown through unconscious means to consciousness patiently. He allows those under his care to learn. That is his art and purpose. He is to increase the possibility of seeing and questioning by not getting in the way through abuse of power and position. He does not tell but merely opens up, lays bare and allows the object in question to show itself, to hold sway over their minds. He allows those under his care to question and if need be guides them back if they stray by posing questions himself. He also leaves behind tests and exams as these only deal with memory and not with actual sight and understanding. If there are to be tests at all they come from the questions he poses. Through the child’s responses he can come to see where they are and involve them even further into seeing for themselves where they are. In this way he need not become a disciplinarian for the child corrects himself; he sees for himself where and how he strayed.

 

solitudinus