• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
You are here:
The crisis, the inadequacy and re-planning of education PDF Print E-mail

Freeform1Education in the history of mankind has had two basic aspects:
One aspect has been that education which has been associated with human creativity and freedom, and which has been met with at certain junctures in small numbers of creative thinkers in all periods. It has been a relationship of spiritual discipleship with a substantive dimension of self-education of man.

B. The other aspect of education has been the conveying of methods and views - with the authority of knowledge in each case - to larger numbers, with a basic inertia which reduces the risk of any subjectivity in those receiving this education.

In the first case, subjectivity has increased but left behind it an imprint of a special viewpoint - even when the educational method has been characterised by the protocol which was implemented in the second instance - and a prismatic systemic approach to the subject studied. This was practised by the schools of philosophy. In this way, a correlation was shaped both between the leading figures in the forging of systems of thought and within the mass factors in their formation. Thus, qualitative particularity and singularity met up with the quantitative dynamic, with a dynamic of mass uniformity.

Specialised ignorance
And lurking within the mass dynamic and uniformity is a particularity, as well as a subjectivity which is exceptional, not in the sense of its value, but in the sense of the dynamic of its magnitude. This can also be seen in statistical 'knowledge and opinion' polls among people who have received a modern education to tertiary level. Here the phenomenon of ignorance or error even on subjects which fall within the subject of their studies is a frequently observed phenomenon. An unexpected ignorance or prejudice even in the field of the specialisation of their studies, as well as in their  more general field is noticeable, which betrays an inability to make use of the unified methodology and of the interpretative schema provided by the educational system for modernity.

Also noticeable is the existence of a marked subjectivity precisely where there is educational methodology and the teaching of methodology for a world-view, both as to what is specialised and a part, and as to what is general. This subjectivity has left its imprints - its peculiarities - even on great creative figures, on geniuses and the talented. Yet we do not engage with these points. However, we neither engage with these points nor explore them, nor perceive them, usually, because we are most of the time not searchingly methodical in the study of their work and life.

In earlier times, this subjectivity was capable of producing systemic schools, since the field of methodological, experimental, or objectified methodology and interpretation was lacking. This resulted in the breadth at their starting-points of the fundamental concepts of these schools being particularly fruitful and diversified. Later, however, subjectivity and the period-bound nature of concepts was never abandoned - even though in certain features it was transposed, as in the matter of the so-called 'elements' of the natural sciences, where modern science has transposed them as phases of interaction, as 'states of energy', or, better, 'phases', as it recognises only two basic states: that phase which includes the familiar three phases (solid, liquid, and gas), in which 'fire' symbolises the parameter of energy, the thermic dynamic, and 'plasma', which is the state of the stars or of thermonuclear fusion.

The early initial concepts, then, existed with a varied, but objectively limited reductive, logical, and ontological range. It could be said that the ontological range has not been substantively transposed. What has changed is only the range of the objective reference of the early concepts, which has been extended. In addition, the logical or instrumental mediatory range of the early concepts has acquired greater wealth and pluralism, associated with mathematical calculation, logic, epistemology, etc.

Thus today we have arrived at a convention whereby the fertility and creativity of the early and fundamental concepts have been reduced by a very large bulk of objective functional reference, with procedures of binding experimentation and verifiability and technological assessment.

In spite of this, there are inherent phenomenological and transcendental references which we attempt to exorcise as an absurd or rationalistic factor. At the same time, these references have become the object of procedures and concepts which concern the subconscious, the unconscious, the 'relation of the Ego with the Id' or of 'the Ego with the Superego'. The phenomenological or transcendental references of consciousness have become the object of a 'special' scientific school, and not a science in the formal sense of the term, as it has of psychology, which attempts to monitor the whole process with a general interest in understanding phenomena and the phenotype of consciousness.

At the same time, the neuro-sciences and linguistics attempt to function with their own dynamic of objectivisation and interpretation of the mechanisms of this field of consciousness, giving it a symbolic communicative and mediatory character, or a purely biological interpretation, which is also armed, for example, by information theory.

Rationalistic uniformity as one of many, a chromatic radial dynamic
The 'problem' of the inability to shape a rationalistic uniformity, which is also the dream of modernism, remains, and will long remain, in human nature, as it appears that this approach is only one chromatic radial dynamic among many.
This approach does not, however, provide completeness of study of the subject, while it is inevitably restricted by its own phasmatic defectiveness.

Certain alternative approaches have been made in the interpretation of natural reality, such as those undertaken by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe, and, indirectly, other thinkers such as Fechner in matters of physics, philosophers such as Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, or Edmund Husserl.

In fruitful contrast are the approaches made by scientists, without our overlooking the dualism of the thinking of the scientific community which follows a wider range of thought and has found expression through distinguished scientists such as Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, David Bohm, etc.

We have, that is to say, a fruitful field of science's quests - both in the ontological and the interpretative world-theory of objective references - which we do not have and cannot incorporate into the industrialised experience of the enterprise of modernism aiming at a rationalistic uniformity. 'Rationalistic uniformity' has been taken to its extremes in the instances of Marxist world-theory both in the form of historical and scientific materialism, and in its more specialised part in its industrialisation.

A typical case was the rise and fall of the Soviet agronomist Trofim Lysenko. In defiance of a mass of scientific evidence to the contrary, he maintained that plants are able to hand on acquired properties to their descendants. He imposed his views for a certain period of time when he acquired strong political support. His efforts at the Kiev Institute of Agronomy were devoted to increasing production - after the disastrous civil war - by putting into practice Marxist ideology.

We see the same issue in the circularity between analytical-atomic and holistic composition extrapolation. We also see it in the mutability of that concentration in which the role ascribed either to a rudimentary factor or to particle, or to a gene - in another scientific field and on another scale - is discovered and maximised and then relativised in relation, for example, to a different modelisation which involves the 'natural' field, or the 'cosmological model', or, on the other hand, the biological organism, or the field of the acquired, also systemic, environmental feedbacks, etc. This dynamic of interaction is ever increasingly shown to be non-linear.

The example of the problem of the three bodies
Here we can reflect upon the fundamental starting-point issue of the three bodies, with its major symbolic archetypal dynamic and the particular impossibility of solving it and integrating it into a structure of full mensurability. This is the problem of the determination of how catalytic the conditions, orbits, and interactions of three bodies - for example, the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon - are. We now see how crucial the conditions of all these three bodies are both for the biological and cultural process, and for the biological highlighting of the geological factor on earth, but also, in the end - as De Chardin would say - of the distinction of the noosphere from the biosphere. In mathematical terms, however, this problem introduced the need for the non-linear polarity and holistic dynamic of the shaping fluctuations and interactions.

Thus we know that the problem of the three bodies gave rise to the non-linear dynamic which is integrated scientifically through phenomena - such as the 'butterfly phenomenon' - which link the microcosm and the macrocosm and draw attention to a dynamic which is quantic and concerned with coherence beyond locality, and which is still, in scientific terms, in the process of evolving, being linked, on the one hand, with systemic theory and, on the other, with the holistic dynamic of complex systems, with the structures of diffusion and the dynamics of fluctuation.

We see, that is, that the dream of education leading to a fully developed rational scientific 'theory of everything' - is exposed to endogenous contradictions such as those which have been brought out by Kurt Gödel in the field of mathematics; this also holds good to a much greater degree[1] in natural reality as well as in biological science. The vindication of Louis de Broglie and Léon Brillouin would be a major reversal, for example, for biologists, in the sense of the recognition of the fundamental nature and greater range of biological, as opposed to physical, laws, since biological science developed as an edifice built upon physics and chemistry and not as including physics and chemistry.

Then perhaps we will recall 'hylozoism', the very ancient trend in thought which, however, has in essence its modern champions, major scientists and theoreticians, even in the field of mathematical calculation, such as Alfred North Whitehead.

We have made this digression into the field of the linguistics and epistemology of concepts because it is precisely at this point that the two basic methods of education have interacted and have historically undergone a process of osmosis in the direction both of a power of experiential conception of ideas and of a coaction or induction of ideas, or, we could say on the other hand, as a field of mass systematisation, universalisation of the subject and an instrumentally effective specialisation of it.

Questions on the content and field of education
Let us, however, pose some questions on the content and field of education.

- Where did Goethe go to school?

Goethe was self-educated! Although Goethe gave expression to art and thought on a world scale, it could be said that this self-education is a formative, creative, even surrealistic freedom - to use the term of André Breton's Manifesto - a freedom of what is imaginative, a poetic licence.

- But which was the school attended by Thomas Edison, to whom today's completely industrial technical civilisation owes so much?

It was his self-education and his investigative interest. And so we come to the reflections of Oscar Wilde on education:

"Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."[2]

Oscar Wilde demonstrated the other way in which things can be approached, the 'other chrostic'. We are now coming to discover the phasmatic nature of education.

- What school did Plato attend?

The school which Plato attended was Socrates.

- Which was the school of Socrates, of Buddha, of Christ, of Muhamad?

They themselves were schools for us and millions of others.

On the other hand, even in the other chrostic or phasmatic areas of education, the academic community has failed tragically by repeatedly rejecting artists such as Auguste Rodin[3] and scientists such as Évariste Galois.[4] The former an artist, the latter a scientist and author of group theory the latter.

Here we can see again both the human factor and the phasmatism on which we must take our stand in the matter of education. We need to do this in the present age of the apotheosis of mass education and of the vast liberation of information and knowledge which is making enormous progress at a mass level for mankind.

Phasmatic discontinuity
At the same time, certain strange deficits in the generational dynamic and strange alternations - one could say - can be seen. In the last generation there were lacking aspects of thinking or experience which in all probability are crucial regulators of our relation, for example, with issues of contemporary historical or environmental conditions. Also absent in terms of communication are individual thinkers or groups of thinkers and trends. Historically, there are well-founded phasmatic discontinuities.

For example, is it not strange that the process of evolution of classical music has stopped? Is it not strange that the process of evolution of philosophy has stopped, while at the same time there are a great many reasons why such a process should continue?

At the same time, we live in an age in which classical music has the greatest dissemination as something listened to, in spite of the fact that there is an entirely different dynamic in music composition and entertainment. In reality, of course, classical music was never a mass experience; it is simply that at some point it was dominant in the market and in ritual. Today there are far more means of support for classical music through the possibilities afforded by modern technology and the educational system. Similarly, we have many stimuli for philosophical thought. But this dynamic is inactive.

Group circles representing trends in thinking and schools of thought in history have constituted a phasmatic phenomenon for cultural creativity and education. These groups should be regarded as closely bound up with the history and civilisation of mankind.

Cycles of ideas and human creativity
The development of painting
- in the sense of major creative work - does not coincide chronologically with the period of corresponding creativity in music. It is not only in art that this occurs. We also see it in the phases of mathematical thinking, and in the parallelisms of  alternativity - which have now begun to be studied - for example, the parallelisms of scientific undertakings with artistic undertakings. The fact that the parallelism and differentiation of the chronological phases of the trends in human creativity have not been systematically studied is perhaps a consequence of a sense of inferiority on the part of everyone in the face of philosophy. Philosophy is the parent of all the other areas of learning, and the pendulum motion of philosophical trends is parallel to the trends in human creativity. Thus, since such a role of study would bring out philosophy in a leading role again, many have not called attention to this subject-matter.

However, the whole process of evolution of psychoanalysis and psychology started out from philosophical thinking and this becomes apparent from a study of the field of their foundation. Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, and Johann Gottlieb Fichte - together with others - had all the first basic thoughts and references of Freud. Emmanuel Kant and Fichte were the forerunners of the Adlerian model of specialisation in psychoanalysis and psychological theory. The existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was the inspiration for the school of existentialist psychology.

As Proclus - and by a strange coincidence, Jacques Guillaumaut, echoing Friedrich Engels - in 'Government and Dialectical Materialism and Dialectic', his study of government and the 'dialectic of Nature' - observed, ideas in history go round in circles and are reborn. André Gide voiced the same thought when he remarked that "everything has been said before but ... we have to keep going back and beginning all over again"; only every subsequent time an expansion of the phasmatic range and of  dynamism and pluralism makes its appearance. That is to say, a phasmatisation in the broader phasmatism in our subject unfolds.

Unification of East and West
Let us return to the cycles of ideas about education. Cycles of ideas in the West started out from Platonic thinking and the reforms of Solon, which raised the issue of education to a priority and to a duty of parents and the state. In the East, there was a greater historical, personal, and experiential depth in the matter of education, but, unfortunately, within a political framework which did not attain to the level of expression of freedom of the West. Apart from this difference between East and West at the political level, a difference in method is discernible. This is noted by Aurobindo, who arrives at the conclusion that in the East we have an orientation towards intuition and spirituality, whereas in the West it is towards the intellect and the step by step aetiological breakdown of our consciousness.

These two basic differences give a corresponding comparative advantage and a disadvantage to the East and to the West. The first attempt to bring about an experiential unification of these models started out with Pythagoras and Socrates in the West, and then ab initio the undertaking underwent a decline in its completeness. The second and fuller attempt to achieve a unification of these models was made precisely at the starting-point of modernity by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his work Émile. The following strange thing has happened with this longsuffering work: that whereas the modern educational system believes that it has through this book origins and traditions derived from Rousseau, in practice, these are anything but his.

Here we must add the special contribution of the critics of scholasticism, which, of course, did not exactly represent the spirit of Aristotle, since in reality it was the mass diversion of Aristotelian 'binding' of thought. This scholasticism did not open up to the ontological subjectivity of Platonic ideas, which were 'inconvenient' for the Christian dogmatism of the Middle Ages - which itself was a diversion. At the same time it avoided having fields of verifiability of theory through experience so as not to have to give an account of itself to phenomena in an interpretative way, and thus constituted a dogmatic totalitarianism.

The 'idols' of Bacon and Rousseau's Émile
Thus the questioning of scholasticism which started out with Francis Bacon - and others - and which, inter alia, took the form of a special account of errors by means of the well-known four categories of 'idols' (images) was on greater importance.[5]

The new horizon of education opens up as it combines the categories of 'idols' with the didactic and experiential method, and the open experiential horizon which we encounter in Rousseau's Émile, together with all the humanist and democratic starting-points of culture and education. It is in this way that the new horizon for education opens up. It is in this way that we shape the method and the vision of modernity, by including major contributions such as that of Kant.

Ioannis Zisis, Writer

[1] Gödel's first incompleteness theorem states that: "Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory (Kleene 1967, p. 250)". Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems - Wikipedia.

[2] WIKIQUOTES. Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, 16 October 1854 - 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet.

[3] Auguste Rodin - information from Wikipedia Auguste Rodin (12 November 1840 - 17 November 1917) was a French sculptor who influenced to a great degree the sculpture of the 20th century by his works. He refused to ignore human weaknesses and described them as well as he could in his art, with realism and power. He also described erotic weakness, with passion and beauty ... At the age of 14, he entered the École Impériale de Dessin, also known as the Petite École, to distinguish it from the more prestigious School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux Arts), where he attempted to become a student but was rejected three times in total.

[4] Asterios Pantokratoras, 'The Norwegian mathematician Abel and the French mathematician Galois. Two tragic stories' [in Greek]. "Évariste Galois was born in 1811 in the village of Bourg-la-Reine, south of Paris. In 1828, he sat the entrance examinations for the Polytechnic (École Polytechnique), but failed. He was therefore forced to attend the École Préparatoire, which was inferior to the Polytechnic ... At that period he was making important discoveries in the theory of polynomial equations, and submitted two papers to the Academy of Sciences. The distinguished mathematician Cauchy examined them and rejected them. Two years later, Galois again took the entrance examinations for the Polytechnic, but failed again ... In spite of this, he again submitted his work to the Academy of Sciences, and the prominent mathematician Fourier was appointed assessor. But as his ill fortune would have it, Fourier died and Galois' studies were lost. ... Despite the shortness of his life, Galois, like Abel, set his seal on mathematics by his important contribution to group theory." --- http://science.duth.gr/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=86

[5] Francis Bacon, Novum Organum: There are four kinds of idols which possess the human mind. The idols of the tribe are based on human nature and on the human tribe or race itself. Consequently, it is an error to say that reason is the criterion of things. On the contrary, all perceptions, both of reason and of the mind, arise from the analogy with man, not from the analogy with the universe. The idols of the den are idols of man as an individual ... each person (apart from the deviations in general of human nature) has a kind of cave or den which refracts and distorts the light of nature, whether because of each one's personal and individual nature or because of education ... discussion with others ... authority.

The idols of the Roman marketplace ... which are derived more or less from an agreement and from the reciprocal relations of the human race.
The idols of the theatre ... which have crept into men's souls from various philosophical systems and from erroneous laws of demonstrations.
See Nicola Ubaldo, Anthology of Philosophy, 2005 [Greek edition], Enalios Publications, p. 215.

Photo from wikimedia

Creative Commons License
You are free: to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work.  
Under the following conditions: