“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”
― E.M. Forster
all too often when people have attempted to teach me something, they teach it by rote a bit at a time. How much better it would be if they were to present something fully and let me reason it out or plant seeds of understanding and show me how to grow them. It seems all too often people are in the habit of imparting knowledge instead of fostering understanding. This is somewhat akin to JFK’s famed expression of feeding a man fish rather than teaching them how to fish. By showing someone pathways to understanding, they can not only gain tools that will help them in all areas of their life but they will be able to grasp what they are being shown in a much more visceral way.
“Information is just bits of knowledge.
Knowledge is putting them together.
Wisdom is transcending them.”
— Ram Dass
Please let me be wise and not know it.
For in the knowing I may give up
what has brought me there.
Let me know the pain within
and transcend it
so that I can show others how to do it for themselves
Please Show me how to embrace this planet
and those who dwell here.
For what use are facts and figures?
what use is knowing
if one cannot grant solace?
— G A Rosenberg
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Will The Cave Hold That Which You Seek? by G A Rosenberg
“Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul.”
— Carl Jung
Can a virgin ever understand a brothel? He can come to know how the business works I suppose. He (or she) could come to understand the clientele, how the bookkeeping works, who has to be paid off and when and even know the workers by name. But to understand viscerally what really goes on, one has to plunge right in and experience the needs that are met and the physicality of the act involved.
Academia can be pretty dry. On the one hand a university education can teach and encourage critical thinking. On the other hand it can encourage a constant dissection of ideas without a visceral feel for whatever is being studied. It is easy to become so involved in critiquing the form an argument takes that the point of it gets lost. Analyzed and examined but not understood much like our poor virgin.
Sometimes the only way to fully understand an idea is to inhabit it and see how it fits. Otherwise we remain on the outside looking in and critiquing without getting the full gist.
“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
We read and we study. We analyze with critical thought anything that comes our way. We seek perfect understanding yet all too often we avoid the self-work that may bring it closer. It feels like we circle the outer rim of ourselves while the centre remains many layers down. What can bring us inside? Oh exposure to new ideas is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. I love new paradigms and new ways of looking at things. Yet who is doing the looking? Is what we are exposing ourselves to bringing us closer to our truest self or leading us in circles. Perhaps we can take what we have learned and journey inward with it, adding awareness to our knowledge and knowledge to our awareness.
“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”
― Robert M. Pirsig
When we find ourselves on solid ground we walk with confidence. We need no assistance.It is when we are most unsure of our footing that we call for support. This seems rather obvious on a physical level but it rings true also on emotional levels (we tend to surround ourselves with friends and family when we feel shaky). Robert Pirsig suggests this is true on intellectual and spiritual matters as well and this also sounds right. Compare a wise yogi or any person with strong faith and spiritual insight. While they may be open to people learning from them and vice versa, they seldom push their beliefs on others. The ones who clamour the most about saving the souls of others are often those most unsure about their own salvation.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
― Stephen Hawking
Ignorance is a difficult thing to admit to. So often when we find ourselves in conversation with others and they start talking on a subject we know little about we feel the need to claim more knowledge than we have. I have missed out on much by doing this. There is so much out there on so many subjects that even in our areas of interest it is all but impossible to know everything. Ignorance is not a crime. I am ignorant of many many things and hopefully I am gaining greater courage with time to admit my ignorance. It seems that pretending to know or understand something when I don’t may be the easiest way to hold on to ignorance that I can think of. Even when I do know something, I may not grock it from the perspective of the person I’m speaking to. By being open to all and treating each person as my teacher I can only learn.
“What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.”
― Salvador Dalí
Yes we can know but then not consistently and what we know can often lead to doubt. Confusion? Let’s hope so. If I know with too much certainty than I can no longer learn for learning implies ignorance cured. May learning be the destination but may the confusing journey last an eternity so that each thing learned bring joy and yet more questions, more contradictions and yes more confusion. Confusion is the area outside of our maps. Confusion exists outside our comfort zone and confusion causes leaps. May the mists of confusion and the clear skies of knowledge continue to interact with my understanding forever.
Each step has been learned
In crafty self-expression
Discipline pays off.
Honing my craft
Designing new ways to design
creating new ways to create
it’s all self-expression.
Can I make what I contain
both beautiful and useful?
Can I present
what I know
in a way that awakens
knowledge and appreciation
in others as well?
Each day brings something new
either realization or lesson
but how do I know it
until I can show
through my creation
of what I’ve learned?
The suit of Pentacles refers to the element of Earth and of practical matters such as money and partnerships both of a business nature and of the home. They can also represent nature, the Earth itself as well as our bodies. Eights deal with recognition of boundaries and a focus of the energies to move on and continue. How do we manifest the talents and abilities that we carry within us? There are so many ways such writing, art of all various kinds, crafts, and engineering just to name a few. No matter which one we choose, there is a period of time during which we must train ourselves in the form of that expression. By becoming ever more proficient and disciplined in the forms, we give ourselves the freedom to then experiment and take them to new places, expanding the medium to better express our perceptions.
Astrological Correspondence – Sun in Virgo – The Sun in Virgo energy is one of analysis, self-examination and fine-tuning in every aspect of its being. One of the key words involved with this energy is responsibility and its focus will ever be on improving and making a good thing better. At times this may mean getting caught up in the details to the exclusion of the big picture. The Sun in Virgo energy also tends to be very self-contained, so busy exploring and expressing the interior of its existence that it has little need of exterior influence being complete in and of themselves. People with this energy tend to have a strong connection to the physical world and have amazing bodily awareness.
I Ching Correspondence – 62) Hsaio Kuo – Preponderance of the Small –
The trigram of Thunder is over that of the Mountain. When thunder is in the mountains, it tends to echo and so feel a lot closer. It takes discipline to focus on making your way through the storm and get where you’re going rather than be daunted by the noise. This sense of focus on the immediate may seem over detailed or petty to others and yet it gets the job at hand done. This hexagram speaks a lot about self-moderation and discipline and how easily both of these things may be overturned by letting externals pull our focus.
When the Eight of Pentacles comes up in a reading, it can indicate that it is a time of great creativity and self-expression as long as we are receptive both to what our inner self wishes to communicate and to the means by which we are communicating it. It may also refer to a time when a tighter focus is needed. If we pay attention to the details, eventually we will be able to reconnect to the bigger picture. This may be true in our relationships as well as business and other practical relationships. The Eight of Pentacles may also be saying that it is time to buckle down and pursue one’s goals as it is possible through focus to attain them.
When the Eight of Pentacles turns up reversed, it may mean that we are paying to much attention to details and missing the big picture. Circumstances may have changed and what has been working for us until now may no longer be helpful. We need to step back and take a wider perspective on things before continuing. It is tempting when our efforts are not paying off to grow frustrated but the Eight of Pentacles reversed may be suggesting that patience is needed. Another meaning of this energy reversed may mean that rather than doing something step by step the way we always have, it may be time to think outside the box.
“Not every puzzle is intended to be solved. Some are in place to test your limits. Others are, in fact, not puzzles at all…”
― Vera Nazarian,
What puzzles you? What gets in your head and makes your brain itch? Is it really a question or do we simply like to indulge ourselves in asking questions to which we already know the answers? If we only took the time to listen to ourselves, I have found that it is truly incredible how much we really know? Try an experiment sometime. Hold a question in your mind and go for a walk. I have found it surprising how often I have the answer by the end of my walk. All it took was being open to finding it. Of course, sometimes we just like an easy challenge. I know I do.
“Nothing is generous. New knowledge is a valuable commodity. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we are.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Perhaps its such a valuable commodity because its a seller’s market? So many people avoid knowledge like the plague and to them you can’t give it away. There are those of us tho hungry for new knowledge and it is on us that knowledge brokers survive. Even there, some of us are more like gourmets in nature, only accepting the good stuff, knowledge that’s proven to harmonize with universal principles and erudite material that one must have the equivalent of three university degrees to understand. Others of us are gourmands and will consider any flight of fancy and love pushing ourselves if not outside the box into whatever boxes possible. When it comes to knowledge I am one of the universal dumpster divers willing to leap in and look over whatever anyone is throwing out. Thus breadth is added but also an amazing depth when all the sources end up weighed and sorted through.