Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Teacher

by AJ

Hiroshi has written another thought provoking post on his blog-- regarding the nature of knowledge. He questions the value of knowledge that is second hand.. the kind most of his teachers are shoving down his throat.

Ive posted many times on this subject.. on my other, more radical blog. Hiroshi is absolutely correct. "Knowledge" is useless without direct experience. We are becoming a society of mediated drones. People pay more heed to second hand "knowledge" than they do to the direct experiences of their own lives. They go crazy about media spectacles in "the news"... but ignore the care and feeding of their own souls.

Its great to hear other people's opinions. Its great to learn from other people. But all wisdom must come from experience. Without experience... "knowledge" is nothing but brainwashing.

My most important message to my students is this: TEST EVERYTHING. NEVER accept "knowledge" without experience. Never believe that your teachers know more than you do. Never believe that they are "better" or "superior".

Ill let you in on a secret... most of your teachers are clueless idiots! Does that seem too harsh? Well, consider this... I am teaching you how to learn a foreign language.. yet I cannot speak any language other than English!

And Im probably more open and flexible than most. Many of your teachers are simply passing on information that they were given by another teacher. Many have never examined this information.... never tested it... never questioned it. They dont like YOU to question them because it might expose their lack of experience and depth.

So... listen to what they have to say.. but consider what they tell you only as interesting THEORIES... things to be tested and questioned by your own direct experience. Or, if the information is useless to you... realize its useless, do what you need to do for the test, and then forget it.

I believe Gandhi had an excellent attitude towards knowledge and life. He described his approach to life as "experiments with truth". He was always experimenting with his life. He was always trying new EXPERIENCES... not just memorizing other people's "facts". He always wanted to test things directly.

I encourage you to do the same. Experiment with your life. Base your wisdom and strength on direct experience. Dont accept what others tell you without question. Always question.

Im trying to follow this advice myself. In fact, I consider Hiroshi as much my teacher as I am his. I like that he questions everything. I like that he challenges. I like that he encourages me to examine myself and what Im doing in the classroom.

This is as it should be. Every "teacher" should also be a student. Every "student" should also be a teacher.

No more command and control. No more obedience and blind acceptance.

Before all else... trust the dignity of your own experience. Trust yourself. Question.