Many people in the audience were starting to yawn, look at their watches, and lose focus.
"I see it that some of you are beginning to feel bored and distracted. Now you know how your kids feel when you are blathering on an on about nothing."
The statement had the desired result. Those who were wandering off immediately snapped back to attention with their defensive mechanisms raised, loaded, and ready to fire.
"Yeah! I said it. You see, I was as guilty of trying to stuff bullshit into the minds of my kids as you are, and just as guilty of erecting defensive walls and readying my excuses whenever I was called out on it. Which, unfortunately wasn't that often.
I don't know if you see the pattern emerging in what I've said so far. If not, I'll try to make it clearer for you.
You see Galileo himself was just as guilty as Cardinal Bellarmine of being recalcitrant that fateful day. The Cardinal screwed things up by giving the worst possible spin on things; the way that most religious institutions behave even to this day. Fear of being found out, is usually the reason that people go on the defensive. Why else would the Church become defensive? If the Church truly believed in its own message, why be defensive on the subject of scientific learning?
What the Cardinal should have said, had he possessed the wisdom of his mission and the courage of his convictions, was to tell Galileo to go stand outside in the middle of large field with a 360 degree panoramic view. He should have told the scientist to spread his arms and to turn around and take in that view and understand that he was, in fact, standing in the very center of an infinite universe. He could also project that view onto an invisible sphere where he could recognize that he was standing on the pole of the axis that ran through the center of that sphere and that the sphere was located exactly in the center of the universe. He should have then said, Mr. Galileo, we fully support your efforts to ensure the progress of the consciousness of the human race, but you also need to understand that God who created the universe needn't testify at a trial that is basically a political farce or be subjected to being judged by authorities of men the way that Jesus, his son, was."
Eric Voegelin, a German political philosopher, caught on to this idea and used the Greek term 'metaxy' to describe it. Metaxy means 'between' and acts much like the preposition. Voegelin argues that it also represents the state of a humanity that exists between things like infinity and mortality, or the cosmos and the microcosm. He argues the point that any form of art, music, sculpture, or political thinking that doesn't reference this reality is nothing more than blather and will never stand the test of time, or be said to have ever contained greatness.
There is a reason, you see, why Mozart is regarded as being Mozart and not Taylor Swift, a reason why Martin Luther King Jr. is Martin Luther King Jr. and not Joseph Stalin, and a reason why men like Socrates and Jesus are considered great teachers. Great reformers and teachers understand their place in timelessness and all the others are fools serving in the kingdom of the dead making pronouncements made of ashes, dust, and mold.
We humans have bragged long and hard about the great creation of this thing called secular humanism. The Greeks would have recognized such boasting as hubris and knew that it would never fail to evoke the punishment of the greater forces of nature.
If you remember, their myths said that it was hubris that caused Odysseus to wander the oceans for twenty years. Yet, we have the nerve to question the Creator on the great suffering and pain of warfare and on the starvation and destruction caused by the wanton desires and doings of men, then have the nerve to get all butt hurt because he doesn't answer us in the vernacular.
The end result of the stupid argument between Galileo and the Pope was that for the last four hundred years we have ignorantly gone along with the nonsensical belief, still being pushed by the scientific community, that the universe is simply a big machine and that our life on Earth serves no real purpose. Our courthouses, stripped of the ten commandments, now convey the lie. Our political institutions are built on a foundation of sand because of the lie, our churches have lost their teeth along with their their ability to counter the lie, and our school systems, well, our school systems are very adept at training its adepts.
When you allow your classrooms to be totally bleached of any trace of spirituality, of any idea that the inside of a human being is more important than bricks of the building or the nails in the wood, or that mankind's spiritual development exists on the same cognitive level as his ability to build a fence or even wiping his ass, you yourself are participating in the propagation of that lie.
When you complain about the size and make-up of our prison populations, you need to understand your own role in creating that reality. When you watch the people burning our cities and attacking our institutions while bragging about their communist and atheistic beliefs, you need to understand that, you too, were complicit in forming those beliefs.
When you went along with the idea that teaching that the teaching of science trumps the teaching of meaning, you were only using a half-truth that helped create a half-vision of the world that totally ignores the existence of the half that gives life any kind of importance and/or beauty other than being the process that creates fertilizer for the grass of the cemeteries.
Do you wonder why your kids don't read when the best reason you can offer them for tackling the intricacies of reading is getting a good education to make money in order to buy a great car and home with a pool? Let's try substituting that reason with the idea that all humans are tasked with becoming the best human they are capable of becoming and see how that works
Nietzsche, the great German philosopher, gets most of the credit for killing off God with the utterance "God is dead. We have reasoned him out of existence'. The truth is that he was referencing the fact that it was the virtue signaling raisin-counters who thought they were capable of reasoning God out of existence. It is one of the great tragedies of history that these small minded academics seized upon those words to proclaim God's death to the general public, 'See, look what we have done with our reasoning. We have carved weapons out of the air that enabled us to slay even the Great Deity.'
Yet, not one of those jackbooted, lab-coated idiots had sense enough to ask themselves where did those words come from, were they carved out of rock, forged from steel, cast in lead, or did they emerge fully formed out of the inside of men? And were these men steeped in the half-truths of enlightenment thinking? Did they ever wonder why Nietzsche's words were never argued to have been written in stone like the commandments of Moses?
Looking back it's easy to see they they had to have put the book down in order brag about the slaying right then, pretending to be solemn but secretly loving the taste of warm blood. Later in the book, Nietzsche also questions, 'Who are we to blot out the sun,' and then bemoans the fact that mankind will soon have mistaken an hideous and cowardly act of patricide for the loss of the mankind's clearly established need for spiritual meaning.
And, at this point in history, who can deny the Creator the chance to look down upon this assemblage, and every assemblage like it, and to quote Caesar's immortal question, 'Et tu, Brute.' But unlike the Roman, God knows full well that he has been attacked by B-List actors with rubber knives and covered with fake blood.
As teachers, we crucify truth daily when we fail to create curriculum and teach content that denies life any meaning. We participate in the blood lust of the truth-denying mob everyday that we deny a child a chance to better understand the universe around him, a chance to learn what it means to exist in the middle of infinity, or to dream dreams unfettered by arbitrary restrictions and the limits of half-hearted reason.
I understand it's much easier to learn what noun does in a sentence than it is to grasp the significance of what the naming of things mean in an infinite universe. I know it's easier to control people who look down all day than those who dare to ask questions of the stars. It's easier to steal dreams away from children than it is to nurture them because you don't have a clue as what it entails to make a dream come true, and I know that's it's way easier to nip a dream in the bud than to deal with the new ways of thinking it might inspire while we sleep.
And don't go to thinking that the drinking fountain and faucet in the rear of your classroom and all of the Comet and Ajax in the world will be able wash the blood off of your hands. That's Pilate; don't be Pilate.
After a short bathroom break, the teachers begin to file back into the auditorium. There is steady buzz of conversation as they are seated. Once again, the speaker takes the stage.
"I told you before the break that I would start to connect the pieces and lead the argument back toward you and your classrooms. I still need to provide a bit more context before that happens; so please bear with me for a bit.
First, let me summarize a few things. I tried to make the point that the big problem in our educational system is the same problem that we humans have had since the beginning of time, and that is in determining what it is that we most need to learn and how we should go about learning it.
Many of you might think that we are doing a great job of this already, but the sad fact is that we are not. All the problems that exist in modern society are a testament to this. You might not understand it, but the fact that have so many basically unqualified people making millions of dollars telling us how and what to think is evidence of this. The fact that we pay actors, athletes, and musicians far more than we pay doctors, architects, and teachers is a testament to this. The fact that so many people nowadays go through their entire lives without ever thinking a serious thought is testament to this.
I explained this by asking you if you ever planned your day around the concept that we inhabit an infinite universe.
I went on to explain that for most of our existence on this planet, mankind has considered human consciousness, whether it was focused on the fundamental questions of our existence, or focused on picking up a few survival tips, as one and the same thing. Nowadays, consciousness has been divided into two different channels, the scientific outlook on life and the spiritual outlook on life, so our focus and efforts to make progress are also divided.
I left off right before explaining why this was important. In 1619, science realized that the Church was not going to allow the truth about Heliocentric theory to come out. The first scientists understood that discovering the truth was considered to be a matter of heresy. At the time, the Pope represented God's voice on earth.
So, essentially, science began as a revolt against God. Remember though that any person who obstructs the acquisition and the transmission of truth cannot actually be said to represent the voice of God. So there we were, in the ironic situation that the spiritual guides were defending a lie while the the upstart revolutionaries were fighting for truth.
Strangely enough, early scientists were usually men of great faith. Descartes, for example, wrote a book explaining why mankind needed to believe in God. Sir Isaac Newton was very spiritual but also understood early on that the ideas behind the deterministic model of physics he championed, or the view of the universe as one gigantic machine, would soon lead to the belief that all human endeavors are essentially meaningless. (Which it did with the emergence of Existentialism in the first half of the 19th century.) Newton spent his last three years of life trying to work his way around the consequences of his own theory.
Another thing going on was that those first thinkers of the Enlightenment, the very same people those gave us the secular thinking model we still use today, decided to shelf the great fundamental questions of existence, such as 'why do we exist' and 'how are we supposed to wrap our mind around the truth of living in an infinite universe' in favor of more bite sized pieces that would fit more easily under a microscope.
The great Swedish psychologist Carl Jung, writing in his explanation of Synchronicity, explained the inevitable results of a dependence on the scientific method that requires repetition in order to gain data, by saying that the questions asked of nature are so biased and limited that they can never reveal anything but partial truth. In other words, we have built modern society on a collection of partial truths, truth that could only ever lead us away from realizing the one great truth that must underlie all things.
Not only do we use these partial truths to explain our reality, we seem to have forgotten that the great fundamental questions even exist. Science has hidden these truths under the bed so long, we seem to have not only forgotten about them, but we have also been taught to regard them as unnecessary and no longer needed to justify our existence.
The Greeks had a word 'enantiodromia'. It refers to the idea that most things once brought into the light of the material world have a tendency to change into their opposite. The Medieval Church was certainly guilty of losing sight of its stated mission, and now science too appears guilty of defending its status and domain at the expense of truth.
You might ask how can I say this with certainty? That's easy. I can just point to those classrooms that are completely devoid of any kind spiritual content. I can point to curriculum that not only completely ignores the truth but also lacks any kind of real meaning. And I can point to an almost endless array of blathering administrators who blindly follow guidelines put in place by other blatherers who haven't a single clue as what our kids really need to be learning.
If you examine the drama of Christ's crucifixion from a mythological perspective, you will soon notice the role played by the two political power players willing to sacrifice the truth in order to maintain their positions of power. These politicians also managed to trick the general public into believing that it was their own choice to do so.
I ask you, how is this much different from the situation what we have in education today? It isn't.
I'll explain why next episode. I promise to get it into the classroom too.