Friday, September 23, 2005

More From Rollins

by Skald

"There are so many hammocks to catch you if you fall, so many laws to keep you from experience. All these cities I have been in the last few weeks make me fully understand the cozy, stifling state in which most people pass through life. I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun -
hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks.

People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For
all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup."

So many laws to keep you from experience....
Laws against using certain substances (ganga, LSD, ketemin, mushrooms, etc...). Laws against certain types of sexual experiences. Laws against certain kinds of thought. And these are just the written down government laws. The most stifling laws are unwritten: societal "norms" enforced through intimidation, brainwashing, and reproach.

Ours is a society that equates learning with memorizing words written by other people. Most people who claim to be experts have very little first hand knowledge of their field. How many psychiatrists have experienced ego-dissolution, "disassociation", "hallucinations", visions, and the like? How many white-bread "Middle East experts" have actually lived there, among the local people, for an extended period of time? How many religion experts (ministers, priests) have experienced the spiritual or divine ("the godhead") directly?

Most of what we call education is nothing but a game of trivia pursuit. Its a quoting match-- Professor A says, "I know what so-and-so said about this subject", and Professor B replies, "Well such-and-such said this!". Back and forth they go, arguing about what other experience-deprived "experts" have written about a phenomenon-- none of them with a clue about the actual experience.

Non-professors play the same game... sometimes quoting the professors.

I love books. I love reading. I love that I have access to the thoughts of great thinkers like Thoreau, or Guatama Buddha, or Aldous Huxley, etc.

But though I am an avid reader & a language teacher, I contend that books and language are overrated. Without direct experience, they are nothing. Only the experienced can interpret their messages.

Rather than subject 18 year olds to four more years of drudgery in University, we should give them that money and tell them to travel the world: "Here is your $25,000 student grant/loan... if you don't return to this country for at least 2 years, you don't have to pay it back."

That would be a worthy use of education dollars.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for articulating the later years of my college life. He said, she said. It's all horseshit. Experts simply dance around issues without getting their feet wet with any kind of real work. You can study inequality and read about misfortune, but if an intellectual understanding is all you have, you are not understanding the problem at all.