Friday, August 26, 2011

Bring a sense of spirit to the Humanities part 4

Comenius advocated a comprehensive education taught in the vernacular.  He promoted the establishment of many more schools and universities.  He was asked to design the curriculum for the recently established Harvard College, but instead chose to organize Sweden’s educational system.  He pioneered the use of academic specialization but warned that if the spiritual focus were not emphasized, educational unity would be lost.  We have arrived at that point today. We know more and more about less and less.  Without any unifying principals with which to appreciate the value of Liberal Arts and to relate it to our lives, education is bereft of wisdom.

At the heart of any education for tomorrow are these seven basic principles:

bulletAn understanding of the importance of love in education, and the development of human relationships based on such an attitude.
bulletRecognition of the ever-changing ways we view ourselves and the world we live in – the evolution of individual human consciousness.
bulletAn appreciation of the growth of personal freedom as it has evolved in the Western Tradition.
bulletAn emphasis on the potential for self-development and self-transformation inherent in each individual.
bulletAn awareness of how each subject relates to the experience of  "I AM" as the balanced center of thinking, feeling and willing.
bulletA sense of integrating the whole as well as clearly distinguishing the parts of each subject.
bulletAn exploration of the creative and artistic elements in our lives and in civilization in addition to the factual and intellectual elements.
Before you begin to study in this manner, it is important to mention that certain positive mental and psychological attitudes are necessary.  These are as follows:

Moments of inner tranquility are required, that state of being where you are at peace with yourself.  A sincere student must learn to practice stepping aside from the turmoil of daily life with its incessant distractions.  These moments of inner tranquility should be taken as a starting point for self-education.  To some extent thoughtful contemplation and objectivity are possible only at these selected disciplined times.

It is essential that one learn to know one’s feeling and then be able to become dispassionate.  This putting aside of one’s likes and dislikes and seeking to examine what is, not what gratifies, leads to a state of objective awareness quite different from the familiar personal and subjective condition.

This conscious objectivity allows us to see things from different points of view and enables us to see some truth, purpose and meaning even in attitudes and behavior we otherwise might find totally abhorrent.  This ability does not make us lose our sense of judicious discrimination - on the contrary it enhances this sense and our understanding of the world.

By withholding and suspending judgement we keep our mind open to new discoveries.  As soon as we judge, we limit our curiosity and thought.

We are thus able to understand how often we have "thrown out the baby with the bathwater."  Disagreements, prejudice and criticism often lead us to miss crucial insights that can enrich our lives.
True open-mindedness and thoughtful objectivity leads to "learned ignorance" which overcomes intellectual arrogance and false pride.  The more we learn, the more we understand how much we do not know.  This inspirational approach to Liberal Arts will lead to "the Truth that sets us free."  This is the wonderful goal of educating yourself for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bring a sense of spirit to the Humanities part 3

Where do we find constructive help in this difficult journey into ourselves?  We can turn to the great artists, writers, thinkers, statesmen and scientists throughout history who have communicated their heightened sense of awareness through their lives’ work.  They have tried to awaken us to a higher view of ourselves through artistic forms and significant deeds.  Their examples can make clear to us that we have more than just five senses.  We can go beyond our material senses to deeper levels of cognition.  We all have dormant organs of finer perception which have always been cultivated by leading Human Beings throughout history. If we can understand and absorb their insights, we can ourselves participate more completely in the great creative force that drives humankind forward and upward.

So often what we search for is to be found right in front of our noses.  It is the same with life itself.  It’s like a game of hide-and-seek that we play with the self we know and the self we are trying to find.  And the method that we can use is also right before us in our own great culture and tradition.  It is only a matter of learning how to "see better" as the loyal Earl of Kent implores Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The self-developmental thrust of this type of Liberal Arts education goes beyond the conventional approach to the Humanities found in colleges and universities today.  For example, undergraduates study the doctrines and ideas of Plato.  In contrast, this approach redirects the focus of study to the process of self-knowledge using Plato’s symposium as a catalyst.  Self-knowledge is the goal.  Plato is the guide.
To those who do not understand the spiritual dimensions of "Know Thyself!" self-knowledge appears to be narcissism.  To those who have had this inner-experience, it is a path to community service.  It is the goal of true education to cultivate that which is the best within each of us.  Thiscreates the conditions for a superior understanding of perennial wisdom, so called because it constantly blooms.
The new curriculum at many universities includes selections from non-Western, female and minority sources.  The changes reflect the recognition that the traditional approach to the Humanities has great limitations.  However, in spite of good intentions, the quest for universal relevance in education will continue to go astray so long as Humanities advocates do not realize that higher education must be founded on the conscious development of these dormant cognitive organs leading to a deeper understanding of the human condition.  The development of the whole Human Being – no matter what the sex, color or race – must be fostered.

No unifying theme has been consciously applied to our secularized education, and the Liberal Arts curriculum has become over-specialized and over-intellectualized at the expense of an education of the heart and the will.  Of course, revision of the traditional core curriculum of the Humanities is not a recent phenomenon.  At the very onset of our modern curriculum development, Amos Comenius (1592-1670), the great Moravian educator responsible for many aspects of modern education, saw the potential pitfalls that have come to be.  For those who are unfamiliar with Comenius, his book, The Visible World, was the first textbook in which pictures were as important as the text.  He was determined to translate into reason what previously had existed as tradition.  In The Temple of Pansophia, he wrote that he wished to construct a temple of Wisdom that would serve as a sacred edifice for education similar to the Temple of Solomon.  His temple was to house a school of universal wisdom, a workshop for attaining all of the skills necessary for life and the future.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bring a sense of spirit to the Humanities part 2

The conventional approach to the Humanities too often has consisted in rote teaching, memory training and problem solving.  Opening the "inner eye" requires experiencing the "I" as an integrated whole, an ego (Latin for "I") that balances thinking, feeling, and willing.  Increased mastery of this integrative process leads to the ability to distinguish between true intuition and mere whim; between inspiration and empty abstract thought; between creative imagination and disconnected fantasy.

Such personal development goes against the present flow of conventional Western thought.  For 500 years Western civilization has developed itself through the exploration and conquest of the "outer" world.  This progress seems to have come from a scientific materialistic philosophy.  The world viewed with this attitude appears separated from our inner being.  And yet, if one looks more deeply – imagination, inspiration, and intuition – all spiritual, integrative processes, are at the core of our scientific and cultural discoveries.  Einstein, to take one example, has said that he valued his ability to speculate and fantasize above his mathematical skill.  The "new physics" is based on doing away with the old attitude that "I am here and it’s out there."  The observed, say the new physicists studying sub-atomic phenomena, is always changed by the observer.

Yet so much of the way we think and live is structured in dualism, (binary thinking) the commonplace way of thinking in terms of either/or, bad/good, inner/outer.  Whether our faith is in science, progress, God, human nature or government, our outlook is often confined to dualities.  Only enhanced self-knowledge enables us to transcend the temporary illusion of duality and one-sided materialism.  An experience of opening the "I" breaks through to the integration of head, heart and creativity that is the core of all reality – the "patterns of organic energy" with which the Zen masters of ancient China were concerned.

To satisfy the universal need for inner direction many are turning toward gurus, cult figures, drugs and pseudo-Christianity (close-mindedness, intolerance, hatred and violence in the name of Christianity).  People who choose to neglect their own self-development through self-knowledge can become attracted to and become locked into unhealthy, unfree solutions for their doubts, illnesses, insecurities and dissatisfactions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bring a sense of spirit to the Humanities part 1

For hundreds of years, from all over the ancient world, kings and commoners traveled to Delphi to ask the Oracle of Apollo about the right course of action – whether to make war or seek peace, whether to marry one person or another.  They brought rich offerings to the god and were sent on their way by the priests with riddling answers.

And yet, over the entrance to the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi was the admonition: "Know Thyself!"  This ancient wisdom suggested that the true oracle lies within.  The answers to the great human questions, public and private, are found not outside us but only through an inner journey of the seeking spirit.  The crucial importance of developing self-knowledge can best be understood in the words of another ancient piece of wisdom: The Hebraic Talmud says, "We do not see things the way they are, we see things the way we are."  In other words, we grind the lenses with which we see the world.

What exactly is the SELF?  Civilized people today generally see themselves in a physical and psychological- religious dimension but remain unconscious of any further aspect of their being.  The question is how we develop deeper insights so that we can acknowledge and integrate intuition, imagination and inspiration into our conscious everyday lives.

Development of such self-knowledge requires being able to learn to have an "open eye".  This is what liberal arts education should teach but most often does not.  The word "Liberal" has the same root as "Liberate."  Liberal Arts should be the study of what leads to freedom, as in "The truth shall set you free."  The purpose of the course is to help free one from traditional programming and become more autonomous and creative.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to Manage Your Education

I found this post at and I was really impressed by its message that sends to us.

The more prestigious the institution, the more independent you need to be. Your lecturers will have better things to do than play nursemaid, writes Paul Bray at the Telegraph.
“You can expect less support from the ‘better’ universities, who expect more from their students,” says Philip Davies, assistant director of higher education at Bournemouth and Poole College.
“Paradoxically, you often get more support and lecturer time as you go down the league table, and the best support is probably found in further education colleges that run degrees, because they specialise in helping less academically minded students.”
“You’re very much expected to organise your own life and manage your own work,” says Rosie Weatherley, president of Keele University Students’ Union, who herself graduated in 2010. “No one will come after you if you don’t hand work in, and the only person who’ll lose out is you.”
The quality of teaching can vary within the same institution, adds Weatherley. Some lecturers are really committed to teaching and their students; others seem to save their enthusiasm for private research.
There’s also a lot of self-study outside lectures and seminars, which takes commitment, dedication, focus and good time management, says Jayson Short, student advice, employability and careers service manager at London South Bank University.
Don’t expect uni to be a part-time occupation, either. Your timetable may appear to have relaxingly large gaps, but fill these with the required amount of private study – which usually exceeds the time spent in lectures and classes – and you’ll probably be working around 30 hours a week. That’s almost equivalent to a full-time job.
“You’re a group of adults who treat each other with mutual respect,” says Weatherley. “There’s also a tacit understanding that it’s not just down to the lecturer to tell you stuff, and that everyone has to contribute.”

Me myself teach people to web programming and architecture programs at a study center. I really know what those guys mean. If the student don't really want to learn and he doesn't spend two times more time at home practising and studying all the lectures we have will be for nothing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Importance of Computer Education

Computers have brought about a revolution across all industries. They have changed the face of society. They are no longer specialized tools to be used by specially trained people. They are ubiquitous and used in almost every sphere of life. Computers are the best means for storage and management of data, they can serve as huge knowledge bases and can be harnessed for all sorts of financial transactions owing to their processing power and storage capacities. As computers are a daily utility, they have gained immense importance in day-to-day life. Their increasing utility has made computer education the need of the day. 

Importance of Computer Education

By computer education, we mean, gaining the know-how of the basic concepts related to a computer and gaining the basic knowledge of computer operation. Knowing about the basic components of a computer, the basic concepts behind the use of computers and the know-how of some of the elementary computer applications constitutes computer education. Learning about the computer basics followed by a practical experience of using a computer is the key to computer education. As computers are widely used today, acquiring computer education is the need of the modern times.

Computers are not only storage devices and processing units, but also are excellent communication media. They are the means to access the Internet and get connected to the world. They are also an effective audio-visual media. Computers can be used to access a vast knowledge base and search for information archives over the Internet. Only computer education can facilitate the use of computers for purposes of communication and entertainment. 

Computer knowledge coupled with certain other job skills increases one's chances of getting a job. Those with knowledge of computers are considered trainable for many kinds of jobs. As most of the jobs involve the use of computers, computer education is an eligibility criterion for almost all of the modern-day jobs. Higher education involving network administration, hardware maintenance or software skills open doors for brighter job opportunities. 

Computer education helps one manage one's own business assets and personal finances. Computers serve as efficient means for management of information. Personal financial assets, medical records and important documents can be stored in an electronic format in a computer system. Today, banking transactions and payments of bills can be done over the Internet. Similarly, online shopping is becoming widely popular. To be in the race, it is very important to take computer education. 

The word processing applications of a computer serve as an effective means of documentation. The database management software that are a part of computer systems serve as the means of managing large amounts of data. The networking capabilities of a computer facilitate connecting to the Internet to reach out to the world. Gaming applications and media players are some of the popular computer software, which are popularly used across the world.

Computers, which have such a wide variety of applications, are indeed ruling society. To keep up the pace in this fast life of today, computer education is extremely important. Computers are an integral part of life and so is computer education!