Posted in book review, Miscellany

Philosophical investigation of education

“I’ll teach you differences,” said King Lear as his motto of philosophical investigations in Shakespeare’s eponymous play. I imagine the ghost of King Lear would utter it again when he deigned to come to our realities of universities in this time. The importance of responsible education to remove the social ills and carbuncles resulting from dissentious political domination has never been more conspicuously called for in our high learning institutions as a recent consequence of the George Floyd incident, and the following the Black Lives Matter movement. However, this doesn’t mean that universities should be a breeding ground for training gladiators equipped with political syllabuses and dogmatic agendas to fight against the public foes. Instead, education should disabuse the ignorance of the unenlightened for our society’s universal betterment.

Professor Benjamin Y. Fong, in his NY Times article “Teaching Racial Justice isn’t Racial Justice,” addressed the issue of education as the fighting tool. It has become fashionable that most American universities have competingly added courses on social injustice to the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the idea of education is to provide students opportunities to learn and actively engage with conflicting thoughts and various real-life issues in a place enriched with knowledge linked with the fellow members of the human race from antiquity. In this environment, a university is a place for education that can improve social conditions in the fight against social, political carbuncles, not for the battle itself, training students for social gladiators.

Many universities are focused on the quantitative quota of educational syllabuses aimed for the universities’ reputations as the most liberal and forward-thinking higher-learning institutions for the socially recognized prestige, not the qualitative aspect of the education of the minds. It is not the textual syllabuses filled with political ideologies and social campaigns. Still, the practical teaching of various conservative and progressive considerations enables students to incorporate the learning to their perspectives. Education serves to articulate ideas based on the standard of reason and taste universal in all human creatures regarding the principles of judgment and sentiment common to all humankind.

Suppose we want our higher learning institutions to remedy the existing ills of our social and political realities by implementing more social justice courses. In that case, we must first understand the fact that education itself is not the fight itself. Neither Plato’s academy nor Aristotle’s lyceum was a place for the battle against the absurdities of Man. Or even the beloved, peripatetic Socrates did not use his open universities in Athens as a place for campaigning against the government hostile to his philosophy. Remember that there is no new thing under the sun as long as we as the collective enterprise called Humanity continue to voyage in the Universe.

Posted in Poetry

gentle giant

unnamed

 

A gentle giant in the maze of darkness

Sees the darkest corruption of the heart

alloyed in the putrid puss of proud violence

Writhing his pulsation of life like a serpent

Twisting the veins that carry life to his breath

Pounding the dome of his sovereign palace

In a morbid frisson of the ecstatic dance of death

Amid the cries of the man in a maze of disgrace

Unarmored, unguarded, unprotected, unheard

As the rampant madness of murder with passion

Possesses the man with the corrupt heart blinded

By outgrown white heat of hatred with unreason.

 

P.S.: It would have been my first day of returning to the office after the partial end of stay-home order in California had my brother not told me of a civil unrest situation in Downtown LA where my job was located; the subway station I always use was closed, and a curfew would be enforced in LA Counties starting from 6:00 PM, which would affect my returning home via trains.

Behind all this commotion lies another intermittently continuous police brutality exercised against the socially disenfranchised or marginalized – or to put it more blatantly –  invisible, and therefore ignorable. The demonstrations were egged on by the inhumanly aggravated handling by the police of George Floyd, a former promising college basketball student who had eked out living by working as a security guard until he was laid off due to Covid-19 lockdown.

I don’t care what Floyd’s past sins are. I don’t need to know his character assessment to reason the initiation of Floyd’s arrestment by the police in the first place. What I see from the video of his undignified death posted on the New York Times attests to the manifestation of how prejudice aided by the unbridled zealous passion of the heated moment can lead to the destruction of humanity. The more I watch the tragedy, the more I see the man’s pathos and the oppressor’s inhumanity.  How could you do that? This alone matters to me. Hence this poem is my elegy to Mr. Floyd.