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Education as Pedagogy of Possibility: Shedding Dogma through Reciprocal Learning

A piece on education that I co-wrote with Colin Jenkins has been posted by The Hampton Institute. From the introduction:
Like a snake that sheds its skin periodically throughout its lifecycle, the human mind must develop and shed itself of intellectual skin. Its evolution is characterized by cyclical bouts of learning, reflecting and reconsidering; however, unlike the snake, which is genetically inclined to molting, the mind may not mature and regenerate without being subjected to antagonistic curiosity. This may only be accomplished through frequent and consistent mental cultivation, whereas knowledge is acquired, ideas are processed, and intellectual fruit is born. This process is cyclical in its need for reflection, but most importantly, it is evolutionary in its wanting to refine itself; and it is this constant pursuit of knowledge and validation that drives the mind to absorb substantial information and constant pursuit of knowledge and validation that drives the mind to absorb substantial information and secrete insignificant data. Human intellectualism is inherently anti-dogmatic in its need for constant reflection. This is not to say that substantive beliefs can't stand the test of time, but only that they cannot do so without being incessantly validated along the way. In spite of this, and throughout the course of history, humans have shown a tendency to submit to the crude nature of indoctrination in order to appease their subconscious desire for simplicity. And herein lies the fundamental paradox of the human race: intellectualism is naturally fluid, yet human nature is innately simplistic. We are all blessed with a mind that is essentially limitless, yet we are at the same time limited by our instinctive nature to simplify matters of complexity. And without adequate motivation, the means to confront complex issues become nothing more than a tragedy of unrealized potential. The process of learning, whether in a formal setting or through private exploration of curiosities, is a key motivator and major catalyst in the development of intellectualism.
Read rest here.


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