I’ll share one more extended quote from Aldous Huxley’s The Doors Of Perception before putting it back on the shelf. Books like these aren’t talked about any more in our headlong rush for more data, more information, and the ever more confusing ramifications of all those facts cluttering up our brains. It’s no wonder we set our hopes for the future upon ever greater and vaster super-computers.
Anyway, these days I keep my quiet little musings upon thirty plus years of solitary reading largely to myself and the Omphalos Cafe. That’s because having done a ridiculous amount of it over the years, largely to the exclusion of many other things I’m only now trying to catch up on, I find it extremely difficult to converse with most people. The truth is I’m a three time drop out and they’re too smart, too educated for me. As I say, too smart and educated; but paradoxically, too incurious too, which never ceases to amaze me. What has happened that our learning system has accomplished the very opposite of what it purports to teach, an ongoing active interest in and curiosity about the world we live in?
Here’s Huxley on the matter:
“In a world where education is predominantly verbal, highly educated people find it all but impossible to pay serious attention to anything but words and notions. There is always money for, there is always doctorates in, the learned foolery of research into what, for scholars, is the all-important problem: Who influenced whom to say what when? Even in this age of technology the verbal humanities are honored. The non-verbal humanities, the arts of being directly aware of the given facts of our existence, are almost completely ignored. A catalogue, a bibliography, a definitive edition of a third-rate versifier’s ipsissima verba, a stupendous index to end all indexes—any genuinely Alexandrian project is sure of approval and financial support. But when it comes to finding out how you and I, our children and grand-children, may become more perceptive, more intensely aware of inward and outward reality, more open to the Spirit, less apt, by psychological malpractices, to make ourselves physically ill, and more capable of controlling our own autonomic nervous system—when it comes to any form of non-verbal education more fundamental (and more likely to be of some practical use) than Swedish drill, no really respectable person in any really respectable university or church will do anything about it.”—Aldous Huxley, The Doors Of Perception.
Oh well, this phenomenon has spread now to virtually every corner, nook and cranny of the exploitable world. (And doesn’t it sometimes seem that the two, education and exploitation, go hand in hand?)
Ah, mysteries upon mysteries.
And the answers lie…