Tag Archives: liberation

Callous Behavior

As events in our lives become more and more distant, their memory blends in with the other events of the days, weeks, and years that adjoin them until they become so faint that they seemingly dissolve.

That once burdensome memory becomes lighter and lighter over time until the only marker that remains is a steeled yet supple spot on the heart; the site of an internal battle fought and won, or a callous area… the site of battles that linger on.

The callouses guide us. They warn us.

Our parents used them as badges. A way of identifying each others choices. Honor, respect, duty, shame. etc. They had badges for everything.

Living in sentiment facilitates this type behavior. It’s a type of dreaming that doesn’t have much use for the present.

The badges help to remind us. We work to forget them, hoping that in doing so we will be free from them.

Those of us in pain look for them on others; searching for our broken match, dreaming of catching the hapless soul responsible for our loss, for our guilt, for our rage.

We really do try.

We contextualize. We revisit those callous areas.

We ultimately forgive ourselves just enough to get by because no one likes to be bled on. Unless they are bleeding too, then they don’t notice.

Too many noticeable scars… and we fight to show that we are something else.

Not enough… and we fiercely claim their legitimacy.

There are wounds that might be too faint for anyone else to see, and someone needs to know that they are indeed there.

The sad truth is that we all have too many scars.

Callouses restrict our range of motion. Maybe our bodies know that in hardening themselves, we risk less.

Punishment gives birth to armor.

It’s not the bleeding that is so bad as it is the stains. Once someone sees us with a stain, we know we will forever be that in their eyes.

They are to us.

Too us, I suppose.

Don’t they know that without claiming to be something, we feel at risk of not being anything?

We’ve seen the people they told us are not anything. They don’t treat them like people.

So we choose.

Badges. Labels. Bruises. Callouses.

We are them, politely, until we are no longer.

Faded.

We roam.

Disrespected angels, covered in stickers and patches

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A Liberating Education: Freeing the Mind via Direct Contact with Strong Ideas.

There’s a saying in the liberal arts world that everything that one needs to learn in order to be a culturally and socially aware person and live a conscious life can be learned by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf.

The idea of the “Five Foot Shelf”, “has been described as a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a stronger sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement… characterised by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study.”

According to Wikipedia,

“The decline of liberal education is often attributed to mobilization during the Second World War. The premium and emphasis placed upon mathematics, science, and technical training caused the loss of its prominent position in higher education studies.”

Initially, a liberal arts education was intended to produce a “virtuous, knowledgeable, and articulate person.” And then, like with everything else it seems, learning came to be controlled by the church. The church added arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy to the core courses and ultimately a liberal arts education was deemed a luxury… an education fit for those who came from wealth.

For me, what’s interesting about this evolution in education is that once one learns how to read of course, the ideas contained in the books on the “Five Foot Shelf”, teach on their own. Opposed to the math and science where instruction is usually necessary, no teacher is required for the books on the five foot shelf.

The books expose the reader to integrity through various ways of thinking and that provides the opportunity to view the world differently. Each book builds upon the next, regardless of the order one reads them in. All the while informing the reader of new potential thought processes that invite the reader to integrate the mindsets they like and rejecting the ones they do not.

So the next time you consider reading a book.  Take a look at the this anthology (collection/list of books)  and pick something you’ve never read by someone you’ve never heard of… chances are, the book will express a way of thinking that you’ve never considered.

We’re all doing our best to be happy, so we use what works for us, and discard what doesn’t.

At what point should one stop learning new ways to be happy though?