Let’s suppose that I am in a position to make a decision about the education of youngsters. I know exactly what I would do. I would give them a special book to read when the inclination came over them.
This book might be grey and boring on the outside, but contain gems within. Or rather, seeds.
It could have an everyday ordinary name, like Thoughts, and that would be exactly what it contained. Or maybe Thoughtbook. That sounds a bit like Facebook, which of course is obligatory for every self-respecting (read self-doubting) teenager.
But doesn’t every school book contain thoughts? No. And if they do it is often a case of predigested, pre-chewed thoughts. My book would have none of that.
I hope you curiosity is growing like dough now. What then WOULD it contain?
As Pee Wee Herman would reply: Well, thoughts of course!
But short thoughts, or rather compressed thoughts. There are things that in a compressed state take almost no place at all but when you unfold or unfurl them they become surprisingly big. That would be the case with my thoughts as well.
They would be maybe one or two sentences long, no more. But they would be in a sense inflatable.
The reason for all this is my own life. The milestones in my life have not been teachers or mentors, but sentences.
Sentences made me do it — sometimes in a very direct concrete way. When I for example in 1993 did a futurist-inspired happening-protest on board a high speed train (Operation Tortoise) then that act was inspired and catapulted by a sentence from Francis Bacon.
“In this theater of man’s life, it is given only to God and the angels to be lookers-on.”
Had I never read that sentence, I might never had done what I did.
But enough of me. I do not think I am that different from others; I think that we can all be inspired, guided, even made wiser by – not books per se, not information, facts of Googling, but PROVERBS.
Yes, I really mean that. Proverbs, maxims, aphorisms. These are the short, inflatable, atomic thoughts that I would cram into my schoolbook.
But how would it be different from any book of quotations, you ask.
I don’t know. By me making the selection, I suppose. And doing the selection not with variety or entertainment value in mind, but only focusing on the potential for nourishing the young mind, heart and soul.
The school teachers might possibly look askance on my book, because it would contain some scandalous things. No, nothing sexual, that’s not scandalous any more, not since the Internet removed any blushing reflexes or innocence from children. No, I mean scandalous as in not respecting conformist, “respectable” truth.
The sentences would inspire kids to look beyond lip-service, double-talk and generally the cliches of the human mind. (Including teenage cliches.)
They would sometimes have a strange taste, as when you eat some nice food and suddenly bite into a stone. Some would be funny in way you wouldn’t share with your mum. Some would sound like stand up comedy. But the common theme would be that beyond their exterior they would be pregnant.
Or make YOU pregnant, with THEM.
To understand this right, let me tell you what happens when I read proverbs and aphorisms. I love collections of aphorisms, and feel that they should be read slowly, preferably one by one.
I don’t follow my own rules about this and sometimes just stuff myself with aphorisms. While doing this I am aware that they are not really digested, that when a great and memorable thought (really worth considering) is right away followed by another, and another, then none of them really get a chance to expand and bloom within me.
But that is not only bad. Because memory stores all of them, like seeds, and some days or weeks later, my mind starts to turn, chew, churn one of these thoughts.
WTF? What does “Truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not be believed” mean??
And that confusion and irritated non-understanding could eventually turn into gold, into the proverbial pearl which is the result of an irritating grain of sand inside the oyster.
THAT is what I would do if I was in a position to make a decision about the education of youngsters. But I will do it anyway, have already started to collect and assemble a Thoughtbook.
Read it HERE.