Good morning dear friend. Let me be among the first to welcome you to the New Year! We rang in the New Year (sort of) with Popa Chubby at the Turning Point in Piermont last night. (I say sort of, because we went to the 7:30 “old geezer” show.) Chubby’s a local Blues player who puts on quite the show. I won’t give you the exact quote here, but he captured unanimously universal sentiment in condemning 2011 as if it were a mass murderer…and then proceeded to musically execute it in Chubby style!
The Greatest Classroom in the World!
The interesting thing about last light was this. We were a diversified mix of people…both as our foursome, and the general crowd at the Turning Point. Just within our group of four, we represented Liberal/Conservative, Male/Female and Straight/Gay…and yet everyone in the house seemed to unite in their joy to see 2011 go. There was no candle light vigil here. But as bad as the year was for the couple we were with, they found each other in 2011…so we sort of made a four-way pack to use that as our beacon of light heading into 2012 (which has all the makings of a wonderfully apocalyptic experience!)…that sometimes the very best comes out of the very worst…and some things need to die for others to be born.
The entire experience and the resulting narrative of Wide Awake is a metamorphosis from one world to the next. But we put ourselves at real disadvantage if and when we take on the new life without learning the lessons of the old! And it is that very contemplation that struck me as the perfect inaugural post for the New Year…
What and how…when, where and why do each of us learn? There are those of us who are magna cum-laude students in the fields of our profession, and indifferent dunces in the classroom of life outside of work! And there are those of us who are valedictorian at everything in life…except the means of earning a livelihood, where we somehow and inexplicably find ourselves without a clue! Both are tragic in their own way…but I have a theory that, if implemented, I believe could save the world!
But before we go there, I need you to do me a favor. A small favor really…I need you to kill yourself. There see?….not so bad. Yes, just like we killed 2011…dead and buried…I’m asking you to turn yourself off and change the light bulb…sort of.
You see, my theory is that our current education system is nothing short of an abysmal failure for two very simple reasons;
1) We are educated without purpose!
2) We are taught to learn EVERYTHING from the outside-in!
If we were to change these two facts, we would indeed save the world because essentially we would save ourselves from ourselves!
Those of us fortunate enough to find our special purpose in life at an early age (Now I have to get Steve Martin out of my head!), and tailor their education to it are the happiest people in the world! (Great! Now I have Steve Martin and Barbara Streisand in there!)
And if those same people were fortunate enough to have educators who knew enough to light the inner lamp first, then behold the better man in the better world!
What we have now is a heartless and cruel system that squanders precious resources to extricate the individual from his person in order to form a more malleable subject in his stead.
In the current system we learn what to think. In the greatest classroom, we learn how to think! In the current system we lower the bar to accommodate mediocrity. In the greatest classroom we raise the bar to conquer fear and breed greatness. In the current system we are taught to follow. In the greatest classroom we are taught to lead. In the current system, the individual self is sacrificed for the good of the collective. In the greatest classroom the collective is subordinate to the individual for the good of the collective. Everybody wins!
The graduating class of the current system is a portrait of tragedy…and you can spot them a mile away. They’re the ones who are too busy blending in to stick out in a crowd. They are most always with the grain and never against it. Their personal climate control is almost always 1,000% externally controlled. As a result, they tend towards moody, fear and dependence.
On the other hand, the graduate of the greatest classroom is a virtual beacon of perpetual light. He possesses the power of true confidence and independence that comes naturally from self-reliance. And he possesses the power of fearlessness and courage that comes naturally from experiencing and overcoming suffering, hardship and adversity…the very kind of suffering, hardship and adversity that comes at you when you are the only one sticking your head up while everyone else is keeping their heads down.
So, as we stand at the threshold of the most important year of our lives…think about this; If we are to survive, we must transition ourselves from the current system to the greatest classroom! There really is no alternative. And here there is good news…and there is bad news. The bad news is that the current system needs to die for the greatest classroom to truly be born. But the really good news is…
The greatest classroom is inside each of us…we simply need to turn on the lights!
Happy New Year!