Saturday, February 09, 2008

Zen and the art of education

Readers of this blog will know that I am a passionate devotee of learning, as opposed to education - the gleaning of knowledge, not the memorising of facts. This appealed to me, from Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance:

The real university... has no specific location. It owns no property, pays no salaries and receives no material dues. The real University is a state of mind. It is that great heritage of rational thought that has been brought down to us through the centuries and which does not exist at any specific location. It's a state of mind which is regenerated throughout the centuries by a body of people who traditionally carry the title of professor, but even that title is not part of the real University. The real University is nothing less than the continuing body of reason itself.
Just so. We so often, and so foolishly, mistake the concrete for the abstract, assume the shell to be the substance. I used to be a librarian and we had the same problem - after all, libraries are nothing other than informal universities - with people mistaking the building for the service and the books for knowledge. Books are only information: it takes a human brain to create knowledge.

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