that truth needs no more seeking is authoritarian” (Bronowski, 1965, pg. 100). A classroom
in which the teacher conveys that knowledge is finite, truth has been unquestionably
established, and questioning is no longer necessary is an occupied territory.
Neither astrophysics nor art, mathematics nor music, logarithms nor literature are
“bundles of information” to be woven together like a map of states or a quilt. Neither is the
thread of truth that man has sought across the ages likely to be straight. It winds, climbs,
and descends, through mountain ranges and across plateaus of thought, knowledge, and
experience - buried sometimes for millennia to be discovered and rediscovered in the late
night thoughts of a biology watcher listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. “The mind,”
such a watcher reports, “contains an infinite number of thoughts and memories: when I
reach my time I may find myself still hanging around in some sort of midair, one of those
small thoughts, drawn back into the memory of the earth: in that peculiar sense I will be
alive” (Thomas, 1984, p. 13).
Infinite thoughts are incongruous with finite compartmentalization. The task at
hand is not merely to teach students in a way that tears walls down, but in a manner that
gets at why they were built in the first place, and thus to prevent them from being
reconstructed.
References
Bronowski, J. (1965). The identity of man. Garden City New York: The Natural History
Press.
- (1978). The origins of knowledge and imagination. New Haven: Yale
University Press.
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