Educating your child in modern times

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Event Name: Educating your child in modern times
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/9/2019
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this may not honor him want to welcome

everybody here and particularly john

taylor gatto coming all this way to

speak on a topic that Ralph Waldo

Emerson said almost first a yawn on us

which is education Dorothy Sayers says

the reason that all of us in a sense

have a right to speak about education is

because we have all gone through some

process of education and in a sense Mis

education and she says that the people

that didn't learn anything in that

process should be the ones we should

perhaps listen to most because they have

something to tell us about it and on the

way here as I was driving I was thinking

about my own educational experience and

in some ways it's probably not

dissimilar to a lot of people in this

room who have been through American

educational institutions I went to

school here in California I also went to

school in the East Coast and I was

thinking on the way I was thinking about

my teachers because teachers are such

interesting figures in our lives and I

was thinking about my first grade

teacher mrs. Gilmore I remember her name

I can see her black hair he's very tall

thin lady and she was almost a classic

school marm the beginning of my problems

was in that classroom and then I

remember my second grade teacher but

particular I remember my third grade

teacher Miss Williams because there was

an event that happened in third grade

that had a very deep impact on me and

that was I was falsely accused of

something and I remember the mortified

state that I was in when somebody came

into the classroom and whispered into

her ear and they both looked at me in

front of all these small children and

then the teacher said oh we don't like

boys that do that and I was completely

nonplussed I didn't know what they were

talking about and I was taken to the

principal's office and whacked with a

paddle and this was a complete case of

false testimony by

one of my arch enemies in the playground

that was my first real taste of

injustice that I was the arbitrary

victim of false testimony and I suffered

the consequences and that taught me

something about the nature of justice

and injustice and the sense that people

feel when they're wrong when there's an

injury which is a beautiful word coming

from the Latin injuria unjust then I

remember going into fourth grade mr.

foot and then in fifth grade things

began to change radically I had a

teacher called Dennis HOF slinger and

this was the beginning of summer he'll

he'd read this and this was the 1960s

and a lot of experimentation and we

moved into a whole other realm of

teaching so I went from these very old

school school mARMS to a very radical

young man who was dedicated on undoing

that damage that had been done and he

did his own damage unintentionally

obviously and then sixth grade mrs.

Johnson I remember these people so well

because I lived with them for a year of

my life and listened to them

eighth grade I went to an experimental

school in Marin County that had four

quads earth wind fire and air and each

one of these quads based on testing you

were put into a quad in order to enhance

your natural aptitudes so I was put into

sea school which was for people that

were gifted with language reading and

writing son school was for mathematics

and then they actually had wood school

which was for arts and crafts hand type

things and then they had a music school

and then something very radical happened

major disruption in my own education I

went to a prep school on the East Coast

and went into deep shock I had gone


eight years of California and suddenly I

was thrust into an institution on the

East Coast that was founded in 1789 and

was run by Jesuits it was a very very

difficult experience for me personally

and I remember just having a lot of

really difficulty there dealing with the

East Coast children that were very

different from the West Coast there was

a lot of bullying and I remember a novel

that really impacted me was a novel

called separate peace because I lived

that experience and that novel had a

major impact on me when I was in ninth

grade and the pain that was inflicted

you know this recent event of hazing I

think what was so troubling about that

not the hazing hazings been around in

this country for a long long time but

young girls were doing it I was like

Chris Rock said that you know that this

world upside down when the best rapper

is a white guy and the best golfers a

black guy the same case here we've got

young girls that are hazing brutally if

that's equality I'm you know deeply

worried about what we're doing to these

girls because I think that making girls

more like men is actually the wrong way

to go it's the other way around it's

actually the men need to learn how to be

more like those natural qualities that

women have mercy and compassion I mean

this is the humanization process we

don't call our schools alma mater z' for

nothing the nurturing mother I mean

that's what a school is supposed to be

it's supposed to give you your humanity

so in looking at my own education I

couldn't take two years of that on the

East Coast and then I went to a

Augustinian school on the west coast

which was much easier and that's the

difference probably between the Jesuits

and the Augustinians ones a militant

order and the other is less so after

that I was down in a junior college in

Southern California and I had a

conversion experience it was a very

powerful conversion experience and I was

I was uninterested in pursuing my

college anymore

and I dropped out and I went overseas

and I spent three and a half years with

a person who I really feel I got my real

education with this person like one of

the things that probably the greatest

American novelist Herman Melville said

that my college was not Yale or Harvard

my college was a whaling ship and that

really was the college that I went to

was with an individual who was an

extraordinary human being and it was

very difficult could be with this person

but at the same time it was incredibly

beneficial and he exposed me to a whole

range of thought I realized in thinking

back about my own educational experience

what I learned was rarely in school I

was fortunate to grow up in a house that

had a very large library and I remember

very clearly discovering when I was

probably about 13 G de Maupassant and my

mother had a very early edition of his

short stories and I read that from cover

to cover and I can really recall those

stories to this day the necklace I will

never forget that story and Oscar Wilde

my older brother was interested I read

voraciously the plays The Importance of

Being Earnest and his short stories the

Happy Prince and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

and I had a deep interest also in the

Civil War and I read Shelby Foote and an

interest in world war two which a lot of

young male Americans at least when I was

growing up had an interest in that

subject what I remember in school is

that I remember so little of it in terms

of just what I was taught I can

literally only remember one thing in my

entire seventh grade year I remember the

teacher mr. Smith who in the biology

class told us it was impossible for

Jesus to have been born a virgin birth

because men determined sex and Mary only

had a xx chromosome and that's literally

all I remember from seventh grade

somebody said gentlemen should have

least have forgotten Latin right so I

mean that's a problem in education that

you forget and some say education is

what remains after you've forgotten

everything else but when I spent this

three years with this person what

happened to me next was I got a

scholarship to the United Arab Emirates

and I went into an Arab school and I was

literally put in third grade and I was

now 20 I was 20 years old I was put in

third grade because I did not know

Arabic it was really interesting being

in this third grade because one I came

to really understand the whole problem

with the Arab world from that the

Arabians are not unlike the Americans

most of our problems are in the

educational system and I really do

believe that but the punitive measures

that were used in that school the

humiliation the just horrendous pedagogy

that was practiced by these teachers who

inherited the same styles from their

prior teachers and this is what happens

we meet a said we recreate ourselves we

just keep giving the next generation the

same problems that we too had but from

there what happened to me was a very

profound experience and that was I

discovered West Africans when I was in

the United Arab Emirates and from that

discovery it led to studying with them

and these were some of the most

extraordinary people that I've ever met

and I would contest that they are some

of the most extraordinary people left on

the planet they were all raised nomads

that they had extraordinary education

prodigious memories they absorbed

massive amounts of information when they

were young children and they mastered

what we used to call in this culture the

liberal arts

they focused very heavily on grammar on

rhetoric on logic and and it was very

odd to meet West Africans Bedouin nomads

who literally were learning traditional

logic these were people that lived in

tents and most of their books were

handwritten that had been written down

and passed on through centuries I mean

really an amazing experience for me but

what struck me most about these people

was their presence it was not simply

what they knew but how that knowledge

permeated their experience of life and

how it translated into their behavior

and I ended up studying with them and

spent several years with this group of

people and even I went from the Emirates

after four years with them I went to

Mauritania and lived in the Sahara when

I got to the Sahara I was just so

overwhelmed by a people that basically

had no Ministry of Education so to speak

they had no school system they had no

salaried teachers and they had no

budgets for books nothing and yet these

extraordinary schools exist out there

and I think if you actually saw these

schools you would just marvel at their

existence and they have been there for

literally centuries and in studying with

them what I realized was that there are

certain techniques in education that

have been understood for millennia and

they have very profound impact on the

acquisition and the use of knowledge and

one of the things that these people

understood very clearly was the

difference between information and

between knowledge and they distinguish

between those two terms the idea of

people that have a lot of information

but don't know how to process that

information don't know how to make it

useful for them and they distinguish

between knowledge and between wisdom and

just as our language has different words

for these different ideas their language

also reflects that and I probably would

assume that most human languages do in

looking at their educational system and

how they taught and how they imparted

knowledge there were certain things that

I would like to share with you about

that in terms of looking at a classical


modern education and I'm using a West

African Arabian model but I believe that

this model could also be found in

traditional European and even in

traditional American society where I

think there's a big difference is that

in the traditional Arabian a sense of it

they really saw the Democratic nature of

Education there was an idea that

everybody was entitled to attempt to

learn and I once read a beautiful legal

opinion what's known as a fatwa which is

a non-binding legal opinion a beautiful

fatah from a Moroccan scholar one should

easy educational endowments came from

the Muslim world and they were

introduced into the west through the

Muslim world which has been very well

documented by George Makdissi

in his book the rise of colleges there

were beautiful endowments that were

established for students and at one

shitty she was asked by the head of a

school in Fez in Morocco what do we do

with a student who's been with us and is

not benefitting at all from the

educational process and yet he's on a

scholarship how long should we allow him

to stay before we kick him out and at

once Judy she's answer was give him ten

years and if he hasn't had an opening

from God yet teach him how to raise

sheep or to do something useful

and I just thought that that was

something struck me about that was very

profound the idea that don't just assume

people are uneducated don't just assume

that they're stupid give them actual

time because just as we have different

awakenings in our life our first

awakenings are often sensual awakenings

to touch to feel we have aesthetic


we obviously have sexual awakenings and

these are very profound experiences as

we grow some of us have spiritual

awakenings and some of us have

intellectual awakenings just to give you

an example of this I was fortunate

participating in a small group

discussion we studied a book called

reforming education which was written by

Mortimer Adler and Adler was

participating he was more of an honorary

head of this comp

but there was a young man there named

John all good and he told his story of

how he came to become interested in

learning and what happened to him he was

a bricklayer and one day a brick

literally fell on his head from somebody

who was working above him and he was

hospitalized he was comatose when he

came to somebody gave him a book called

how to read a book by Adler and Van

Doren and he'd always had a hard time in

school which is one of the reasons why

he became a bricklayer there was a

chapter that began you have a mind and

he said it was the first time anybody

had ever told him that and he had an

intellectual awakening and Malcolm X

mentions this when he was in the seventh

grade and he told his teacher when he

asked him what do you want to be Malcolm

he was the only black kid in this school

and Malcolm said I want to be a lawyer

and the man said that's not a good job

for a nigger you should be something

like a carpenter you'll never succeed at

that and in some ways it was a benefit

because he probably would have become a

brilliant lawyer so the fact that that

man deterred him from that I think is

probably one of the reasons why we got

Malcolm X who in Indian K's recent book

the 200 most important people in human

history they actually had him in there

because of his contribution to civil

rights which is one of the great events

of certainly Western civilization so we

have these extraordinary awakenings and

one of the things that I realized in

these schools is one they don't like to

start the intellectual awakening too

early in the traditional school systems

they did not begin the educational

process until the age of seven and this

is something that Rudolf Steiner

predicted that if you drop the age of

education from seven to five you will

see that the cycle of a woman will begin

earlier so he related

the biology taking place in a woman with

the time that you start her intellectual

development because if you begin it too

early you're setting in motion something

that has already been mapped out to

occur in a very organized and developed

pattern because there's an unfolding

that's taking place

you cannot hasten the unfolding of a

flower a flower knows when to bloom how

to bloom and what you need to do if

anything is just to provide the water if

it's a indoor flower and if its outdoor

it will take care of itself so this is

part of a deep wisdom that the ancients

had of knowing when to actually begin

the process of Education and there is an

extraordinary tradition from deeply wise

human being alia Bonavia thought it said

play with your children for seven years

and then teach them for seven years and

then befriend them for seven years and

then let them go and that idea of

playing with children for seven years is

what Piaget calls the play what work is

to the adult play is to the child that

that play is actually not insignificant

and that's why flashing children into

these Advanced Placement types of

schools where we start teaching them at

three and four and five years things

that they should be allowed to be

relieved of because they're in that

Garden of Eden period and you don't want

to send them out before they bite the

Apple give them that time in that place

of innocence another aspect of not

educating children early is the

importance of orality as human beings we

are aural beings one of the things that

Mark Twain said is he obtained his

education from uneducated people and

Thomas Jefferson says a similar thing he

says the man that reads nothing is

better educated than a man that reads

only newspapers because the man that


read anything will actually think for

himself and people would only read

newspapers often pair it what they've

read in the newspapers thinking that

they're their own ideas

this idea of during that period of time

to allow this child to develop at its

own pace and not hastening this process

is absolutely essential and there's a

deep wisdom in understanding the

importance of orality

and this is where the idea of reading

stories to children is so important and

we know that storytelling is an ancient

human tradition and everywhere you go

you will find that children are told

stories even in in oral cultures this is

part of a deep educational process

what's very fascinating about children

and I learned this with my own children

and I didn't understand it until I read

a book which I would really recommend a

is for ox/y our children are dying to

read Barry Sanders a really beautiful

book but what I would do when I would

read my children stories at night I

would improvise because you get a little

tired of reading the same story over and

over again and they always want these

same stories they would get upset and

they would say no it's not like that and

I was really struck by this initially

why are they doing this and what Barry

Sanders explains this is important for

them to hear the same thing over and

over again because this is the process

of their development in order to acquire

language in order to acquire linear

thought in order to communicate

intelligently they need to be introduced

into this and they know how to do it

just let them do it and that's what

we're so devastating at is that we

interrupt this process and television is

particularly pernicious not only does it

give them different stories it's giving

them the visual images part of the

development of the child is in

imagination and this is done through

listening to stories and imagining in

their minds what's taking place there

was a

period of time when I would actually

allow the boys to see these old films of

books that they had to read first and I

remember they read for instance Seawolf

and then they saw the Edgar G Robinson

version of that and I would ask them

what did you think they said the book

was better I didn't imagine he was like

that I imagined it like this and this is

because in reading the book there was

something else happening and this is the

activity that occurs with reading which

is why it is not a passive experience

it's a very active experience whereas

television is a deeply passive

experience because not only are you

hearing the story but you're being given

the emotion to experience and the master

of that is Steven Spielberg I mean I

know just from the music what he wants

you to feel at that point he's even

manipulating your emotions he is not

allowing you to experience something by

yourself he can pull those heartstrings

which is why he has such a mass impact

on a society because we have become a

society that enjoys being manipulated by

others that we're losing our

independence and our sovereign

experience of the world and this is

another thing that the loss of

imagination has I want you just to think

for those of us who are older in this

audience the experience of falling in

love there are some people here that had

a unique experience there are other

people their experience was mediated by

films that they've seen that taught them

how to fall in love that taught them how

to say certain things at certain times

and so everybody experiences now lines

so that when somebody actually expresses

their emotion or love it's out of a

movie and so there's a jaded experience

of the world of that freshness of life

children can be deprived of these

experiences so that was the first thing

that really struck me the second thing

that really struck me is that

in those first years they did almost

entirely memorization because the

children have extraordinary ability to

amass knowledge and there's a certain

amount of knowledge that needs to be

memorized you have to memorize certain

things and many of the most successful

people in careers in this society are

people that were able to retain a lot

more information and we don't like to

admit that but that is actually the


physicians are people that are often not

more intelligent than other people but

they're in fact capable of memorizing a

good deal of facts and figures and

information much of chemistry of biology

terminology and then signs and symptoms

you have to learn certain things when

you see this you see this when you have

these lab results it indicates this and

it's true for all the medical

professions law also you have to

memorize cases and know what happened in

the past and be able to use analogically

those things that happen in the past to

make them relevant for situations going

on in the present what they did was they

developed their capacity to memorize

using very sophisticated techniques and

these were Bedouins that taught me how

to use mnemonic devices I'll never

forget there's three verses in the Quran

that are almost identical and I remember

when I was learning these he gave me

this mnemonic device called alpha which

began each one how to do it and then I

asked him do you do that with a lot of

things you said almost everything that

has any type of pattern or number system

or and he began to show me how to do

this and these are very ancient

techniques and you can literally

facilitate a child's process for

adopting information by just teaching

them very basic techniques that human

beings have always known and I'm amazed

that these things are not taught early

on in our schools to make so many things

very simple for children the next thing

that I thought was very interesting is

that they were very concerned

about language skills particularly the

ability to diagram sentences and the

reason for that is because the ambiguous

nature particularly in Arabic which is

more so than English the proof that

we've got millions of people out there

reading newspapers who know nothing

about grammar is an indication that you

can be functionally literate in English

with having very little grammar in

Arabic that is not the case because it's

an inflected language and if you don't

know grammar you don't know Arabic it's

impossible to learn classical Arabic

without a knowledge of grammar but

grammar has another role and what's very

interesting about grammar is that

grammar preserves a type of integrity in

a language and it also teaches us that

there are rules that we need to abide by

in order for there to be rational

structures and meanings in our sentences

and one of the things about this

postmodern idea that language is what

people speak is really the quick route

to reduce a people to people that are

incapable of having discursive thought

and anybody that reads people of the

past because the whole modern minimalist

theory of language is to reduce

everything down to simple sentences

technical writing has become a

standardized form of writing that is

becoming the way that people now

experience language which reduces the

capability of thought because serious

thought often takes duper sink tactical

structures and expressing it and

learning how to do that is actually

stimulating the intellect there was a

really interesting article recently I

think it's in this week's Newsweek about

the relevancy of poetry and it was

written by somebody who said you know

poetry is meaningless now and he talked

about fast food culture and how he went

through his poetry phase but now he just

didn't have time for poetry anymore it

was very sad article for me to read

because I think what he was saying was

you know why can't the pose just spell

it out

why do they have to make us think why

won't they just say what they mean as

opposed to meaning what you say well the

poet is doing you a great service

because he's forcing you to go from the

surface to something deeper to go beyond

the outward experience and if education

doesn't help that process then it's not

doing you any favors because what you

will be reduced to is a materialistic

consumer and yet everywhere there is

expressions one of the things that Rumi

said is that the unseen is coming into

the scene everywhere like cream and milk

it's everywhere you have to be able to

be open to that and and in our culture

we don't want to allow the cream to rise

to the top we want to homogenize and

that's part of this process so the idea

of teaching them how to analyze language

and this is why Mauritania where I

studied is called belad million Shia

it's called the land of a million poets

and they love poetry and one of the

things that I was really struck is that

they have this response to poetry that I

really enjoyed if you would say a line

of poetry you would get this gut

reaction and shove all the people in the

gallery would say they would make that

sound because what you did is you

embellished the the experience because

poetry is beautiful when it's relevant

that's the power of poetry is that it

offers you insight into human experience

when a line of poetry is said in the

right time in the right place with the

right receptivity it can literally

ignite the atmosphere and that's what I

saw in these people and they gave me a

deep appreciation for that centrality of

poetry in the human experience and this

is why it's always been

around and the fact that we're lamenting

its loss is a deep sign it's a deep sign

of something that is really wrong with

our culture and our society when we're

losing that capacity to hear the poet's

voice the poet is called an Arabic Shia

and it's related to the Greek word is

related to the same thing the Shia is

the one that feels things that other

people don't perceive it's a subtle

shout out means hair a labor loses the

ability for fine tactile stimulation and

the idea the poet is that they can sense

things that other people might not be

sensing but the beauty of the poet is he

shares that with other people and so he

allows you to feel something that you

might not have been able to feel except

that he was there to do it for you and

so he's a great gift in that way or she

is a great gift let's not forget Emily

Dickinson and then the embellishment of

language the importance of rhetoric in

their system which was the study of

Western civilization for centuries

rhetoric is the means by which you

coerce people without force and that is

why is the hallmark of civilization what

our society teaches us now is that might

makes right what the ancients understood

that if words can be used in the absence

of swords then that was the way always

to go but words must be meaningful

powerful and coercive but because

there's such dangerous tool word they

are there they're subversive and they're

dangerous and that's why they're so

feared by certain elements in our

society Winston Churchill said that


and auditors have a power that Kings

don't possess because kings can only

move armies with sovereign force with

the power but auditors can actually move

people with speech

and obviously we've seen the worst of it

in people like Hitler who mobilized an

entire society with the rhetoric of evil

and that's why there is something very

dangerous about it and something

frightening but if you have an educated

population and this one of the hallmarks

of early American society is that they

were argumentative culture people would

go out to see Lincoln and does is debate

for three hours on a sunny day and they

were engaged in that debate

they knew the issues and most of them

who were educated had studied what are

called the Mohana Pot I studied it in

Arabic but in English we caught the

sophistical tradition using sophistical

reasoning so that there are certain

techniques that Sophists learn and

lawyers master these techniques

arguments the use of sophistical

reasoning logical fallacies that can be

very powerful when manipulated but if

you're taught how to recognize them then

you gain an immunity you have antibodies

against them and so you're able to think

and see that the reasoning is flawed and

that was the third element in this

trivia more triad of Arts in English

arts comes from the same Latin root as

army always was power and that's what

art is its power and the artist whether

it's a visual artist or a writer they

have a power that is the power of

civilized strength not of barbaric

strength not the strength of numbers not

the strength of military might but the

strength of reason of thought of insight

people have them to a certain extent

naturally and what the arts do is that

they enhance them they refine them they

hone them down and that's what schooling

should be a refining our word in English

for education education is from a Duke

RA in Latin meant to lead out

there's two ideas embedded in that and

probably more but I can see - one of

them is the idea that a child already

has the kernel of everything in it and

what you do is you help facilitate that

by leading that knowledge out of the

child that's already there and the way I

was taught in the East was we studied in

a circle which is very different from

the lecture where I have the knowledge

and you're all ignorant and I impart it

out of my largesse and magnanimity to

all of you and that is this idea of the

lecture the doctor you know the one that

can teach Doce and it becomes ill duche

that's what they called mussolini same

root word the doctor becomes the tyrant

whose authority is unchallengeable so

this idea of adding a circle as opposed

to having a linear recognizing that

secret of the circle and that the

teacher of the arts is in that circle

and the circle returns back to him that

idea of giving them these arcs these

powers now in the classical education

there were certain other arts that were

the mathematical arts or the arts of

number in both the west and in the

classical Arabic tradition and Persian

and Turkish those were arithmetic

geometry the Muslims developed algebra

and trigonometry for very specific

religious reasons interestingly enough

algebra was designed to work out

inheritance and spherical trigonometry

was actually designed to get the fastest

way to Mecca because of the spherical

curve of the earth and if you're

interested in that David King wrote an

entire book on the subject who's a

brilliant historian of science in

Germany and then music which in the

Muslim world was an extraordinary

science based on a cosmology

unfortunately there's not much on this

in English there's extraordinary work in


the classical text of alpha Ravi one of

the great philosophers of the arabian

tradition who wrote a book called an

kitab-o-moosa al kabir the big music

book hamza Aladeen I don't know if

people are familiar with him he's a

brilliant food player he actually gave

me his copy and it's it is the big music

book it's about two thousand pages and

hamza has a knowledge of that and if you

go on his website he's got some insights

into the secrets that they discovered

about music one of the reasons that

music is so dangerous

Plato wanted it banished from the

Republic the musicians and the reason

for that is not that he didn't enjoy

music because the gymnasium was actually

música it was what they taught their

children but he felt that most musicians

didn't know what they were doing and

what they could do to the soul was so

dangerous because of the nature of the

power of music the impact that it can

have on the soul and that in the hands

of somebody that didn't know what they

were doing or manipulated it for other

means that he thought it was better just

to keep it away now in in the Muslim

tradition they separated the profane and

the sacred music and many of the

scholars prohibited the profane music

because they felt that it did have a bad

impact on people and the shape of music

they developed a cosmology to this day

in Turkey there is a man there who has a

hospital where they still use

traditional music therapy which was

developed in Persia because the Arab

music has a 24 note system as opposed to

a 12 because they bring in quarter notes

and it's related to the 12 hours of the

day out of 12 organs in the body they

have 12 in their system there are two

hours and this is the same as the

Chinese system and the Ayurvedic system

they have two hours that are related so

heart is nine between nine and eleven

o'clock in the morning so if you want to

work on the heart then that was the time

that for people that have problems with

their heart

you would play certain chromatic scales

that were designed to actually

strengthen the heart during that period

and in andalucía they had insane asylums

in which orchestras were actually

retained to treat the mad people by

playing music to them and these

musicians were master musicians that

they would base it on the pulse and

based it on this humoral theory because

melancholia is from one of the four

humors the out-of-balance of that so

they would try to reestablish

this and they did to have success if you

read their books and believed for what

they're saying they had extraordinary

success with this the culmination of

this second part of these arts was

astronomy and I was very fortunate in

living in West Africa because that is

one of the few places where they still

teach sacred astronomy and again these

are Bedouins that I was introduced into

the rudiments of sacred astronomy which

is the observation of the order of the

heavens and watching that order and

understanding for instance like right

now the moon is in Leo if you go out

tonight and you see the constellation

Leo which is a stunning constellation

that can actually be seen in this area

the moon is in Leo right now and it will

be in Leo for two and a third days and

then it moves and this is not related to

astrology although it was used for

astrology as well and there were many

astrologers but this is not astrology

it's observing these lunar mansions

there are 28 lunar mansions that the

moon goes through every month because

the moon does around the earth what the

Sun does the experience of the Sun in a

year the moon does in a month and there

is a correlation between these movements

all based on 360 degrees and related to

this secret of the circle I mean this is

very deep order that people were

introduced to in these traditional

cosmologies that are found all over the

planet I mean this is not something that

is simply found in West Africa this was

also found in India it was found

Central Asia was found in Asia it was

found in Europe and it was certainly

found here I mean we have extraordinary

evidence here of the Native American

Indians that were heavily involved in

sacred astronomy and aligning the

heavens and the earth and this is part

of the sacred tradition of the ancient

Greek idea the Pythagorean idea as above

so below that in serving the order of

the heavens and is what Plato says is

the greatest gift of the stars is that

they enable us to see order and in turn

desire that order in our own souls and

so this is at the root of a classical

understanding of Education was how do we

order ourselves that we are in harmony

with the world because everything out

there seems to be an extraordinary

harmony and it is the human being that

seems so adept at being disorderly at

being chaotic at being out of sync with

the world and Wordsworth's home is a

complaint about that that we're out of

sync with nature that we've lost that

ability and he preferred being a pagan

that what we could see that order

and experience it then to have a creed

that divorced him from that I want to

finish here with two things and then

I'll close up a couple of quotes about

education education is a perennial

problem it always has been Will Rogers

said schools ain't what they used to be

and they never was so it is an ancient

problem people have been complaining

about it for a long time Mark Twain said

that first God invented idiots for

practice and then he invented school

boards there's some really extraordinary

things that have been said about

Education Alexander Dumas remarked how

is it that little children are so

intelligent and men are so stupid it

must be education Robert Frost to find

education I think this is the

things I've seen and that's why I wanted

to comment on it a little bit education

is the ability to listen to almost

anything without losing your temper or

self-confidence and I would say that is

a civilized human being and so

ultimately if I have an illiterate

person that's able to do that I would

consider them educated and that's why I

personally do not equate education with

literacy I really don't some of the most

intelligent people I've ever met were

illiterate if you want to know the whole

American foreign policy it was summed up

to me by a Bedouin from Yemen who

absolutely had no education and he said

you know what the problem with your

country is and I said what he said it's

like a story we have in Yemen about a

wolf that came down to a pond and he saw

a sheep about to drink from the pond and

he said I'm going to eat you

and the Sheep said what did I ever do to

you he said you mucked up my pond he

said I haven't even touched it yet he

said well you did it last year I wasn't

born last year well your father mucked

it up that's basically what he said

that's America I want to give you

another good example we can get rid of

all the environmentalists and all the

UNESCO and all these United Nations

councils on saving the environment and

employ a deaf illiterate man that I met

in West Africa who one of the Western

students was there and he wanted to

build a tent because I lived in a what's

called a host you go out and you get

branches and you set them up and then

you show up burlap sacks and then make

your little house and that was student

housing that I lived in and this young

Western student went he was started to

chop down a tree and this illiterate

slave really from

group of people that were traditionally

slaves in Mauritania illiterate he came

up me said don't do that what are you

doing he said I was going to chop it off

to make a hose he said no you don't do

that just take a branch and go from

another tree and take another branch

don't chop down the tree he said you

have a right in the tree but the tree

has rights with you don't take the tree

away because there's animals that

benefit from that tree there's people

that sit under the shade and that's how

he explained it to this young Western

person who just thought I'll just chop

the tree down well that's somebody who's

lived in an environment that understands

that natural resources are limited

trees are limited in West Africa and

that's when he taught that young man it

and that's an immense lesson to learn

take what you need but don't destroy

there's plenty to go around very simple

lesson so in learning without losing our

temper or ourselves in our temper or our

self-confidence is to really I think the

conjugated and the Arabs have a

beautiful word for intellect which is

him and this word in its root meaning is

to suck milk the breasts in Arabic is

Halima and it comes from the same root

it's to take milk from the mother and

the reason that they use that is because

him is an unperturbed state it is the

state a child is in when it is suckling

and the word for intellect is the same

word intellect is to be unperturbed to

be in a state in which you can make

sense of your world even in the midst of

immense chaos immense calamity that you

maintain that unperturbed state because

you've been given

this incredible gift of intellect of

reason that losing your state like

Chicken Little that state of the sky is

falling the sky is falling of losing

that is to lose your sanity and sanity

is another beautiful word which means

hell I mean that is a sane human being

as a healthy human being and so at the

root is learning how to listen to others

to absorb the ideas of others to

recognize that you don't know everything

that I don't know everything that with

this is give and take the children have

as much to teach us as we have to teach

them because they remember things that

we've forgotten and that's why their

world is so extraordinary it has immense

things to offer us and one of the things

that I do with my children as a practice

sometimes my children will come in say

you have to see this you have to see

this and I try to force myself to get

into the same state they're in and say

what what and they said this this bug

and then we both run outside and they

show me look and I oh my god

that's the most extraordinary thing I

want to be in that state I want to

experience the world with those those

new eyes because it's all new you know I

hate when you ask people how things

going same old same old what are you

talking about where cells have been

replicated in the last three months you

don't even exist the same person I saw

three months ago doesn't even exist

they're gone the physical being is

completely renewed it's all new and that

newness of life that is what children

have and that's what our educational

system Rob's from them

destroys losing that excitement about

learning the word in Arabic to find

something means to become ecstatic

Vegeta ecstatic in Latin ex faces to to

come out of the cell and that is what

education is about is rosing the cell

you reach

I mean we have that in our tradition

Eureka and the story is that he was so

excited he ran down the street naked

shouting Eureka Eureka because he

discovered something extraordinary about

the physical universe and those

discoveries about the physical universe

are hors d'oeuvres for what we discover

about the metaphysical world really and

they're both there for the taking and

and I would really like just to see our

children be allowed to retain that

innocence and that power and that desire

to know that so deeply embedded in every

cell in their body thank you very much