Anamnetic learning

What the world needs more of is teachers of what everyone already intuitively knows.

From the perspective of a learner — the most important perspective to both learner and teacher — learning what you already intuitively know is the most inspiring kind of learning. — “I always knew this but could never say it, before!” —

We feel relieved, dignified, liberated, restored, empowered when we learn this way. We feel grateful without feeling humiliated or indebted, because nobody gave us anything that was not already ours.

Everyone loves this kind of learning.

Plato called it anamnesis: unforgetting.

From the perspective of our social existence, anamnetic learning liberates private intuitions from solitary confinement within the skulls of individual persons, and brings it out into the light of shared understanding.

It socializes private knowing and allows it to participate in public knowledge.

I mean social and public in a positive sense. For many of us, the words “social” and “public” taste sour in our mouths. They imply imposition of unwanted burdens, constraints, exposure, artificiality, impersonality, de-personalization — alienation. But it has not always been this way. The ancients experienced public life very differently, and maybe in a different way that is partially recoverable.

The difference is preserved in the lonely etymology of the word “private”. Privare meant “to bereave, deprive, rob, strip”. Private means deprived of public existence.

Looking at the word “social” offers us clues into how Roman citizens may have experienced society. Socialis — “of companionship, of allies; united, living with others; of marriage, conjugal,” from socius “companion, ally.”

Is it possible that anamnetic teaching could help restore a non-alienating society, where living and working together in public affirms what we know and love most immediately?

Could we ever abide in a self-affirming, other-affirming, world-affirming common truth — a truth rooted in the soil of our souls, but growing upward as public knowledge, branching out as specialized practical expertise, efflorescing as culture, fructifying as teaching?

This is the stuff of utopian dreams, but I think it is a truth-bearing fantasy.

I imagine my younger daughter would laugh at me for being such an extreme Aquarius. But I am actually feeling it right now, and even as I see the wrecking ball of the day ahead swinging right for my  skull…

Learning to teach is helping me shed the burden of intellectual avarice. What seems deeply true to me is not mine. It’s not me. Truest truth should be everyone’s. The value of truth is actualized in the sharing of it with others.

One of the world’s most cloying day camp songs:

Love isn’t love
Until you give it away
Give it away
Give it away
Give it away
Love isn’t love
Until you give it away
You end up

I’m making myself throw up, now. Have a good day.

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