Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Playing With Plato

"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." ~Plato

The older I get, the more I find that I don't know. I expect that by the time I die, I will have finally realized I know nothing at all. At least I hope that's the case, because it means I've spent my life with an open mind, learning right up to the very end. I didn't learn that from Plato. It came to me via my own experiences.

"We do not learn; and what we call learning is only a process of recollection." ~Plato

I've vainly tried to have original thoughts, but the more I study, the farther back I go into the history of thought, the more I find that my "great discoveries" have been discovered before me, frequently and by a wide variety of humans, and all I'm doing is turning over soil that's been turned over again and again by other human's searching for truth. If we could only find a way to not forget these great truths: it seems like it's not enough to write them down if only because none of us have the time to read it all, and even if we did, we would likely not learn it until we have an experience that allows us to understand it.

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." ~Plato

It took me a lot of years to figure out what kind of teacher I was going to be. Each year, each month, each week, and sometimes even each day, I learn something new that teaches me that it's an ongoing, lifelong process. It was such a revelation to me when I came to the new understanding that play is simply the manifestation of the human animal's instinct to learn, and it is knowledge that is as old as mankind.

"Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child's natural bent." ~Plato

No one can tell anyone what to learn or when to learn it, it is only through our own questions that we find answers with meaning.

"The noblest of all studies is the study of what man is and of what life he should live." ~Plato

The more I play with children, the closer I feel I'm coming to understand not just how to teach, but how to live. 

"Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes." ~Plato

Everything worth knowing is already known. It resides in books, in stories, in songs, in art, in minds, and in souls. The only way to learn it for yourself, however, is to play, each day amongst lovely things.

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Miranda said...

Lovely! Glad I found your blog, a positive addition to our lives!

Rafer Nelsen said...

Tom, did you see this obituary? Great last line by his son...