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  • Thursday, May 31, 2007

    If it were a Cycle I’d call it Stephen
    By Sean Ripple

    After inspiration came the realization that my form of understanding was of the most superficial variety.

    (I did not intend for the previous statement to flow forth as a fragment, yet it has. Thanks to the automated green underline edit indicator and the spelling and grammar tool offered by my word processing program, I am now aware of the fact that if the fragmented phrase is to exist as a grammatically sound string of words, I will need to add something to it. Without doing a small bit of research, I’m not sure what sort of something I need to add to satisfy the rules of English grammar…a main verb…a subject perhaps? I’m sure that if my word processing program were up-to-date, it would offer me a more specific solution. Since it is not and because I’ve decided that the phrase communicates what it needs to communicate sufficiently, the phrase will remain a fragment.)

    After realization came perspiration in the form of education. Since I was soundly convinced that my particular sort of understanding was of the most superficial variety, I took steps to attempt to rebuild it through a university program. The problem here is that it is not only volition that plays a part in the successful rebuilding of a person's educational framework – aptitude too must be present. Where aptitude is absent, good teachers are more than adequate substitutes. If you find yourself constantly lacking a good teacher to help you along in your educational quest, a lack of aptitude is almost certainly your culprit…because really, rationality simply does not support the notion that one’s inadequacies as an educated being are solely the result of poor pedagogy. In my case, a lack of objective-based or concrete (as opposed to abstract) aptitude kept me from fully rebuilding. This deficiency forced me to haggle it out with the bulk of academia, which is really just a glorified version of my own superficial understanding. Sorry to say it, but I think it’s true. As an example, consider the fact that at most major universities, students are required to take general coursework for their degree, along with specific classes exclusive to their chosen major. Many of these general courses lack fixed processes by which to generate absolute outcomes. Math and sciences have this locked down, as do trade schools for that matter. Though to be fair, ask a mathematician or a scientist how absolute they think their outcomes and findings are, and a great many will humbly concede that flux is a far more superior feature of actuality than is fixed. I digress. From this prescribed pool of coursework, there will be quite a few required classes that the student has no interest in. More importantly, there will be quite a few required classes that the student has no true aptitude for. Yet, the student may learn how to superficially satisfy the objectives of the course(s) by properly regurgitating concepts (thrown about in lectures and readings during short bursts of educative frenzy called semesters) on tests and term papers. Taken cumulatively, this person’s true understanding of the world is a dust jacket blurb at best…at worst it’s the squawk of a parrot.

    After perspiration came delusion. I thought my abilities were best suited for that commonly deemed unnecessary endeavor called human creativity.

    After delusion came disillusionment. I charged the creative field with its subdivisions of sound and sight and intellect only to find that I had marginal talent at best. My bank account and a general lack of public interest in my work have substantiated this claim.

    And now? Well, it’s hard to say. The wander that is my time has yet to provide a way. I continue to hope that it will.

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