Monday, September 12, 2005

Knowledge & Education

At times Education can get educational; but usually it remains uneducated. At (other) times Knowledge can get ignorant; but usually it remains knowledgeable. So, wherein lies the difference between a programmed Education and an acquired Knowledge?

(Though Mark Twain says, “Do not let your schooling interfere with your education”, I have taken the liberty of kneading Schooling and Education into one doughy ball of curriculum, while maintaining Knowledge as its antithesis – this in no way means School and Education are one and the same; I am merely using Education and Knowledge as “model-verbs” if you will: the former as a model for our “natural programming”; the latter as a model for our “unnatural acquirements”.)

This predicament of Knowledge and Education leaves no room for educated guessing, no matter how schooled it might be; nor, for that matter, does it have time for projected assumption, no matter how knowledgeable that might be. For us to fix this fix of ours, an unbiased, non-partisan third party is needed. Let this party be known as Innocence.

Without Innocence (or, a synonym along this artsy theme of ours, Artlessness), no Knowledge or Education would ever be needed. We would all know it all – and, therefore, we would all be bereft. Could you imagine a world where no one was innocent – it would be like a prison where no one was guilty. The purity of Innocence is our greatest asset: it lets us learn, search, thirst, for something over yonder.

Thus, in the Kabbalistic lexicon, Knowledge would be Ohr, Education would be Kaily, and Innocence would be Atzmus. Knowledge: the thirst for something beyond the norm, beyond the school rules. Education: the rules one must learn, and follow, in order to quench that thirst. Innocence: the ability to fuse these two opposites. Or in “worldly” terms: Knowledge would be the world of Sovev, a vague-yet-encompassing intangible force; Education would be M’maleh, a clear-yet-limited tangible force; and Innocence, once again, would be Atzmus, that Essence which is neither this nor that, yet is both.

These questions we ask about our education, each to his own, are part of our education: imagine a student who wouldn’t question his teacher’s answer – it would be like a teacher who wouldn’t answer his student’s question. And though school can only give you so much, only the tools, nevertheless, with the right tools one can build anything.

Yes, of course, you ask, “What are the right tools”? For some students it can be musical notes; for others, paint brushes; still, for others, a surgeon’s scalpel. Who decides what to teach to whom – what may be right for you may be (and probably is) wrong for me? And vise versa?

Imagine an Education that transcends Knowledge, imagine a Knowledge that transcends Education – it would be an Education and Knowledge of Innocence. Such an education and knowledge (notice the lack of capitalization: they are no longer alone) would not be subjected to the views of Man, nor would the hands of Man design them – they would be, solely, a guide for Man. (Whenever I use the Masculine form, the Feminine is included; it is just out of convenience, and familiarity, that I use it.)

This “form” of “education” (sorry about the use of all these “pseudonyms”) is called the Torah. I can hear the collective groan, but it is true – the Torah transcends manmade curriculums, syllabuses, prospectuses, or any other Latin euphemism for ignorance.

The problem, at least this writer sees it as one, is that the Torah is usually taught in the wrong way. Either it is made out to be archaic, or dogmatic (Is that the same as archaic?), or parochial (The same as dogmatic?), or downright boring (The same as the other three?). But, in truth, the Torah is anything but: it is the most exciting form of education – comparing, of course, only those with which this writer has made his acquaintance – ever known to Man.

As for the Torah being parochial: any and every subject, from the artless Humanities to the human-less Arts, finds itself within the ancient wisdom and modern understanding of its pages – the only, and no small, feat, is finding it.

And once you have found what you are looking for, it is time to start looking again – lest the truth become stale for you.

When this transcendental “edification” will become the “curriculum”, Education will become Knowledgeable and Knowledge will become Educational – with Innocence innocently smiling on the side – and in the middle.


Anonymous moish said...

nice ARTicle

9/12/2005 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry men, this is more a particle.

9/12/2005 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xcuse my ignorance, but is a particle a bad thing?

9/12/2005 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is that moish langer?

9/13/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger Tzemach Atlas said...

please do not be as wordy as your father.

9/14/2005 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to make sence of this. I thought knowledge was the greatest thing, but your stressing the importance of innocence. Is innocence a metaphor for no ego, as in a "bittul" person?

9/14/2005 1:06 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...


9/14/2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Duchess said...

once innocence is lost, can it ever be regained?

9/15/2005 1:33 AM  
Blogger Dovid said...

Jake, nice article. But to be honest, using Atzmus as a mashul is a bit scarey. True, Atzmus, like innocence, is b'pshitus. But the pshitus of Atzmus is mufshat from the pshitus of anything else. It's pshitus from pshitus, and using it as an example for a human personality creates a shaychus and a geder, which is just wrong. and I can go on forever saying that Atzmus isn't shollel anything, but isn't kolel anything either, but hey, you too were in Nachmans class, so you've heard more than enough of that.

9/15/2005 1:43 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

the innocence we r here discussing, can never be lost.

it is a metaphor for the "pintele yid". it can be buried, ignored, denied - but never destroyed.

9/15/2005 1:48 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

we r talking about two different atzmus': u r refering to THE Atzmus. i am refering to an Atzmus of something; the essence of something - not right (ohr), nor left (kayli), but the essence (atzmus).

and even when you, Dovid, write on it, you limit it - that is y chassidus doesnt discuss THE Atzmus - but "atzmus" as a word can definitly be used.

this topic needs way more than a comment. but, ayn kan ha'mokom...

9/15/2005 2:03 AM  
Blogger The Bearded One said...


9/15/2005 4:40 AM  
Blogger Dovid said...

You are right, I misunderstood. Good stuff. BTW, don't feel limited and say ain kan hamakom. Write on!!!!!

9/15/2005 10:36 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

berky, was that a Laymoinion comment? ;)

ayn kan ha'mokom without a bottle.

9/15/2005 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tzemach, you used very distatesful language in your comment. You might not like jake"s writing but that certainly does not mean you can accuse him of going in the ways of his father > as if thats a bad thing!!!

9/15/2005 2:36 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

i dont think he was being distastful; i think he was being honest.

comments are there for people to disagree. if we all felt the same way, the world would be a very boring place.

please, the more controversial a comment (not that Tzemach's was) the better.

was i too wordy with this comment?

9/15/2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger Dovid said...

Jake, the best thing about this blog is your play on words. Tzemach obviously doeesn't appreciate language, so he has to give you advice on how to write your blog (as if his blog is an inspiration- HA!), and to add insult, he knocks your father in the process. Sure, criticism is a good thing, but this is'nt the type of criticism you should be looking for. Nough said. (that was too wordy ;))

9/15/2005 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may be so blunt.

There are writers who speak to the people, and there are writers who speak to the dictionary. In my humble opinion all he was asking for was that the writing be more user friendly, where no dictionary or notepad is needed.

In a well written article the inyan speaks for itself. He was giving you a compliment that you don't need the sophisticated writing to bring out the things which you are writing.

9/15/2005 10:28 PM  
Blogger Dovid said...

And he had to knock his father in the process too? Please, gimme a break.

9/15/2005 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was not knocking his father, he was saying that some people don't appreciate and find it difficult to easily follow that writing style.

9/16/2005 2:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compact lesson in Chassidus! It's quite amazing that "lichsheyafutzu maayanosecha chutzah" has not yet been totally fulfilled........How much more "CHUTZAH" can you get than a blog? Keep up your inspirational, interesting and entertaining commentary, regardless(or because of) the colorful comments. You're providing a breath of fresh air in a pretty stale world. Remember, stay out of the box!

9/16/2005 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Ms. Anonymous said...

As the original anonymous, I do believe that Tzemach's comment was with a negative air. As a student, Mrs. (Bubby) Jacabson informed the class that people did not enjoy her son as a dictionary. Actually that wasn't exaactllly how she worded the comment but i have a horrible memory and it was eight grade. But i do remember that what she was saying was not a compliment to her son. Tzemach invoked that. As for it being very particular in the semantics category, I like that. Continue playing with your words.

9/16/2005 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


While I do enjoy commenting on this blog anonymously from time to time, I do not mean to take away from the anonymity of ms. anonymous.

That said, I will just say, there is word play, and there is using 11 letter words.

From the great writer:

"Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet." - Dave Barry

9/16/2005 2:02 PM  
Blogger The Bearded One said...

my yahoo isn't working in south africa. i'm tired. i have to learn. i have a test in two days. i'm sick of complaining. my edification isn't my curriculum yet, and it's nowhere near transcedental. jake is sounding like philip roth and all the anonomi are getting wordy. my liver is suffering from a alcohol defficiency. for more news check cnn.

9/17/2005 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Ms. anonymous said...

"A word of advice to the putative cheif justice: when using a pun in a judicial opinion, do not write "excuse the bad pun." Remember, there are no "bad" puns - all plays on words are good, and the olouder teh groans they elicit, the better. And never forget, do not insult your audience by calling attention to the coming wordplay. The pardon-my-pun flag says to the listener or reader, "You're probaly too dim-witted to catch this, so I'm pointing it out to you beforehand."

Taken from On Language by William Safire
New York Times Magazine
(this week's)

Doesn't it prove my point just perfectly?

9/17/2005 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake has nothing sexual nor perverted in his his blog, a far cry from Phillip Roths' hormonal charged novels.

9/18/2005 8:13 AM  
Anonymous lazy beard said...

i'm not so sure about that. i feel some very interesting undertones in these articles. and since it's a feeling you can't prove me wrong. oh i love liberals. i was talking about his writing style. not what is being written.

9/18/2005 8:05 PM  
Blogger The Bearded One said...

i love hashem

9/19/2005 7:13 PM  

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