Ancestral vs. Modern Education

Each week we address one chapter of the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching can be obscure, especially if you think you're supposed to understand what it's saying! We find it easier and more instructive to simply contemplate how the chapter resonates with your personal experience. Becoming more aware at this fundamental level simplifies life. This approach conforms to the view that true knowing lies within ourselves. Thus, when a passage in the scripture resonates, you've found your inner truth. The same applies for when it evokes a question; questions are the grist for self realization.

Chapter 34
The way is broad, reaching left as well as right.
The myriad creatures depend on it for life yet it claims no aurthority.
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
It clothes and feeds the myriad creatures yet lays no claim to being their master.

For ever free of desire, it can be called small;
yet, as it lays no claim to being master when all things turn to it, it can be called great.

It is because it never attempts itself to be great that it succeeds in becoming great.

Read commentary previously posted for this chapter.


  • edited December 1969
    Up until the industrial revolution most children were 'taught' the ropes of life by their parents and extended family. Children had a better opportunity to pickup on essential life knowledge, as opposed to academic knowledge. i.e., a happy and content life does not come from academic knowledge, but rather from life knowledge. Sure, [chref=70]ignorance[/chref] in this area has always been with us. Nevertheless, the intimacy of ancestral conditions allowed family elders to engage each child's nature and needs and guide them accordingly. Of course, there would have been many unhappy exceptions to this ideal. However, going back to hunter-gatherer circumstances the positives would far outweigh the negatives.

    The major dysfunction of institutional education in the modern world is the near complete absence of this ancestral process. Education now is geared toward a 'few sizes fit everyone' efficiency. This problem has become even worse with the common practice of both parents either working... or divorced. Significant parental guidance is nearly extinct in the ancestral sense, with the educational system expected to fill the gap. It can't, no matter how much we expect it to. Like Cinderella's sisters; we are struggling to make a small shoe (our industrial civilization) accommodate a big foot (human nature). And, I?m not even going to get into the ?educational? effects on youth of the constant [chref=26]restless[/chref] and [chref=16]wilful innovation[/chref] that society embodies today. Nor will I bemoan the ignorance of ?educational experts? - those puppets of 19th and 20th century industrial necessity. :P

    Geez, I?m sticking it to ?em! It feels good, but it isn?t personal. It isn?t ?them?, it is ?us?. After all, no one is in charge. We don?t know what we are doing... but, we [chref=71]think[/chref] we do. Opps... :oops:
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