Sunday 12 November 2006

On Education, Heart, and Mind

Allow me to post all the comments here as a new blog entry. It is for the mere purpose of getting them easier to read.

H: … I think building on hearts is almost like building on mud - it swings. Building on minds is much better. But I won't say more. Your specific puisuit is different and for that particular profession, maybe the hearts mean more. When I choose to learn something, I don't go to those I love or see as devoted, I always prefer to go to those who are good at what I want to learn. If someone is good at something, it doesn't matter if he is just doing it as a side hobby, an extra activity. What matters is, he has something good to teach you.

And by the way: Evaluations mean little and might not be true. But it is true in my case. So, I do care. Those who say they don't are often those who are not devoted enough to care how you're doing.

… It has always been my philosophy to do something because I love and want it, not because of anything else. Here's the thing: You don't see your weaknesses because you love the job. You see them because you're rational or because someone better point them out to you. One really cannot do anything more than what one is capable of seeing and doing at a particular moment. Doesn't matter how hard one tries, if one's not good, one's not good.

Do you think the teachers at FTU think they are bad? NO! They all think they are super-good, top of the world. They even think they are nice and devoted as hell. And that's exactly the problem.

A: The mind is nothing without the heart; it's just dead knowledge. Left to itself, the mind can be neither dangerous nor benefitial. The same knowledge can be used to save or kill, that is because of the difference of the heart. Just building on the mind and leaving it all to the chance of heart might lead to the emergence of monsterous geniuses. The world has seen and is still seeing quite a number of them. They do have the mind (no one can deny that), and they are a pain and shame to humanity precisely because they have mind and no (good)heart. It doesn't have to be in my religious field or in things having to do with human lives; it's true in any case and any field. Why does a child learn more from her mother than from a professional nurse or nanny? Why could Hitler talk thousand of able-minded Germans into supporting his cause? Why is it that sometimes our favorite teachers (from whom we learn the most) are not the most knowledegeable ones? Why is it that we love Forest Gump? Why is it that we want our children to become decent people before they can be smart? It all has to do with the heart!

It's true hearts swing. And that's why more building needs doing. And don't tell me minds don't swing. They do more than hearts. A modern mind today will inevitably get old-fashioned in the future. A kind heart stays timeless.

That a person wants to teach you what he is good at and that he is committed to doing it already shows that the heart is at work. And how can he be inspirational unless he puts his mind AND his heart into it, teaching with knowledge, passion, and conviction. It doesn't matter at all whether he does it as a job or a hobby - true! Just like not all or only teachers can teach. It has to do with both the mind and the heart. And it's the heart that guides.

And I don't quite understand why someone whose philosophy is "I do it because I love it" like you keeps playing down the importance of love. A rational mind is indeed a valuable asset, but rationality itself is a subjective thing, because it can't escape the heart. Most people, even those mentally ill people and except for some VERY wise people, believe they possess a rational mind, and who the heck am I to say his is not really and hers is quite, yours is not and mine is. Who the heck am I to determine common sense in rationality for the world? Well, Americans tend to do that because they think they are the world. But it just shows they don't know much more than a damned thing about this world.

I'll just use your logics here, "You don't see your weaknesses because you love your job". Does it occur to you that it may be happenning to you, too much in love with yourself and your life and your job? I do believe (and I swear I do, though I might have sounded a bit sarcastic earlier on) that your evaluation means something. It's just funny to hear it from your own mouth, just like me proclaiming that all my friends here call me a genius. It's almost ridiculous!

I'm sorry for being less than calm and cool, but I mean every word I said. I don't want to continue this argument, but if you do, we should do it on your blog or my blog, not Trg.'s blog.

H: Just so you know, I am not offended. Not at all. We can argue as long or as short as you want and I won't mind that at all. You don't need to be calm and cool. You can be crazy, angry, anything - I even like that. It's your points that I will address, and I will do it when I return home in a couple of days since I am now in Pennsylvania and cannot write long.

But here is the question: What's so wrong about loving myself and my life and my job?

A: Nothing is wrong about that, Hg., except for what you said: Love keeps you from seeing your weaknesses. Not that I think this is always true, but since you said it, it might be true for you.

Trang: I don’t mind any argument on my blog, so you may discuss any subject of your interest here. Just I think it’s a real waste of energy to talk about love in your definition and love in my definition, because it will evidently lead us to no point.

As for me there is more than one kind of love. A love between a man and a woman may blind them so that they fail to see the weaknesses in both (or in either of the two). But the love that I mentioned is a different kind which I have not been able to name yet. In this kind of love, if you love teaching, for instance, you will not even think to yourself, “Ha, I’ve done some good things; I’m good.” The more you love your job, the more you feel an urge to check if you have done really good. You will keep asking yourself, “can I do it better?”. You will go around, asking for feedback from people, just to let you know who you are and what and how you are doing. In case the feedback sends you negative signals, you will torment yourself in a wish that things must be changed for the better. If the feedback does not improve and becomes insufferably negative for you, you will think of quitting the job, though with much sorrow and despair; that’s a real example to show your love - the kind of love that I mentioned.

No one can be independent in discovering themselves, of course. To see our weakness, we will have to go out, facing the world which is the presentation of our self. The love in our heart will surely urge us to do anything possible to perfec ourselves - in work.

Can’t tell why you refer to the FTU teachers as an example of the relationship between love and work quality. I totally agree with you that they are bad at their job. But do you think they love teaching? “They even think they are nice and devoted as hell.” That is because they don’t love their work.

Don’t ever think that it’s easy to love something. Never it is. I don’t know much about Hitler, Marx, Lenin, or any other political thinkers whose thoughts may change the world for the better or for the worse. But I am sure that in arts, for example, geniuses are those who love more than ordinary people do. Their love is something immense, even abnormal, thus hard to explain. They love so much more, and in some unsual way, than ordinary people do. Can you ever imagine how Segovia loves the guitar?

Building on minds is much better, however, when we come to macro management of the society. I believe that a good political system is not one built on hearts. In other words, rule by law is to me a better choice than rule by virtue as it is a less inefficient way (probably not the best way yet) to ensure equality. Here in this case, the heart-based system does swing.

However, allow me to use the tactic “I am not a blogwriter” again. You two feel free, please, to talk in my blog, but let me stay away from the discussion because it’s a real effort of me to use English in discussions. English has never been my strong point, you know. And it often takes me much time and effort to express my ideas as I am not used to talking about philosophical subjects. But may you go on discussing please? I am ready to read whatever to be written down.