Textual paradigm

 

 

 

   

SOCRATES:

At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

Knowledge/experience/world view in the textual paradigm underwent several changes and knowledge got restructured in the process. Textualisation of
knowledge altered the notion of what constitute knowledge.
When knowledge got textualised the feelings and emotions were dropped.

The word intuition was out of use for many years and it came back few years ago when textual cultures started addressing its fragmentation, alienation and rootless ness .The over use of reason and logic and the neglect of intuition is due to textualisation of
knowledge and by extension to the corresponding experiential mode it
created. The textual experience is  linear and fragmented which is the only
way text can mediate.Imagination is a word overused by textual cultures as text demands
imagination. where as in experiential cultures the reality is always
present.At several levels one can see the fragmentation in textual cultures.
The internal fragmentation has made us to fragment our perception  and
compartmentalize and reorder the world to suit our textual notions about
life. Textual experience being personal and independent of others separated the
self from community. The individual and the ego must have began at this
point. Textual cognition must have caused fragmentation, alienation, boredom etc
The self is fragmented as male and female ,as body and mind and as
childhood, youth and old age. Spontaneous activities were broken up in to
planning and doing thus thought and action got fragmented so are beauty and ethics. Entertainment and boredom has become the new dichotomies.
Boredom is also another of those qualities typical of modern mindset and so
is waste.
The internal fragmentation has made us fragment the outer world.
Thus beauty and knowledge which is an integral act is divided in to
art,science and language, and into artists and scientists. Politics,ethics
religion were also separated.
 

 


Education has been the most powerful tool to condition and colonize the
people as it has completely overturned the worldview of the so-called
educated people of the world all over. It just replaced religious
superstition to scientific superstition. It turned us into believers of a
different kind. It turned us from active creators and inventers of knowledge
to passive believers of text and experts. We no longer use our senses and
feelings and experience to know the world. We are taught about
everything-including beauty.
Beauty is the most fundamental of human existence. Beauty is what truly
makes one authentic. Beauty is what binds us to the external world. Beauty
is what creates culture- the food, the architecture, the music, the artifacts, various
dance forms and agriculture (knowledge).
Even the spiritual state of being here and now also became impossible with
the textual culture. A total act of being in the present encompasses both
past and the future. Our relationship with the text is itself an absence of
the present. Textualisation removes the present and creates only the past or
the future.
Another word that got popularized is abstraction. Textual experience is an
abstract experience. As far as Authenticity is concerned experience is
authentic and original. It cannot become second hand. Text by its very nature is
second hand.
Our relationship to the unknown, which was of awe and wonder probably changed
with textualisation as the knowledge is acquired with in the comforts of the
non-threatening text. The same must be the case with "controlling" nature.
Even beauty which is an exclusive domain of the senses and experience got
textualised and it became a matter for intellectual activities.

Music gets written down as text which can be ‘read’.
Children because of their natural tenacity remained out side the textual
world so also some women. I would further claim even the true scientist who have time and again disapproved the  conventional educational systems also belong to the experiential paradigm.

The crises in modern schooling is precisely due the conflict in these two paradigms. The adults who belong to the textual culture is attempting to textualise children as early as possible. This can also be seen as a conflict in intuition and reason or of  two ways of knowing. The one which wants to recreate, reinvent and relive and the other which wants to impose.(Democracy?)

The left brain/ right brain division is actually  the result of fragmentation caused by the textual schooling process.

Even at the activity level mechanization brought in mechanical and repetitive
act further alienating the person from the present. Both at the level of activity and
mind being here and now became unnecessary.

With the removal of unknown from our experience predictability / planning
and reasoning became the dominant relationship to the outside.
Many people belonging to the textual culture is realizing the crisis and are
also coming out with several solutions but are unable to break free as all
these solutions are textual.

Systems thinking/ holistic approach, their engagement with spirituality etc are attempts in overcoming  these crisis.
The solutions to make the learning holistic is by adding more 'sensitive' subjects like ecology, gender, study of other cultures etc.
Whole is not a result of adding fragments.
The infinite is not the addition of finites.
This is the quality of the mind which is holistic, spiritual ,in communion
with beauty all the time.De-textualisation is essentially recovering the autonomy of senses and
experience. A reconnection to the life sustaining knowledge accessible only
to the selfless minds.
It will be interesting to look at the world that belongs to the experiential
paradigm.