It is a terrible and holy thing to want to become who we really are. It is a desire not born by human beings themselves, but works through them. Such a desire is ravenous and mad. It knows no rest. It has no home. It will not stop its march until it finds itself sung in our inner heart, finally one with what we do and what we say. Such a task is life long, and to succeed, we must embrace and exhaust all of our precious deceptions about who we are, and what we believe we should be doing for this short span of temporal time called 'my life.' The journey of the pilgrim heart is long and arduous. It is made easier by friends who are equally struck dumb by the same desire and are foolish enough to nudge one another along the way.
My Philosophy Of Education
I have taught in a variety of settings which have given me a spectrum of experiences on which to reflect and from which to learn. Presently I teach Moral Philosophy and work as a supervisor for a community residential facility. Behind a list of courses I have taught, and the evaluations I received from various classes, there lies a philosophy of education that I feel is important to express if only in an imprecise manner.
I am passionate about teaching because it is not a mere job or a special avocation beyond my own love of learning. Following the long tradition of artes liberales - the knowledge of those things necessary for a the civic life of a free person - I am passionate about teaching because it intensifies our humanity.
Our humanity is intensified when we strive to cultivate a civic climate that is at once tolerant of differences, critical of injustice, and caring of one another as compared to one that is indifferent to injustice and the public good. In making such statements I do not pretend to know the precise limits of our humanity per se, or to have a precise singular model of humanity in mind. Our humanity is a project. I am part of the project. I see myself as benefiting from a civic community that permits the exploration of ideas and freedom of expression only to the degree that its sense of being a project is protected, cultivated, and cherished as a central value and on going process.
The only way I know how to protect, cultivate, and cherish this value is by education. To this end, education to my understanding is never about teaching people to being merely objective, analytic, and experimental. While these aspects are important in the project that is our humanity, they do not speak to the totality of our humanity regardless of prevailing ideological positions portrayed by popular culture and a corporate agenda. The only way I know to make education relevant to the project of humanity is to ensure that it remains all at once personal, communal, and transformational. These three vital characteristics of education are summarized well in a line from one of Rilke's poems: "There is no place at all that is not looking at you. You must change your life." What I think Rilke was trying to say is that - despite our best efforts in the Eurocentric West - to believe that we could objectively reach into any domain we wish and to manipulate it without consequences has been mistaken. All actions have consequences; we are all actors; we are all moral agents; we are all the benefactors or victims of someone else's actions.
I believe education, and the aim of my teaching, is never to let my neighbour forget that we are all part of the project of humanity and that we are all called to participate in it without exception. If educare really means "to lead forth," then I'm called to remind my students that they have a responsibility to participate in the project of humanity. The importance of this participation is illuminated by Chuang-tzu's statement that "The effect of life in society is to complicate our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not." Education is personal, communal, and transformational.
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I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to John
Veltri, for the construction of this website, and to express his
for John's work in humanizing our humanity, one soul at a time, through
the auspices of Ignatian spirituality.