There Is No Fixed Entry Road into a Field

We keep emphasizing that the student must find a personal “driving question,” fortified by a sense of enchantment, to really “parachute” into a body of knowledge. Sitting in front of a nine-hundred page textbook, à la school and college, doesn’t do it.

Schools are mostly enervating at best and one has to productively rebel and “go underground” to “enter” a field as opposed to the effort one makes to survive quizzes and exams.

The sense or intuition that there is no set pathway or on-ramp or entry-road into fields or dimensions or aspects of knowledge but that it is always a self-created process of self-education is best expressed by a famous poem by the great Spanish poet, Antonio Machado (died in 1939):


“Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.”

(Border of a Dream: Selected Poems of Antonio Marchado, Antonio Machado, Willis Barnstone (translator), Copper Canyon Press, 2003)