Songs as Another Kind of Parallel University

Meta Intelligence is a heterodox view of education where formal education (courses, diplomas, universities, fields) are incomplete and limited without adding informal education which is part of your life such as movies, songs, conversations and images (paintings, posters, etc). Your “lifeworld” (Edmund Husserl’s apt coinage) fuses all the kinds of education where the word education means thought-provoking and illuminating. Even personal experience counts such as illnesses or bad marriages! Only via this Meta Intelligence will you achieve a glimpsed “holism.” (Meta Intelligence is that meta-field outside fields, borders and boundaries.)

Take songs.

Think back to Jim Morrison’s classic tune, “Riders on the Storm” which begins:

“Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house, we’re born
Into this world, we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on the storm”

This song (by the Doors), expresses in a simple way Heidegger’s notion of human existence as partly governed by “Geworfenheit” which derives from “werfen,” to throw. “Geworfenheit” means “thrownness.” Jim Morrison and his band the Doors are songphilosophers without (probably) being Heidegger’s acolytes. Max Weber, one of the fathers of modern sociology, uses the word “disenchantment” to describe the modern world, “Entzauberung” in German, where “zauber” means “magicality” and “ent” means “removal of,” and “ung” means “condition of being.” The magic here does not mean something like a card trick but rather sacred mysteries, perhaps like the feeling a medieval European felt on entering a cathedral.

Enchantment in the West survived in our notions of romantic love and was associated with the songs and outlook of the medieval troubadours. Such romantic enchantment which is fading from our culture in favor of sex is still celebrated in the classic Rogers and Hammerstein song, “Some Enchanted Evening” from the forties musical and fifties movie, South Pacific.

The song lyrics give you the philosophy of romantic love as the last stand of enchantment:

“Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger,
You may see a stranger across a crowded room,
And somehow you know, you know even then,
That somehow you’ll see here again and again.
Some enchanted evening, someone may be laughing,
You may hear her laughing across a crowded room,
And night after night, as strange as it seems,
The sound of her laughter will sing in your dreams.

“Who can explain it, who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.

“Some enchanted evening, when you find your true love,
When you hear her call you across a crowded room,
Then fly to her side and make her your own,
Or all through your life you may dream all alone.

“Once you have found her, never let her go,
Once you have found her, never let her go.”

Notice that “chant” is a component of enchantment.

One could say that conventional enchantment has been transferred to the world of science and mathematics where a deep beauty is intuited. Professor Frank Wilczek of MIT (Nobel Prize) wrote several books on this intersection of science and the quest for beauty whereas Sabine Hossenfelder of Germany has argued, per contra, that this will be a “bum steer.”

You should sense that like movies, songs give you a “side window” or back door into thinking and knowledge, which should be center stage and not depreciated.

Education and Word and Number Hidden Vagueness

These mini-essays help students of any age to re-understand education in a deeper and more connected way.

They look for “circum-spective” intelligence. (Not in the sense of prudential or cautious but in the sense of “around-looking.”)

One of the things to begin to see is that explaining things in schools is misleading “ab initio” (i.e., from the beginning).

Let’s do an example:

In basic algebra, you’re asked: what happens to (x2 – 1)/(x – 1) as x “goes to” (i.e., becomes) 1.

If you look at the numerator (thing on top), x2 is also 1 (since 1 times 1 is 1) and (1 – 1) is zero. The denominator is also (1 – 1) and zero.

Thus you get 0 divided by 0.

You’re then told that’s a no-no and that’s because zeros and infinities lead to all kinds of arithmetic “bad behavior” or singularities.

You’re then supposed to see that x2 – 1 can be re-written as (x – 1)(x + 1) and since “like cancels like,” you cancel the x – 1 is the numerator and denominator and “get rid” of it.

This leaves simply x + 1. So, as x goes to 1, x + 1 goes to 2 and you have a “legitimate” answer and have bypassed the impasse of 0 acting badly (i.e., zero divided by zero).

If you re-understand all this more slowly you’ll see that there are endless potential confusions:

For example: you cannot say that (x2 – 1)/(x – 1) = x + 1 since looking at the two sides of the equal sign shows different expressions which are not equal.

They’re also not really equivalent.

You could say that coming up with x + 1 is a workaround or a “reduced form” or a “downstream rewrite” of (x2 – 1)/(x – 1).

This reminds us of the endless confusions in high school science: if you combine hydrogen gas (H2) with oxygen gas (O2) you don’t get water (H2O). Water is the result of a chemical reaction giving you a compound.

A mixture is not a compound. Chemistry is based on this distinction.

Math and science for that matter, are based on taking a formula or expression (like the one we saw above) and “de-cluttering” it or “shaking loose” a variant form which is not identical and not the same but functionally equivalent in a restricted way.

A lot of students who fail to follow high school or college science sense these and other “language and number” problems of hidden vagueness.
School courses punish students who “muse” to themselves about hidden vagueness. This behavior is pre-defined as “bad woolgathering” but we turn this upside down and claim it is potentially “good woolgathering” and might lead to enchantment which then underlies progress in getting past one’s fear of something like math or science or anything else.

One is surrounded by this layer of reality on all sides, what Wittgenstein calls “philosophy problems which are really language games.”

Think of daily life: you say to someone: “you can count one me.” You mean trust, rely on, depend on, where count on is a “set phrase.” (The origin of the phrase and how it became a set phrase is probably unknowable and lost in the mists of time.)

“You can count on me” does not mean you can stand on me and then count something…one, two, three.

In other words in all kinds of language (English, say, or math as a language) one is constantly “skating over” such logic-and-nuance-and-meaning issues.

The genius Kurt Gödel (Einstein’s walk around buddy at Princeton) saw this in a deep way and said that it’s deeply surprising that languages work at all (spoken, written or mathematical) since the bilateral sharing of these ambiguities would seem deadly to any clarity at all and communication itself would seem a rather unlikely outcome.

You could also say that drama giants of the twentieth century like Pinter, Ionesco and Beckett, intuit these difficulties which then underlie their plays.

All of this together gives you a more “composite” “circum-spective” view of what is really happening in knowledge acquisition.

Education and Pre-Understanding

To embark on an education in any field, physics, say, is enervating because the student (in high school) say, enters a strange ocean with “zillions” of names and laws, units of measurement (amps, ohms, coulombs, faradays, etc.) which are very intricate and confusing.

A student does start swimming in this ocean via school “coercion” (i.e., how one will be punished for “failing.”)

There’s a much deeper and useful and practical way to create a pathway into fields: looking for a pre-understanding of what the field is like by taking one particular question or “head-scratcher” and start to delve into it, welcoming any initial sense of not-being-sure, as part of the fun of it, the enchantment.

Consider this article from 2001 in Scientific American:

“Can somebody finally settle this question: Does water flowing down a drain spin in different directions depending on which hemisphere you’re in? And if so, why?” [Archived PDF]

If you start to worry about the water swirling down your kitchen sink or bathtub, you are inevitably faced with the puzzling discussions of something called Coriolis forces, named after the French scientist of this name:

“In physics, the Coriolis force is an inertial or fictitious force that acts on objects that are in motion within a frame of reference that rotates with respect to an inertial frame. In a reference frame with clockwise rotation, the force acts to the left of the motion of the object. In one with anticlockwise (or counterclockwise) rotation, the force acts to the right. Deflection of an object due to the Coriolis force is called the Coriolis effect. Though recognized previously by others, the mathematical expression for the Coriolis force appeared in an 1835 paper by French scientist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis, in connection with the theory of water wheels. Early in the 20th century, the term Coriolis force began to be used in connection with meteorology.”

The Coriolis force is called a pseudo-force or fictitious force which is already quite puzzling. It seems to push an ant walking across a 78 RPM record in motion on the turntable in unexpected ways and affects the swirling motions of storm phenomena (hurricanes, cyclones, etc.).

The student would immediately sense that at the heart of physics—using this Coriolis force as an indicator—there’s an unbelievable intricacy—but also the sense that these explanations (i.e., forces versus pseudo-forces) that are not entirely convincing and might well be overturned or re-done by someone with a deeper grasp of the problem, in the future. There’s an “ad hoc-ness” (i.e., the explanations and units and theories and proofs seem somehow “circular” or “tautological” in a way that eludes us, as we wait for a clearer theory).

A person walking across a moving merry-go-round or carousel and the complexity of the pushes and pulls experiences “shoves” that are unfamiliar and the water going down the drain in the bathtub awaits a better theory. There is a subfield called “turbulent flow” and that would need to be brought into it. Weather phenomena like tsunamis, cyclones, etc. are turbulences that are complex and our theories are both unbelievably intricate but perhaps subject to revision.

All of this might be an enchanting “gateway” into physics and would give the student a pre-understanding of physics’s “style of thinking and explaining.” In other words, to “parachute” into a field you need the parachute of some particular puzzling example which you use as a “private gateway” into the way people in that field think and act.

Just to go through the years of high school and college in an endless and mindless “slog” with the “failure gun” of coercion pointed at you, is a tremendously soul-destroying way to educate oneself. You have to “go underground” and find your own pre-understanding and its twin brother or clone, enchantment.

“Pre-Understanding” as a Pillar of Better Education

One pillar of our education enhancement effort is the concept of “pre-understanding” which argues that there usually is a step that has been skipped in education and that is the overview or guidance or “lay of the land” step that comes before courses become efficacious. To tackle a 900-page text-book seems soul-crushing in the absence of “pre-understanding” (i.e., where are we and why are we doing this) other than the coercive power of schools (grades, scholarships, recommendations, grad school admissions, etc.)?

A person senses (not incorrectly) that economics as a field of study seems tedious and solipsistic (i.e., “talking to itself” and not to the student).

Can we give students a “pre-understanding” that opens a backdoor or side window into the field, where such doors and windows were never seen or noticed?

A person is trying to decide what airline they should use in flying from Boston to Nepal.

Immediate concerns are of course price, flexibility of ticket, safety reputation of different airlines, schedules, weather forecasts, routes, etc.

A person might argue: Flight A stops in Tokyo and I can make use of that because my friend who lives in the area will put me up for a weekend, whereby we can do the town and sights, talk about old times, re-connect, etc. There’s also some other task or chore there I could do and so the Tokyo interruption is to my liking. There’s some risks associated with this (i.e., my fiancée who’s traveling with me might find it boring). I’m not sure (uncertainty).

Now suppose somebody tells you that such “decision theory” is at the heart of economics and involves four dimensions:

  1. Costs.
  2. Benefits.
  3. Risks.
  4. Uncertainties.

Whether you know it or not, you are optimizing some things (usefulness and pleasure of travel) and minimizing other things (time in the air, costs, safety risks, comfort, etc.).

You don’t realize that you’re making subtle decisional calculations where risks and uncertainties that cannot be quantified, are somehow being weighted and weighed and quantified by you, implicitly and the decision calculus is quite complicated.

Suppose you were now given to understand that economics is about economizing (i.e., budgeting your costs, benefits, risks and uncertainties, some of which are qualitative and subjective) but you find a way to assign some kind of numbers and weighting factors (i.e., importance to you) in your actual but more likely, intuitive calculations.

Goaded and prompted by this “pre-understanding” you might then pick up a standard guide to actual cost-benefit analysis (such as Mishan’s classic book) and go through this previously unseen “door” into the field without being crushed by the feeling that it’s all so tiresome in its appearance.

Similarly, if you take a math concept like the square root of minus one, think of it as an imaginary “unicorn” of the mind, then how is it that it appears constantly in all science and math such as Euler’s equation, Schrödinger’s equation, electrical engineering textbooks, etc.

How can something so elusive be so useful?

This “pre-understanding” quest or detour or episode could give you, the student, a deep nudge through a hidden window or door into “math world.”
Without this “trampoline of pre-understanding,” an “ocean of math intricacy” seems to loom before you.

Education: Disease, History and Lit

The Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio lived through the plague as it ravaged the city of Florence in 1348. The experience inspired him to write The Decameron.

The Plague of 1665 in England was a major upheaval affecting Isaac Newton’s life.

The 1984 movie, A Passage to India (David Lean) set in 1920s India, has a scene where the ever-present lethal threat of cholera is discussed as Doctor Aziz lies sick of a fever.

The W. Somerset Maugham novel, The Painted Veil (2006 movie) is also about cholera in the Chinese countryside in the 1920s.

Manzoni’s 1827 The Betrothed, the most famous classic novel of Italian literature, centers on the plague to drive the story.


Etymologically, the term “pest” derives from the Latin word “pestis” (pest, plague, curse). Hardly any disease had such cultural and historical relevance as the bubonic plague. Throughout the centuries, the plague was the most terrifying infectious contagious disease which generated a series of demographic crises. The plague epidemics influenced the evolution of society biologically and culturally speaking. The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, is estimated to have killed 30%–60% of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as having created a series of religious, social and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover.

The plague returned at various times, killing more people, until it left Europe in the 19th century. Modern epidemiology (Dr. John Snow, London) has its roots in cholera management and water sanitation as well as waste management.

Education involves seeing disease as a major protagonist in all history and not as a footnote.

The classic Plagues and Peoples should accordingly be studied by every student: Plagues and Peoples is a book on epidemiological history by William Hardy McNeill, published in 1976.

It was a critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of the extraordinary impact of infectious disease on cultures and world history itself.

Education via Strands of Great Books

Booth Tarkington’s novel The Magnificent Ambersons is very informative and educational precisely because it weaves together, in a “braid of insightfulness,” the various truths and phenomena of a life which have to be “taken together” to form a “cluster of understanding,” which is a pillar of what we are attempting to teach.

Life as a Social Status Olympics. The Death Scene of Major Amberson

“And now Major Amberson was engaged in the profoundest thinking of his life.

And he realized that everything which had worried him or delighted him during this lifetime, all his buying and building and trading and banking, that it was all trifling and waste beside what concerned him now.

For the Major knew now that he had to plan how to enter an unknown country where he was not even sure of being recognized as an Amberson.”

(The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington, Orson Welles’s 1942 film narration)

Time and Place. The World of 1873, the Financial Crisis and the Vicissitudes and the Tempo of Life

“The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet and everybody knew everybody else’s family horse and carriage. The only public conveyance was the streetcar. A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once, and wait for her, while she shut the window, put on her hat and coat, went downstairs, found an umbrella, told the ‘girl’ what to have for dinner and came forth from the house. Too slow for us nowadays, because the faster we’re carried, the less time we have to spare.”

(The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington, Orson Welles’s 1942 film narration)

Fickleness of Life and Its Ephemeral Nature

[Uncle Jack to George:] “Life and money both behave like loose quicksilver in a nest of cracks. When they’re gone, you can’t tell where—or what the devil we did with ’em.”

(The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington, Doubleday, Page, 1918, page 435)

Entrepreneurial Psychology

[Uncle Jack:] “Twenty years have passed–but have they? … My Lord! Old times starting all over again! My Lord!”

[Eugene:] “Old times? Not a bit! There aren’t any old times. When times are gone, they’re not old, they’re dead! There aren’t any times but new times!”

(The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington, Doubleday, Page, 1918, page 97-98)

The task is to “amalgamate” the points in great books into a sort of unified “braid.” That’s deep education. Booth Tarkington’s 1918 novel, The Magnificent Ambersons, is very informative and educational precisely because it weaves together, in a “braid of insightfulness,” the various truths and phenomena of a life which have to be “taken together” to form a “cluster of understanding,” a pillar of what we are attempting to teach.

Education and the Long-Term: Automation As Example

The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook

Chapter 2: The Challenge of Automation

“Since 1955 and the advent of automation, overtime has been detrimental to the workers. Again and again workers have been faced with the decision to work overtime or not to work overtime, and the decision has usually been: ‘To hell with those out of work. Let’s get the dollar while the dollar is gettable.’ The amazing thing is that this has nothing to do with the backwardness of these workers. Not only can they run production and think for themselves, but they sense and feel the changes in conditions way in advance of those who are supposed to be responsible for their welfare. But with all these abilities there is one big organic weakness. Over and over again workers in various shops and industries, faced with a critical issue, only divide and become disunited, even though they are well aware that they are being unprincipled and weakening their own cause as workers. Since the advent of automation there has not been any serious sentiment for striking, particularly if the strike was going to come at the expense of material things that the workers already had in their possession, like cars, refrigerators, TV sets, etc. They were not ready to make any serious sacrifices of these; they would rather sacrifice the issue. Between the personal things and the issue, they have chosen the personal. Most American workers have geared themselves to a standard of living that is based on a five-day week plus—either in the form of overtime or another job, part or full time. And any time this standard of living is threatened, it is a personal crisis, which means that more and more decisions are being personalized and individualized rather than collectivized and socialized.”

(The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook, James Boggs, Monthly Review Press, 1963, page 33)

As far back as 1963, with President John Kennedy in office, James Boggs (a Detroit autoworker) was already quite aware of automation and its challenges.

A “meta-intelligent” education means we learn from any sources available including “angry pamphlets” without worrying about the ideological blinders or fireworks because our desire is not to engage in polemics but to “extract signals” from a noisy world.

Chapter 2 of James Boggs’s pamphlet is called “The Challenge of Automation” and begins: “Since 1955 and the advent of automation, overtime has been detrimental to the workers…”

This immediately tells you that automation is a very long-run historical trend and should be seen in a larger sweep with history as your searchlight.

Indeed the famous German classic The Weavers by Gerhart Hauptmann is about machines as a threat to employment:

The Weavers (German: Die Weber, Silesian German: De Waber) is a play written by the German playwright Gerhart Hauptmann in 1892. The play sympathetically portrays a group of Silesian weavers who staged an uprising during the 1840s due to their concerns about the Industrial Revolution and replacement by machines and automation.

In 1927, it was adapted into a German silent film The Weavers, directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Paul Wegener.

A Broadway version of The Weavers was staged in 1915–1916.

To dismiss all such movements and revolts as Luddite-like is not useful since it sweeps legitimate problems under the rug.

This includes Ernst Toller’s classic The Machine Wreckers (German: Die Maschinenstürmer). Two of his early plays were produced in this period: The Machine Wreckers (1922), whose opening night in 1937 he attended, and No More Peace, produced in 1937 by the Federal Theatre Project and presented in New York City in 1938.

All of these critiques of machines and automation are part of a long-term historical overview of machines and jobs and in our time, robotics and AI, etc which should be analyzed as a trajectory and arc where “machine wreckers” à la Hauptmann or Toller are understood empathetically and realistically and not dismissed as vandals.

Education and the Kinds of Wholeness

We have stated several times that we seek more educational holism in particular, the tentative kind made by students themselves after they study these “exercises in holism.” Let’s explore this.

There’s a short story by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904), a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. In his classic “A Boring Story,” he tells the reader about his inner yearning for some wholeness in his life:

“In my predilection for science, in my wish to live, in this siting on a strange bed and trying to know myself, in all the thoughts, feelings and conceptions I form about everything, something general is lacking that would unite it all into a single whole.

Each feeling and thought lives separately in me, and in all my opinions about science, the theater, literature, students, and in all the pictures drawn by my imagination, even the most skillful analyst would be unable to find what is known as a general idea or the god of the living man.

And if there isn’t that. there’s nothing.”

(Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (translators), Modern Library, 2000, page 104, “A Boring Story”)

The author wants to unite everything (i.e., “something general is lacking that would unite it all into a single whole,” as he puts it).

This is not what we have in mind because there is no “scheme of things” or “unified field theory” that we impart to students. That is for various kinds of “madrasas” (Arabic: مدرسة) including secular ones.

Rather, we encourage students to “walk around” topics, fields, educations, discussions, books, movies, quizzes and exams, lectures, assignments to develop a more “circum-spective” view of knowledge.

Remember “Husserl’s rhomboid.” Edmund Husserl (Heidegger’s teacher, died in 1938) would bring a matchbox to his classes in Germany and get students in his classroom to see that one cannot view the whole matchbox at once nor can rotating it capture all of it. Parts are visible, the whole matchbox is not.

We apply this principle to education and knowledge acquisition and offer the mental habit for students of “homemade” exercises in making more holistic views.

The narrator in Chekhov’s story, yearning to have a god-like view of reality and knowledge and experience (theatre, science, etc.) as a unified “thing” is not our interest since it too elusive.

William James (died in 1910) says several times in his writings that “one mind can’t swallow the whole of reality.” Therefore we avoid such “totalizing” visions in favor of much more modest attempts at connecting things better.

Education and Holism from Day 1

A freshman enters a college whether in the U.S. or Japan or India or Brazil.

We keep trying to offer the view that holism must “rule” the discovery of a “major” or “field” in education.

This holism means placing on the “mental plate in front of the student” these dimensions of reality, considering that every student is first and always a person.

  1. “This is your life.” Every person (the predecessor to being a student) is born, lives and dies. Your education is part of this larger truth and you the student, being shrewd in the largest sense, wants to “factor in” the larger frameworks of book-learning (i.e., life itself).
  2. Shrewdness cannot be restricted to a ZIP code in a state that will be advantageous income-wise for orthodontists, divorce lawyers or pediatricians. Concern over “ZIP codes” when starting a career is fine and valid. However, it can’t be enough since the student is, as a person, more than a career “Olympic swimmer.”
  3. Micro-shrewdness (i.e., career tactics and smarts) has to be supplemented by “macro-shrewdness” (“this is my life” thinking). You have to carry some “enchantment” from your education with you, or the life you have will be desiccated or insipid. Ultimately, you will “outsmart” yourself.

Max Weber (died in 1920), the great sociologist, says of that modern world that it involves “Entzauberung” (disenchantment, where only technical cost-benefit thinking is seen as valid). This Weber insight tells you that a student/person has to find something enchanting to carry him or her through life, its blows and its helter-skelter “shapelessness.”

This is why we “insist” on holism in education everywhere from Day 1 so that these various levels of shrewdness are contemplated together and overspecialized “rabbit holes” are seen more clearly in their limitedness. The process of overview-creating and overview-pondering in the life of every freshman must be combined with “career-cleverness” by itself.

Two Kinds of Extra Understanding: Pre and Post

We argue here in this proposal for an educational remedy that two dimensions of understanding must be added to “retro-fit” education.

In the first addition, call it pre-understanding, a student is given an overview not only of the field but of his or her life as well as the “techno-commercial” environment that characterizes the globe.

Pre-understanding includes such “overall cautions” offered to you by Calderón de la Barca’s 17th century classic Spanish play, Life is a Dream (SpanishLa vida es sueño). A student would perhaps ask: “what would it be like if I faced this “dreamlike quality” of life, as shown by the Spanish play, and suddenly realized that a life of “perfect myopia” is not what I want.

Hannah Arendt warns similarly of a life “like a leaf in the whirlwind of time.”

Again, I, the student ask: do I want such a Hannah Arendt-type leaf-in-the-whirlwind-like life, buried further under Calderón de la Barca’s “dream state”?

But that’s not all: while I’m learning about these “life dangers,” all around me from my block to the whole world, humanity does its “techno-commerce” via container ships and robots, hundreds of millions of vehicles and smartphones, multilateral exchange rates, and tariff policies. Real understanding has one eye on the personal and the other on the impersonal and not one or the other.

All of these personal and impersonal layers of the full truth must be faced and followed, “en face,” as they say in French (i.e., “without blinking”).

Call all this pre-understanding which includes of course a sense of how my “field” or major or concentration fits into the “architecture of knowledge” and not in isolation without connections or a “ramification structure.”

Post-understanding comes from the other end: my lifelong effort, after just about all that I learned about the six wives of King Henry VIII and the “mean value theorem”/Rolle’s theorem in freshman math, have been completely forgotten and have utterly evaporated in my mind, to re-understand my life and times and book-learning.

Pre-and post-understanding together allows the Wittgenstein phenomenon of “light falls gradually over the whole.”

Without these deeper dimensions of educational remedy, the student as a person would mostly stumble from “pillar to post” with “perfect myopia.” Education mostly adds to all the “fragmentariness” of the modern world and is in that sense, incomplete or even disorienting.

Education in this deep sense is supposed to be the antidote to this overall sense of modern “shapelessness,” to use Kierkegaard’s term.