Tuesday, 25 October 2016

It’s a grey day here in Shoreditch

The sun cannot penetrate the clouds; it looks like it might rain; the air is chilly due to a moderate breeze coming in from… somewhere. Not a very nice day, and it is Tuesday. Well, I hope that is sufficiently negative for you. This view from my window. This dull grey view. However… please challenge me. You must. Don’t just accept what I am saying. How authentic is my view of the day? How valuable are my words?

There are no strong winds, no ice, no snow, no torrential rain, and no flood. The sun might be out later, and the breeze might drop, but so what if it doesn’t? Is there going to be any major impact on my life? And if it rains, it helps crops to grow. We need crops to grow don’t we?

Well, I hope that is sufficiently positive for you. Soon it will be Tuesday night and I will be home in a warm house. It sounds like you would be right to challenge my initial negativity. Then again, somewhere near here there will be a person sleeping rough, among the City splendour of towers of glass and steel. They will be wrapped up in a doorway probably not thinking of crops when it starts to rain. And so the pendulum swings. We live our personal lives in a world of subjectivity, which can be skewed and restricted but which makes life a little easier to understand and order, as it is based on elements of our own creation. However this view of the world may not be feasible beyond our own personal transactions.

‘Humanity’ and ‘Progress’ require of us something more… critical objectivity. A more truthful view of life which forms a solid foundation for humans to build upon. How truthful is that truthful view? I cannot say. What I do know is that through academic study we learn to see the world more as it really is, and less as it is convenient to see, and that this sets us free on so many levels. So I will now leave my subjectivity at the window and return to the critically objective world in my classroom, where student and teacher alike will enter a fascinating and noble world of discovery. Join us here at ECBM for some critical thinking!

Graham Harman-Baker

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