Transforming Education into a Reflex

Transforming Education into a Reflex

We are born and we die, and in between we live a life cycle where we learn stuff to ensure the longevity and the quality of our survival between the above mentioned vital milestones. Learning starts as early as life and ends only when we die. And in seldom cases, learning goes on even after we die (if we donate our cadavers to medical students where they are the ones who do the learning). That’s one of the reasons why learning is so crucial!

Before we begin to learn any of the serious stuff, we activate our built-in reflexes that ensure our survival as babies, like sucking, swallowing, grasping and crawling. That’s basically how babies can breathe, eat and drink and move (crawl) to their mother’s breasts when placed on their stomachs to hold (grasp) the organic milk dispenser and get (suck and swallow) the milk flowing without needing an external instructor, a whiteboard or any homework.

Then, we develop (or can we say learn here?) more complex reflexes, which are basically motor reflexes acquired by repetitive responses like what chain of actions we follow after learning how to ride a bike, or how we jam the brakes when we see an object on our path while speeding. Why we don’t actually think of hitting the brakes rather than just doing it, is what makes this, a reflex. Just think about walking! It would be insane to think about the every step you take; left foot forward, right foot forward… heels first upon contacting the ground, toes springing upward upon leaving the ground…

First-steps
Image source: Healthline

Weirdly enough, most of the time, we don’t have a recollection of the learning processes that we have mastered and became reflexes, like walking. Perhaps it is so, as the learning process took a long time ago and we tend to have little to less memories of our infancy… or perhaps we have undergone a completely different learning process which is way different from how we are taught in traditional schools following outdated norms that have not changed for ages.

Imagine a classroom of 20 or so infants, each having a different cultural background, interest, motivation and tiny, little distractions crawling next to each other… and just one teacher battling to do her job; trying to teach to the middle ground by putting on educative, audiovisual material on play before the students are saved by the bell they have been longing for.

Perhaps, we should find ways to transform learning into a reflex!

On a personal level, what we intend to learn must be turned into fun, we should also ditch our fears of failure and lose our prejudices for an effective learning process.

But, what can be done on a global level?

Learning has to be in the most natural way possible, so we may consider…

… getting rid of prison-cell feeling indoor classrooms with badly styled furniture, as they are not usually comfy enough to keep students focused on the subject matter…

… keeping lesson duration to what’s in focus and shorten or lengthen the duration accordingly. Besides, students lose focus after a certain time…

… having a smaller number of students grouped by their learning styles. It doesn’t take 15 people to change a light-bulb, but somehow educators seem to be expecting the exact outcome. Having less and like-minded students will provide them equal opportunities to actually learn something…

… encouraging students to ask questions. The current education system fails at this as younger students, cooped up in with indifferent peers, often refrain from asking anything, afraid their friends will make fun of them and older students are mostly lectured in giant halls with 100+ other people, where education is always on a tight schedule…

… losing the concept of daily homework, or at least modifying it greatly. As working adults, the happiest and the most productive times at work are when we don’t stay overtime or bring work to home. Think about bringing work home every single day!

… finding alternative ways of rewarding and grading students. In real life, we don’t get grades on our acquired reflexes like walking, etc…

… rewarding creative thinking, questioning and such skills, not having students memorize and copy-paste what the textbook says… Originality denies copy-pasting!


In real life, we can learn a foreign language better when we travel to the target country and immerse with the culture…and weirdly enough what is taught and what is natural can be completely different:

Which line is better when we order a cup of coffee in a cafe abroad?

“Excuse me! I would like to have a cup of coffee, please.” (What is taught)

versus

“Hello! Coffee, please.” (What people actually say)

We can learn about basic math better when we start using money, rather than adding up, subtracting, multiplying or dividing insignificant numbers…

Look at the math problem below that a young student may encounter at school:

“Carol has five eggs and she gives 2 of them to her friend Pedro. How many eggs does Carol have now?”

Math problems at current schools like the one above never work for most students like I was, as I cannot stop myself from trying to figure out other questions unrelated and irrelevant to the real problem such as…

Who are Carol and Pedro?

Why does Carol have eggs in the first place?

Why does she give two to Pedro?

Are they close friends or not?

What will Pedro do with the two eggs he now possesses?

(Perhaps, I am the odd one out here as I have never given or received any eggs from a friend before).

We can learn about world geography better when we start visiting different countries and learning from the source…

We can learn about history better by visiting historical sites rather than reading about them in a textbook accompanied with a crappy image…

textbook
A descriptive image of a place found in an actual textbook!

We can learn about psychology better by interacting with people, and just by listening to them (assuming they would do the same)…

We can learn about biology better by spending some time on farms or by going camping…

We can learn everything better if we live through it! And repetitive, personal experience is what transforms an action into a reflex!

If you think the above methods require loads of money, just think about how much each country annually spends on the outdated education system that doesn’t really teach.

Vampire Philosophy: Thought Shard no:566, On Change and Humanly Love…

Vampire Philosophy: Thought Shard no:566, On Change and Humanly Love…

Throughout history, philosophers have been tackling problems relating to a variety of subjects like existence, society, political theory, ethics, values, art, epistemology etc. As most of philosophy is directly questioning aspects of human life and its relations to other matters like the ones mentioned earlier, it can be objective only up to a degree as we are all human after all. What we lack is total objectivity, which can only be possible by viewing these matters from a completely different perspective; a non-human one. This series of texts (recordings) attempts to question us from a unique perspective with a vampiric touch to all matters that matter to us…

vampire-dance

“Greetings Human!

I am Lyzette leaving this recording in the Highgate Cemetary as a reflection of our thoughts; the vampire perspective. This is thought shard number 566, recorded in 1449 AD, based on our perception of change and humanly love.

Sadly, unconditional and eternal love AKA true love does not exist in your world. It is just as a myth to you as we, Strigoi are. False assumptions, ignorance, unawareness and illusions mislead you into believing its existence, just like those of you who are convinced we, vampires can turn into bats. Here, our transformation into bats is just in your minds, not in the physical world bound by unbreakable no transformation rules. However, change is different. Much slower but more effective in the long run.

Your world is fueled by change. You survive by changes of all kinds, in every aspect. You change in size as you grow from infancy to adulthood. Your early ideas are reshaped by influence of your teenage idols whereas your desires, dreams and demands are altered by personal experience as you get older. And yet, you choose to believe in eternal, unconditional love when everything in and around you is dependent on conditions that change constantly. And that’s not all, as constant change occurs in both parties. Now, tell me how true love is possible! If it indeed were, you would still be chasing the first soul you ever kissed or held hands with.

You only fall in love with illusions… or the perfect versions of the people who you think you are in love with. When you realize the initial feelings are withering away, you try to remodel your beloved into a glorified image of a dream. The perfect image shatters as both parties push each other away unwillingly.

In an ideal case of true love, jealousy would never reside in the minds of the lovers as each party is confident of themselves to make the other party much happier than anyone else ever could. Knowing that nobody else could claim that special spot in the other’s heart. Or… in the event that the lovers grew apart, the more loving party would just let go of the other rather than obsessing themselves to win them back. They would know that letting go would make the other party happy. Wasn’t true love about making each other happy?

In short, true love does not exist because of the fact that change is unavoidable as time cannot be stopped. The only way to pause time briefly is through reliving the good memories over and over again until they aren’t vivid as before. And that’s exactly what you think love is…

The next thought shard can be found buried deep beneath the Sphinx in modern Egypt.

End of transfer.”

vampire-love

Vampire Philosophy: Thought Shard no:434, On Death and Immortality…

Vampire Philosophy: Thought Shard no:434, On Death and Immortality…

Throughout history, philosophers have been tackling problems relating to a variety of subjects like existence, society, political theory, ethics, values, art, epistemology etc. As most of philosophy is directly questioning aspects of human life and its relations to other matters like the ones mentioned earlier, it can be objective only up to a degree as we are all human after all. What we lack is total objectivity, which can only be possible by viewing these matters from a completely different perspective; a non-human one. This series of texts (recordings) attempts to question us from a unique perspective with a vampiric touch to all matters that matter to us…

death-venice

“Greetings Human!

I am Torbyn leaving this recording in the cave of Lascaux as a reflection of our thoughts; the vampire perspective. This is thought shard number 434, recorded in 1218 AD, based on our perception of death and immortality.

Immortality! Outliving time itself. The long lasting dream of all mankind… Fortunately, all living things die. An end adds immense beauty, value to eternal boredom. As immortals, we, the Strigoi, see life like a never-ending mystery book, with all its mysteries revealed in the early chapters. When there’s nothing more to explore, everything loses meaning, but you keep going out of habit.

You reproduce and transfer your knowledge and values to your young, making them fresh, mini copies of yourselves…

You create works of art, to take place in history, not to be forgotten, living through eternity the best you can… and if you lack the talent for art, you become a politician…

You advance in technology, trying to prolong your life span fighting diseases… a world with limited resources throw at you…

Even what seems like an innocent act where young human couples carve their love onto tree trunks, is nothing more than a feeble attempt at immortality… the love dies but the curvy symbol and the initials around it, do not… is this the immortality you wish upon? Immortality of teen regrets?

Despite all these, you cannot even convince yourself of your dream… as you spell it the same way as its opposing concept: “Immortal versus I’m mortal!” or a similar concept with a slight change of letters: “death versus breath”.

Death is unknown to you until you die and delving into the unknown scares you… yet, it’s the same you, trying to explore the mysteries of the universe. Two unknowns, two completely different reactions… how delusional of you!

The next thought shard can be found in Highgate Cemetary in modern London.

End of transfer.”

dance-of-death-1490

Redefining Death: A Contemporary Guide

Redefining Death: A Contemporary Guide

As persistent seekers of healthy, prolonged lives and even immortality in the modern ages, we, mortals have always feared “death” as it means a definitive full-stop to what we have valued the most: Life…

But, what is death?

1_Grim-Reaper

According to most dictionaries, “death” is the end of life…

For me, it’s “ceasing to exist in the former plane of existence”… but, I am not all into the heaven-hell thing as I believe those two opposite concepts were designed to direct the majority of the human race into doing good deeds, so that all good-doers are led to believe they will have their afterlife retirement lying in endless flower fields above the clouds, drinking mulled wine from its rivers and having sex for eternity (and that is without the help of Viagra for the elderly men). The evil-doers, on the other hand, will burn in agony for eternity

Eternity? A concept valid for both heaven and hell? Wait! Living for eternity is achieving “immortality” Wasn’t that our final goal? Our seemingly impossible dream? To be immortal? Is reaching our final goal through “death”? Or, was the whole concept of immortality just an unintended word play, the creation of a concept due to bad punctuation and spacing (as in “Immortal” vs. “I’m mortal”)? 

Anyway, going to heaven sounds fun, right?

heaven1

Then, why do we feel so down and depressed when we bid farewell to our loved ones on their voyage to a better place? Are we worried they might end up in hell? Are we just selfish for not being happy for them? Or do we secretly know that heaven does not exist? Who knows…

On another note,

As I said before, “death” is ceasing to exist and it happens to our loved ones all the time and in numerous other ways as well, like:

  • when we break up with a partner and never want to see each other again… or
  • when a loved one moves across the globe for a job opportunity, etc…
  • when someone we trust wrongs us in an unacceptable way…

The people in above cases “cease to exist” just like how I perceive “death”… and in all cases time heals us, gradually soothing the pain. The question here, is how we deal with the sudden loss… do we cry our eyes out until they dry out? do we surrender to booze or other similar ways to dull the pain? or do we seek their familiarity in the experiences of our daily lives and remember how they made us feel? No matter how we might grieve, time is always there for assistance…

As a final thought, I must say “death” according to me is like a paradox similar to the Schrodinger’s Cat… we can never know for sure if our deceased, loved ones are happy or not on a different plane of existence… until we are certain of their fate, they may very well be both happy and not…

Scripted Lives; 5 Acts, not a play…

Scripted Lives; 5 Acts, not a play…

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…
                                                                                   William Shakespeare

typewriter-1462562605lig

Act 1…
The man sees an attractive, young woman sitting alone at the bar. He moves to a better vantage point where he can see her face clearly and throws her a sneak look accompanied by a soft smile. The woman smiles back without breaking eye contact (If she doesn’t, the man starts from square one with a different actor). It’s the cue for the man to make a move. He does.

Act 2…
The man engages in small talk about the weather in the last few days. The woman agrees with a few comments of her own. They seem to have an excellent time although neither is into meteorology. The man offers to buy her a drink… one more of whatever she’s having. They start laughing at everything. Being funny ceases to be a requirement after this point.

Act 3…
They leave the bar together and go to whoever’s house is closer. They have sex. The man whispers how beautiful the woman is into the nearest ear. The woman instructs the man to go faster… or harder… or however she wants it.

Act 4…
They discover common hobbies, feel safe and loved in each other’s arms, and decide to go for a romantic relationship. The man buys her presents, the woman makes frequent surprises to him. The love between them is so profound that jealousy starts ruling the relationship!!! (Really ironic this one… As when couples love each other, they should develop trust not jealousy). They decide to get married though. After all, marriage is a sort of guarantee that they won’t cheat on one another, right?

Act 5…
As they can’t stand each other after countless fits; the man and the woman go for a divorce. After the mourning phase (or the relief), each return to Act 1 separately and play the same game expecting different results.

Just like theatrical plays, the illusion called life relies heavily on inter-human relationships…

Now, stop here for a moment and think about how you interact with other people…

Is every decision you make, truly yours? Does every word you say, belong to you?

or

Do we make choices in our relationships with others and carry on upon pre-taught thinking?

Acting out scenes with pre-written scripts like some untalented actors?

There are various books on pick up lines out in the market for the socially-challenged… Pieces of script, just in need of personal fillers.

Imagine reading a book or watching a film for the thousandth time… knowing the ending, but still trying to enjoy it, hoping the outcome would be different. It’s sheer disappointment as it’s the same title with a different set of characters after all.

Why do we do this?

Why do we keep on living li(v)es of who we are not?

Abortion of the Inner Child

Abortion of the Inner Child

innerchild

We are born as small, cute and cuddly creatures; totally naked as there’s nothing to hide or be ashamed of, in this new, alien world. Soon as we start growing up, we display our emotions in the forms of genuine laughters or cries as honesty is always default at earlier ages. We are amazed by fireworks, cartoons etc. and believe in fairies, angels, monsters…

As children, we have huge dreams although our under-grown bodies have very limited capabilities. We are taught how to poop for instance. We think we can accomplish anything, but we are never given a chance. Our dreams get older and wither much faster than our bodies and brains.

Just as we reach our golden ages, we find out that we have to go to school and blend with the society and its unspoken rules. Just like all the junk in Pandora’s box, school teaches us useful stuff like reciting the periodic table!, as well as what’s right according to them and how to lie. All the contents of the education box are unleashed into our spongy, egg-shelled minds. Still, it never teaches us how to make deep, honest connections with others and be happy in life.

Late school era friendships start relying on selfish and personal interests. Most of us have friends so that we can show the world we are better than our buddies. We become jealous beings which will actually be the force that drives us into struggling to achieve so-called success in later life.

We graduate. We get jobs, routine becomes our thing. We work hard to afford things we don’t really need. We get bored and boring at the same time and start judging the few people, who are still clinging onto their dreams and inner child, as being immature and not acting their age. Perhaps it’s the big ball of fury and jealousy they have against us (Yes, I am with child) just because they have had an untimely abortion of their inner child.

We finally reach an age when most people expect us to die. It’s only then, we revert back to our childhood and do stuff which is considered stupid by the norms of the modern society. Luckily, old age is a great excuse to be truly ourselves just like back when we were children. But, in fact we have missed a whole chunk (the long, middle part) of our lives. The inner child has been reborn but sadly it doesn’t have much time now as it’s connected to our physical bodies. We never die alone in the end.

Magic ceased to exist for most people long ago whereas it’s all around us… just give a long hug to an upset person without uttering gibberish like “I know what you feel” or talk to your plants daily and observe the change. We are all magicians if we believe we are.

So, next time you see a child disguised in an adult meat suit,

…helplessly trying to tie their trainers…

Or…

…gaping with awe to their surroundings in a toddler’s toy shop…

Or…

…smiling upon listening to a well-known fairy tale they had heard 100 times before…

Or…

…cooking in the messiest way possible…

Just look them in the eye and hug them.

Love is all we need after all.

The Illusion of Freedom

The Illusion of Freedom
iStock-491714624

 

Freedom exists in…


… schoolbooks,
… dictionaries,
… fairy tales,
… video games,
… dreams,

 

Or

 

… in the little daily choices we make, like having a pizza for lunch or going for a burger… and that’s only if our dietary restrictions allow us…

 

For more complex choices , the society we’ve been forced to live in by so called ‘free will’ makes the decisions…

 

With friendly imperatives starting with “Don’t…”

 

  • “…wear that…”
  • “…eat that…”
  • “…drink (that)…”
  • “…smoke (that)…”
  • “…be different…”
  • “…be weird, people are watching…”

 

All the demonstrative ‘that’ chunks uttered above vaguely indicate that they were actually remote choices of both the wrong-doer and their angelic companion bound by the unspoken rules of the society we may feel so detached from.

 

Most of us have the illusion of ‘being free as birds’, but the question is “Are birds really free?”

 

“Are they?”

 

They can fly, but so can we… by planes…

 

And that sums about everything they can do freely. They can’t swim, dive, run, write, make instrumental music, paint or have a pizza takeout etc.

 

So, why does it feel like they are the free ones?

Mixology 101

Mixology 101

gummybears

Sometimes writing does not have a purpose other than to entertain only the author himself. The piece below falls exactly under that category. Read it if you wish… but don’t expect a moral, life lessons, or whatever you expect from the stream of consciousness of a not-so-sane writer…

 

Welcome to the world of mixing up! The true essence of life and the world we live in!!!

 

Let’s start with basic emotions like joy and despair…

 

… and see how it goes by mixing the two and experiencing something totally overwhelming:

 

A standard smile involves 13 different facial muscles affecting the mouth, the lips, the cheeks, the nose and the eyes working together. Crying is a different case as each person’s style of shedding tears is distinctive so it can be a number of muscles ranging from 12 to 20 throughout your body (including a set of muscles in the abdomen and yes, I am making the number up). Now, think about crying out of joy. You may never need to go to a gym ever to work on your abdomen if you’re over-emotional.

 

Differences create art whether it’s painting,, music or some culinary magic:

 

Colours are not as meaningful on a virgin canvas when used solo. Masterpieces are created with a maelstrom of brush strokes involving a rainbow of colours. Well, even rainbows have much more than a single hue.

 

A single instrument can create good music, and feed your soul, but a band of instruments is a feast, a banquet involving no calories.

 

A tablespoon of salt is almost never consumed on its own as it’s… hmmm… too salty! But, when it goes into any kind of meal, it brings out the flavour.

 

Yin Yang! Life is indeed a giant mixture of everything. Try some alchemy in your life.

The Divine Emotions Factory

The Divine Emotions Factory
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Somewhere over the rainbow… in the divine emotions factory…. naked bodies of various races, sexes and builts with freshly installed souls move on an angelic conveyor belt, waiting for basic and advanced emotions to be imprinted into their existence. The invisible tattooing of the soul… The final ingredients to be implemented before we’re dispatched into the battlegrounds called life… In full armour… To take place in a losing battle…

 

Each body with a semi-blank soul armed only with fear, surprise and disgust reaches the ultimate needle at the end of its short journey… where more advanced emotions like jealousy, wrath and happiness (P.S: Paul Ekman was wrong.) are engraved… But, just like a tri-colour ink cartridge that went totally dry, the needle penetrates the soul with no outcome other than pain…

 

The angel in charge must have taken a piss. They pee, too… The damage is done in pee time… Where did you think all that rain came from? (It’s a pity that cheesiness is just built into every soul by default…)

 

Just before the dispatch, the horrendous error is acknowledged… It would be like sending an egg-shell-minded,defenseless child into a warzone. But, luckily there’s a hack:

 

Jealousy: Ignored completely…
Wrath: Rerouted to self…
Happiness: Reprogrammed to be copied from other souls…

 

An empath is born…

 

But the world is still not a better place…

Fear of Being Forgotten and Other Immortality Issues…

Fear of Being Forgotten and Other Immortality Issues…

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Memory is a tricky bitch on extremes as we tend to remember either only the very best moments of our lives or the most shitty ones for the rest of our days. Any memory in between is just a vague one, bound to wither away soon after they are made. Like faulty productions of the mind taken to an abandoned slaughterhouse, to make space for proper, more memorable ones.


Seriously, nobody commemorates five days after their insignificant thirteenth birthday, when they had a mediocre steak sandwich on a dull day, with a cousin they thought little of. That’s exactly why we want to make good memories not only for us, but for other people around us… just for the sake of being remembered or simply not being forgotten.


 

As mentioned before memories are only immortal if they’re on extremes. We can choose to be either super-nice or plain assholes. We can be the new Florence Nightingale or the next Hitler. There’s no grey in Yin Yang and there’s certainly no place for average Joes in memories. To survive in memories and not to fade away, we have to pick sides.


So, what are we trying to achieve here?


Eternal life or a mere illusion?


Ancient gods allegedly leashed catastrophes upon Earth, where they are still alive and kicking inside mythological books, residing in the minds of religiously-driven individuals. How come people heard of Gilgamesh from a totally different geography from thousands of years ago and not their own great grand father who was probably a simple farmer as well as their reason of existence, couple of blocks (farms) away? What makes us a god? What makes us a hero? What resets us to zero?


Artists create masterpieces, to mark their presence onto the timeline and to carry their names into next generations.The irony is that their masterpieces surpass their intended personal fame and remembrance. Who knows jackshit about Picasso’s dad, Monet’s granny or Charlie Chaplin’s real parents? (You didn’t even know he was an orphan, did you?)


Ordinary people make children. Mini versions of themselves to be immortal. To be living forever in the egg-shelled minds of their offspring who won’t even care who had shagged who to create them when they reach an able-minded age to think about their own survival.


And there!!! Overpopulation contributed by each like-minded individual for the sake of being remembered leads to hunger, unemployment and even pollution. So, the cost of just wanting to be remembered is actually the cause of most current world issues.


Someone once asked me why I tried to make them happy without wanting anything in return. Perhaps, I just want to be remembered by someone without causing any global issues.