In my high school, there was a unique and well-recognized teacher, Dr. McNamara. He was afforded the utmost respect among his colleagues – a wary and fearful avoidance, coupled with the public suggestion that he was a bit off in some subtle way.
His class was one of the most unorthodox – it ruined me in many ways from an orthodox and proper educational pathway. In modern language, he offered the Red Pill of the Matrix lore.
You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
In education, there should be two pathways – the Blue (pill) and the Red (pill). In many ways, in fact, that concept is deep roots back to St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching and the study of the Scholastics.
Do you want to become part of how it works, a successful part of how it works – or do you dare to know how it works, to see how it works? But a warning; very little satisfaction and happiness comes from the latter pathway.
You may choose one; or rather, not choose any, and default to the first pathway. It is soothing and comfortable.
But Doc Mac secretly made us read subversive literature – one of the most subversive texts I have read. I read Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Postman and Weingardner; and AS Neill’s Summerhill. Those were very damaging to the possibility of following the comfortable pathway. But one work stood out.
(to be continued)