Education as Pre-Political and The Living Curriculum

If we think of politic as involving the recruitment of support for a particular perspective, idea or project amongst a group of people – a polis – then the state of education can be understood as pre-political. This is in juxtaposition to indoctrination – the use of intrigue through rhetoric, eristics, misinformation and peer pressures. For the learner not having the sufficient knowledge on a given matter may be understood as in a pre-political state – undecided, uninformed, unaware.


The idea that all things are political seems to be a category error in this notionalising in contrast to the idea that all things can be political. This is to suggest that saying all things are chemical holds similar category errors; whilst it can be argued that all things may be related to through the subject field of chemistry it would be discounting the nuanced variances which bring about the creation of a unique set of language designed to articulate something for which the language of another field fails to give sufficient articulation to.


In this way we cannot successfully functionalist all things in politics by using the language of chemistry. It is not to say that fields of knowledge – knowingness – cannot or do not intersect or interrelate. This takes the argument that humans are not the measure of all things and gives equal status to all things. A human may exist independently of a group – polis – certainly between moments interspersed in time in the relation to the group in an island of their own and that humans pre-date the group as a polis – ‘city’.


These states are sufficient warrant for giving proof of the pre-political state. In formulating education in a line of conception argues that it is not to indoctrinate a learner to a way of thinking but to prompt the deliberative skills and capacities needed to look out into the universe and formulate their own opinion on a matter prior to committing to an action in the world which may or may not relate to another human being.


It is argued that a significant part of knowledge – knowingness – necessarily involved the dialoguing of a learner with an other and that communicating that knowingness to an other is a part of the process of forming knowledge; but in this case the other may not necessarily be human just that the something which is an ‘other’ be in existence and capable of being known, and that the process of communicating may be understood as communing and corresponding in a meaningful way so as to give affirmations on the correctness of an idea.


Communicating may also not be about the qualities of politics – rhetoric and reciprocating of view or a common project; it may be explorative or play based which serves other purposes. This is why the idea of education in Ragged University by necessity is not a political project but in its origin orienting around a pre-political process of education articulating a practical philosophy which embodies a living curriculum using the common instruments of knowledge available to everyone.


It’s concerns are rooted in what is beyond humans as much as it concerns humans being in the universe. All things that come of humans can be seen as ‘human theatre’ and there is education which exists beyond that relation of the individual to society. It can be understood as connected with learning as part of an evolutionary process, as part of human development seated in cooperation and companionship.


The Living Curriculum

Curriculum: “a course, especially a fixed course of study at a college, university or school,” 1824, from a Modern Latin transferred use of classical Latin Curriculum “a running, course, career” (also “a fast chariot, racing car), from currere “to run” (from PIE root * kers – “to run”). Used in English as a Latin word since 1630s at Scottish Universities.

Information drawn from Etymology Online


The movement of planned educational activities from an instance to a series is expressed in a curriculum. It is in the activity of shifting between perspectives that learning comes from knowingness and knowledge transpires as memorable artefacts of experience – discrete distillations articulated and coded into ‘memories’ – from which collections accrue through processes of knowledge building incidental and intra-woven into the experience of being; life observing life. The experience of being in this context relates to the notion of trying, an effort involving observing which leads to knowing, knowingness and knowledge.


Experience (n.): late 14c “observation as the source of knowledge, actual observation; an event which has affected one,” from old French esperience “experiment, proof, experience” (13 c.) from Latin experientia “a trial, proof, experiment; knowledge gained by repeated trials, “from experientem (nominative experiens) “experienced, enterprising, active, industrious, “present participle of experiri “to try, test” from ex “out of” (see ex-) + peritus “experienced, tested,” from PIE * per-yo- suffixed form of root * per-(3) “to try, risk” meaning “state of having done something and gotten handy at it” is from late 15c.

Information drawn from Etymology Online


In the effort of observing is the accruing of and development of expertise through being affected; here affect expressing the mode of affirmation of our being – a sense of the universe emoting. This basic philosophical foundation of educational activity underlies its expansion into planned series – engaging in a process of directed sequences of things that follow; activities directed for curated purpose in order to give rise to necessary experience which provides information relevant to sufficiently apprehend a subject for what goals are set; goals which are understood through application and rehearsal of codified distillations of experience; maps of a territory which are refined and elaborated on, crafted over time with efforts to verify the likeness of the knowledge with the likeness of the world as it is.


A curriculum can then be understood in terms of a series of objectives designed to produce in the mind a knowingness which extends a set of capabilities to encompass a field after which a dynamic set of goals can be exercised and demonstrated leading eventually to affirmative outcomes. A traditional curriculum might involve understanding a series of learning objectives accompanying a set of formalised exercises designed to scaffold a path from where the learner starts with their stores of knowledge and capacities, working through incremental steps – each proximal to their last capability achievement, eventually to a point in time where they have manifested a state of mind in which a complex modelling of knowledge allows them to make extensions on their knowledge via their imagination.


The imagination being the capability of the mind to create through varying means inferred possibilities; an artifice of the fabrication of thoughts informed, constructed and manufactured majorly of some kind of experience pressed into a form of knowingness.  Imagination is the art of creative extension of mind.



The Living Curriculum

Within life is found a living curriculum (a notion learned from and inspired by my lover) which contains all that is needed to know all the things which can be known. In itself life is the spyglass of the universe and all the tools and knowledge needed to understand the universe may be found therein. Things may be known and understood by their association, and by their association things may be known through what they are not.


It is through a process of elaboration and exploration that a person’s knowledge may develop, and through processes of development life adapts its form to its experience. We see this demonstrated through neuroplasticity and the strength development of muscles to exercising of capabilities. Exercising capabilities in particular terrains shapes the mind’s knowing to the terrains through the activities as efforts which have particular costs – that is, we come to know the external world partly though the logistical and resource changes which occur in the physical interior that acts as a sense apparatus quantifying experience.


There is a simultaneity, or are simultaneities in the juncture of being we are aware of in consciousness in the universe. The internal affects the external, the external affects the internal; the internal and the external are entangled and the external and the internal can be perceived to be distinct by means of patterns and boundaries within a greater whole. All are true and which configuration(s) we hold to and move between determine the artifices of knowingness – the knowledge which is created through the elucidated patterns.


Through observation of the living world we may discover in it all of knowledge and routes to understanding the subject fields of knowledge which have been laid out by the human theatre; subject fields made up of languages constructed around observation and the aims of building shared observation as a source of experience that tunes into the expanded capabilities of collectivised learning. Great stores of knowledge and wisdom are held in the peoples as companionships. The living curriculum may be understood as encompassing direct experience, the imagined extension of experience, shared collectivised learning, and tangled simultaneity.


A grain of sand
A grain of sand

Finding the Universe in a Grain of Sand

By taking a grain of sand it can be known where it was found, in what ecology it was a part, indicating bigger wholes; systems and forces which brought it to be what it is. The geology can be used to understand its history and its material nature reveal chemistry. Through this its being as silicon can be found spread throughout biology and life participating in living passage of animals and life forms that play parts in the history of evolution – the adaptations of things to the change inherent in existence.


Its place may reveal the absence or presence of humans and how a sandy bay gave rise to a diaspora of sea faring peoples who searched a coastline for a safe landing point in treacherous reefs and gave rise to a colonial outpost nee encampment nee later power that spread its reach up streams and water courses over time creating treaties of law, philosophy or cultivating new agricultural science learned from the animals and indigenous civilisations.


Human rights and ethics can be understood from the connections of the peoples to the land and the actions perpetrated on them by different actors around the resources of space and sand and minerals. We might find through a grain of sand the physics of bonding structure and how flows of electrons combined with other metals create certain irreducible mathematical patterns that can be used to curate a series of conditions whereby the flow of electrical charges through these atomic capacitors give rise to programmable arrays capable of doing computations.


At the same time a grain of sand might be understood in terms of its shape and geometry as to whether it has been blown across deserts long ago formed to fuse with other grains to engender a desert rose, a mineral composite which looks like a living flower. It can reveal the geopolitics of the right kind of sand needed to make cement with integrity; grains with fractured hard lined edges rather than small smoothed rondels which don’t make for good construction materials; materials that involve quicklime, a stuff which involves the use of huge amounts of energy and the production of equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide and disease causing pollutants. Materials that are scarce so that cartels steal whole beaches or obfuscate science surrounding environmental damage so that large financial economies can be generated….


By iteration and extension, faced with the world, the individual can start where they are at and as they directly interface with the reality at hand are presented with what they need to scaffold the learning of the curriculum. Stood before the evident reality the learner, or reader, will be able to assess what they know and what they do not know, identifying what proximal steps there are and gain a sense of what they must do in order to develop the knowledge they seek.


The wild form learning utilizes any and every means of learning adapting to circumstance. Learning in the world is free of many of the constraints of institutional learning but it lacks some of the resources of the institution. This can be compensated for significantly through strategies which acquire or use the resources of the institution whilst remaining independent of it. Some strategies which can be used include foraging, gleaning, scavenging, interviewing, library research, and conversation.