Page 1

Time: Public And Private

Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.

Caleb Gattegno

Newsletter

vol. XII no. 4

April 1983


First published in 1983. Reprinted in 2009. Copyright Š 1983-2009 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. Author: Caleb Gattegno All rights reserved ISBN 000-0-00000-000-0 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. 2nd Floor 99 University Place, New York, N.Y. 10003-4555 www.EducationalSolutions.com


Although time is such a pervasive component of our lives, it has remained one of the greatest challenges to thinkers of all generations. Generally, it has been considered to escape our grip because we cannot reduce it to some attributes more easily and more firmly grasped by our minds. On the contrary, all other challenges seem to require that we see them against the passage of time. In our descriptions of phenomena, the temporal coordinate seems inescapable, to the point that we share the view of Emmanuel Kant that it is one of the two a priori “forms� of our sensibility. The other one being space. By giving it that status we can quietly ignore it as a field of study. But, time continued and continues to nag us, asking to become more specifically and particularly the object of our attention. Students of extra-sensory phenomena have suggested that maybe time has a cardinal role to play in our understanding of what the physical sciences cannot account for. Still, the time referred to remained identified to the time of physics and progress is very slow in that direction. In the articles of this Newsletter the line followed has proved valuable on other occasions and may add some light in the study of this important field. News items report new developments in our services.


Table of Contents

1 My Time Rides Public Time ............................................... 1 2 Memory, Memories And My Past....................................... 7 3 Awareness Of Time: Moses, Consciousness & Conscience............................................15 4 Recovering Time ............................................................. 23 5 An Educator Invites You To Think................................... 29 News items ......................................................................... 35


1 My Time Rides Public Time

P.T. (public time) runs •

uniformly

irresistibly

irreversibly

with no concern for anybody nor anything

MY TIME (M.T.) •

has a special flavor for me

different meaning at different moments

a variable intensity which transforms the flow of P.T.

mitigates irreversibility through memory and evocations

can be changed into experiences which are inalienably my own and constitute my inner wealth

has its place in my inner life side by side with my will, my awareness, my sensitivity and my intelligence

can be integrated in each of these while integrating them all

makes my self aware of its temporality

1


Time: Public And Private •

maintains the wholeness of my person and its uniqueness in spite of the changes in my interest and the shifts of interests which ensue

eliminates the apparent contradictions of my various consumptions of P.T. at various ages

serves as the true basis for the abstraction that P.T. is

flows quickly at some moments, at other stops, coagulates in images which can be permanent, even hardens into static forms in some states, into circular ones in obsession, empty of any substance in other states, or lets affectivity flow freely in yet other states, in particular, by its presence sustains hope, enthusiasm, one’s projection into the future

paradoxically becomes a descending future

makes possible a mixture of several “nows” in the present now

knows itself as past, as the maker of one’s past, and all pasts

mixes in various ways with the P.T. of others

in particular, it generates reality in becoming biological time sensory-motor time affective time intellectual time social time each of which is distinguishable in my time (M.T.) ***

SOCIAL TIME (S.T.) in particular can be managed; this is so because S.T. = P.T, + M.T.’s (with an s) in which the sign + can be given several forms according to the person whose M.T. is involved. 2


1 My Time Rides Public Time P.T. gives S.T. its quantitative, hence universal, aspect M.T.’s give S.T. its individual or collective aspects, hence its qualitative and changing aspects S.T. pours values into M.T. one of which is a greater yield per hour. The gate to the management of one’s time is made by the events in M.T. which as S.T. synthesize the qualitative and quantitative aspects above. Events affect the qualities of M.T. as they are perceived and thus allow one’s education or re-education to take place. This is the meaning of management. A very recent awareness. This awareness can be changed into opportunities only for those who are able to reach the meaning of “yield” beyond the improvements resulting from the mechanical or electronic apparatus. They are then also able to reach the awareness of the presence of the self in its numerous engagements so that the P.T. spent with others becomes a lived time, beneficiary to all involved. It is through presence that our gaze, hearing, perceiving, sensing, become more efficient and thus let our intelligence add its input. Intelligence’s job is to extract from the set of all psychic possibilities of each of us, those possibilities not yet tried out in the situation and to see to it that they contribute to the solution of the challenges one is facing. S.T. often implies the use of language. By its nature, language requires interpretation. Hence, the increase of efficiency in such cases will depend on a deeper understanding of what listening is. T.L. (time of listening) is part of S.T. but primarily of M.T. and can be educated in order to reach meanings beyond the signs of language. M.T. shows that my sensitivities have been alerted so that what others say can be heard with a minimum of interference and can be passed on to one’s self beyond such interferences.

3


Time: Public And Private To know how to listen means playing on two keyboards •

upon one, we work on ourselves so that signals sent out are received as they are;

upon the other, we work on the messages themselves so that they yield their secrets.

The time of listening (T.L.) is lived as a concomitant to the surrender to other people’s verbal expression so that communication can be ensured, if this is desirable and desired. Then 1. the responsibility of the speaker is vested in his expression, seeing to it that no ambiguities are deliberately allowed in; 2. the responsibility of the listener is vested in his not allowing any interference to show itself, and not to become hasty interpretation. A good listener, who avoids a waste of time in not needing repetition of what is said to him, and not needing to state everything more than once, becomes a good interlocutor. In such conditions and only then communication can take place; economically too! *** The management of one’s time at the adult level requires education or a special re-education in some cases. But in spontaneous learning, particularly in early childhood, it takes place normally without needing labeling nor to become a special awareness. M.T., in the successful spontaneous learning at the beginning of our life, is not the object of awareness, which is totally absorbed by the activities in which the self is involved. Mastering a skill through exercises requires that M.T. be given to the shading of energy outputs and inputs so as to reach the aim or goal, as swiftly and safely as possible. This concentration on doing, prevents awareness of how M.T. 4


1 My Time Rides Time:Public Time Public And Private is spent, hence of the relationship of M.T. and P.T. although the description from outside is that M.T. rides P.T. The use of M.T. is effective in terms of what is achieved — which is all the young notice and are guided by. But in later years, and after so much conditioning to do what does not necessarily interest one, the attention of the self can be shifted to the affective component of M.T. When M.T. becomes S.T. we can acquire the awareness of what is happening to M.T., liking it or hating it, or being indifferent to it. We then speak of M.T. as P.T. and paradoxically as being well-spent or wasted, when P.T. can only flow away (uniformly, irretrievably, colorless). To learn to see only M.T. in all the various flows of P.T. in our experience, is precisely the education that will lead us to a proper management for our benefit. Indeed only M.T. is reachable as time. Through some work done by the self P.T. is produced as a construct and time made to exist as a complex concept. Complex, precisely because the self must do several things to itself so as to believe that P.T. is more primitive than M.T. and more directly accessible, which, clearly, it is not. So long as M.T. is not a concept, P.T. is not evocable. When M.T. becomes a concept it carries with it P.T. which thus gains its reality. This happened on earth quite recently within human evolution (to which we assign a few million years), maybe a few millenia ago. But only a handful of those living in each generation have made use of an entry into M.T. to think of managing it. Still more recently — that is, in the last few years — the question of managing one’s time (i.e. M.T.) has been raised seriously and outside gimmickry. In some oriental civilizations, the M.T. — which is not S.T. — has been the concern of sages. Although it has not been presented as part of P.T., it always was a part of one’s evolution which could be defined as “what to do with M.T. so that I find myself being more human.”

5


2 Memory, Memories And My Past

It became possible to throw some light upon the relation of my time to public time when we saw that the latter is a construct weaving my time with intellectual components that took millenia to become operative. Everybody can reach his private time and know directly how it is consumed. Can we use this direct contact with the dynamics of our private time to make some discovery that would encourage investigators in that field to pursue its study? Here is one example: I am the only person who can actually reach the content of my memory. It is possible for outsiders to link me with certain events, to tell me that on such or such a date I did this or that, of which I have no recollection at all; e.g. when I took my first step, or how I settled in the new family dwelling when I was a few months old, or which was my first word — as it was captured by my close relatives. I would know the difference between actual memories emerging in my consciousness in the waking state and the mentioning of anecdotes about myself told by others. On the basis of this recognition of my contact with what I can recall from my memory, I can attempt to define better what I would call my past. *** I have memories which are specific mental items that seem to respond to my calls, and are called evocations. I know they are real but are only in some ways connected to my perceptions. They are not as vivid as these and co-exist with them. Perceptions determine the present 7


Time: Public And Private present while my evocations clearly connect with the present past — equally well-described as the past present. I sense that each of my memories is singular but also as being part of something continuous and stretching far beyond what each memory brings with itself, In that way I can sense the reality of my Memory (written with a M to distinguish it from one of my memories) and refer to it without any trouble or doubt. Superficially, I can say that I have a past because I know my Memory and come in contact with it every day a number of times. But neither do I know all of my Memory nor can I evoke all my memories. Therefore, I must accept that I have always been content with handling matters I can only know in bits and pieces and be more modest in my statements about the contents of my past or the past in general. Unless I can find other ways of knowing, which can preserve the reality of Memory and memories and will reveal my past as a separate reality beyond Memory. *** We all know our self as that quantum which directed the energies that made our soma in utero and which are found in the cosmic and biological environment, in and out of our mother’s womb. We all know that every day we wake up and later go to sleep and that during the waking hours we have a sufficient number of moments in which we say that we are conscious of something. We all connect consciousness with wakefulness. Indeed we all say that when we are asleep we are no longer conscious. As soon as we identify consciousness with wakefulness and conversely, we prepare epistemological traps for ourselves.

8


2 Memory, Memories And My Past Indeed, the things we do in the waking state we can know by the means at the disposal of wakefulness. These are utterly inoperative in the state of sleep. Hence we should only say: “In the state of sleep we are not awake” not that we are not conscious. Likewise if we were able to have a proper dialogue in our sleep, we should only say: “In the state of wakefulness we are not asleep.” These statements are truisms only at the superficial, verbal, level. They are very meaningful if we relate to what we actually do with ourselves in both states of sleep and of wakefulness. The difficulty here is that I can only write this paper in the state of wakefulness and my readers can read it also only if they too, are in that state. By being careful, we can come out of that trap and progress in our understanding of the challenge. Our present grasp of Public Time (P.T.) allows us to tell ourselves — when we are awake — that our clocks show us the passage of time. We can relate to P.T. in two ways: 1. we can perceive the passage of time as an absolute, concrete, outside, reality, and 2. we can be with the content of our experiences and know the M.T. that rides P.T. as the relative, inner and fleeting reality which is uniquely our own. In fact, the second (M.T.) is for us clearly more “objective” than the first (P.T.) since it is lived at every moment. Still, we need both in order to make sense of what goes on in our lives. We need a dual vocabulary: 1. because the nature of human life is essentially in awareness, but 2. also because P.T. is the outcome of billions of years of cosmic, vital and animal evolution. Those billions of years are of P.T. but awareness is of M.T. and it is what makes M.T. ***

9


Time: Public And Private Let us begin with the self whose intrinsic energy is only a quantum, but which has access to all the energy it can summon from the cosmos, in particular on earth, and from that which is processible on it. Let us give the self, Σ two states of consciousness which we shall note W (for wakefulness) and S (for sleep). The self is always conscious. W and S, as states of the self, are united in Σ , Σ w is the self in the state of wakefulness and Σ s in the state of sleep. In Σ w one of the attributes of Σ is concentration. This attribute does not belong to Σ s. In other words, the self knows itself in the W state as owning this attribute of concentration and knows in that state that it does not have it in the S state. Concentration is experienced as a certain awareness of an attribute of Σ w and can say to itself, and, through language, to others. Hence, in the W state, Σ cannot know as consciousness what happens in S. That is why in the W state we speak of the unconsciousness of Σ s. In W we can actually act, i.e. Σ w knows expenditures of energy connected with an awareness of what is done with it. Action requires concentration and attention to the aim and to the purpose of the action. In W, Σ w remains in contact with energy in its shifts and its uses which tell it where to put it, how to direct and use it and where to get it from. So in W, Σ has dialogues with its involvements and can produce the “inner film” of them which go to make the individual memories. Some residual energy is also available with them and it serves to link them to each other and is reachable in W (the waking state). Memories plus that residual energy form what we called Memory (with a M). The continuity of Memory is to be found in the link of Σ with the residual energies that allow Σ to know the difference between the contents of individual memories and their place on chronological time. This is created by Σ through the awareness of the stress on residual energies and the ignoring of contents. But Σ can do more; it can catch itself at work on the inner energies mobilized specifically for some task and required for a concentrated activity in W and note that its presence is modified when entering the state of de-concentration needed to abandon what one was 10


2 Memory, Memories And My Past concentrating on. For example, writing each of the words I am writing involves my Σ w in specific ways and for specific durations. I must keep my pen on the paper for a while, then lift it and move my hand so as to be able to write the next word and do that several times until I relax, the sentence having been put down, or my thoughts having been exhaustibly verbalized. These everday most common activities have rarely become the object of our attention. We all take for granted (and don’t give it any thought) that in W we only consciously live the shifting of our concentration from one item to the next in succession and all the time. Hence Σw knows “presence” as the criterion of the present. That presence generates the consciousness of that component of M.T. we call the present (better said, the present present). It follows that Σ generates its past through the shift of concentrations required by consciousness in the state W. Thus, we grasp at least one of the ways in which Σ generates the past and memories. In W, shifts of concentration are inevitable because concentration is required by the specific expenditure of energy for a specific action which must be relaxed so as to permit the next summoning of energy for the next specific action to take place. Though these successive separate expenditures seem to follow each other uninterruptedly, they are in fact separated by a necessary shift in awareness, the kind every reader can watch when reading the successive words of any line in any text. It is important for Σ to become aware of the dynamics met in the nature of the successive moments in order to understand what is done in W to produce its component of the past in M.T. As Σ w deconcentrates to reconcentrate, the mental material copresent in the concentrated Σ would be allowed to change its (temporal) quality; no longer present, we call it past. But since S exists we have to find out how the material of W left behind by each successive shift of concentration, is being affected by S.

11


Time: Public And Private Let us note that while in W we have to contend with the energy fluctuations in our environment and acknowledge that they affect in unpredictable manners the energy content of each moment of our W, and S, we shut out the sources of these disturbances and Σ goes back to being in contact with what has been accumulated by all the previous sessions of sleep. S therefore differs from W in a number of attributes: 1. each session of W may differ from any other, while each session of S takes Σ back 1. to what was generated by Σ s’s activities during the preceding W, 2. taking (a’s) content with it to S when changing state, and 3. relating all that to what was there before. 2. S happens every day and has happened every day from birth (at least) and provides Σ with a special relation to all its mental material (which includes the somatic, implied in it) which does not happen in W where so much is not caused by oneself. 3. In W, Σ reacts to energy inputs and thus the energy mobilized by Σw is in relation to the inputs; sometimes equal and opposite, sometimes in excess sometimes under it, and Σ takes to S every one of these energy balance-sheets established in W during the day preceding that session of S but not worked on adequately or properly during W. Σ s does not react. The kind of work of Σ in S can be seen a monologue, i.e. Σ s works on itself. But it can be seen as a dialogue between Σ s and the energy states recognizable within the energy map established during the numerous successive sessions of S to this day. Σ in S handles energy objectified and structured in manners accessible in that state to Σ s, i.e. always using the instruments produced by Σ in its life to that point, both during W and during S.

12


2 Memory, Memories And My Past In fact, my past is only truly accessible in S. It is a dynamic entity elaborated by Σ s with all the material deposited day after day, by all the activities of W in the actual circumstances of the connection of Σ to the environment. The integration (in the mathematical sense) of the new energies mobilized or made available during W, to all those integrations of all the preceding days. Σ does the integration during S. This process is Σ’s alone, but the outcome has a reality sui generis in Σ and can be called Σ’s psyche objectified and endowed with its own energy. grows after each working by Σ during one session of S. But it also reaches a structure which in S is recognizable because of the previous structures formed in previous sessions of S still reachable within the integrated new whole but unreachable in W. In W,

is called the unconscious.

Thus the same part of the objectified Σ, i.e. , has two appearances according to whether or not Σ is in the state W or S. In S, Σ is totally aware of the whole of . In other words, S avails the whole past (or ) to Σ : makes it conscious to Σ and that means: content (energy objectified) residual energy (available for linkages) or dynamics as well as the interactions of the dynamics upon the content. This means that Σ’s ways of working in the two states of consciousness are radically different but functionally complementary. (There would be no need for two states if one would be replaceable by the other.) W links Σ to the present using only those parts of required by the present involvements while S links Σ to the past as a whole. This is so, mainly because only S over the years is capable of keeping Σ in contact with the developing day in day out. W interrupts that contact and adds its inputs but does not actually produce . ***

13


Time: Public And Private Through the above analysis we see three stages in the making of my past: 1. a local one, in W, when Σ relegates the content of the moment to the unfocused self simply by relaxing concentration before re-concentration on something else, the “next” moment, 2. a restricted stretched succession of such local shifts producing the daily W materials Σ will take to S and which represents the “charge” of the daily waking state’s involvements. These do not need to be integrated and can be visualized as hanging threads each tensed by the weight of the unassimilated charge, and 3. the integration which takes place in S and for which Σ gave itself sleep. If the integration can be achieved has grown by the assimilated experiences of the day before and S is ready to face the next day with a that may be better prepared. The subject feels refreshed by sleep. But if that session of S was not sufficient to do all the tasks asked for by the charges taken from W to s., Σ moves into W with part of itself tied up in and therefore feels somehow inadequate to face the demands of the new W day. Thus, not only can we see how can be structured by the functions of W and S in one’s life and we can understand how my past makes M.T. so different from P.T., we can also now consider ourselves in possession of powerful instruments to undertake properly studies left out because of their intrinsic difficulty when looked at with inadequate instruments; i.e. only those of W. Future writings will exploit their existence as samples of what can be done at present. *** Is it not already valuable to have been able to make the word past yield the reality it covers as we did here?

14


3 Awareness Of Time: Moses, Consciousness & Conscience

An original and ancient trial at apprehending time in its reality can be placed at Moses’ doorstep. Indeed, that man, educated in the Pharaoh’s Court, but assumed to be a son of Israel, is considered to be the father of the Jewish law summarized in the Ten Commandments and along the first five books of the Old Testament. But he did more. He grasped the reality behind the essence of the spiritual experience of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, whose God was named at first as the God of the first, then the God of the father and his son and finally and for some time, as the God of these three founders of Judaism. He then proposed to call him Jehovah: a name which can be translated as a merger of “has been” and “will be,” and retranslated as “the eternal.” When the names El and Elohim were replaced by Jahve (never uttered as such except on one single occasion, on the Day of Atonement) which is written as such but when read is replaced by “Adonai” — which translates as “My Lord” — the mystery of the personal God of Abraham became deeper. By then, hence, to relate to God meant to relate to time, and the challenge of knowing one’s God was brought to the level of knowing oneself as a temporal being in the world. The Pentateuch — read every year by the faithful adult — if it makes its impact, provides the opportunities to come into close contact with one’s inner life where so many things might happen. The difficulty of

15


Time: Public And Private relating to oneself thus becomes that of relating to the personal God who weaves the fabric of one’s life on the two planes of consciousness and of conscience. Indeed, on the one hand the contact with the presence of time in oneself will generate awareness of consciousness and on the other the contact with the presence of right and wrong behavior — as regulated by the law — will generate awareness of conscience. To have grown up within that spiritual environment may mean to have reached a certain level of understanding of both consciousness and conscience. First, as different, and second, as having the same source. The history of the evolution of the Jewish people from the time of Abraham to today can be considered as an attempt to know, through the gifts of the two founders Abraham and Moses, what these gifts contain. The explicitation, in the actual lives of the individuals of the successive generations, of the gifts of the founders constitutes that evolution, and it is co-extensive with the history of the Jewish civilization. This civilization remains as the backdrop and the fabric sustaining the various cultural forms Judaism gave itself in various lands. In antiquity, in Canaan, Egypt, Babylon, Palestine and, since the diaspora, in many climates and environments. The Hebrews all over the planet managed to know themselves as Jews or Israelites by keeping in relative contact with the Gentile but mainly by the absolute contact with their unique and distinct spiritual heritage. Adopting customs of the peoples among which they lived — in serfdom, in tolerated ghettos or in social and economic equality — those who kept their faith alive in them and called themselves Jews, knew that behind the outer forms and even their own rituals the two components of all evolution were present: heredity gave them the items that move the communities and maintained the cohesiveness of the group through highs and downs, peace and danger; variation made them find a new meaning to everything transmitted by the past and to seek what was compatible with the messages of the founders, in the new they were encountering.

16


3 Awareness Of Time: Moses, Consciousness & Conscience It is easy to say that commitment to the tenets of the Old Testament is a characteristic of the Jews since the beginning. That commitment has taken too many forms over the fifty-seven centuries and more of the recorded history of the Jews, to be capable of summarizing “the Jewish Experiment.” Even if it exists and is of paramount importance to understand the continuity of the experiment, it does not permit the kind of understanding we demand today of actual human phenomena stretching for such a long time on earth. Two other phenomena of equal or similar magnitude can be found on earth, one in China and one in India. A proper approach to the human manifestation in the broad terms of a civilization, and of cultures, and of their individual stances, which might work for one may well be extendable to the others. Looking at the explicitation by the successive generations of the messages of the founders of civilizations if they can be located may be such an approach. Abraham gave the Hebrews in Canaan a first glimpse of the “inner life” and introduced those of his tribe who could get a glimpse of that glimpse to what will become consciousness when stripped of all historical components. Abraham’s followers pursued his invitation to know consciousness in those manifestations accessible to them and the Jacobs and the Josephs are there to tell in anecdotes — still savored today — what they stressed in their searches for that meaning of consciousness. Moses, kept separated from the community of the Hebrew slaves and the impacts of their rituals, gave the “inner life” a more detached form and reached the temporality of consciousness which was similar enough in him and all the others to provide a spiritual bond and link; but also different enough, to make possible the generation of a new variation, utterly new, so as to start the Jews on new adventures of the spirit. Even their God had to be renamed and Jahve —the personal God that was compatible with Abraham’s El — could do all El was capable of doing plus give structure to the inner life. The orally kept tradition of being all the time in the presence of Elohim — recognized as every Hebrew’s consciousness — could now become the tangible web or fabric of daily life as well; inner life’s dynamics generated its

17


Time: Public And Private objectivation in the TORAH and in the Ten Commandments which summarize it. When no longer Hebrews, the Jews were at work producing the variations which integrated the past by subordinating it to the living which uses the past to let the future manifest itself. The prophets from time to time came to assess the evolution and suggest ways of holding the course while trying the new. Since no one is ever acceptable to a mass of people who does not link with the collective psyche at work in most individuals addressed, and since the prophets sprung out from among the people, and pointed out what needed consideration, — and to a certain extent were heeded — their function in the collective evolution of the Jewish people must have been a product of evolution itself. The existence of the phenomenon of the prophets among the Jews and only among them is a manifestation of the work of consciousness on time and on the energy behind the behaviors. This work and its working has constituted conscience. But only within the framework of the law, of tradition, whose function is to keep the collectivity going. Evolution is necessary for survival within unforeseen conditions and the concrete forms taken by challenges. Because survival is easier to perceive and to grasp, it was stressed. But survival cannot take place by itself, it follows adaptation — which is change — and change requires both energy and renewed consciousness. Among the Jewish people, Man’s prolonged dialogue with consciousness has given consciousness access to itself. In the case of Moses, to temporality as being its essence and to its dynamics as the stirrer of courses. It follows that there was meaning in asking people to take care of their own inner life in which their will dwells — and will is the only real stirrer of inner courses — and to put the responsibility of the survival of the group bluntly upon the individual. Each Jew must change, and in specific ways say the prophets in order to restore mental health to the community. From it will follow social and economic health, political peace and a better life wanted by most. The presence of the will within consciousness makes conscience exist and consciousness of the will convinces everyone of the reasonableness of

18


3 Awareness Of Time: Moses, Consciousness & Conscience the possibility of some changes in terms of some projected end. Then conscience can in turn become the object of consciousness and its dynamics studied. The Jews have explored conscience within the frame offered by Moses in the Ten Commandments. Moses could conceive that his people would accept his proposals because he had kept to the singularity of the Hebrew’s spiritual quest which was for the truth and the reality of the inner life. Every one of the commandments invokes the will, every one connects with some substance only accessible by introspection i.e. by consciousness of oneself. Some commandments force the spirit to consider only forms that are so abstract that to be in contact with them requires such spiritual stresses that permit the reality sought after to be present. The Hebrew’s God has no form but its existence can be reached as securely when one plunges in onself and finds the dynamics of consciousness and of the will, a temporal, fleeting “form” unable to be itself when cast in other substances (gold or marble) but nonetheless directly accessible to that human light: consciousness, given Man by God who is the eternal and universal consciousness, i.e. in Jahve. On Mt. Sinai, Moses alone with his consciousness — made cosmic — received directly from Jahve the law of the manifestation of TIME in human lives. For lives to be human, the time that is their fabric must be woven in terms of conscious behavior. Conscious of oneself, of others; of the dynamics within onself and then within others, of man-in-theworld and the significance of one’s actions for oneself and for others. While conscience is a more easily accessible form of consciousness — since will brings it energy and makes impacts susceptible of being perceived — time is less accessible and it becomes and remains a mysterious entity, always challenging. One must specialize in holding in one’s consciousness the fleetingness of human living to come close to it. Moses knew that this could be done. And by every one of those whom he took out of slavery from Egypt and to whom he provided a new start in the Promised Land. By stressing the role of the inner dynamics in all the daily endeavors, by being close to oneself all the time, one would be close to God, Godlike, human, and generate in actuality a future extending over eternity in one spot on earth, that Promised Land, specially chosen because there Abraham had met his consciousness and was capable of making it into a living civilization dedicated to exploring it in all its forms. 19


Time: Public And Private The Talmud is the compendium of the introspections of the most able students of conscience as it manifests itself in them and those around them in Jewishness. Because of that it is essentially meaningful for those concerned with the multiple possible behaviors in all sorts of circumstances. It handles man in front of his conscience, in front of God. Because of the symbolism involved most of the lessons are told in tales susceptible of various interpretations and suiting the particular states of the readers. Commentaries then become in turn the source of new lessons. And thus grows the awareness of conscience and of its workings. For its full display many sages, masters, disciples, are needed over centuries of experience. The consciousness of conscience is an unending quest, always equally fascinating and mysterious but definitely more deeply known. Everyone has more than one tale to add to all the others’ tales, for the theme can only renew itself in that process. There is not one “thing” there which is to be apprehended but a fabric woven as it is known, and woven over again when more is known of that knowing. In that sense not only each generation has to contribute its time of examination and understanding, but across the generations through the varying symbolisms, a transcendence of symbolisms takes place. And, thus gradually, part of the essence of spiritual man is reached in the deeper recognition that by transcending and abandoning adherences to symbolisms, the source of symbolism can be encountered. Time is no longer then exchanged for experiences, it is met as time, the receptacle of experience. All is suspended in it, a sense of reality behind realities, a pulsating, hence a dynamic suspense where the kinematic loses its grip and a becoming takes its place. The paradox of the moving stability, the contradiction of a static dynamics, are known as real and descriptive of the essence of reality. That is TIME, in timelessness, completely devoid of spatial attributes and representations. It is hence called “union with God,” beyond the human manifestations. Only those who know it can know its reality in the expressions of someone else than oneself. In St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of 20


3 Awareness Of Time: Moses, Consciousness & Conscience Avila and — less theologically tinted in its verbal expression — in Montaigne or Pascal; in the Sufis or the Hassidim, in a Ramakrishna and in many others. The quest is supposed to be beyond time, when it can more properly be called, of TIME beyond experience. Some did call it: in search for eternity. The full circle is thus covered, closed. Dictated by Moses who synthesized past and future in the eternal Jahve, the quest for God is the transcendence of experience but not of the human spirit that is a prerequisite for experience; rather, for finding it by reaching TIME.

21


4 Recovering Time

Following another line, the quest for TIME has taken many neutral forms for thinkers of the last hundred and fifty years. Karl Marx, Freud, Bergson, Einstein, in particular, gave us paths that attempted to lead to the rediscovery of TIME beyond the objectivations of man’s grasp of himself in time. Karl Marx did it through the historical grasp of the successive revolutions which make man shed the forms which alienate him from his spiritual essence that is reintegrated by consciousness once it has reached itself. Seeing man alienated by his work, i.e. his works reduced to the maintenance of the species when they could be expressions of the free spirit, master of his time, Marx has called men to action, to the overthrowing of all that which replaces creative time by soulless activities over durations stretching almost as much as one’s whole life. This alienation has moved Marx to call the proletariat (i.e. all the little men, the obscure, those without any distinction) to unite, to get hold of the remaining light, however dim, to stop the alienation engulfing mankind and to begin the process of redemption in the social context, the here-and-now where everyone spends his time. *** Freud, the first psychologist struck by the unity of life and the connectedness of experience from birth to death, sought to capture the agent which manages the scenes of our lives. His first task was to comprehend how to link organically and functionally what is on the one hand, the narrow, concentrated ego only conscious of the little that 23


Time: Public And Private can be grasped by one in one’s waking state, and on the other hand the reservoir of experience which in the waking state is totally unconscious but clearly sustains the ego in its expressions. This first task was managed while Freud was working as a physician sorting out myriads of puzzles and challenges lost behind the behaviors of his patients. Those challenges made him look for, and often find, the instruments of work which threw light on the meaning of the appearances, hence on the reality behind them. His disciples or followers, the psychologists who came after him, all engaged in problems which enriched the folklore of psycho-pathology, psycho-therapy and other forms of clinical psychology, but added little to the essential quest of the actual individual exchange of one’s lifetime into one’s life-experiences. Mainly because most of them were intent: 1. in finding cures and treatments for their patients’ complaints, and 2. in understanding, from a priori viewpoints, how to make sense of their patients’ mental conditions and their expressions. Freud was ready, and often able, to shake the clamp of traditional views which become habits of thought, because he was moved by the quest for the essence of the human condition. He gave the world his certainty that the unconscious is dynamic and that time exists in it and is at work even if this escapes the waking state when it is considering its mental problems. Which forms time takes there, he could not tell, but the importance of finding that out did not escape him. In spite of the overwhelming importance attached by Freud and his followers to the “consciousness” of the waking state — which in passing, explains why the bulk of one’s mental life is named subconscious or unconscious — the Freudian trend has been to be much more concerned with that which is not of the nature that can be directly attained in the waking state. To understand all that which happens in our lives we must give public time new attributes which generate the actual lived time. All moments are not equal and do not

24


4 Recovering Time have equivalent repercussions. Time is being “knotted� by coagulations of energy, a large number of them and of many different kinds. The now we are living is the outcome of all the nows past. This confluence of impacts of various ages and various happenings makes the moments so different but mainly in the unguarded waking states, so numerous every day in most lives. The determination of the moments of maximal impacts upon our lives became an instrument of psychoanalysis and served in the explanation of what was being observed in order to make it comprehensible to the analyst’s mind. Lived time was far more complex than the uniform, irreversible, empty time of physics. In the first, things happen, rather than as in the second, happenings ride the continuous flow of an external time, which exists because of the fact that the earth goes round the sun. The search for time past is done in terms of the past memories, scars, traumas, which they are, accessible while time is irretrievable and gone forever. Time past is the object of psychoanalysis, its instrument as well as the depository of the lights for understanding the dynamics of the mind. Time past belongs to the individual but is impacted by the contents of the culture around. Such contents being structured in times past by successive generations of individuals acting upon each other. *** Time past (around the turning of the 20th century) was also studied by Proust in a form which when written was similar to a novel, but was also the depository of instruments for the psychologist who wants to capture the moment in its fleetingness and in its connectedness with other moments as well. *** A third lighting on the search for time lived is found in the contemporary works of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who developed a way of writing about it which made possible a new grasp of

25


Time: Public And Private time. A beautiful, fluid flow of words gently forced the readers’ consciousness to sense that time was a reality sui generis graspable in itself beyond the spatial forms found in clocks of all kinds and in the spatial language and imagery used before him. Bergson made fashionable a preoccupation with the temporal dimensions of happenings. Looking at a statue can be a pretext for an awareness of time in its flow when the curves on the statue force their tracing upon one’s moving eyes. Durations became separable items of one’s consciousness, durations become the components of time lived as well as of public time. Consciousness and awareness of it, precede the apprehension of time per se. Consciousness deals with durations, the smallest of which is called a moment or an instant. Thus, consciousness is the generator of time, the lived time which may have to do with public time but in a manner yet to be discovered. Time lived is directly accessible, public time is a mere mental construct needed in only some areas of living like the studies that form the sciences and in the workings of organisms, organizations, institutions. Bergson’s literary style had a lot to do in succeeding to make Europeans aware of the importance of time and of its fascination. *** Einstein, as a theoretical physicist, had no need to go through time lived to understand more deeply public time. From the beginning of physical measurements in the 17th century, clocks were made able to provide more and more accurate displays of the flow of time against which the phenomena studied were displayed. Einstein saw that all laws of physics utilize time as a coordinate to make tangible what takes place in space (which uses three coordinates). Because clocks are needed to show time and clocks are physical entities stationed in space, he saw that time, as a recorded magnitude susceptible to the effects of motion, must be affected by motion, in the manner objects (or coordinates of their composing material points) are. The paradoxes that followed from such an assertion — within the frame of reference of communication among observers of their own measurements and through the use of electromagnetic signals — shook the world. For example, travel at the speed of light made time stop altogether; fast

26


4 Recovering Time travel keeps one from aging. Bergson, the champion of duration, joined the chorus of non-professional physicists in orchestrating a collective study of time, of the meaning of duration and of simultaneity. But Einstein’s insight into the intrinsic working of the cosmos, went far beyond that apprehension of introspective time. It forced the mind of all investigators to revise their mental structures or models of reality. No correct description of the Real could be reached if one separated time from space. Every happening in the universe was a space-time happening: the planets no longer moved on elliptical trajectories but on non-closed curves since the passage of time did not produce one single quadruple of coordinates (a,b,c,t) even when the first three coordinates took the same values — which is expected of points in motion in three dimensional space, when they return to their original places. Such a profound alteration of our outlook on the universe constitutes the coming of the Relativity era, which since the mid-twenties, has permeated all thinking in physics, astrophysics, cosmology, the studies at the atomic level, and all the sciences that require spatiotemporal frameworks for their models. Public time still retains a number of its attributes but it has lost (or gained) by being a function of the observer, bringing man’s mind at the center of the strictly materialistic universe which seemed to exist and to work so completely without any relation to humans on earth. Physicists as humans, reached the spiritual attributes of time and found them affecting physics, i.e. their observations. Einstein could explain to us that it was our not-socultivated-sensitivity which made us consider as stationary what was moving ever so slowly but still moving; that that which we describe as the Real is our apprehension of a Reality we construct from our sensory perceptions put together by our minds conditioned by history and by our prejudices. The world of science is the outcome of our introspection, we make that world by discovering it first within our minds, and then, by projection, out there. Public time is no exception. *** 27


Time: Public And Private That unfolding of man’s awareness of time — which we started with Moses’ awareness that the God of Abraham (which was consciousness) was essentially consciousness of time and the axis of our lives (personal and collective) and ended with the scientific discovery that consciousness cannot be ignored when we entertain nature and its phenomena — is but a beginning. If time can become the axis of a religion which has lasted over millenia and still remain the property of all the minds that lean over all sorts of phenomena on earth and in our cosmic universe; if time can be acknowledged by Jews and non-Jews as more than a form, more than a coordinate, more than a component of reality, but as the substance of lives co-existent and co-extent with energy which it renders dynamic and is rendered perceptible by the other, we have gone a long way towards making public time private and private time public. As it should be.

28


5 An Educator Invites You To Think

Thirty-two years ago the following article appeared in French in Switzerland under the title: “An educator invites you to think.” Thirtytwo years of P.T. have passed, what about M.T. for each of us? It is almost a year since an article of mine on international understanding appeared in this monthly tabloid. In that article, I tried to show that, what we needed in order to extricate ourselves from our present political tensions, was an education of affectivity — that is, an education of what serves as the fabric of our thoughts and actions, not an education of the intellect which only touches reason in us. Today, the man who speaks to you, is the same man, a practitioner of international education. But the content of his message is different. I would like to present to the readers of “Cooperation” some thoughts on the present crisis (1951), a crisis that could be seen as that of “the future” so to speak, in the sense that it is seen here from the vantage point of the future — which is the normal point of view for an educator whose explicit function is to prepare the young generation for its future tasks. An educator by definition, is an optimist, even if what he says seems gloomy, because his existence presupposes a future and a constructive life beyond the present. It will therefore be necessary to give the following remarks a deeper sense than the words in them usually trigger. Reading is a cooperative act. The writer suggests, but the reader provides the meaning, and the synthesis, the total act provides 29


Time: Public And Private enrichment for the reader, since he now understands someone else’s thought which is supposed to have a value: the conveyed experience. The Birth of a New Civilization To be brief, I will say that the present crisis appears to me as the birth of a new civilization resulting from a multitude of antagonistic civilizations. To an educator in 1951, the scene is not a conflict between the Soviet Bloc and the democracies of the West. He does not deny this conflict, but in it he only sees a symptom, a sign that forces him to consider the birth of the new civilization as immediately desirable, and encourages him to work to bring it about. Since the Korean war, we have been privileged to witness a new phenomenon: side by side with the two giant nations, other great nations have appeared. Nations that, in perhaps twenty-five years time, may have accumulated as much power as the others. Let’s suppose that we project ourselves in the future with colored glasses which can only let through power conflicts. In such a case, the simplistic point of view which tells that there are only two giants opposing each other, will soon be out of place. The colored glasses would show us that the number of the possible contenders is far greater. It is indeed far too simplistic to schematize the planet situation to the point of reducing its components to two. We must not forget that up to thirty-five years ago (1915) neither the USA nor the Soviet Union were seen as really two of the great powers. Our magic glasses might have shown our disbelieving fathers some real surprises about their future. Is it possible that the real problem lies with the glasses we wear, colored in such a way that they only show national powers? It is possible that there are other tinted glasses, some which we don’t yet know how to use, or we don’t want to use because they require that we substitute to the passivity of the observer an activity which is contrary to our habits? This New Civilization Will Not Come From the Outside

30


5 An Educator Invites You To Think Let’s reiterate our postulate as stated above: the present crisis is the crisis of the birth of a new civilization resulting from antagonistic civilizations. This tells us two things: first, that the world is divided into antagonistic civilizations, something that everyone knows already. For example, on cultural grounds where Muslim, Pakistani and Hindu Indians fight each other; Arabs who don’t trust the Christian Western World, and the capitalists and the communists oppose each other, etc. But it also tells us that the new civilization is not coming from the outside, like the British influence which was established in India and Africa, or the more recent Soviet dominance on Eastern Europe. To clarify a point, we shall say that the word “civilization” in the sense we use it here, characterizes a historical movement sprung out of a common belief and susceptible of diversification under different material and geographical conditions. Thus, we prefer to talk of Muslim, Christian, Socialist and other civilizations, and of German, Spanish, Moroccan, Egyptian, Soviet, Yugoslav, cultures. Up to Now People have Been Surrounded by Cultures that have Divided Them The civilizations known up to now, even when they tended toward universalism, have never succeeded in embracing all mankind. Today every man finds himself on his spot on earth, surrounded by a culture and in a civilization which seems to engulf him, and which he accepts as a quality that distinguishes him from others, and of course, gives him some kind of superiority. The English or the Swiss, or the Pakistani, sincerely believe they are in a privileged position. Each finds his culture quite satisfactory and would not change his position for anybody else’s, although he’s glad when he can improve his own. This attachment to culture, which is so “natural,” creates antagonisms simply because this “natural” is exclusive. The education of emotions manifest itself, once again, in the cultivation of patriotism, of religious loyalty, of social or other taboos and perpetuates divisive attachments. We see aggression when it is directed against us, we never see ours, which is described by us in every case as self-defense. 31


Time: Public And Private All this is well-known, but it seems to me only known intellectually; we are ready to justify to ourselves everything we do. In this situation, an appeal to tolerance is almost impossible. Because it would require an awareness of our faults, of our unconscious prejudices. There is of course an internal contradiction in this. It is precisely in front of such a spectacle, called “an unchanging human nature” that the majority get discouraged. They end up increasing the ranks of the gravediggers of opposing civilizations, being incapable of serving the birth of the new one in their own interest. Out of each of the cultures developed from the past or built by humans (as is clear of those in the USA and in the Soviet Russia) can arise the new men and women who will together today build our tomorrow. Since the earth is known in its entirety, and in its entirety is involved in this crisis, there is no way out except from the inside. (We exclude for the moment the hypothesis of our colonizing the solar system or being colonized as a planet.) If a solution exists, it is to be found in people’s consciousness and it will be passed on from consciousness to consciousness until it becomes an earthian civilization through the actions of the people who possess such consciousness. We Must Learn to Live as Earthians Tolerance must be excluded as the solution for living together and remaining as we are and since rigidity, caused by our adherence to one culture or to one civilization (as being more natural for us than the others), prevents us from assimilating other people’s lifestyles, it seems difficult to imagine the world as remaining a mosaic where people would leave each other in peace so as to lead lives of their own choosing. It seems to us that a new need is arising. A need which requires a contribution from each of us not in the form of being drafted into a military — for the creation of all the police forces necessary to maintain the status quo — but rather in the form of working on ourselves and on our environment, so that appropriate educational techniques can be developed. These techniques will teach human

32


5 An Educator Invites You To Think beings in so far as they are earthians, to live on our planet on which their countries and their homes are situated. The Conflict is in Us and in Our Awareness This need is new and is practical and offers the solution to the conflicts of life on earth. It presents itself to each of those among us who don’t take as final and permanent a reality which is only passing and who see that the present conflict is not ideological or among groups, but rather in each of us and in our awareness at this stage of our collective evolution. So long as we consider our preferences, our beliefs, our habits as natural and above all as the best for us; so long as we don’t know how to “live” someone else’s life and we can only imagine that we understand it, so long as we don’t give our sensitivity a wider frame of reference (which will allow us to place in it all the behaviors that we must know in order to eliminate our fears of others), the crisis will exist. It will continue to exist; nowhere but in ourselves and in our projections through our tinted glasses. The Need for a Supernational Education In the educator there is no crisis because no human being is strange to him. But there is a pressing call for action on those who delay, and refuse to see, a new world civilization arising among us. This action is to be affective, must be supernational, and become a human education, based on a relativism which is real, which is lived and not theoretical nor discriminatory, an active universalism which encompasses all humans — of all ages, of all social conditions, with all kinds of experiences on this planet. Caleb Gattegno October, 1951

33


News items

1 Last January 20th in Lausanne, Switzerland, Suzanne Freymond died of a cancer of the pancreas. In her very small circle of relatives and friends her death caused deep sadness. It seemed to have occurred so suddenly since the first symptoms were felt by her only two months earlier. The diagnostic was jaundice which led to an operation of a possible obstruction in her gallbladder. Then the cause was found and a few days later she died. I am writing of this here because Suzanne has a place in the history of education and deserved to be remembered by more than the few friends and relatives who remained in contact with her after her retirement from her post as a teacher of infants in a Lausanne school. Without her, Jean-Louis Nicolet, would not have made the first series of his films. Unknown to almost everyone, she was the only true friend and supporter of the great innovator who created animated geometry, from the time she was in her middle twenties to his death in 1966. Anyone capable of writing her biography will move us all by this exemplary dedication to a man, his genius and his work. Since I have had dealings with both for a few years since 1949 but I know very little of them and of their actual lives, I can only say what matters to all of us. Almost all of us are obscure and die in obscurity. J.L. Nicolet managed to come a little out of it but died feeling dejected, if not rejected, in his country and beyond, although occasionally some item of news cheered him up. From a distance, myself and a few teachers engaged in mathematics film-making , sent him tokens of our admiration and of

35


Time: Public And Private our hope that he would soon be acknowledged for what he had done so well for us all. Made bitter by the perception of the almost universal indifference to his message he had only one person to talk to and it was Suzanne. She brought him some peace and some light and the only echo to his teaching which she received so gladly. For a few years after J.L. Nicolet’s death, we worked together to remake some of the old films no longer available. She would have fought with me about any change I might have thought of bringing, but fortunately the only ones that came to me were accepted by her since they fell within what she believed he would have personally supported. Such are the color-code I adopted and the natural extensions or natural blendings of units into more integrative ones. Just as she put her purse at Jean-Louis’ disposal, she offered whatever funds she could spare for the making of this memorial monument that the new series represents. She always wrote or said: “What better can I do with my money? I have frugal needs, taken care of by my pension. My inheritance is to be given — as it was given to me — for what needs to be done with money.” She persuaded Jean-Louis’ son to contribute some to this series which Suzanne and I made as our homage to our friend’s genius. She never put any condition, nor asked for any accounting, for her financial share in the project. She wrote that she had been repaid several times over by seeing that Jean-Louis’ memory was kept alive and mathematics students helped through this work. I knew that on my own I could not have carried the project through and this must be known by all those benefiting from the existence of the series. Today, the series should be known as a tribute to Jean-Louis, but also to Suzanne Freymond, a great soul lost, like so many, in obscurity. Since I know and I am alive, I must sing her praises. C.G. 2 If crowds count, Expolangues was a success. I worked the stand, which was simple and attractively decorated, on Friday night (Jan. 28th), Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t have time to have dinner or lunch; there were simply too many people wanting to know what it was all about. Often there were four demonstrations plus the video, all taking place within 9 sq. meters, but the smiles and laughter were there

36


News items to indicate that no one was inconvenienced. I had a chance to work in English, French, German, Hebrew and Chinese with adults and children. There was a Chinese delegation amazed to see children reading and speaking, using the colors and the 1st Word Chart. One woman challenged the children on understanding, and the oldest boy (12-13 years old) promptly translated the entire exchange into French. The lady in question was surprised and delighted. Two Israeli women were present when a group of five students — adults and children — learned to read from the 1st chart and then proceeded to carry on a brief exchange using the rods. Teachers and professors from Langues “0” came over to see what was going on, and I was happy to discover that my Chinese was at least as fluent as theirs though my vocabulary is certainly more limited. The whole weekend was a pleasure. Barbara, Jeanne and Michele did a fantastic job. Everything was ready, well-organized and lovely. All of us were happy to take part. Barbara has written to say that Jeanne, wearing her Expansion reporter hat, had an interview with the man who organized the exhibition-According to her (Barbara’s) letter, the man told Jeanne that there were 27,000 people at Expolangues and that there was nothing new except the Silent Way which was “une approche d’avenir.” We shall see. Allen Rozelle (Barbara Villez had called from Paris to announce her article on Expolangues. Since it did not reach us in time for this issue, we shall publish it in the June issue. Allen’s above notes were in a letter as the previous short report in last February’s issue. We extracted them so that that important event is known to our readers.) The June issue completes Vol. XII. Since the whole of this year’s articles may not have been what most readers wanted to be concerned with, we shall not engage in the planning of Vol. XIII until we hear from enough people that we are performing more than an egotistical job.

37


Time: Public And Private There is still time till August to enquire from subscribers whether they still wish to receive the Newsletter over the following months.

38


About Caleb Gattegno Caleb Gattegno is the teacher every student dreams of; he doesn’t require his students to memorize anything, he doesn’t shout or at times even say a word, and his students learn at an accelerated rate because they are truly interested. In a world where memorization, recitation, and standardized tests are still the norm, Gattegno was truly ahead of his time. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911, Gattegno was a scholar of many fields. He held a doctorate of mathematics, a doctorate of arts in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. He held a scientific view of education, and believed illiteracy was a problem that could be solved. He questioned the role of time and algebra in the process of learning to read, and, most importantly, questioned the role of the teacher. The focus in all subjects, he insisted, should always be placed on learning, not on teaching. He called this principle the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. Gattegno travelled around the world 10 times conducting seminars on his teaching methods, and had himself learned about 40 languages. He wrote more than 120 books during his career, and from 1971 until his death in 1988 he published the Educational Solutions newsletter five times a year. He was survived by his second wife Shakti Gattegno and his four children.

www.EducationalSolutions.com


Time: Public and Private  

Newsletters vol. XII no.4 April 1983

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you