Tonight’s match focuses on states of origin when it comes to footy. But what about the arena of education? What is the origin of knowledge? Where does it come from?
According to Socrates, wisdom originates in wonder.
We may not be familiar with thinking about education like this. For many, the proper way to pursue knowledge is to separate it from biased factors like interest, passion, desire and wonder. Becoming educated, we’re led to believe, is simply a matter of collecting information.
This approach assumes that reality—the object of knowledge—exists in the form of sterile, passive data. It simply needs neutral, disinterested brains to amass it.
But is this how the act of knowing actually works? Professor Esther Lightcap Meek describes it differently:
What starts the venture is notice and wonder. Something about reality catches our attention. To start to know is actually first a response to a dimly heard beckoning of the wonder-full real. If we can see knowing as a relationship between knower and known, we can see that reality makes the first overture.
That’s a provocative claim: knowing is a response to reality's summons! We don’t always set out as detached fact collectors; rather, we often respond inquisitively to 'wonder-full' aspects of creation that catch our attention and bid us take notice. We detect a pattern that fascinates us, a question that gnaws at us, or an initial insight that opens up attractive possibilities. This is the experience of wonder, and it usually initiates the journey of learning.
As Meek states,
You do not just show up and indifferently start gathering information. … Why would we think that reality would disclose itself to uncaring, indifferent, suspicious “knowers”?!
Try this experiment tonight: count the number of fouls that one team’s fans spot that either the referees "miss" or the other team’s fans consider perfectly valid. Or this: watch the game with rabid footy fans from Queensland or New South Wales and observe how many nuances they’re able to discern. Then ask someone who doesn’t care for footy what they notice.
You’re likely to find that the game discloses itself differently to people depending on their loyalty (maroon or blue) and passion (high or sigh).
That’s one reason why we believe that a good education is found in initiating interested students into interesting conversations around great texts—such an approach stimulates intrigue about the world and helps them know it deeply and relate to it wisely.
The venture of knowing culminates in wisdom, but its State of Origin is wonder.