Last November 14, we teacher chaperones for CDLS ’09 were treated to a compelling and thought-provoking talk by educationist and leadership guru, Debashis Chatterjee.
However I have lost my notes. Most of these are built on the very ideas he triggered in me. It wasn’t too difficult to follow him. He was actually quite Daoist.
Chatterjee touched on many things, but what really captivated me were his assumptions about reality. We are essentially beings of two worlds, he would say — the systems world and the human world.
The systems world is mechanical, fixed, efficient. It is premised on the very idea that there must be an order in the universe, and so we build our cities, our roads, bridges, and buildings. We establish governments, contest ideologies, and wage wars for the sake of peace. The systems world is what we have created to regulate human existence.
The human world on the other hand, defies order. It is premised not on ideas, but on actions. It thrives on spontaneity, spirit, and creativity. The human world is also about the relationships we form and the choices we make. And since it cannot be contained — our bodies are mere vessels of this creative font — we can be like that tree which breaks through the wall.
I believe that the tension between these two forces characterizes what thinkers often call post-modernism, a mode of thinking that is disturbed by fixed, standardized conventions and hence attempts to surpass or reshape them.
I can also say that I’ve been feeling a lot of post-modern angst lately. Unlike modern angst which is all about trying to fit in and finding one’s place in The System, I find The System woefully inadequate for me to achieve true enlightenment and fulfillment.
Perhaps, take all this pretentiousness as some fancy way of putting that I am seriously contemplating a career change if not for the [false] sense of security that this job seems to offer. Either way, I am determined not to be contained.
This TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, redefines creativity in the post-modern age. Treat yourself to this.