Monday, October 26, 2009
In between going grocery shopping and watching hours upon hours of the modern gladiatorial competition commonly known as American football, I was inspired to pick up my handy, dandy Webster's dictionary and investigate the origin of two words that sound similar yet have very different connotations in the context of our modern English linguistic tradition.
Tuition, the charge or fee for instruction as at a private school, college or university, has its roots in the Latin word tueri, which means "to watch". Closer to modernity, we receive our English word tuition from the Middle English via the Old French word tuicion, which literally means "protection" but is commonly understood to mean "to watch after or protect". I have duplicated the word origin and history below for your assessment.
1436, "protection, care, custody," from Anglo-Fr. tuycioun (1292), from O.Fr. tuicion "guardianship," from L. tuitionem (nom. tuitio) "a looking after, defense, guardianship," from tuitus, pp. of tueri "to look after" (see tutor). Meaning "action or business of teaching pupils" is recorded from 1582. The meaning "money paid for instruction" (1828) is probably short for tuition fees, in which tuition refers to the act of teaching and instruction.
The origin of the word tuition in conjunction with its modern usage raises several thoughts in my minds eye. The first is that education, in all ages, has been deemed a sacred trust between teacher and pupil that the expansion or enlightening of one's mind should not be entered into lightly. Compensation for one's efforts, in this case the teacher's efforts, is to be expected. However, of greater significance I think, is the idea that one does not fully appreciate an endeavor for which they do not pay for or, at least, provide some collateral against.
The second thought that arises from the etymology of the word tuition is that the teacher, or rather institution of teachers such as at a college or university, is thought to be a protectorate of certain knowledge and methods. This appears to be in line with the common conception (amongst students of the occult) of the modern college and university system being a descendant of the ancient Mystery Schools in all of their intimations (Babylonian, Egyption, Greek, etc.). The exact nature of this knowledge or methodolgy can be debated. However, I believe that part of the answer lies in the modern college and university system's dissemination of the 7 Liberal Arts and Sciences (with a few outliers) as an essential part of their curriculum and the core competencies of their students and also in relation to a word that finds its origins in the same root word as tuition, that being "intuition."
Intuition is defined as a keen or quick insight, a direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process. Intuition is commonly thought to be pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge of a subject.
Intuition finds its origins in the Middle English "intuicion" meaning "insight", from Late Latin intuitiō, intuitiōn-, a looking at, from Latin intuitus, a look, and from the past participle of intuērī, to look at or contemplate (as noted above with the etymology of "tuition"). The complete word origin and history is duplicated below for your assessment.
1497, from M.Fr. intuition, from L.L. intuitionem (nom. intuitio) "a looking at, consideration," from L. intuitus, pp. of intueri "look at, consider," from in- "at, on" + tueri "to look at, watch over" (see tuition). The verb intuit is an 1840 back-formation apparently coined by De Quincey.
I strongly believe that it is no mere coincidence that the word commonly used to denote the fee that our modern institutions of learning, especially our colleges and universities, charge for admission into their halls and for the use of their vast resources has the same genesis as the word our language has found fit to use as a description of learning that has little or no basis in knowledge of a structured nature. The two concepts are indeed quite at odds with each other if taken at face value.
However, if looked at from the vantage point of metaphysical inquiry, the terms tuition and intuition can be quite endearing to one another for the aim of a true education is not to provide the recepient with constants and absolutes but rather to equip the novitiate with the tools that one needs to seek out truths in their myriad forms with the fore knowledge and expectation that there are no such things as absolutes and constants in a universe that is governed by one absolute -- that a thing as it is today will not be the same on the morrow.
Furthermore, it posits that truth which has guided novitiate, pupil, sage, priest and master alike since the first beams of light emerged from the heavens and illuminated the darkness that allowed our ancestors to be able to dwell in the light -- that true understanding comes not from examining the other but from turning our eyes inward; that structures must first be erected on the plane of the mind before they can be constructed in the physical realm.
The world that we live in is the sum total of the world that we have conceived.
We currently live in a day and time where the strengthening and development of the natural, God-given gifts of the mind has been surmounted by the refining of applied mechanical and rote skills. These are but simply vocational programs in masquerade. True knowledge, even true light, comes from the proper understanding and ability to apply that energy which we as humans, formed in the image of the gods (see Genesis 1:24), have hardwired into our very nature. Education then, as it was in the Ancient Mystery Schools and should be today, holds the key to unlocking and refining that vast potential, that cosmic inheritance, which is not bound by creed, dogma, or belief but is as infinite and profound as the universe from which we all draw our collective consciousness. One's own faculties for understanding and deducing should be enhanced, not surmounted by, education.
Have a side of intuition with your tuition.
Friday, October 9, 2009
In the early hours of Friday morning, The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 would be awarded to President Barack Obama. The committee cited the President's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Special importance was attached by the committee to President Obama's "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." Obama is the 4th United States president to receive this prestigious honor, joining Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jimmy Carter. President Obama also joins Civil Right's leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a prominent African-American recepient of the award.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of 5 Nobel prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. "According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
There have been several controversial Nobel Peace Prize nominations in history, including Adolf Hitler in 1939, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini. Notable controversial laureates of the esteemed prize include Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat, Lê Ðức Thọ, and Henry Kissinger. The selection of Henry Kissinger prompted two dissenting Committee members to resign.
Notable non-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize include Mahatma Gandhi, Corazon Aquino, Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, Dorothy Day, César Chávez, Oscar Romero, Jose Figueres Ferrer, Steve Biko, Raphael Lemkin, Abdul Sattar Edhi, and Irena Sendler.
Peace laureates are typically awarded to individuals who have spent a significant portion of their lives working at and promoting humanitarian issues. While the President's actions and efforts may very well represent the vision of peace as posited by Alfred Nobel and the Norwegian Nobel committee, President Obama's relatively new familiarity to the office that he now holds in conjunction with his direct involvement with the now 8-year long United States led violent engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan draw considerable concerns for me regarding his fitness to represent the values and subsequent actions that usually typify peace -- the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
It is not my view that Mr. Obama, with the passage of time, will not become worthy of the honor that has been bestowed upon him. That is the hope inherent in all received preferment. My great fear is that the duties laid out by the office that Mr. Obama currently holds and to the people who have entitled him to it, will cause the President and other seats of power to redefine the methodology of achieving peace -- justifying the use of force, violence, and fear by great men, women, and nations as a reasonable means to what we all agree is a ideal end -- the concert and cohabitation of all the earth's citizens in harmony.
Where there is war, peace can not reside.