Monday, May 25, 2015

A Broader Education

Way back in Catholic grammar school I began, what was for me, my broader education by watching the complex dynamics of teacher/student relationships.  My teachers were nuns, stiff disciplinarians, and generally unhappy and uptight individuals.  They were supposed to be a reflection of God, but there was really nothing about them that inspired me to want to be like, or even closer to, God.  In fact, some of them were downright mean.  There were a couple of different nuns whom I considered kind and loving, but for the most part they were pretty intolerant and scary.  They were the ultimate authority figures.  They had the uniforms, habits, and the stiff and unyielding posture.  Seemed like they never relaxed, and almost never smiled.  There was a general and pervasive fear of displeasing them.  Anyway, I took it all in.  I observed which student behaviors earned the praise and accolades from the nuns.  And I took notes.  Unfortunately it was the phony, kiss-ass gestures that garnered the most affection.  It was the do anything to please personalities that came out on top of the proverbial pile.  It was not in my make-up.  And it was certainly not in my nature.  I was angry at them for the way they wielded their authority.  And I was intent on not joining the status quo.
At the time my educational experience was actually still ahead of me, and was really quite beyond what was to be learned from the nuns, from the books, or from the system. 

As has been the case for most of my life, I have tuned in to the less obvious, finding the obvious to be, well, obvious.  It has been the underlying dynamics of relationship, the psychology of behavior, the quiet innuendoes, the barely visible manipulations, the system of punishment and reward, the need meeting, the mating dance, the body language, the games, the who behind the mask, the flattery clubs and the social climbing that have fascinated me the most.  It is what has held my interest.  It is a glimpse into privacy, an understanding of camouflage.  It is what makes sense of the world for me. 
The rest is just veneer.

I have never earned a degree, and it has never bothered me.
I probably never will, unless by accident.