The story of life is lived by us. It is experienced first hand from day to day. Stories want to be told and shared, passed on during campfire nights or written in painting, sculpture or scripture and kept for generations yet to come. The lessons and insights that are hidden inside them are waiting to be discovered. But there are many roads and paths to discovery. They all lead to a better understanding of life and the disclosure of a paragraph or chapter of the great story. Among them there are roads with organized checkpoints and watch houses, to observe from a distance, while trying to discover the truth about life. But there are other roads that have a less structured form, that follow the riverbank, the mountain slope, twisting and turning as it goes. Howdo these different journeys bring us to the understanding of our story?
Science claims that its only function is to discover and expose the truth. Its main tool is logic and in logic it accepts chance. With the acceptance of chance it always leaves a possibility for unexplained and rare phenomena to exist. The chances of rare events are small and negligible. They are the dark and unknown spaces shown in the graphs of statistical chance and must be limited as much as possible in visible representations of the truth, as they only add uncertainties, not knowledge. The focus of study is on the main outcome of research, the mean score, the average that is true for most people in most circumstances.
Psychology, pedagogy, sociology and other social studies try to make visible the processes of human acting, learning and living, personal and interpersonal. When statistics are known they may help professionals as they try to improve the quality of life. When people suffer from trauma after a tragic event, psychological knowledge can be a tool for finding ways to help them in their healing process. But do these tools also help us to understand the story of our lives? As science is trying to unravel the unknown it starts by looking at how it will measure things and therefore it needs to focus on the development of clear and reliable instruments. After trying out our plans we measure again, gain understanding, create new plans and this process continues endlessly. When we look at our work and life through scientific eyes, what we do is calculate, measure, explain and conclude. We observe life, from our well-designed watch houses in the mountains. But as we watch, we may forget that we are also a part of the mountain. And the unexpected, hidden parts of life are also a part of our truth. Only if we try to delve into what we cannot explain, without focusing on measurement, statistical chance and logic, can we begin to grasp what otherwise stays hidden. Then we will begin to see a glimpse of reality in a holistic view of life that includes all aspects of being. In a holistic view of life there is space for every being to exist.
Without measurement and explanation there is a world where everything has its place and truth does not lie in observable chances. In order to grasp the unmeasurable aspects of life we should first be aware of them, and allow them the space to exist, not hide them in a dark, small corner of a graph. Once we approach the unmeasurable in silence, through awareness at a different level, we can allow it to be expressed through us, in the shape of art, story, song, dance or even silence itself.
We learn from our own life experiences. They teach us about life and about who we are. If twenty children are able to write, and one can only listen, we cannot start teaching the one to write before we know how he listens. He may the beautiful sounds and voices, creating the brightest imagination that teaches him all about life and the world around him. Why should we, because we cannot measure his imagination, look only at how he differs from the majority? When we teach him without knowing his reality he will only learn what he is not. When we observe him as he is—listening—we too will learn. We will learn more than if we merely study or try to teach language structures and cognitive science. The watching then becomes our life experience and our teacher.
Can this approach of watching and learning be added to our education and remain, and not be crushed under the high pressure of the logic of science? Measurement and record keeping have their place as tools of science. Science has its place as a tool to help improve the quality of life and should be seen as just that: a tool that aids us, but not as an ultimate truth that teaches us what life is. In order to understand life we need to experience it. In order to experience we need to watch and listen. We listen to stories and create our own. Stories express our life experiences and become life experiences for others. May our evaluation records be filled with stories. May our school halls, meetings, and our own hearts be filled with stories. And as our own story of life reveals itself to us, let us sit along the riverbank, watch the mountain peaks, and learn.