Archive for knowledge

Spatial Studies

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by javedbabar

Lucerne Valley College accepted Dimpy’s proposal to teach a course in Spatial Studies, whose title had come to her during a meditation. They agreed in principle to three ten-week terms, teaching two different classes weekly. These two days a week would fill the ones she was losing as a result of The Authority’s new accounting system, making her a cost rather than an asset to the museum. She couldn’t help feeling that there was also a vendetta at play between herself and the Board of Trustees. They wanted her out.

Having to support her one-year-old daughter Tasha by herself meant there was no time to feel sorry for herself. She had to take action. She had committed to presenting the Spatial Studies course and had better now think of a lesson plan.

“It’s the study of space,” she’d told the college administrator. “A multi-sensory approach to the element that surrounds and defines all material objects. I’m sure you know that the universe’s building blocks are 99.9% empty space.”

“Of course,” he’d said. “Yes, it sounds like a wonderful course.”

Teaching the course though was a different matter. She would have to convince the students.

She had a bright idea – maybe that was the answer: to ask the students. See what they wanted to learn; explore gaps in their knowledge. There was plenty of information out there on the internet, on TV, in book stores, and on cell phones. What was lacking was cohesion and integration. Maybe that was the space she should explore with students. What they had right now was a ladder with missing rungs, through which to fall, and possibly even missing rails, meaning never climbing at all.

The turnout for the first class was good: thirty students. She only needed fifteen to make it viable for the college. The administrator introduced her. “This is Miss Dimples Kashi who will be teaching this course in Spatial Studies. It will cover a wide range of disciplines and set you thinking, and may sometimes give you a headache. So keep your thinking caps on! Miss Kashi, they’re all yours.”

“Okay, class, who can define space for me?”

No hand went up. She pointed to a boy at the back. “Hello, what’s your name? Tom? Okay, Tom, what’s your understanding of space?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Excuse me? This is a class in Spatial Studies, the study of space.”

“The study of space? Like outer space?”

“No, it’s broader than that.”

Another boy said, “I thought it was Special Studies. I thought it would be easy; that’s why I came.”

There was a chorus of “Me too.”

A girl said, “I thought it was something like Physical Ed.”

More calls of “Me too.”

Oh dear, thought Dimpy. Maybe her lesson plan of limited dimensions, infinite extents, and linguistic and mathematical gaps must wait; as for theories and practice, objective and subjective views, symbols and archetypes, and the concept of a room in which to do all these things – those must wait too.

The bell rang, and shoes shuffled immediately. Bags were snatched and students arose. She called out, “Your homework is to remember your homework.”

They stopped and looked at her. She’d created a small space.

No Knowledge Without College

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2012 by javedbabar

Since being appointed Museum Director, Dimpy (Dimples) had really brought the place to life. There were no more dull exhibits and long-winded labels, strange opening hours, and bans on food and drink.

Lucerne Valley Museum had become a destination! Young people now came here and brought their friends. Old Fashioned Friday was a monthly dance night that drew people from the City and beyond. A few things had been broken, and others had disappeared, but that was the cost of doing business. You gotta break some free-range eggs to make an organic Western omelette.

The annual Debaters night was also a hit. Last year’s debate between the horny old world god Cernunnos and lovely St Lucy, both wanting to be named “Founder of Lucerne”, and Dimpy’s going into labour and giving birth to her daughter Tasha right there, had become local history itself.

Dimpy had also made peace with the trustees, though they would not forgive her for discovering Lucerne’s great secret. The Old Families still kept it locked in the museum safe.

She had salvaged an Upper Valley cabin about to be torn down – the owner was convinced he was a bear; he had been hospitalized and his property sold – and she had conceived the concept of the Future Museum celebrating technology. Artificial Intelligence, programmable matter, nanobots, cold fusion, and space solar power, would all one day affect Lucerne as much as any place.

Overall, visitor numbers had quadrupled. Dimpy was pleased with herself.

The Chair of Trustees, Mr Roseman, came by one day. He said, “Can I please see you in the boardroom?”

When she entered, she saw that the whole board was present. Mr Roseman said, “I’m afraid I have some bad news, Dimpy. We all agree that you are doing an excellent job. However, The Authority’s new accounting system requires us to look at the CPV: Cost Per Visitor, for every aspect of the museum. As you know, we are all volunteers. You however are very expensive, and don’t fall within acceptable parameters. We have no choice but to cut your pay or let you go. What do you wish to do?”

Dimpy had maintained regular contact with the trustees, and attended all scheduled board meetings. This was the first time that anything like this had ever been mentioned; it was a total shock. The scheming swines! She had to think quickly to keep her post.

“What if I remained on the same daily rate but reduced my days?”

Mr Roseman said, “Well that is another possibility. Is that your preferred option?”

Dimpy had heard that Lucerne Valley College had received a grant and was keen to start new courses. Maybe she could do something there – teach a course in Museum Studies or Basic Archaeology. Maybe World History or Cultural Anthropology. Or something crazy like The Evolution of Human Consciousness and Development of the Bicameral Mind. She would think of something. But she also needed to keep what she could of this job.

She said, “Yes, how about three days a week?” The trustees said that they’d discuss her proposal and respond tomorrow.

That night Dimpy meditated upon her favourite mantra – Be Here Now.

Two words appeared in her mind – Spatial Studies.

She didn’t quite know what to make of them, and fell asleep wondering. The next morning she opened a book of quotes she kept by her bedside. St Augustine said, “Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”

Dimpy realized that Lucerne was the space she occupied now. She could teach and study its living treasures.