Vera speaks. “The perfect leader needs to have a decent education. The most desirable knowledge however, should be in subjects of logic. Science, Math, that kind of stuff.”
“Correct, Vera.” Osscarte says. “You remembered our discussion from a while back. Mathematics and Geometry are two of the most important studies worth wrapping your head around. They are the most crucial in helping bring one to enlightenment.”
I write down as much as I can in the spaces between his words. I wonder if he has his own writings or places where he keeps his teachings in a physical copy; so far, I’ve only seen him talk. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew everything he said off by heart. He can rip apart any flaw in a statement that could easily brush off anybody else’s ears, so he must be special. “To be the perfect guardian, you have to be well-skilled in the war - not necessarily in combat, but leading troops into battle well – General Bidas’ role. You need to be able to recruit the most educated soldiers, flourishing in these specific subjects. There is no point bringing in troops who specialise in the Arts or something along those lines. You’ll need clear, clean-cut black-and-white knowledge. That’s why studying Maths and Sciences are essential for the perfect guardian. Not just to be the best guardian, but the best philosopher.”
“It’s important that in the perfect city, we convince those with the highest potential to study these things and broaden their minds. And it cannot be studied just for the sake of it, to gain appraisal or to become financially successful. It can’t be studied as a phase, or something you can drop out of,” Aris chimes in. “Knowledge is eternal and everlasting, not just an era in life. Your only purpose can be to help this city become a better place to live, and make yourself a better person from the inside out.”
“Now, why do you think that such logical subjects are so important to learn? Why not the Arts? Literature? Music? Why wouldn’t that help?” Osscarte asks.
“It’s because logic has more of a universal quality, isn’t it? The Arts can bring up too many different answers. But an equation in Math is the same everywhere. One plus one is always two and there is no way that can be disputed.” Guy speaks without warning. In lessons, there is no hand raising or calling. If you have something to say, you say it - the one and only rule is that nobody talks over everybody, and that you listen to everything someone has to say and comprehend it before your response. Without doing so, you can be led into embarrassing situations, such as the ones I have already encountered. Vera gave me a heads-up on this before the lesson, just so I could try and avoid it. Unfortunately, I fell short, but I’m still getting used to it.
“You’re along the right lines, Guy. There is in fact a universal quality that you cannot avoid. Everybody can come to a unanimous agreement on the facts of logic, and you’re also correct in that the Arts can cause disagreements and divided opinions on the same study. We can listen to songs and retract many different meanings from them - we can watch films and interpret themes from across a spectrum of ideas, and most of the time, nothing is set in stone. Logic will always be logic. There is a parallel between Appearance and Existence here, correct?” Most students nod in response. “However, there is something more compelling about logic in which its significance needs to be addressed.”
“What may that be?” A student asks.
“Well, when you create a piece of art, people can come and watch you paint it and observe the piece. When you sing, people can flock to listen. When you cook, people can observe it, and taste the food. What do all of these things have in common? It is that they engage our senses – they make these things ‘real’ and ‘evident’ to us. And we have already discussed the issues that could arise from relying on his. However, with logic, there is nothing you can see with your own eyes. There is no place to look - nothing to taste or smell, or feel. You could tell someone you’re multiplying numbers, and they can’t really observe that in a physical sense – can they?”
I shake my head subliminally to his statement. It’s quite true, but I still don’t get why that’s important.
“Logic is important because it exists only by thought. Everything else is a physical action – a brush stroke, a dance, the strumming of an instrument - we can see that. But you can see someone sitting down, eyes closed, silent, unmoving, and they could just be thinking. They aren’t relying necessarily on outside senses. They used reasoning and rationality –adding and multiplying, analysing and comparing. It requires nothing but intelligence; something you all have. And once you have garnered intelligence, it will be much easier for you to pick up any skill, whether it is in the Arts or the Sciences. Once you’ve learned that thought can bring you to Existence, you’ll have a better grasp on everything else. Just make sure that whatever activities you partake in bring you closer to Existence and Truth. Understand?”
“The biggest problem is that most of our youth are not interested in such broad learning. How many people ever feel the urge to concern themselves with the dimensions of objects, or with reason, in their spare time? See, if we had a guardian who put these things in place, people would be interested. We would know much about these things well enough if given the chance. We would know about so much more, if we were given the chance. So,” he continues a few seconds later. “We have discussed three important areas of study in order to bring ourselves to wisdom. You should know that what matters is bringing our souls out of this world, up into world of Truth.”
What does he mean by this? Heaven? “Where is that?” I ask.
“It’s where we all belong.”
I try and grasp if he is only talking figuratively or in spirit, but it can be hard to differentiate from his hypothetical metaphors and his ‘factual’ statements.
“The world we live in is not perfect, nor will it ever be. I could yell that into a megaphone in the H.D. Square, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference to anybody else. You need to learn to find it within yourself. Utilise your knowledge and mould tools that can help bring you closer to Truth.”
I watch as people jot down notes and I remember to do the same as he goes on. “Before we go, I would just like to note something. A common mistake that people make is thinking that knowledge and wisdom is all about observation alone. However, that is not the case. You can stare at something as deeply as you wish, and for as long as you like, but your perception of that thing may never change. The key is analysis. Thought and reasoning. Considerations of different possibilities. Take, for example, two siblings standing in height order, small to taller. It takes observation to know that one sibling is shorter, and one taller. That’s quite obvious. Not very challenging. But it may take analysis to assess how that might not be the case. Because, which one really is short, and which one really is taller? Is the taller sibling tall because he is tall, or because he is standing next to someone shorter to him? Is the shorter sibling short because he is short, or because he stands next to someone taller than he is? You see, it’s all perception of sizes, distances, opposing ideas. Does that make sense?”
The class nods in unison.
“So you need to remember. Analysis is key. Whatever you ever focus on, make sure to look at every possible angle. Integrate senses with thought, but don’t just ‘look’ and expect an answer. Don’t just ‘feel’ and expect to know. Think.”