Education is More Fundamental Than 'Learning New Things'

Some people confuse teaching or training with education. The difference accounts for the difficulties of public (and private) education and for the potential of somatic education. In this piece, I explain how and why that is so.


Teaching and training involve learning new things about the world or new things to do.

Education is more fundamental than that kind of learning.  The root of the word, education, "e ducare", reveals something.  Those two words mean "to draw out".  What is being drawn out?

Etymology: the Latin words e ducare

the Latin word educare (bring up; train; educate)
derived from the Latin word educere (lead out; draw up; bring up)
derived from the Latin word ducere (to lead; to lead or draw; to lead, dim; to lead, carry; lead, command; think)
derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *deuk- (to lead)
using the Late Latin prefix e-

What is being drawn out are ones faculties (or integrity).  Education is the awakening of our faculties (or integrity).

There are four "faculties" (or "integrities") of intelligence (and only four) that are fundamental.


These four faculties are irreducible and universal, no exceptions.

From the integrity of those four, all other faculties (such as critical thinking, language skills, aesthetics, etc.) emerge:

  • attention management
  • dedication and regulation of effort (intention) -- to act or to refrain from acting (rest)
  • the ability to listen (attention * memory)
  • the ability to learn deliberately (intention * memory)
  • the ability to deliver communications (imagination * memory * intention delivered to attention)
  • the ability to teach (intention * memory * imagination delivered to attention)
  • the ability to internalize ideas (primitively expressed as the ability to follow instructions) - (the intention to derive meaning by imagining a meaning, followed by remembering and exercising intention in subsequent action)
  • the ability to turn ideas into functional, tangible actualities (intention * memory)
  • discernment (you might figure that one out, for yourself)
Notice that these faculties exist independently of subject matter.  They are generalizable.

Education (in the sense of awakening ones basic faculties of intelligence) makes people teachable, able to teach themselves, and able to function at any level of excellence they earn by activating those faculties.

Without education, in this sense, people are hard to teach/train, and those who receive training either (one or more):
  • don't learn well
  • can't follow instructions
  • are incapable of developing beyond their training
  • are incapable of adapting what they've learned to new situations
  • can't pass on what they've learned to others
  • can't instruct others well
  • can't tell whether an action adequately embodies an idea
  • are knowledgeable incompetents (can talk the talk, but not walk the talk)
Sound familiar?

In public education, common curricula include
  • history (faculty:  memorization)
  • math (faculty:  abstract reasoning)
  • science (faculty:  correlating ideas (theory) with actualities (observable evidence); cause-effect reasoning)
  • the arts (faculty:  imagination and the ability to turn internal perceptions into tangible actualities; aesthetic sense)
  • languages:  (faculty:  the ability to use or express ourselves in language to carry out our intentions (conscious or subconscious); to use words of language to cast a spell upon the imagination -- a spell that enchants us into remembering what never was; to draw attention to the intuitive heart of things so that a shared intuitive, understanding occurs; to convey by means of language, intentions -- and to comprehend the intentions of another by willingly taking in (remembering) what they are saying and imagining what they mean.
  • literature (faculty:  the ability to assume viewpoints other than ones own; listening/comprehending and speaking/writing)
  • physical education (faculty:  the ability actually to do what you intend to do or to recognize when you have not done so -- accountability); the ability to capture, stabilize and reinforce, in movement memory, the developments of mind-neuro development as the development of the four faculties continues over a lifetime)
  • education in general (faculty:  developing freedom through developing responsibility for ones own faculties)
All skills are derivative from the four basic faculties (or integrities) -- without exception. None stands on their own without all four faculties operating and co-operating.

However, education, in general, seems to have become confused with teaching/training, which is heavily memorization-intensive -- memorizing being only one faculty. Education, in general, seems predominantly an exercise in memory.

The faculties most directly addressed by non-memorization subjects (such as art: imagination) are different from the faculties most directly addressed by memory-intensive subject (history).

In the view of education I propose, here, the subject matter is only the vehicle for awaking the four faculties of intelligence.

I think that educators tacitly hope that the faculties of intelligence of their students will be up to the demands of their subject matter -- but few (if any?) teachers make an effort to directly awaken the four basic faculties of intelligence or to diagnose and remediate deficiencies of those faculties (all of which are doable in an organized and structured way that allows for unexpected emergence of changes).

Unless educators recognize that the subjects they teach are merely vehicles for awakening a person's faculties (actually, for a person to awaken his or her own faculties, which is the only way it can be done), such educators are not educating the basic faculties of their students, in the fundamental sense that I have presented in this writing, but relying upon those faculties being adequately developed so that they can teach a subject and have their students receive it at the level at which it was delivered, to them.

Teaching "subjects" to groups of students whose basic faculties are unevenly and even haphazardly developed (in a proto-educated state) and so who are not necessarily well-prepared to learn, can't receive the material at the level at which it was delivered; it's beyond them. They catch parts and pieces, which they internalize according their capacity, given the uneven and even subconscious development of their basic faculties. They remember rote answers by rote but may not see significances or applications of what they know to situations. They're not "firing evenly on all cylinders".

The inordinate challenges of public education may be traced to the confusion between challenging the capacity of their students' faculties to learn and remember and the awakening of those faculties to begin with.  The latter, awakening those faculties, is primary, preparatory, and ongoing, underlying all the learning of things and ideas, and abilities developed, and mental understanding, and intuitively-informed creativity.

An ordinary person in whom the faculties named are well-developed can more easily be taught (or self-teach), feels and functions better, in general, than one in whom those faculties are more rudimentarily developed. Obvious, right?


(a bit slow getting to the hot topic, so keep listening)

Psychology is Physiology

For every psychological change that occurs in us, a physiological change also occurs. All subjective experience (psychology) entails active, observable physiological activity. Psycho-physiological activity goes on from moment to moment. The physiological activity does not cause the subjective, psychological experience; it is merely the tangible manifestation of it. Physiological activity is the only way an objective observer can observe the subjective experience of another -- without experiencing it as the experiencer experiences it.

Psycho-Physiology is Mind-Body is Somatic

So, education physiologically changes us, as much as psychologically changes us. Mental development entails physiological changes -- neurological changes, hormonal changes, distress ("stress") index (on a scale of
"1 >to> 1,000.000,000"), brainwave behavior, heart-rate variability, tension-based habitual posture, chronic injury pain -- you get the idea.

See the relation between physiology and psychology? This isn't supposed to be "new information"; it's an announcement of a way of understanding the human condition (and conditioning), better, with a bearing upon our course of action in the education of the human species.

The Mind of Movement

Most basically, the physiological changes that occur, occur at the (sensory-motor) level -- sensation and movement.

We can easily see that fact in the earliest years of school, when students are expected to develop their movement skills (P.E. and writing); just as moving ones lips when one reads indicates ("sub-vocalization") that the mental act of reading activates muscular activity, just as rapid eye movements during sleep correspond to dreaming activity, just so, all thinking involves a play of subtle modifications of muscular tensions, and the ability to think depends upon the adequate awakening and integration of those movements.

To make this point, let me illustrate in a way that you can test for yourself.  I say that you can't count to ten in your mind any faster than you can count to ten out loud.  That means thinking each number as clearly as you would say it.

Test yourself, now.   Do it.


Much is made of the mind, these days, while the body is treated as if it were "meat" to strengthened and stretched, enjoyed or suffered.

The body is fundamental, even to abstract thought. (Think of the role of good nutrition in learning.)

Most people develop only relatively rudimentary movement skills and rudimentary perceptual skills and are of average intelligence.  Artists develop fine movement skills and fine perceptual skills and, lo and behold, artists are generally of higher intelligence.

I'm not saying that higher intelligence leads to finer movement skills.  I'm saying the reverse:  developing finer movement skills and finer perceptual skills raises intelligence.  Well-coordinated movement supports well-organized thinking; poorly coordinated movement suggests poorly organized thinking.  And the kicker:  improving coordination (refining movement) improves thinking.

That's something for you to test.  Here's how.

The field of somatic education (here, the word, education, is used in the sense of this article) develops finer movement skills and finer perceptual skills, faculties that involve changes of brain organization.  The process of somatic education develops the faculties of paying attention, listening and internalizing information, acting with intention, cause-effect reasoning, discernment, aesthetics, and memorization. 

Read the following article, "An Expanded Understanding of The Three Reflexes of Stress" (or listen to the audio), and then test my words.

That will be a hint about something bigger.