Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Heath warning - academic rant

Daily Draw, The Everyday Witch Tarot Tarot, Page of Pentacles

I usually identify with representations of this page as a scholar. This version offers a different perspective. Actually in this deck the it is the Page of Swords who appears with a bag of books. 

According to the book this page is the best prepared for the journey ahead and yet he tosses a coin to decide why way to go. Really? I can imagine the raised eyebrows at home if they knew. Or perhaps daddy pentacles is too rich to care...

The ivory tower is not in this chap's line of sight at all indicating that he is interested in practical knowledge with immediate applications not theory. 

This rendition calls into question my cherished assumptions about this court. A quick whip around the web reveals that popular interpretations of this card often emphasise learning something to make money. 

This reminds me of current trend towards the commodification of education - an impoverished view of learning which alongside other factors is causing the demise of the arts and humanities - disciplines which develop creativity and critical thinking skills and in the process encourages the development of decent, well rounded human beings. 

On the other side the research focused institutions/ivory towers which host those disciplines are culpable. A major special collections library (funded by the taxpayer) is still making it really difficult for anyone outside the university to access the catalogue let alone the collections. Although public membership is theoretically possible it requires something akin to a masonic initiation. 

I spent a good four hours today on their website and am still none the wiser about what they actually hold. If with all my accumulated research skills I can't find a way in then god help anyone else. 

In my day digitised (scanned) resources available on the web was the dream but to young people today that is old hat. They want books in audio. 

Perhaps this youngster is not so disinterested in book learning after all - a smart kid he's sussed early on he hasn't got time to waste knocking on a locked door that will never open. 

If only we were all better educated. If then, higher education would at last be a journey for skill and knowledge rather than for power and status.

Criss Jami, 1987-


  1. A locked library funded by the public? That sounds ridiculous (I get protecting the collection, but if you want to protect it that much, then put it in a museum).
    I see all the Pages as learners, each one learning best as per their suit. He might learn from a book, but he needs to apply the learning in practical ways for it to stick. Like reading a gardening book then attempting to create and plant a garden. Or a student earning a teaching degree who must go in classrooms and practice what he's learned.

    1. Yes it does make sense to see them all as learners with particular learning styles and preferences. I'm glad This representation challenged my assumptions. I'm looking forward to getting to know the each of pages better :)

  2. Yes this page is the one who wants to get his hand dirty. I don't see him wearing glasses any time soon :D