To Know As We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey

by Parker J. Palmer. Harper Collins Publishing, 1993.
Large to know as we are known

Parker Palmer urges teachers and learners to recapture the spiritual dimension of education. To explain how the spiritual dimension can be re-introduced, the author begins by positing three sources of our knowledge. The first two-curiosity and control-are fairly familiar. The third source-compassion or love-connects us to all of creation and makes a serious claim on our lives. It is this source of knowledge that intrigues Palmer. After examining the impact of so-called "objective" methods in education, Palmer explores personal and communal conceptions of truth. All education should be a search for truth, not simply a study of seemingly objective facts and theories. Such an education would involve learning by interacting with the world, not by studying it from a distance. Palmer notes that we have separated education from the spiritual realm, with education intended to deal with tangible realities and spirituality intended to deal with the intangible world. Because the tangible world is made possible by intangible powers, such separation, he argues, creates a cultural illness that blocks healing, hope, and wholeness. Palmer provides instruction on the spiritual disciplines needed to move teaching into its best role. By examining patterns of daily living and choices, readers not necessarily involved in leadership roles also will be encouraged to follow the practical ingredients for a life of integrity.