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Souls

Do you believe in the existence of souls? The very essence that possibly inhabit your bodies, as you eat, think, breathe, laugh and dance?

Having learned from past experiences, I shall refrain from contending from the perspective of God and salvation. I’m not afraid of venturing into controversial grounds, provided the protective barriers to knowledge, awareness and insights could allow a trespasser like me to pass through them amidst labyrinthine hedges and foggy veils. Notwithstanding this, it is not my intention to be come across as offensive, flippant and inconsiderate. And if I ever have to dish out my opinions regarding such matter, I wish to do so without engaging in ferocious arguments and cool insinuations.

While reading a book that has since become my favorite amongst other masterpieces in the cornucopia of knowledge, I am fortunate to have encountered a particular Italian word. Formazione, according to Page 58 of The Sistine Secrets, means education. The notion of education in Renaissance, apparently doesn’t only include our contemporary scope of academics (English lit, calculus, algebra… oh yes! More calculus…). To extract a tiny fragment from this combined work of several daring authors (who has since stood in perilous regions, risking potential death threats, finger pointing, tarnished reputations…), it brings about the idea of “shaping, molding, forming” of young minds.

And historical records have told us that a proper formazione in that era of upheaval and change required a learner to possess vast knowledge in many things, if not everything. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was an artist, architect, musician, engineer, scientist, mathematician, geologist, writer and botanist. Besides, according to this book, his quiet mutiny against the Church led him to discover the human anatomy, with the help of grave robbers at that time. Michelangelo, the talented sculptor and painter, with the assistance of his accumulated knowledge of the Jewish beliefs, contrived to preach a message of reconcilation and peace between Christianity and Kabbalah via his frescoes, in a time when even the Pope would have regarded their “elder brothers and sisters” with disdain.

Which leads me back to the topic- souls. The aspects ,mentioned are supposedly requisite in shaping, molding and forming them.

Would our modern, twentieth/twenty-first century academics have been able to do so? Before we continue, please note that I mentioned “academics”, not education. Somehow, centuries of time have merged the two words together. While these two aspects are not entirely different, it is important to come to this significant yet simple realization- that academics is just a subset of education. Education, on the other hand, covers a much, broader scope. A wider range of information that gives us a more complete view of the world. Or even bits and pieces that are capable of triggering logical thoughts or innovative creations.

However, pragmatically speaking, the time spent in school would most probably disallow a complete package of formazione to be delivered even to the most attentive students during classes. This has to be acquired through observation of an individual. To a certain extent, the two people that brought us into the world play a role in providing stimuli to the minds. Yet, with more and more families having both parents in the workplace, the time resources they are able to extract from their daily schedules seem limited, especially during times when “free time” means finishing their work. Ergo, a significant portion of this informal education falls back onto the individual.

Yours sincerely,

Jo

P.S: Nonetheless, it still makes the encumberance of parenting appear more complicated than ever. No wonder people are choosing to have children later and later in life, which also makes conception even closer to impossibility, no?

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