w: ajleon

Learning Everything Except the Art of Learning

Acquaint yourself with your own ignorance. – Isaac Watts 

Much is made of the tale of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the Sun. But very few know about his cousin, Perdix.

When Perdix was a young boy, he showed great promise as a student of the mechanical arts. His mother, desiring only the best for her luminous child, sent him to study under his Uncle Daedalus (the father of the fallen Icarus). Under his Uncle’s auspices, Perdix began to thrive. With his insatiable curiosity, he invented the first saw by notching and imitating the spine of a fish, and the first compass by fashioning two pieces of scrap metal with a spare rivet.

As it became apparent that student would soon surpass teacher, Daedalus, instead of being proud, grew absurdly envious of his nephew.

One day, Daedalus invites Perdix on a walk of the heights of Athens. After much strolling and chatting, Uncle and Nephew end up atop the Acropolis, where Daedalus takes the opportunity to toss Perdix over the edge hurling to his death.

Thankfully the goddess, Athena, a great lover of ingenuity, decides to step in and just before Perdix hits the pavement turns him into a bird to save himself.

Although Perdix indeed survives, he does not do so unscathed.

Athena turned the boy into a partridge. One of the few birds on earth that “does not build its nest in the trees, nor take lofty flights, but nestles in the hedges, and mindful of his fall, avoids high places.”

In other words, he was turned into a creature that knows how to conform, or more colloquially, shut the f*ck up and keep its head down.

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But who is this fool, Daedalus?

When given the opportunity to prepare someone to soar, he fails miserably by giving them faulty equipment and when having the privilege to teach a student who might surpass him, relegates them to an existence of aversion to any heights.

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A couple weeks ago, we were in my beloved little town of Fargo planning the Second Annual Misfit Con. While there, I had the great pleasure of sharing a coffee with Simone Wai and Joe Burgam, a brilliant young couple who remind me a great deal of Melissa and I when we were younger.

About 9 months ago, Joe (at the age of 19) decided to forgo a traditional education and apply instead to the Experience Institute (the brainchild of my dear friend Victor Saad), a post-industrial age learning experience designed specifically for people who were meant to change the world.

There I sat sipping my coffee at Nichole’s, hearing story after story of the remarkable people he had met, and the prodigious lessons he had gleaned and the life altering experiences he had absorbed. The next day, this Fargo-boy was off to Los Angeles for an apprenticeship at a world renowned creative agency.

And I just thought to myself.

My God, I wish this would have been around when I was a kid. 

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I don’t know about you, but when I was in school at every level, I encountered many a Daedalus.

The sad truth is that Seth is right, the factory system of education is in the business of fostering compliance, not originality. The procrustean bed of the modern day university, many times, either outright rejects or simply obstructs the rebellious, the unusual, the misfit, in hopes of manufacturing a series of perfect little underachieving Perdix’s, building their homes far from the trees, intimidated into believing they shouldn’t ever soar too high lest they be tossed back to earth.

But you and I can do something.

We can support people like Victor, who are changing everything and risking greatly to do so.

I am hysterically proud to be an Advisor of the Experience Institute, and to have Misfit Incorporated as a company whom potential EI students can apprentice at next year.

Would you take 4 seconds out of your day to help my friend Victor share his vision?

It would mean the wide world to me.

 

From Stratford-on-Avon

Your fellow Misfit,

AJ

 

Ps – If you are at a place right now in your life where you are deciding whether to apply to grad school, or whether to invest four years and tens of thousands of dollars into University, I strongly suggest that you take a look at the curriculum Victor has created. It is a program that is not only ingenious, it is handcrafted for us, for the misfits. You can apply here through May 1.

 

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Misfit News: 

@ajleon | @misfit_inc | @goodmisfit | @twitgift | Facebook POE

We are only one month away from the release of our very first Misfit Theme! Misfit Themes are small batch, artisan WordPress themes designed especially for troublemakers, misfits and general riff-raff. You can get a sneak peek of our first delectable hunk of CSS, typeface and code here. The theme is called Legend. Please let me know if you are interested as we will only be releasing a few hundred Legend’s, then killing the file forever. 

The team at Misfit Press and I are about to publicly open Digital and small batch Print subscriptions to the Misfit journal, a creative arts magazine we launched over a year ago that has only had private subscription since. If you are a supporter of independent art and a lover of poetry, fiction,  photography and films, this might just be for you. Stay tuned. 

Did you know? That Misfit is a social enterprise which redistributes most of its profits to social, humanitarian and cultural work around the world. Last year, our Good Misfit project raised 25 thousand dollars in one month to build a windmill for a village in Northern Kenya. 

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I take pictures on Instagram … 90% of which are coffeeProsecco or chocolate croissants

966 words

2.26.14

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