Monday, November 16, 2020

A System of Teaching by Practical Jokes, Mostly Cruel

It is by surprises that experience teaches all she deigns to teach us.

In all the works of pedagogy that ever I read,--and they have been many, big, and heavy,--I don't remember that any one has advocated a system of teaching by practical jokes, mostly cruel. That, however, describes the method of our great teacher, Experience. She says,

Open your mouth and shut your eyes
And I'll give you something to make you wise;

and thereupon she keeps her promise, and seems to take her pay in the fun of tormenting us.

[C. S. Peirce, "On Phenomenology", The Essential Peirce, Volume 2 (1893-1915), Peirce Edition Project, ed. Indiana University Press (Indianapolis: 1998) p. 154.]