Among School Children

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"Among School Children" is a poem used by Yeats to determine an upcoming generation with the underlying concept that no possible life can be fulfilled. The philosophy controlling this work suggests that perhaps life 'prepares us for what never happens'. Consistent with Yeatsean philosophy, it follows the dogma which states that wistlessness brings about innocence, whereas knowledge brings us ballyhoo. Within the realms of acquired wisdom, consciousness produces an anarchic state within the individual, causing conflict to be the degradation of the soul and mind. Understanding these forms of consciousness, inscape and instress, as Tenyson has termed them, causes a heightened awareness towards understanding the human spirit and the universe. According to Yeats, this understanding creates confusion and consciousness becomes conflict.Consciousness is limited to the realms of experience.

Within this experience we may understand individualities of love, death, beauty and spiritual essence. Consciousness is the awareness of one's surroundings and identity; the awareness of universal concepts and the relation this plays upon the individual. Yeats believed that throughout an individuals life there were certain icons and memories which remained constant, turning in what he classified as a gyre, an ever increasing spiral of life veering towards a state of anarchy. This form of consciousness is classified within Western cosmologies as knowledge or wisdom.

If one chooses to neglect this knowledge, one has not been enlightened and therefor remains much like the school children Yeats views in the poem. If one grasps these memories within the eternal wheel one is considered a knowledgeable man. He has an understanding of his own relativity within the realms of spirituality held between himself and others, as if his subconscious has been awakened and now lies within his own consciousness. He has reached a new plateau of consciousness and therefor becomes susceptible to both his own and the relativity of other individuals relativity. This may be considered as a form of enlightenment. The question which is aroused by this topic is whether this awareness of consciousness and enlightenment is beneficial.

Yeats believed that within the enlightened individual there remains an anarchic state; confusion, which leads to conflict. It is apparent that among the school c...

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...self-born makers of man's enterprise'(ln56) become the conscious individual. He continues by declaring labour to be part of this divine dance, where pleasure of the soul becomes greater than pleasure of the body. He gives us the example of birth once again, where beauty is not born out of despair of its own lack. Essentially, this innocence is the beauty and the dance which God wishes us to follow.

Wisdom becomes bleary, much like peering through 'midnight oil'(ln60), and confusion has been loosed through knowledge.With wisdom creating bleary vision, Yeats concludes that we have no way of knowing the 'dancer from the dance'(ln64). We have no capacity for understanding how to fulfill this dance as it cannot even be determined by the conscious individual. The dance may only be completed by what Carl Jung has termed 'the collective unconscious'. If one's consciousness has reached a new parallel in the continual turning gyre, one's awareness may be considered one thread closer towards confusion and anarchy. Each step taken into further consciousness may be considered a step in the direction towards confusion as the gyre is turning away from innocence. Conflict will be the resultant.
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