Locus Focus: Take Eighteen!
This week I continue the School Settings theme. =) Speaking very personally now, I find it very soothing--if only in an escapist sort of way--to read about such wonderful learning environments. But I'll admit that has less to do with the settings themselves than with the students one finds in them.
And yes, I know I'm kind of late this week. Those of you who remember when my CPU went on strike and my keyboard went crazy will not be surprised to hear that it was the monitor's fault this week. Sigh!
A Wind in the Door
by Madeleine L'Engle
"What's Metron Ariston? Is it a planet?"
"No. It's an idea, a postulatum. I find it easier to posit when I'm in my home galaxy, so we are near the Mondrion solar system of the Veganuel galaxy. The stars I see are those I know, those which I see from my home planet."
"Why are we here?"
"The postulatum Metron Ariston makes it possible for all sizes to become relative. Within Metron Ariston you may be sized so that you are able to converse with a giant star or a tiny farandola."
While we're on the subject of dream classrooms, let's look at one which defies the very concept of a room. In our age of cyber classrooms, I suppose we can see Metron Ariston as the first (or one of the first) virtual classrooms in literature--one in which the students' and teacher's age, size and distance from each other don't matter in the least.
Indeed, the immateriality of such factors is the first lesson--made clear when the first two human students meet their more unusual classmates. The first, a cherubim (yes, plural, although there is only one of him), gripes a little about being in "a class with such immature earthlings." Although he himself is, "in cherubic terms, still a child," he is also several light-years older than the two earthling pre-teens. Later, the class is completed by a farandola, so small that he is microscopic to things which are microscopic to us. He has no trouble admitting that he "was born only yesterday." The teacher himself is from another galaxy.
Such "diversity" (to borrow another term from our own jargon) is only possible in a classroom where time and space don't matter. And such a classroom is necessary when beings as varied as a young cherubim, a dried up school principal, and a snotty farandola need to learn the same lessons about naming, deepening, and loving.
But Metron Ariston is only the first stop, necessary to orient our characters to the realities of space and time. Only then can they proceed to a world so tiny that, where our human technology is concerned, it is only a theory--as much of a postulatum as Metron Ariston itself.
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I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D
Quick Link to This Week's Other Locus Focus
Evelyn Waugh's Oxford University @ Birdie's Nest
Image Source: A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle