I first begin in deep gratitude that I am a part of the OCCC community. This college and my work here is foundational for who I am. Working with my students, my colleagues, and all of us who make this college special, is a great blessing. Thank you.

Now, I have the opportunity to share hard won wisdoms and be in dialogue with your questions and ideas.This will be a thinking about the sunlight and the shadow that make-up our human journey, especially in the world of learning and of producing a rich and intelligent life.

We can think together our sunlight and shadow. The metaphor behind the title of this endeavor is Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”.

This story in his Republic is the place for any thoughtful journey to begin in education. The idea is that we are all, in our deepest human nature, caved: our conditioning, our liability to falsehoods, the easier path of not learning in life, ego wants and ego influence, all contribute to a tough moment before we start to integrate learning into our lives. So what to do?

We need others to care. From family to friend to teacher to your own

Socratic self, someone has to start the process for you, even if it is your own
Socratic self (probably the best to care anyway). I can attest with deep truth that you have this covered at OCCC! You are part of a matrix of caring people, in all of our jobs. Just reach out, and this college will teach out!

There is a catch to Plato’s story though: our nature will always work against us moving from the shadows of the cave to the sunlight of a good life. There is a deep comfort to the cave. I bet that in 10 seconds that you can think of 10 reasons why college is hard. That is the shadow talking.

I hope that in the same 10 seconds that you think of why college is good for you (and all those around you). That is the sunlight talking.

I am all about the sunlight.

Once you really are out of the cave, even knowing that you will be pulled
back in when you least expect it, you are safe to know that the sunlight is
there. There is a third part Plato’s story, and why OCCC is such a supportive
place for you: those of us who know the beauty, goodness, and truth of the sunlight, also know that it is our calling to be in the cave and in the shadow to help others on their way. Everyone to sunlight.

If OCCC were a garden, we would all be heliotropic.

Thank you for your time. If you would like to explore a thought or idea or question, let me know at smorrow@occc.edu.