Three conditions for claiming the authority to teach

October 9, 2017


Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, or rather, the acronymous KRS-One is an emcee, philosopher, teacher, and forebearer of Hip Hop culture. In a series of lessons presented by the Bronx-bred emcee, he says that the authority to teach does not come from another man or another woman. Implicit in this is the suggestion that people can pull the authority to teach onto themselves.


One pulls the authority to teach onto himself by satisfying three conditions:


  1. One who gets a lesson has fulfilled a first condition of receiving the authority to teach.

  2. If this person takes that lesson and arrives, through it, at an original thought, he has fulfilled yet another condition.

  3. The third condition is met when, with original thought in tow, this person comes into an awareness that indicates the self as the actual subject of learning.


By fulfilling these conditions and accepting the authority to teach, that authority is granted.


Now you have a teacher who, through some lesson, has come to an original thought on that lesson. Through self-awareness this teacher has become a standard; a model by which to evaluate in comparative measures. 


Through this teacher's lessons, others are supposed to be inspired to go, by way of investigation, beyond the standard. Beyond the teacher and his original thought. 


"I am the standard, not the exalted," says KRS. "I am not the teacher to be looked up to. I'm supposed to be looked down to."


Might there be another teacher who makes a proclamation such as this?


By positioning himself to be looked down to, a teacher puts a student in better view  of the lessons to be learned. With the angle and acuity of a bird's eye, the student is in place to advantageously learn from what her teacher has already gone before and learned.


So then what does the teaching look like? Teaching is telling and equipping that student to go beyond the standard, to do better than me. The teacher then takes on his shoulders the duty of making that command a tall feat. 


As KRS puts it in the lessons, "it's going to be hard, but try to do better than this."

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