Education and the Time of our Lives…

Harriet Pattison


Education has long presented itself as a meaningful advancement. This is a proposition which depends on, amongst other things, a particular projection of the temporal dimension. Time proposed as a forward flowing consistent and constant element allows for education as a progression through which its subjects will be improved upon by the addition of more knowledge and greater skills. This paper explores the notion of this progression through a deconstruction of the linear topology of time with reference to Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence. In doing so the description of ourselves created by the idea of education as a progress is questioned. New mathematical ideas are presenting the possibility of topologies of time which are able to reflect and relate differently to human experience. Here I suggest that altering the topology of time used by education would also allow us to alter our understanding of human change and would therefore simultaneously allow us to think anew about what we mean by education.


Educational alternatives; progressive education; alternative education; difference; educational theory; educational philosophy; home education; education policy

Full Text:

Click here for PDF


Acheson, D. (2002). 1089 + all that = A journey into mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Aries, P. (1960). Centuries of childhood. London: Pimlico.

Biesta, G. (2006). Beyond learning. London: Paradigm Publishers.

Booth, K. (2007). Theory of world security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brassier, R. (2007). Nihilism unbound. Hampshire, Palgrave MacMillan.

Brockmeier, J. (2009). Stories to remember, narrative and the time of memory.

StoryWorlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, 1, 115-132.

Brown, D. (1991). Human universals. New York: McGraw Hill.

Call, L. (1995). Nietzsche as critic and captive of enlightenment. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), University of California, Irvine. Retrievable from:

Dyson, F. (1985). Infinite in all directions. New York: Harper and Row.

Eliot, T. S. (1963). Collected poems. London: Faber and Faber.

Foucault, M. (1967). Of other spaces: Utopias and heterotopias. Retrieved from

Foucault, M. (1979). The history of sexuality [Volume 1]: An introduction. London: Allen Lane.

Gaede, N. (2009). Retrieved from:

Gleick, J. (1987). Chaos. London: Heinemann.

Guedj, D. (1998). Numbers. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Ignatieff, M. (1994). Scar tissue. London: Random House.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh. New York: Basic Books.

Le Poidevin, R. (2011). The experience and perception of time. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. E. N. Zalta (Ed.). Retrieved from:

Mandelbrot, B. (1977). The fractal geometry of nature. New York: W. H. Freeman & Company.

Mangan, A. (2006). Fractals a metaphor for constructivism,patterns, and perspective. Retrieved from:

Markosian, N. (2014). Time. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Retrieved from:

Meek Lange, M. (2011). Progress. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy E. N. Zalta (Ed.). Retrieved from:

Norrendtranders, T. (1991). The user illusion. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Norrendtranders, T. (2003). Science and art in collaboration—The mindship method. In J. Casti, & A. Karlqvist. (Eds.) Art and complexity. London: Elsevier Science.

Palmer, G. (2011). The poverty site. Retrieved from:

Pattison, G. (2011). God and being. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pattison, H. (2013). Rethinking learning to read: The challenge from children educated at home (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. Retrieveable from:

Pattison, H. (2003). Going back. Unpublished story.

Phipps, J-F. (2004). Henri Bergson and the perception of time. Philosophy now. Retrieved from:

Schotte, O. (1984). Beyond nihilism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sellgren, K. (2014). Freshers “forget 60% of their A-level studies!”. BBC News. Retrieved from:

Thomson, I. (2004). Heidegger’s perfectionist philosophy of education in Being and Time. Continental Philosophy Review, 37, 439–467

Toulmin, S. & Goodfield, J. (1967). The discovery of time. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Vohra, G. (2006). Fractal zoom Mandelbrot corner. Retrieved from:

Waters, M. Y. (2002). Aftermath. In S. Miller (Ed.) The best American short stories (pp. 333–342). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Welch, K. (2010). A fractal topology of time: Implications for consciousness and cosmology. Retrieved from:

White, J. (2014). Who needs examinations?: A story of climbing ladders and dodging snakes. London: Institute of Education Press.

Wood, D. (1998). How children think and learn. Oxford: Blackwell Press. to be different...

Other Education works in association with the following partners:

and is sponsored by the silence and mindfulness App Calm Me Down

Please see copyright notice at the end of each published work for specifics.

ISSN: 2049-2162 © Other Business Ltd, 2012-2017. Other Education™ is a not-for-profit trading entity of Other Business Ltd whose registered office is: Bernard Rogers Accounting, Bank Gallery, High Street, Kenilworth. Registered in England: 08567212