Alternative West was a very unusual public high school as you may gather if you have read our blogs about Alina.
Alternative West was set up as a school run entirely by the students; we hired our director and teachers and set our curricullums, as well as determining our class schedules and all our rules.
Of course some of our rules could not be stated publically, such as our policies regarding drugs.
Ninety percent of our school were stoners or used pot socially or liberally, including our teachers.
Ninety percent also went on to colleges or universites...
Smoking tobacco in classes was permitted, if no one had health objections; there were few objections and all objections were typically well respected.
Several extremely curious things happened in our second year at Alternative West, one of which was meeting Alina.
Our school had designed this year of our school in five cycles instead of the classic two-semester style, or the four-cycle style we tried the year before.
The first, third, and final cycles would be short intensive study cycles, about four weeks each. In the two longer skill cycles we had many different classes in daily or weekly schedules.
A new class was being offered this year in Metaphysics and Parapsychology; two teachers, Al and Warren had volunteered to teach this class together in a two hour format that would meet three times a week for about nine weeks, as part of our fall skills cycle.
The year was 1975.
Class would be held in the loft, to one side, on the west, by a fire exit.
A large column made a convenient place to set a row of sports equipment lockers to define the east edge of our class area, immediately adjacent to our library area.
Chairs were arranged tightly within this space, it was over-crowded, this might be the best attended class in our school, some forty students in a school of about 180 had signed up.
It was standing room only, so we climbed up on the lockers like a monkey and sat cross-legged, alone, above everyone else, waiting patiently for class to begin.
The format for these classes was intended to follow a regular pattern in which our teachers would introduce a topic with some detail, and then open the floor for class discussion.
For the first class Al and Warren began with an introduction to the Mind/Brain/Body relationshps, focusing on Mind and Brain. Their presentation lasted about 20 minutes.
With perhaps 100 minutes left to go, they opened the subject to the class for debate.
Finally someone starts speaking, beginning to describe the relationships of the mind and brain in more detail, expounding spontaneously on this topic for nearly 80 minutes.
We listened intently, focusing on the speaker's words carefully, learning what we ourselves already truly believed, because we ourselves were the speaker.
We were channeling, but at the time we did not even know what channeling was.
When we finished, the class errupted in dialogue.
Class ran over, as no one could walk away.
Each class after this class would follow the same format.
We never knew what topic Al or Warren might choose next; we had no time to prepare, but we always discoursed to a raptly attending audience for 80 minutes or so.
By the end there were closer to fifty students in our Metaphysics & Parapsychology classes, perhaps more.
We remember nothing.
We have amnesia when we channel, if we don't write it down we immediately forget it.
A pity it would be many more years before video cameras became common-place.
C'este la vie...
We were approached by several friends who asked us to teach two classes next skills cycle, classes in Sociology and Psychology. We agreed, but that is another story...
Parts of this story currently blogged on Temple Illuminatus...
|Alina, In the Beginning, Courtship|
|Alina toward the Middle, Before a New Begining, Intimacy|
|Alternative West, Learning to Channel|
|Alternative West, Sociology and Psychology|
|Alina, In the Middle, Suicide|
|Alina, Over The Hump, Bank Robbers|
|Alina, A New Beginning, Resurrection|