To Know As We Are Known: Chapters 1-4

Learning Log 1 

To Know As We Are Known: Chapters 1-4

Parker J. Palmer


Palmer is saying that education is about discovering the truth. Truth is only discovered through love. There must be equal parts love for the subject, yourself and others walking with you on the path of discovery. If you deny any one of these their role in the process you will not arrive at truth.

Important Ideas

  • Love is essential to knowing truth.
  • We the observer are essential to knowing truth.
  • Interacting with the subject is essential to knowing truth.
  • The idea of learning reflecting a monastic culture.


How do we gather up the courage and support to teach in a way that build a community of learners in the face of high stakes tests, the tyranny of results right now and a world that is doing all it can to tear apart community?


  1. But what scholars now say -- and what good teachers have always known -- is the real learning does not happen until students are brought into relationship with the teacher, with each other, and with the subject. pg xvi
  2. The deepest wellspring of our desire to know is the passion to recreate the organic community in which the world was first created. pg 8
  3. A knowledge that springs from love may require us to change, even sacrifice, for the sake of what we know. It is easy to be curious and controlling. It is difficult to love. pg 9
  4. Truthful knowing weds the knower and the known; even in separation, the two become part of each other's life and fate. pg 31
  5. Reality's ultimate structure is that of an organic, interrelated, mutually responsive community of being. pg 53


I have said before in the is that I love Parker Palmer and this book. What I loved most about it was that is so well described what I felt like I was doing at camp when I was younger and counseling kids. Bringing them all around the woods with no particular agenda other than to look at what God had given us. It was wonderful and still to this day I love bringing cabins around (I am a director in the summer). I love teaching counselors how to live in the world that brings kids to God's love and God's kingdom. He gave me the strength to say that this was how to teach as well and I like to think I have not turned back. Giving in to the pressures that would make us just teach the facts is really easy. It is also something that keeps your job safe. I have never seen someone questioned who was telling kids the way it is. That is not the way I want to do it though. I want them to see it and live it and experience it. I want them to know each other and getting them to care about what is going on in each others lives because they will learn physics better does not fly with most kids in a highly motivated school. There is not any doubt in my mind about its effectiveness, except while I am doing it. There is so little in immediate results and it seems like you are never going to get anywhere. It seems like you are stalled because something important has not been achieved. But then there is a day when the right mood and the right questions and the right time all intersect. Those time can only happen when you are constantly looking for them, but when they do happen you learn more in one day than some people do in a semester. You know what has happened and how the community of the learners (yourself included) have been ushered into a new relationship with the subject. I love the vision be being wed to the subject. It totally describes what I am after. When a kids asks about the physics of something that happened at home or on the football field or the golf course. Then you have them. When you get a text message in the middle of the summer with a question or just a comment. They are in relationship with the subject.