Science has proven when an animal is trapped by fire it will always try to flee the flames, even if that means leaping off a ledge or jumping into unknown waters and into death. We saw evidence of that self-salvation in the brutality of the World Trade Center as people willingly leapt from windows one hundred storeys above the ground — some even joined hands in the free-fall — just to escape the fireball burning their bodies.
There are other, less dramatic, examples of fleeing in order to save the self.
Some young people race out of the family house and into a college dorm or apartment in order to escape the home fires burning the flesh of their sensibilities.
The fatality in that premature leaping from the home is the child often falls hard and gets lost. Some never recover their disorientation.
In the fleeing, there is little planning and zero prescience, and so the child limps around, slightly burned and always smelling of smoke, but also relishing the breath of freedom and belonging.
An effective escape from the heat must be quietly counseled and wisely promoted — and “going off the school” is the perfect cover for the retreat from the flames – higher education is built upon this necessary leaping.
The healthy student will not hesitate to ask for help in standing up and will always look below them for others who escaped, but fell, and then lift them from the smoke and the ashy lies and up into the light of freedom and self-realization.