Zero is only a reference point

Bird Droppings March 18, 2010
Zero is only a reference point

My niece is a senior at the high school here and also on the girl’s soccer team, who happens to be one of the top in our region and in the state. She is the goalie for the team. I try and get out to the games I recall a game a few years back that I attended before my graduate school class online staying to watch her play in the first forty minute period. When I left the score was 0-0. I later found out they won 2-1 and moved on the next week to another game in the payoffs. Most people looking at a 0-0 score could assume not much going on but when you count saves and shots over or past the goal by both teams it was an exciting game.

“If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.” Robert Kaplan

What is in a name? Generally when I find a quote I research the author a bit so I can determine where and when and how these words have significance. For today a puzzle of sorts presented itself. Which of the many Robert Kaplan’s said these words, was it the Robert Kaplan, business guru and creator of “The balanced score card” a tool for businesses and professor at the Harvard Business school. Could it have been the Robert Kaplan who is a columnist for The Atlantic online and world renowned author and or Robert Kaplan the researcher in preventive medicine at the University of California and author of books and articles in that field.
Three world renowned Robert Kaplan’s and really at this point in the morning no sure way of finding who said this line. Many years ago 1970 or so I recall jotting a line in a journal that upon reading went something to the effect, “one little circle alone unopened”. It was a time for me of transition of pain of growth of learning and of seeing anew. I was in a critical moment in my life and one of significant transition. It was a change in perception for me. I saw this statement from the numerous Dr.’s Kaplan and recalled that moment. I have my old journals of poetry and letters sitting to my left here in my writing area along with hundreds of books I have gathered about me.
The past few days in class I have been asking what would you do to change education, to change schools to make learning better, to make it more fun and meaningful for you? In graduate classes we have over the years been discussing very similar thoughts. Sadly for so many students they see zero and in that nothing. They are so unable to peer past that point. It is if they hit the X and Y axis and stop neither plus nor minus just zero. It is a difficult task opening eyes to see past zero to see the entire world on the other side, front or back. So hard for many to see past immediacy and now to another time and place, for there is another entire world out there. It is so hard to open eyes and change perceptions that have been engrained since birth.

“When you pass through, no one can pin you down; no one can call you back.” Ying-An

When you learn to learn, when you have crossed the X,Y axis, when you see past zero, colors and forms become so much more so vivid and meaningful versus simply a point of reference. Each piece of the puzzle now adds to the whole to the gathering, to the intricate details, to the culmination of the equation and to new theories and ideas. So I add again to the conversation.

“If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.” Robert Kaplan

A simple day and a simple thought but as always please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.

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