Bird Droppings June 9, 2010
“The more sand that has escaped the hourglass of life, the clearer we should see through it.” Jean Paul Sartre
As I was looking for thoughts and ideas to start, I actually was going a different direction when by accident or should I say coincidence found this quote. As we get older we have experienced more and if we have learned from our experience the hour glass does clear however if those grains have been abrasive and scoured the glass as they went through the glass will be scratched and foggy. It is life’s lesson that determine and how we have responded that provide the fodder for our endeavor. I am sitting here in the wee hours after responding for nearly an hour to various posts on blogs and a copy of John Dewey’s Experience and Education to my left. In a few minutes after posting I will be heading to North Georgia a few miles from North Carolina line to sit in a class on Foxfire Teaching, a method based on experience and John Dewey.
“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing it’s not the fish they are after.” W. Whitman
“No bird soars too high If he soars with his own wings” W. Blake
“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” Albert Einstein
“Only that day dawns to which we are awake” Henry David Thoreau
It is often about choosing to look, to see, to listen, and to hear those are all choices we make as we go through life. It is far easier to take ideas and thoughts from others to be subjugated by others to be what another wants us to be but only in hearing and seeing for ourselves can we as Thoreau says wake up to the dawn and we must be awake. As I was reading last night this thought came up and it intrigued me since I started in about using your own eyes and ears.
“An anthropologist asked a Hopi Indian why so many of his native songs seemed to be about the subject of rain… he replied: ‘because rain is scarce in our land… is that the reason so many of your songs are about love?’” Kent Nerburn
As I thought is that the problem in our society to be so easily recognized by a Hopi Indian in New Mexico who had never really been to a big city or “civilized” area of The United States, could it be a lack of love that is why our society stumbles.
“Mankind often stumbles upon the truth….but usually picks itself up & goes along.” Winston Churchill
We so often know the answer and choose not to listen or simply disregard due to the current politics, popular opinion or majority rules sort of thing that media and mentality of the masses seem to operate on.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
The more I read of Albert’s ideas and philosophy the more I like his thoughts. It is funny how what we remember him for his more science oriented views than his philosophy and that he loathed the fact that he was instrumental in developing weapons of mass destruction. At one point said he would give up all if he could take that back. So where am I going today perhaps the following thought will offer some aid.
“Passive acceptance of the teacher’s wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favor of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes men to seek a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position… It will be said that the joy of mental adventure must be rare, that there are few who can appreciate it, and that ordinary education can take no account of so aristocratic a good. I do not believe this. The joy of mental adventure is far commoner in the young than in grown mean and women. Among children it is very common, and grows naturally out of the period of make-believe and fancy. It is rare in later life because everything is done to kill it during education… The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. Education should not aim at passive awareness of dead facts, but at an activity directed towards the world that our affords are to create.” Bertrand Russell
The sad thing is so often we fall victim to 19th century thought and all of this while applying to education is very much prevalent through all ideas among the “normal” folks in our world today.
“Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening…The average American should be content with their humble role in life, because they’re not tempted to think about any other role.” William Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889
It is so sad to think that we actually allowed this type of mentality to lead our nation and continue to use this approach while in a more appealing packaging NCLB legislation. Many times I wonder if anything has changed as you read headlines and newspaper clippings. We do not want to over educate children they might think for themselves then what do we do and who would they elect? The paradox is that in schools the kids who are allowed to think for themselves excel and often are the pride of the schools yet all through their education an effort has been made to suppress that thinking. One of my sons in eighth grade was told his methodology in a math problem was wrong and he had to do it right. Yet in his second semester of calculus his methodology is absolutely right and more so interesting what was wrong in eighth grade is so correct in twelfth grade and in college calculus at Georgia Tech and now as an environmental engineer. Sometimes we force children to our terms and we are the ones who are wrong. We need to listen to the children, we need to be learners as well as teachers, learn from the children and before I go to far a last quote to end this morning meanderings from ancient Israel.
“A child’s wisdom is also wisdom” Jewish Proverb
Well I got a bit carried away but several good ideas to mold over ponder on and reflect about as I drive to North Georgia. So for today be safe this remainder if this glorious week ahead and keep all in harms way in your hearts and on your mind.