Bird Droppings October 19, 2010
Always looking for definitive meaning
Today I walked out into the darkness and was hoping for some rain as the promised cold front collided with the warm front and rain was supposed to be falling. I may have been too foggy to realize till I was alone and did not have our dog with me for a walk. Our dog was still at the vet for boarding and shots from our trip to Florida. I recall being given an assignment nearly six years ago by a professor it was a special reading on a book that was published in the seventies by an educator considered very much the renegade. Ivan Illich published Deschooling Society in 1971. He was a scholar of theology, philosophy, history and psychology, and he was at one time a parish priest, philosopher, college professor and thinker and educator.
“…imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work.” Ivan Illich
My initial reading offered a view of the early 1970’s philosophy of the premise that the establishment is wrong. Watching what changes and evolutionary trends in society have taken from the hippie days of the 70’s through the overly materialistic 80’s into an era of ambiguity in the 90’s to an era of show me results in the now 2000’s education has evolved. We speed through time and life watching from the windows of a tour bus. A few days ago I was talking with students and watching imagination slip by. I asked several students to design and come up with a super hero in a matter of moments one handed me a character with a comic strip and logo and complete package. I said you did not create this and he was convinced he had. He had found a website that literally lets you create from templates a super hero I tried to explain how taking a paper doll and changing outfits is not creating the doll. However in a world of results he came through with quite a package and in our societal view of things probably would have scored well on that task for some teachers.
One of my favorites is going on line and buying prewritten papers even original papers from high school through doctorate level papers written by ghost writers who even take credit cards as well.
“Imagination is the process by which we say that an image is presented to us” Aristotle
I thought back to my younger days when play time was a few sticks and a patch of scrub we called the jungle. Nowadays we could have laser guns and vests to record kills along with camouflage outfits and night vision rather than night eyes. A good question do you remember the term night eyes which is allowing your vision to adjust to the dark. I was going to the car yesterday morning and I habitual walk out in the dark I happened to go towards where our trash cans were located along side the house. My son waited till I came back into the light to head for the car which was interesting at the time. Being the observer that I tend to be, I asked why he waited.
Night eyes are that point where darkness is revealed and you can move and see to a degree in the dark. If you would shine a flash light in your eyes at night it ruins your night vision and your night eyes. Modern kids have halide flash lights with adjustable sealed beams and or fluorescent lights for maximum visibility. By far I am not against technology and advances but we have stripped away the imagination. There is a doctor show on that many folks watch, HOUSE. An interesting approach as each week Dr. House is faced with an incurable and untreatable illness. It is always totally baffling to his crew of trained residents. I recall many years ago a dear friend who was trained at Grady Hospital as a nurse back in the day. Emory University is a well known nursing program and medical school and they would send new doctors to Grady for residency. Often times this was their first experience in a real medical situation. Grady student nurses often would have to cover for Emory Doctors. They knew what they saw rather than knew what they had read.
“Imagination makes knowledge of the phenomenal world possible, by synthesizing the incoherent sensory manifold into representational images suitable to be brought under concepts.” Emmanuel Kant
I enjoy watching the scruffy doctor doodle on his white board eliminating possibilities while totally baffling his three assistants with questions trying to get them thinking using their imaginations.
“One day, a Rajah’s son asked, “Father, what is reality?” “An excellent question, my son. Come, everyone, we will go to the marketplace.” So the rajah and his son went outside and mounted their royal elephant. The rest of the entourage followed on foot. When they got to the marketplace, the rajah commanded, “Bring me 3 blind men.” When the blind men arrived, the rajah commanded, “Place one blind man at the elephant’s tusk, one at the elephant’s leg and one at the elephant’s tail.” When that was done, the rajah said, “Describe the elephant to me, blind men.” The man at the tusk said, “It’s like a spear.” The man at the leg said, “It’s like a tree.” The man at the tail said, “It’s like a rope.” As the men started to argue, the rajah said to his son, “Reality, my son, is the elephant. And we are all blind men.”” Ancient Hindu proverb
When we train our imagination to be limited, to be only that which we have been schooled in and trained in the limits are set and the parameters are laid and we are in a sense stifled in truly finding answers. Dr. House’s students are limited by the texts they studied from as our many students who have been trained schooled in most institutions today. We have been taught that this is the right direction even when many paths are there and you can only go this way. There is only one way. Just a few years back a school district in the Atlanta area added a label to their, (occasionally I actually use the other spelling of there, there’re are four, there, their, there’re and thur as in ova thur) textbooks a disclaimer on evolution.
I always wonder when I see a one way sign what if I go that way granted in down town traffic in Atlanta on a one way street you may end up smooshed. But what about when conditions allow wouldn’t it be great to see a street from a different view than normal. Would it not be nice to see the other side of buildings you do not normally get to see? Perhaps even to meet people you never saw because they were always walking the other direction. There are days when I stand in the middle of the hallways during rush time in school simply to get a different view a different perspective of life. I miss the jungle; my kids had paradise which was what they called a outcropping of stone with piles of rocks and pebbles. Many the time if we searched for the kids they would be sitting playing at paradise although many times with hot wheels and transformers but still imagination running wild.
I found out several years ago a child hood friend bought the jungle I emailed him last night what a small world we have sitting there thinking back to childhood which really does not seem all that far away. I often wondered if it was to save that memory he bought hat small patch of land. I would like to think so in today’s digital sanitized deodorized world. So today please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.