Bird Droppings April 13, 2011
A few days missed and an extremely long weekend
On Friday April 13, 2008 I was driving and actually did not just forget to write my thoughts down but literally could not. I drove down to Statesboro Georgia to get approval of my course of study for my doctorial work and verify with my advisor my dissertation topic. I had a great session with my advisor and began selecting my committee for my Comprehensive Examinations and my Dissertation. As we met and as I do often when in a new office or study I looked at the numerous book titles and began to formulate who and what this person was about. I was comfortable as I saw many titles that are on my own shelves. I was introduced to a possible committee member just down the hall and she accepted the invitation and we talked for nearly an hour again with on her shelves very similar books and thinking about education that were scattered through my own.
So often I speak of coincidence, it was this way as that day unfolded and I met people and finally had dinner with my son in Macon Georgia and then drove the last hundred miles back to our home. That Friday as my advisor and I discussed educational psychology and the different kinds of measuring of data, intuition came up several times in our discussion. However intuition and coincidence it seems are difficult commodities to evaluate, this point was made several times as we talked about education and various educational programs. I have for so many years believed to the marrow of my bones however that intuition is crucial to being a good or great teacher.
It was nearly a hundred years ago that Carl Jung split with his then partner Sigmund Freud over similar matters and coined the word synchronicity. Just before school was out for the holiday as I was talking and it does seem I never stop, I was drawn to the front door of my room at school and as I stepped out a friend passed by exactly as I stepped to the door. A friend with a problem, had I been a few seconds later a moment later and that friend would have passed by. I was drawn to the door like a moth to a flame. Was I meant to interfere to get involved in a problem or simply to offer advice or questions? So is this a coincidence, a chance happening, or synchronicity perhaps?
“The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.” Carl Jung
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Eric Fromm
I sit here wondering which direction we go as we try and unravel the human condition that frail substance about which we have evolved from. Can we separate out and categorize analyze and postulate at what makes us human versus a pack animal or simply a herding animals as some sociologists would suggest.
“Man may be defined as the animal that can say “I,” that can be aware of himself as a separate entity. “ Eric Fromm
“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water. “ Sigmund Freud
“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different.” John Dewey
When beset with an issue, or a problem we so often fall victim to the easiest route the way of “least resistance least trouble” as John Dewey would say. Years ago in a book on Loss Control management my father used the illustration of an ice berg, we only see one seventh of the problem and as we too journey through life is only the visible one seventh of the total of all that is with sixth sevenths hidden away secreted somewhere from view.
“Thus we see that the all important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being unlucky or lucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die, finally, how we choose.” R. H. Blyth
It is how we choose that is important, each day for several years since I began this endeavor I have talked of the journey in life. I have used as a screen saver until recently an image of my son crossing a stream in North Georgia, stepping stone by stone across a rippling, rolling stream. In the photo my son is soaking wet and could have just as easily walked in the stream and avoided falling from the rocks. He was wet already but he choose to step on the slippery rocks, the challenge for him was doing it, making the journey not simply getting to his destination.
“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” Mourning Dove, Salish
This becomes the difficult task trying to explain how a problem has purpose, how a human issue has reason in a world of measurement, where non-measuring is constant and so often the point. I can never find the distance between the stones of the stream as my son’s footsteps fall crossing rock by rock.
“You can never cross a stream the same way twice” Zen saying
“Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology…. has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.” William Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991
Going from a single person’s problem to that of the North Slope of Alaska may seem a stretch. But as we journey in life we essentially do not get to replay our hand once we lay the cards upon the table. A few nights back by chance somewhere before four in the morning I was reading and old National Geographic and how the oil fields are so enticing in the Wilds of Alaska. Greedy people see only the money; they say jobs and energy will abound to entice others. Then another group sees a loss of habitat, wildlife and wilderness that can never be replaced. In a similar article again in National Geographic the discovery of a new gold strike in another wilderness area. Most of us are unaware of the biological implications of gold mining. Mining for gold destroys land and processing the rock aggregate creates vast amounts of toxic waste as mercury is one of the most popular separators used. Another amazing coincidence this morning I could not pull this up it had literally disappeared as I was downloading my data from one drive to a new larger drive and as I went back my Bird Dropping was just on the new drive and not still on the computer. So this middle of the new week after Spring Break for me I will head to school, teach to those willing to learn, and after mow grass, plant a few plants in my herb garden, put out some fertilizer on my blueberries and feed the hummingbirds that seem to love our back yard. But for now this is a good reminder that maybe we should be looking for peace my friends and have a good day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.