Bird Droppings June 11, 2011
Is history what happened today or tomorrow?
I am sitting on the porch of the Long House at the Foxfire property listening to the rain side of the mountains. Several miles away thunder is brewing and I can smell rain. There have been discussions of history obviously at this place of antiquity and artifacts of a by gone age. Nestled on the the side of Black Rock Mountain the Museum is a collection of old cabins and out buildings collected by the high schools classes back in the early days either donated by folks or purchased. The cabins and buildings were dismantled and rebuilt on the property. There is a history here and as I ponder talking with current teachers and future teachers a history in the making as well.
“Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.” Will Durant
At times I find a piece a bit of wisdom and or knowledge that has significance to me as I wander reading here and there. I was looking at a quote yesterday that caught my eye by Will Durant a historian and philosopher and in reviewing and investigating found William James Durant founded General Motors and a different Will Durant wrote “The Story of Civilization” I looked further and found ideas that interested me and so a quick introduction to Mr. Will Durant.
“The one escape worthy of a mature mind is to rise out of the moment and the part and contemplate the whole. What we have lost above all is total perspective. Life seems too intricate and mobile for us to grasp its unity and significance; we cease to be citizens and become only individuals; we have no purposes that look beyond our death; we are fragments of men, and nothing more. No one dares today to survey life in its entirety; analysis leaps and synthesis lags; we fear the experts in every field and keep ourselves, for safety’s sake, lashed to our narrow specialties. Everyone knows his part, but is ignorant of its meaning in the play. Life itself grows meaningless and becomes empty just when it seemed most full.” Will Durant
Perhaps for some a bit heavy duty but in this writing there are several key thoughts. One of the ideas is that of total perspective, looking at the whole instead of simply the moment yet paradoxically he in the starting quotes focuses on the now. It is interesting in his life he transverses many social and political arenas as he searched for his own place but in reading about the man, he definitely lived what he believed in.
“Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty.”
“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
“Man differs from the beast only by education, which may be defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.” Will Durant
Sitting here earlier this morning I was reading about a man who died nearly twenty five years ago yet has words still ring true. In this moment as I think back to various meetings I have been in talking about education and trains of thoughts learning and such so very true. We all too often get to caught up in where we are right now yet on one hand it is crucial to be where we need to be. This could be or sound like a riddle or a paradox you might say. Just before school let out as I was worrying about my own issues in life and others came to me with their issues some dwarfed my own simple day to day worries. One in particular concerned me as a young lady had recently gone through a life altering situation and stood we talking as the bell rang and classes were changing focus is on the bells. She ran off to class making the statement that it hurt physically and mentally a brief second in time a minute, a moment yet I was where I was too be at that moment to hear to listen even with a bell stopping and changing directions.
As I got home I received an email from a dear friend commenting on yesterdays Bird Droppings and how we still have progressed some but still a question was left. The question is really why is ‘kinder and gentler’ harder to achieve than ‘nasty and vicious’? A quick sip of last night’s green tea to spur the thought process and fire up the next line. As I think about Durant and this question and how does the event of the young lady at school between classes all tie in or do they? I will often refer to a dream I had, sometimes depending on the audience I will call it a vision, of a puzzle, a giant jig saw puzzle all falling into place each piece more intricate than the next millions of pieces all falling into place one at a time. Continually in my dream I try and see the puzzle face to understand what is this great puzzle coming together before me.
As I try and look the puzzle moves away from me turns and only reveals the gray backing. Occasionally I see an individual piece clear and precise but when I focus on a piece the process slows down for I have pulled a piece out of time and out of the effort to fall into place. I have broken the momentum of what is going on. Carefully I try and insert back into the continuing placement of pieces. Life is that puzzle, it is falling in place as we sit and read each note and though around us the pieces fall should we sit and ponder and dally too long on a single piece? Perhaps we should slow the process yet as Durant says in his starting quote forget the mistakes do it now.
I see not sitting and pondering the puzzle piece thus slowing the process but seeing the piece for what it is and putting more in place knowing you are part of a whole, an integral part. Each aspect of your life is unique yet still intertwined in all that is so as I Am writing and thinking today and you think and dream keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts as world and national issues draw us continually to the front.