Sailing off the edge and or thinking outside the box

Bird Droppings August 6, 2011
Sailing off the edge and or thinking out of a box

“I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.” The Dalai Lama, from The Pocket Zen Reader

I have found teachers can be limited in their scope of reality. You would think that as a group teachers would be more open to ideas, to new thought, to climbing out of the box. I read this passage above yesterday in a daily offering I receive. I immediately thought of teaching. As a teacher most think only within the confines of their room. Being in a somewhat different sort of atmosphere in a resource room although I did claim god like power yesterday within my room one of my goals is behavior outside of my room. Whoa, what a concept? Try and get kids to behave for other teachers. In reality it is simply expanding kids thinking beyond the moment or at least trying to.

“Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. It is better to know even if the knowledge endures only for the moment that comes before destruction than to gain eternal life at the price of a dull and swinish lack of comprehension of a universe that swirls unseen before us in all its wonder. That was the choice of Achilles, and it is mine, too.” Isaac Asimov

I read this statement so many years ago and I responded one way. A friend sent me this quote, we have an ongoing dialogue and this was a response to something I wrote and not really a counter thought but additional support. Wisdom is not as elusive as one might expect. But I do not think in wisdom one would destroy ones self. Knowledge or knowing how to do something does not impart wisdom.
A radical extremist can know how to build a nuclear device and detonate it and is that wisdom? Car bombers are they wise? Dying in retaliation and in any kind of war is that wise? Wisdom is not controlling knowledge and maybe I really do not know what wisdom is. So wisdom is part knowledge but also an additional aspect of concern and caring that provide the frame work for the knowledge to be structured within. Yet wisdom is not truly control.
Achilles knew his limitations and did battle. Someone else found his weakness and he was defeated. As I look deeper into the statement by Asimov however there is a willingness to know at any cost and perhaps that is really what is being said. Given the choice of not knowing or knowing and in so knowing all will be destroyed still Asimov would choose to know.
I recall Columbus Day celebrating a man who at one point discovered America. However as the weeks passed his desire to know came under fire as his crew feared sailing off the edge of the world and sea serpents and such. He chanced it and discovered a new world sometimes it is not destruction but illumination that waits.
“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.” E. S. Bouton

“Raphael paints wisdom; Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seeing the pieces and picking through knowing which to save and which to toss aside is that wisdom. I wonder as I sit thinking this morning.

“Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.” Horace

“In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand to the ground and explain: ‘We sit in the lap of our mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We soon shall pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever.’ So we too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of the life around us in its multitudinous forms.” Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux

Having an understanding of what it is we see and touch maybe there is wisdom. It is not as much knowing but understanding. An understanding within the constraints of what we know. What a paradox? I am sitting reading Kent Nerburn’s book Native American Wisdom, filled with quotes and ideas from Native American culture and thought. In a passage from Sitting Bull, the great medicine man of the Teton Sioux he wonders why all things have happened as they have from his thoughts and as I read I wonder.

“Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?” Sitting Bull, Teton Sioux

Sitting Bull received his answer shortly there after as he was arrested for inciting mutiny on the reservation during a period of unrest. A medicine man from another tribe had started a cult following and Sitting Bull was accused of taking part on his way to jail as legend has it. His arresters, several Sioux guards as Sitting Bull gestured to his grandson and they thought he was pulling a pistol and shot him several times. Sitting Bull had foretold his death several days before by Sioux hands.

“Wisdom comes in dreams” Wavoka, Paiute, medicine man

Why even bring up an old Native American’s ideas during a discourse on wisdom? It is within the context of our knowledge that we seek wisdom within what we know. So often we fear what we do not know, which is literally the opposite of wisdom and then try and destroy it. Had we tried to understand when we first came to the Americas perhaps this day after Columbus Day would be somewhat a different. What if we had tried to understand instead of force our knowledge upon a group of people. Knowledge alone can destroy wisdom however maybe the buffer is understanding. Freud and Jung might argue Wavoka’s thought, yet they would sit and ponder dreams as therapy. I wonder as I sit and always my thoughts come back to going into a class room. I hope as I teach some way this makes sense and when a student leaves they look differently at life maybe wiser maybe just seeing a new color today instead of all black and white.

“Teachers are people who start things they never see finished, and for which they never get thanks until it is too late.” Max Forman

Maybe in that statement is wisdom and understanding but we may never see the true nature of all we and hopefully we are continuing to look. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Perhaps my favorite store

Bird Droppings April 11, 2011
Perhaps my favorite store

It is the first time this year I needed my alarm to wake up in the morning. I am a bit out of my normal routine perhaps after a week of spring break. Interesting two thoughts while similar struck me this morning as I started the day out. One I heard on the radio going to get gas for my wife yesterday afternoon from a radio announcer recalling an old Bush quote, and the other thought is from perhaps a favorite of many as book series go, Harry Potter. All of this and a later a trip or I should say my daily trip to the giant Kroger near our house, my favorite store. All these and school starts again. What a glorious day ahead?

“It is not about the goods we accumulate but about the good we do” George W. Bush

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” Professor Dumbledore to Harry in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” by J.K. Rowling

I wish it would be possible to believe the first, but with through most of his term as president he was trying to drill for oil in wilderness Alaska and off shore in Florida and other parts of the country and friends in high places were reaping huge profits and a war costing trillions of dollars that was bogus from many people’s standpoints. War efforts accumulation seems more important than doing any sort of good. Of course the philosophy of the ends justifies the means could possibly be applied. That was sort of the approach when the last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati zoo and some people had the attitude well it’s only a pigeon.
Sadly once there were billions flying over the forests of the east coast, and yes it is only a pigeon except we can never at this time replicate that one, it is gone. The Alaska wilderness when it is gone is gone can never be replicated as well but if the end justifies it many people see no problem. However as I sat this morning, perhaps a better brighter thought from J.K. Rowling thorough the character of Dumbledore “it is our choices that show who we really our”. I wonder how soon Harry Potter books will be classics and teachers will be analyzing the plots and developing theories as to why Rowling characterized Harry as a boy or teenager and why an owl as his companion versus a weasel.
I recall eleventh or twelfth grade English with our teacher Ms. Stern and “Moby Dick”, according to her the ship represented the world and Ishmael, in his journey in life got stuck on that ship since he was the wanderer. What was Melville really telling us besides a great story and one of the best history’s of the short lived New England whaling industry? I really enjoyed the story but not the analysis and when I wrote my opinion, it was wrong according to Ms. Stern. Many years ago choices we make not our abilities was the credo.

”Ability is of little account without opportunity.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” Thomas A. Edison

It is also about being at the right place at the right time the synchronicity that I have referred to so many times or is it simply the choice we make. It is also about applying and choosing when opportunity provides a window and then plot thickens.

“It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.” Elbert Hubbard

Humility is an added aspect of today’s search seeing in others that ability which h I consider almost an intuitive aspect of our humanity.

“The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.” Booker T. Washington

This morning as I was being lazy albeit the alarm and getting started later than normal well I had been enjoying spring break so I read several emails. One spoke of realizing school was nearing the end and graduation was only a few weeks ahead and now they would have to make a way in life. In that same email concern for a friend stationed in the Middle East. Watching the news doesn’t give justice to friends and families with loved ones overseas in harm’s way, as I think back to the choices we make. I received a message from my youngest son reminding me to not fax a form for him for his nursing school application when I get to school lastly another email with a suggestion of a book to read. Three emails of 70 or so from last night and yesterday that truly caught my attention.
I started with a Bush quote and maybe that applies to a job search as well. So many of the following what we do with our lives is our choice how the world will see that choice is dependent upon the direction and choices we make as we proceed. It is not the ability that you will be known for or how great an actor or musician or football player but what you do with your talent is what is seen. Family is so crucial and friends equally as well and always seek to learn to know more about what we do through reading, writing, thinking and reflecting.

“If there were no writers there will be no readers” unknown source

“Choose wisely”, it has been said and in the end some do and some will not. So today take stock of where you are and look at the road ahead and pick that path way that will direct you where you need to be.

“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.” Basho

In today’s hectic world we all look for quick solutions, five minute abs, six minutes to wisdom, and a one minute egg. Wisdom is not on the stock exchange, it is not a brokered commodity. It is there, and it is a journey. The journey is not an easy one and to be involved in finding wisdom only those who actually travel that road will truly become wise.

“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.” E. S. Bouton

Several nights ago I was bored no American Idol, NCIS or House and I put on a video of Star Trek of all things, “Star Trek Insurrection”. The plot revolves around a planet where all is at peace this is an old one. The few residents, all 600 or so have forsaken technology for art, or literature, for the aesthetics in life and for all that they can make of themselves. Interestingly a weaver studies 40 years to become an apprentice and apprentice another 40 to become a master weaver of rugs and tapestries. These people live n a planet whose innate radiation prolongs life and rejuvenates them cellular so they have time to accomplish what it is inside them. It sounds so easy when the time allows it.
Daniel Day Lewis, actor took a break from acting to be a cobbler taking a five year hiatus from movies to study cobbling, (shoe making) in Europe from the masters. As the Star Trek movie progressed a comment was made about that prefect moment, a special moment that stands out above all else. Captain Pickard mentioned seeing earth from space for the first time, many astronauts recall that moment as they tell of their exploits. For me it was a sunrise over the Atlantic one morning on Cumberland Island one of the Georgia Barrier Islands with the waves splashing about and the most brilliant reds and oranges I have ever seen. A shrimp boat slowly moved through this picture yet in its awesomeness the boat was insignificant.
As Pickard spoke with this woman on this planet of a perfect moment she then offered now to learn to make every moment perfect and the movie continued and soon he was seeing a hummingbird flit to a flower or the pollen blown from a flower.

“Wisdom is like electricity. There is no permanently wise man, but men capable of wisdom, who, being put into certain company, or other favorable conditions, become wise for a short time, as glasses rubbed acquire electric power for a while.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am always intrigued as I read various thoughts on wisdom and for some reason I am always drawn to Emerson. He was always controversial yet perhaps one of the greatest thinkers as well as poets of his time. He was alluding to wisdom as a temporary entity in his statement. The next quote is an interesting statement from a President often who was misunderstood

“Wisdom oft times consists of knowing what to do next.” Herbert Clark Hoover

“Wisdom begins at the end.” Daniel Webster

So often we spend time simply doing, not seeking, we spend time worrying about which path to travel or preparing our needs for the journey and worrying about the destination. We forget to go and there we are no better and no worse, only we are where we were to start still. Somewhere in among all things is the destination but the destination is not necessarily the end but a point B of a line AB and still out there is C and D and E and much more. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your thoughts.
namaste
bird