A beginning to an end

Bird Droppings May 17, 2011
A beginning to the end

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” Albert Einstein

A few days ago I was discussing the idea of teaching as an art form. I have on several occasions seen things others have not in terms of a student or even a class. So often in life we tend to view daily happenings as mundane yet in that moment of the mundane, miracles are happening. I recall several years back on our porch we had several Boston ferns in hanging baskets along with alternating spider plants. In one of the ferns a pair of purple finches had nested and three little finches were growing rapidly midst the daily checks. Most would have only seen the ferns and spider plants the adult birds had so carefully hidden the nest in the fern fronds.
When I sit each morning and write for example yesterday about fireflies dancing across the edge of my world in my back yard during the summer months it is only my perception. My own view is limited by darkness and my own ability to see what is in front of my based on my life experiences. For someone a thousand miles away it is only words yet I see it and experience it and yet for someone here near by unless they are willing to rise at 3:00 AM they too will not see what I see.
So as a writer I offer just glimpses of another experience and another world. In order to see more then it is about renewing our perception, sharpening our senses and opening our soul to see and hear and feel more than we do today.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

Many considered Einstein to be an atheist for his very often blunt statements about religion. Yet if you read any of his nonscientific statements there is a spiritual aspect to them. In and of it all he was an artist, a philosopher, often scientist and very much a humanist. Today is a day unlike most other Tuesdays I have experienced yet it is an end and a beginning of phases of my own life’s journey. I am near the end of a semester and hopefully beginning to work on finishing my doctorate degree as school lets out. Yet I continue on that educational venture as I am looking past that to another learning experience and who knows maybe another degree. Perhaps one day I can sit idle but for now I crave that thought process.
Whenever I drive through Kentucky I can not help but think of Daniel Boone finding his way in for him what was a wilderness back then and yet for Indians of that place it was home and not a wilderness. For even in that day trails and pathways were worn from passage.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” Albert Einstein

In a recent paper for graduate school I referenced my recent experience as a clearing of a haze from things I had forgotten a clarifying and specifying what was cloudy and unsure.
Often what is learned is not just from books but from experiencing living seeing and believing. Each day I travel a road many others have journeyed on and many others have succeeded in and have gone beyond, yet it is new to me. For me it is wilderness yet civilization. For me it is fresh and vibrant even though many see mundane and stale. It might be in the flight and blinking of a firefly or the snort of breath as a buffalo crosses the pasture years ago. It may be in the feather left for me as a hawk soared through the sky.
I recall a movie where the start and end was nothing more than a piece of fluff blowing about until it gained import with Forest Gump and was placed in a special place. We do not know from moment to moment how someone will react to anything we do or say or write. That is the art of our existence. It is in the perception that seeing, feeling and hearing of our own heart beat. I by chance was where a student was yesterday. She is moving and came by sort of by accident as I was at the school. It seems she now lives near where we do and will not be attending our school next year as it across the line and another high school. She just wanted to say hi and in the conversation asked what do I teach. She continued everyone wants to know. I tried to clarify by saying, on my door it states Block one is planning. During Block two and three I teach the philosophy of learning about how and why we learn what we do. Block four is learning strategies. She said that it sounds interesting. For three years she wondered what I taught and wanted to be in my class. I would always respond you haven’t been in enough trouble yet. As she left after I explained Emotional and behavioral Disorders, she said even though I wasn’t in your class except for Biology in summer school I learned a lot. How is that for an ego boost? Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.

Trying to clear your head

Bird Droppings September 21, 2010
Trying to clear your head

“The hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” Carl G. Jung

I have been a fan of Jung for some time perhaps as I like his view of having more than simply a black and white view of psychology as Freud does. Jung saw that there were possibilities that we currently do not understand and or can not understand about the mind. Just like many teachers know some children will learn so much faster when the hands are engaged as well that tactile sensation adding to intellectual pursuit.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the draws for me to John Dewey is his constant discussion and introjections of reflection into education process. For it is in reflection that we analyze and truly give credence to ideas and thoughts. I truly wish we would do more in classes to reflect and provide pondering time for students.

“No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.” Terry Josephson

Perhaps some of us do far too much internalizing of where we are and why but so much of our existence is in our heads through perceptions and beliefs.

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Soren Kierkegaard

I have often wondered about freedom of speech when so few even consider that unless it is generally in a manner contrary to popular thought. But then is it freedom of speech when we make laws to prohibit that which is free such perhaps is the paradox of our society. The freedom of thought while not something that can be measured or categorized is so critical to democracy and individuality.

“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy

“Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.” G. Behn

I was thinking about some that get lost because what is seen as reality is too painful for them. Working with numerous people over the years many times the “real” world is harsh and bitter and withdrawal into a private realm is deemed far more enjoyable and safe.

“We spend our days in deliberating, and we end them without coming to any resolve.” L’Estrange

With each second of each day so many people squander there own reality spinning about never seemingly going anywhere. I have many times found myself in this trap looking for something to grasp to get hold of and pull out of the quagmire.

“Few people think no more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once a week.” George Bernard Shaw

When I read this I thought of blue collar comedy and my local favorite ethnic group, rednecks. Where in the definition so often we need to use the word ignorant. But as Jeff Foxworthy has built his fame and industry on redneckism it is interesting his kids go to one of Atlanta’s most exclusive private schools. Sort of paradoxical redneckism.

“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” Buckminster Fuller

This brought to mind the dark ages when society was imprisoned by those who could read and write and think freely predominantly “the church” and all thought was restricted to thought allowed by the church. How many great thinkers actually perished in wrong thinking?

“Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Leonardo da Vinci

I have found the more I study the more I think the more I want to study and learn more which is an interesting thought as so few aspects of life are self perpetuating such as thinking.

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I could not have expressed my self better than RWE. Politics takes away thinking and there are so many political aides who simply spin reality in favor of that person or ideology they have chosen to support, right or wrong, theirs will be most likely to be picked. The secret is do not let the populous think to much.

“Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don’t bite everybody.” Stanislaw Lec

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein

Albert hit the nail on the head we have to change our thinking or else it will become as Emerson and Fuller stated become belief and or a sect or party. A circular effort we begin to think which becomes common place and soon everyone follows suit and that idea becomes law and belief and then we have to rethink everything all over again. What if human nature were not so lazy and would stay in motion and if thought would continue instead of constantly wanting a break?

“No amount of energy will take the place of thought. A strenuous life with its eyes shut is a kind of wild insanity.” Henry Van Dyke

So true and so much a part of so many and for today as always please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.