Wednesday, December 28, 2011


“Say to yourself at break of day, I shall meet with meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and ungrateful men. All these vices have fallen to them because they have no knowledge of good and bad. But I, who have beheld the nature of the good, and seen that it is the right; and of the bad, and seen that it is the wrong; and of the wrongdoer himself, and seeing that his nature is akin to my own - not because he is of the same blood and seed, but because he shares with me in mind and a portion of the divine - I, then, can neither be harmed by any of these men, nor can I become angry with one who is akin to me, nor can I hate him, for we have come into being to work together, like feet, hands, or eyelids, or the two rows of teeth in our upper and lower jaws. To work against one another is therefore contrary to nature; and to be angry with another and turn away from him is surely to work against him.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.1

I expect that I will share more from Meditations as I found that it speaks to me. I do not agree with all of his philosophy, but I think that most of what he writes is still applicable today.

Meditations is organized into books and chapters. Each chapter is only a paragraph or two long. The first book is an acknowledgment to writers, teachers, friends and relatives of Aurelius and how they influenced him. This selection is then actually the opening words of his book.

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 1997; translated by Robin Hard with Introduction and Notes by Christopher Gill. Marcus lived from 121 to 180 AD (CE).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The educational value of creative disobedience

“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers” –Jean Piaget

Very interesting article and discussion:

It seems to me that if you are going to do work (of any kind including art), you need at least four things - information (data,knowledge,insight,foresight,etc), tools and the skills to use them, a value system, and thinking styles (abstract, analogical, analytic, concrete, digital, holistic, intuitive, linear, logical, non-rational, non-temporal, nonverbal, rational, spatial, symbolic,synthetic, temporal, verbal, etc) - together with a body capable of implementing the work. Digital storage is really good for data.

Education has a role to play in all of these areas including the body.

Implanted chips can provide humans a great service when they can restore or augment a loss of or weakened function - cochlear implants, pacemakers, defibrillators, insulin pumps, artificial limbs, etc.

Turning humans into cyborgs is not a future I would wish on humanity, especially since there are other viable alternatives.

I remember the work of Simon on creativity a number of years ago. he concluded that creativity required the crossing of a threshold of storage of information in the brain for the person to be creative. He called that threshold 50,000 chunks of information (or some such similar expression). With the present day Internet and the availability of mobile devices to access the Internet with its ever growing data base of information, and perhaps 1 billion other humans, all of the information required to be creative does not have to reside in one person's brain. However, we have an enormous amount of work to do the learn how to use this capability. One of the roles of education has got to be to figure out how to enable and facilitate the use of this tool to advance human progress.