|Abraham, Martin, John, and
(Pedagogy) Philosophy and Nonsense
Thoughts about writing, education, and experience Presented by Forrest D. Poston
The first goal of teaching is to strengthen, deepen and refine our intrinsic love of learning. All other goals and all methods must stem from that idea. Any that do not support that goal must at least be questioned and adjusted, if not eliminated. Otherwise, we are not teaching but training.
|In a Jimmy Stewart world....
Four Meanings of Life
Godot and the Great Pumpkin
A Major is More Minor Than
The Poetry Process (A look at 4 versions of a poem.)
Thoughts About Picking a Major
Quick Points About Education
Quick Points About Writing
Reading Poetry and Cloud Watching
Using an Audience
What Makes a Story True?
What's the Subject of This Class? (Being revised.)
Writing and Einstein (The Difference Between Information and Meaning)
Writing and the Goldilocks Dilemma
Links to Other Sites
|I Believe in Capra
by Forrest D. Poston
In a fit of idealism and civic duty, I spent a week at a leadership camp during the summer after my sophomore year of high school. Many decades later, I’m surely more jaded and somewhat less naive, even if I can’t quite shake the idealism, but some experiences from that week have endured and remain meaningful beyond mere nostalgia. One applies too well once again.
In our groups of six or so, we played a variety of games intended to make a point. One of those involved each member secretly picking either “x” or “y” (and no, it had nothing to do with chromosomes). A chart showed winnings or losses based on how many people picked which letter, and we all saw the chart ahead of time. There were a few ways for several people to win a high number of points while others lost and one way to win a huge number of points while every other person lost big.
And if you looked carefully, there was also one way that every person could win some points with no one losing. Keep in mind that these points had no actual value. You couldn’t turn the points in later for even so much as a cheap stuffed animal. No one was even keeping score except for anyone keeping track in their head. We could talk things over before making our secret selections, and we could make agreements.
Once we saw the option that allowed everyone some gain, we agreed that we’d all make that selection and marked down our choices. As you might guess, if only one person decided to renege on the deal and pick the other letter, that person would win the biggest number of points possible. Every other person would lose. Seemed pretty clear what we should do, but my expectations weren’t exactly high. I was naive, not newborn.
When all the choices were revealed, we had all kept our agreement, all won. Seems perfectly reasonable. We were also the only group there that did it. In every other group, at least one person went for the big personal victory at the expense of everyone else. They had nothing tangible to gain or lose, and yet greed still won out. No one was trying to build a business or feed their family. We're competitive creatures, and that's good, but we're also greedy creatures, and that's a pretty big weakness.
Now you know why gas prices are so high and why a lot of other things are messed up. Being greedy doesn't make anyone the alpha, and having more money doesn't make a person better. Being greedy simply means you're too weak to control your urges, too blind to see beyond yourself, or both. No, I’m not promoting communism, socialism, or any other social, political or economic system. All I’m promoting is common sense, decency, and, as Jimmy Stewart put it in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, “a little looking out for the other guy.”
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Other Essays and Poetry
Something Somewhat Vaguely Like a Resume
Being Like Children
Beyond the Genes (Dad)
The Blessing and the Blues
Bookin' Down Brown Street
The Cat With a Bucket List
David and the Revelation
The Dawn, the Dark, and the Horse I Didn't Ride In On (an odd, meandering, semi-romantic story)
Getting a Clue
Ghost Dancer in the Twilight Zone
The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices
The Mug, the Magic, and the Mistake
Sadie on the Bridge
Trumpet Player, USDA Approved
The Poetry Process
Writing by Current or Former Students
Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr. Ms. Write Now
by Heide Perry
I'll Just Have Cats
by Cara Hummel
Toys to Toys
by Allyson Bowlds
Scribbles and Bits
Links to Other Sites