Reblogged from Vacum.
May 21, 2013, 12:36pm Comments
“I’ve found that it is common in the United States, and probably in most industrialized countries as well, for parents to proceed to put their children and their children’s needs to sleep. I am sure this is more so in families poorly prepared for child rearing and less so in families better prepared. I am comfortable that the culture as a whole is actively interested in conformity, and not very interested in the maturation of unique beings. If you take all the items in the Biological Dream and compare them to cultural norms both of child rearing and just getting along, I think it easy to see why lovers and Vintage Lovers have so much trouble being part of our culture. I believe that most kids rarely see the skills of Safety, Reliable Membership, Diversity, Autonomy or Purpose applied either to them or by their parents to each other. Instead they see the skills of manipulation, coercion, persuasion. They experience threats when they display their differences or independence, etc. I recall John Bradshaw years ago speaking about the efforts of our culture to suppress individual thinking and individual initiative, just as is done in boot camp in the military.
Not all cultures seem to do so poorly in raising wide awake, self-responsible children. What I’ve found is that the indigenous communities (there aren’t many of them left) do a much better job. I define an indigenous community as one that has lived together in peace, without famine, for 10s of generations. In that time they have had time to make their mistakes at raising children and have “cleaned up their act.” Checking into their practices has been fascinating to me. Here are some examples from the Dagara tribe in Western Africa (Burkina Faso).
- Al Turtle
I’ve been thinking a lot about autonomy in childhood and relationships lately and how it is misunderstood and under-practiced in our culture.
May 20, 2013, 7:22am Comments
During a recent appearance on BBC’s Question Time, Michael Gove, the secretary of state for education, extolled the importance of encouraging creativity in schools. He’s right. Creativity is essential to the success and fulfilment of young people, to the vitality of our communities and to the long-term health of the economy. The trouble is that his current plans for the national curriculum seem likely to stifle the creativity of students and teachers alike. Consequently, anyone with a serious interest in student achievement, cultural vitality and economic sustainability should be deeply concerned.
We shouldn’t be surprised when a politician says one thing and does another. The important issue here is that when he talks about creativity, Gove seems to mean what he says but to misunderstand what he’s talking about. His views also suggest some serious misconceptions about teaching and learning in general. So what is creativity, and how does it work?
I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. Creative work in any field often passes through typical phases. Sometimes what you end up with is not what you had in mind when you started. It’s a dynamic process that often involves making new connections, crossing disciplines and using metaphors and analogies.
Creativity is about fresh thinking. It doesn’t have to be new to the whole of humanity – though that’s always a bonus – but certainly to the person whose work it is. Creativity also involves making critical judgments about whether what you’re working on is any good, whether it’s a theorem, a design or a poem.
There are various myths about creativity. One is that only special people are creative; another is that creativity is just about the arts; a third is that it’s all to do with uninhibited “self-expression”. None of these is true. On the contrary, everyone has creative capacities; creativity is possible in whatever you do, and it can require great discipline and many different skills.
Over the past four years, I’ve spoken with many people about their particular talents and passions and how they discovered them. In my new book, Finding Your Element, I draw together some of the lessons they can teach us. Hans Zimmer is an Oscar-winning composer, who has created the scores for some of Hollywood’s most successful films. As a child he loved to play the piano but had no patience for scales and rote learning. Whenever he tried to play or compose, his teacher would stop him and say: “Go and practise your scales!” He admits to being disruptive at school and was actually thrown out of eight of them. Finally, he arrived at number nine.
The headmaster took him to one side on the first day and said: “Look, I’ve read all these reports. How are we going to avoid this sort of trouble here? What is it you really want to do?” Hans said that all he really wanted to do was play music. With the head’s support, he spent most of the time doing exactly that. Slowly he became engaged in other work too. He remembers a particularly brilliant teacher who took the class for German studies.
“He’d be sitting on his piano stool and he’d be talking about something and then he’d whip around and play the music of its period. Suddenly all this stuff started to come alive. Learning wasn’t about learning things by heart and then regurgitating them like a bad cheese sandwich. He was fantastic.”
It was the flexibility of that school and the inspiration of a few teachers that helped set Hans on the way to his extraordinary career. You might object that Hans is an exceptional case, but in several ways he is not.
First, creativity, like learning in general, is a highly personal process. We all have different talents and aptitudes and different ways of getting to understand things. Raising achievement in schools means leaving room for these differences and not prescribing a standard steeplechase for everyone to complete at the same time and in the same way.
Second, creativity is not a linear process, in which you have to learn all the necessary skills before you get started. It is true that creative work in any field involves a growing mastery of skills and concepts. It is not true that they have to be mastered before the creative work can begin. Focusing on skills in isolation can kill interest in any discipline. Many people have been put off mathematics for life by endless rote tasks that did nothing to inspire them with the beauty of numbers. Many have spent years grudgingly practicing scales for music examinations only to abandon the instrument altogether once they’ve made the grade.
The real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself. When students are motivated to learn, they naturally acquire the skills they need to get the work done. Their mastery of them grows as their creative ambitions expand. You’ll find evidence of this process in great teaching in every discipline from football to chemistry.
Third, facilitating this process takes connoisseurship, judgment – and, yes, creativity, on the part of teachers. One concern about the revised national curriculum is that it will be too linear and prescriptive. For creativity to flourish, schools have to feel free to innovate without the constant fear of being penalised for not keeping with the programme. Too much prescription is a dead hand on the creative pulse of teachers and students alike.”
May 18, 2013, 8:22am Comments
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”
— Hugh Laurie
May 17, 2013, 9:30am Comments
Paolo Veronese, The Marriage at Cana, c. 1563
whenever i’m in the Louvre I always look at this instead of the Mona Lisa which is in the same hall, surrounded by tourists, snapping away.
Same here, Auriea. That’s why I took this photo:
May 16, 2013, 8:34am Comments
The physical as a symbol of the spiritual world. The people who keep old rags, old useless objects, who hoard, accumulate: are they also keepers and hoarders of old ideas, useless information, lovers of the past only, even in its form of detritus?
I have the opposite obsession. In order to change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use. I keep nothing to remind me of the passage of time, deterioration, loss, shriveling.”
— Anaïs Nin
May 09, 2013, 12:57pm Comments
1. Be Kind. If this is the one thing I manage to do, I’ve done enough. Kindness may seem like a personality trait, but I think of it more as a habitual spiritual practice. Being kind has taught me that simple, seemingly insignificant human interactions can be profound. It has opened people and their stories to me. And, perhaps most important to my work, being kind has taught me that I know far less than I think I do. Always.
2. Love What You Do. This is not a passive thing, or a happenstance of trying to do what you love. It is a proactive, daily decision to nurture and seek satisfaction in the work I am doing. I think of it like marriage: sometimes it’s easy and simple. Sometimes it’s a daily, grinding decision to love. And sometimes, when you can’t do it any more, the last act of love is walking away.
3. Keep Your Brain Spongy. This is the fun part. I’m a big believer in feeding curiosity, and offering my subconscious mind a cornucopia of ideas. I read history, literature, and ancient Chinese murder mysteries. I feed the birds, train my ear to identify distinct birdsong, and try to learn the differences between sparrow species (almost all are the same buffy, brown color). I study physics, the latest developments in the modeling of protein-folding, and the genetic underpinnings of personality. I dig big holes in the yard, play and talk with animals, and right now I’m thinking about buying a metal detector. I am never bored.
4. Do the Next, Most Interesting Thing. This is a corollary of keeping your brain spongy, but it requires a very loose hold on one’s life-plans. In fact, I do very little life-planning at all; for better or worse, no career path can hold my attention for very long. So when people ask me how I became an NPR correspondent at such a young age, (or for that matter, how I ended up with a bit part in a Mexican telenovela) my best answer is that I didn’t really mean to. I just did a long series of the next, most interesting things. It’s kind of an informed version of winging-it.”
— Andrea Seabrook’s personal rules are awesome.
May 05, 2013, 2:23pm Comments
Cocteau Twins - Tishbites DVD ( 2004 ) (by BastardRoger)
“Tishbites is a DVD collection of every Cocteau Twins promotional video plus some bonus features, all in a very high-quality, menu-driven format. Only 1,000 of these DVDs were pressed with a glass master. Each disc has a full-colour insert and full-colour on-disc printing. The original copies of this disc are all numbered individually.”
“There are only two videos (Love’s Easy Tears, Pink Orange Red) on this DVD which are less than excellent quality, unfortunately better quality copies were impossible to locate. Everything else on this DVD is near broadcast quality.”
Region code: 0
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
May 04, 2013, 12:35pm Comments
“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown, eat interesting food, dig some interesting people, have an adventure, be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about, I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking twelve miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people — Americans and Europeans — come back and go, “Ohhhh.” And the lightbulb goes on.”
(so very true)(via awelltraveledwoman)
May 02, 2013, 5:29pm Comments
“Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go. People are constantly changing and growing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person in the past. See that person now. Your relationship is always alive and changing.”
— Brian L. Weiss
April 29, 2013, 8:49pm Comments
“I was by myself for a pretty long time. I needed to do that. I think everyone that I know has wanted to do that or needed to do that at some point. I think when you spend enough time when it’s quiet around you and you don’t open your mouth for three or four days, there’s parts of your brain that can kind of rest. I think when we’re out in the world and we have to talk to people, we edit ourselves. You know, we have to like, act a little bit. As honest as we may be as humans, when we’re out here, we’re all kind of wearing mirrors on our faces. You know, constantly reacting to how to react to the people around you. And I think when you’re alone for a long enough time, you can feel a lot more peace.”
— Justin Vernon
April 19, 2013, 10:25pm Comments
n. frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone—spending the first few weeks chatting in their psychological entryway, with each subsequent conversation like entering a different anteroom, each a little closer to the center of the house—wishing instead that you could start there and work your way out, exchanging your deepest secrets first, before easing into casualness, until you’ve built up enough mystery over the years to ask them where they’re from, and what they do for a living.
April 10, 2013, 10:37pm Comments