Saturday, September 23, 2017

The committed teacher

If you’re a committed teacher, this is what happens. You dispense information. For some students it’s soon gone and gone forever. For others, the information sticks and starts to form little clusters and patterns. Then when you identify these patterns as knowledge, the students realize what happened and begin to create knowledge on their own. Some hang onto their knowledge, make it work for them, but use it to build a comfortable box to live in. Others shake, knead, probe and wrestle with the knowledge until they discover wisdom. Some sit on the wisdom as if they’ve reached the mountaintop. The few realize that wisdom is useless without the courage to put it to work.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trump vs. your kids

Compare the behavior of Donald Trump to that of your 5 year old, your 12 year old, your 17 year old and your 30 year old. Do we need to go any higher that 30? How do these comparisons work out?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trump's UN speech

What does Donald Trump’s America First really mean? We are first among the nice countries in prison population and gun violence. We’ve got to be up there in drug use and poverty. And don’t forget obesity. We’ve got big problems with infrastructure and we’re moving backwards on climate issues.
And what does he mean by sovereignty? Sovereignty is at the root of countless wars and countless examples of colonialism and its evils. What North Korea is doing right now is an example of sovereignty.
How are we to interpret America First in a world that is irreversibly connected by business, travel, the Internet, trade, defense, treaties and pacts? Are we to demonstrate our pride by creating a big 4th of July military show of the kind we’ve disparaged in Russia, China and North Korea.
Too much of his U.N. speech was un-thought-out egoistic bombast. Trump thinks he is America. America First is just a clanging marketing slogan empty of any genuine meaning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guns, violence and race

A recent look at the Internet provides these statistics on gun homicides in 2015:
229 blacks were killed by whites
500 whites were killed by blacks
2380 blacks were killed by blacks
2574 whites were killed by whites
36 unarmed blacks were killed by police
31 unarmed whites were killed by police.
These statistics can be reconfigured based on different interpretations of the nature of the crime or on percentages of the population or other such interpretations.
There is no question of the systemic injustices toward blacks, and all efforts to remedy this are important.
But the real issue is violence in America and our appetite for it in media, entertainment and video games. This is fed directly by the insane obsession with guns and the rabid and rigid NRA. America is on average 25 times more violent than other industrialized countries. Concealed carry laws allow guns in parks, bars, churches and schools. There’s a gun for every American citizen, many easily purchased on the streets. Too many lawmakers in the pocket of the NRA, and its ability to deliver voters on command. And a Supreme Court that conveniently ignores the militia clause of the 2nd Amendment. (What are the responsibilities of a gun owner under the militia clause.)
So even if we bring justice to the issues of race and homicide, we will still have the issue of a violent America and its obsession with guns. Let’s start there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Love and paradise

It’s probably true that there are about as many acts of malevolence in the world at any given time as there are acts of compassion. This sadly is the human condition. Human institutions of all kinds are constructed to try to sway the balance one way or the other. The Garden of Eden was not paradise because of love, but because blind obedience. While the misbehavior of Adam and Eve lost us paradise, it actually gave us something better to chase after—love of the world and pleasure in achieving it. Love is a human invention continually in flux and continually transforming itself over time.

Who knows if love conquers all. What we do know is that evil is self-consuming and self-destructive and that love heals. Love directs us to the elusive. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

5K

If you’re looking for a cause for your 5K race, you’d better act soon. Most major and minor illnesses are already taken.
Here are some options that are still available:
--Incontinence (“That we may never leak again”)
--Warts (“Killer of perfect flesh”)
--Toenail fungus (“Step up against toe shame”)
--Eyelid rejuvenation (“Eyelids are the shades of the windows of the soul”)
--Flatulence (“Everyone deserves a fart-free life”)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Art

In the end, making art is not a selfish act, but rather a cultural act. It is not a commodity, but a gift. Making art transforms the artist, makes the artist, into an agent of cultural change and a responsible cultural force. Art becomes the light that illuminates what’s unjust, what’s profound, what’s beautiful and even what’s sacred in the world.