Thinking Citizen Blog — Every School a Sistine Chapel — Walls Plastered with the Stories Most Worth Remembering
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic — Every School a Sistine Chapel — Walls Plastered with the Stories Most Worth Remembering
Let’s bring to life the walls of every school on the planet earth! How? Cover them with the image most worth remembering. Remember this: if a picture is worth a thousand words. The really good ones are worth a million. And the best billions. If not trillions. Think the extreme right tail of the bell curve. Reality is math. This is the math most worth remembering: there is a bell curve of pictures and so far our educational system has utterly failed to identify them to facilitate the acceleration of learning that they would make possible. Knowledge is power and joy and beauty. What are we waiting for? You can help. Now. Share the most potent, resonant images you have ever seen and explain their meaning to you. I am throwing down the gauntlet once again. Pick your favorite field of endeavor — from cooking to meditating to sports, music, art, science, or math. What image best captures the deepest truth about that activity, the basic unit of joy and process? Today, I repeat three of my favorite images and append to each a few comments. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE MOST SPECTACULAR SHOW AVAILABLE TO EARTHLINGS IS NOT EVEN SEEN BY A MAJORITY OF ITS MOST “EDUCATED” INHABITANTS
1. Metaphors are bridges to understanding.
2. This seven star formation is the best metaphor for the most important aim of education — critical thinking.
3. Critical thinking is all about putting first things first.
NB: Reducing the infinity of the relevant to seven (the outer limit of human memory) to three (a more realistic limit but still a stretch to most most of the time) to one.
BETTER THAN ANY BOOK, BETTER THAN ANY LIBRARY, A SIMPLE COMPOSITE METAPHOR
1. The blindfold: equality before the law, not one law for black, another for white, not one for men, another for women,, not one for poor another for rich.
2. The scales: guilt or innocence a function of evidence, not the whim of the judge, punishments proportional to crime, rewards proportional to service.
3. The sword pointed down: justice is about the exercise of violence and power. Minimize it. “The more laws, the less justice.” (Cicero) That government governs best that governs least. But also justice to be justice must be swift and must be certain. Justice delayed is justice denied.
GETTING THE STORY OF AMERICA STRAIGHT — A MATTER OF PRIDE OR SHAME?
1. Two weeks ago I had a post on art day about the meaning of the red, white, and blue in the flags of the United States, France, and Great Britain. In all three cases, there is no official meaning, but many, many possible meanings.
2. Imagine you are chair of a committee assigned by the US Congress to make a recommendation on that score. What do you propose? Why?
3. This was the reading given by Charles Thomson (1729–1824), Secretary of the Continental Congress: white for purity (eg. high ideals), red for courage, blue for vigilance. Can you top that?
NB: Three alternatives: a.) the red representing red states, the blue states, and white peace between them? (on the model of the Irish flag — green for Catholics, orange for Protestants, and white for peace between them); b.) red representing the principle of liberty, blue the principle of justice and white the reconciliation of the two?c.) Or perhaps white could stand for the principle of truth, without which there is no justice, nor freedom.
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.