Saturday, November 6, 2010

Layer 373 . . . More Legacy Thoughts, Churchill, Education, Zephaniah and China

21. Become a lifelong learner, develop all six intellgences on a daily basis, and become the best person you can be. Combat laziness and inertia. Learn to respect yourself and others. Don't worry about or strive to win the admiration, respect and affection of others. As with happiness and love, these things will come to you if they find you worthy.

22. Understand the difference between education and attainment, between learning and enlightenment, between knowledge and understanding.

23. Develop an understanding of human values and virtues, and make them central to your life.

24. Whenever possible promote and pursue truth, justice, freedom, fairness and equality. Support those who take a stand on these issues and principles.

25. Avoid excess, nihilism, waste, greed, idleness, meanness, cruelty, indifference, ignorance, deceit, exploitation, passivity and aggression.

26. Learn to be assertive, and walk the fine line between passivity and aggression. Also learn the value of 'non-attachment'.

27. Be aware that you will reap whatever you sow. Understand the circularity of karma.

28. Learn the value of intuition and empathy, of instinct, of sensory awareness, of intellect, of passion. Learn the value and also the limitations of each of these, and learn to differentiate between them. Learn the difference between productive passions and destructive emotions.

29. Understand that love, creativity and imagination are virtues that depend on the interplay of all six intelligences.

30. Understand that time is precious, and to be time-rich is more valuable than being materially wealthy.

31. Learn how to communicate effectively.

32. Learn how to listen to the voices of others, and show respect for other voices even when you disagree with them.

33. Learn who is worth listening to, but also try to understand the voices of your opponents and enemies.

34. Learn how to appreciate the natural world, and learn from it.

35. Learn about leadership and followership, both of which require us to speak truth to power, and a willingness to be constructively critical.

36. Be aware that some things will knock you down that you don't even see coming. Be alert.

37. It's life's difficulties and challenges that cause learning to take place, and ultimately lead to wisdom and enlightenment. Burying your head in the sand is not an option.

38. Learn from the past. Don't dwell in it.

39. Live in the present - to the full. Don't ignore it or let it pass you by.

40. Embrace the future - don't fear it.


Winston Churchill

Thanks to the journalists' strike yesterday I found myself listening to a programme on the radio that was in part about Winston Churchill's upbringing and education.

In short, Churchill "failed" at school. He was easily bored and hated traditional 'academic' approaches to teaching and learning.

Note - there was no consideration of whether the school had failed Churchill.

The programme went on to say that Churchill possessed a very fine 'instinctual' intelligence. What this may be is a capacity to pick up things quickly from real life, and to pay attention only to those things in real life that are intinsically interesting and stimulating.

It's likely that people who have excellent instinctual intelligence are also good at 'lateral thinking'. They're able to 'think outside the box', see the hidden or possible connections between things, and have a lively imagination. They're creative and original thinkers.

It's as outrageous now as it was in Churchill's time to fail to recognise and to provide for pupils with good instinctual intelligence who hate traditional didactic approaches to schooling.


Benjamin Zephaniah

Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (born 15 April 1958, Birmingham, England) is a British Jamaican Rastafarian writer and dub poet. He is a well-known figure in contemporary English literature, and was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers. - Wikipedia

BZ was on Radio 4's Loose Ends this morning. He's another educational 'failure', another creative thinker and writer, and another fiery 'instinctual' learner. He's dyslexic and still has problems with reading. He finished school at the age of 13, still illiterate, having hated school throughout.

Dr Z talked about his love of China, where he spends several weeks every summer - part of the time learning martial arts at Shaolin. He says China is "the most misunderstood country".

He likes visiting different countries just to get out of his own comfort zone and as a challenge to his present thinking.

Coincidentally there was an interview on the Today programme this morning with several Chinese students who are studying at the LSE.  Wonderfully articulate, they explained why they endorse the Chinese political system, whereby communities send delegates to speak and act on their behalf on local, regional and national councils.

They were dismissive of our so-called democracy whereby we're persuaded by advertising, propaganda and broadcasting to vote for 'representatives' who have no accountability other than through the ballot box. Once in Parliament or on the local council these people can just do their own thing, become subservient to a rogue Prime Minister, for example, and even switch parties if they feel like it.

The students also spoke about value systems, about enjoyment of life, and about the idea of 'the collective' being far more important to Chinese people than 'individualism'. The Chinese are far more inclined to think in terms of the 'we' rather than 'me'. They justify decisions in terms of the benefits to communities, rather than personal gain. Sounds a bit like socialism.

In the next few years we're likely to see and hear increasing belligerence coming from America towards China. We mock, ridicule, belittle and disrespect the Chinese at our peril. We're so fucking convinced of our superiority - both in terms of our culture and our political system. Also in terms of our 'freedom' and our wealth. There's so much to consider about China, its future role in the world, its relationship with and support for the developing world, and its approach to economics and education, for example. Far more than Oxzen can manage at the moment.


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