We have all been accustomed to the empty-brain teaching method for so long, that we don’t recognize there are other ways to perceive our world.
Shall we play a game?
- Why is the sky blue? There is obviously a scientific reason for this, but I want to scramble your eggs. Is the actual air blue? Well, no. Now, look at a clear blue pond or lake, or the ocean or a large river… Water, for the most part, is clear. So why does it appear blue? What if it ISN’T blue. What if it looks grey? Even if you see the clear sky, and it appears grey to you, you know it’s blue because that’s what you’ve been told a million times. So is the color of the sky an opinion or a fact? When 99% of the population agrees on a color, does that make it right? During the forest fires in the Pacific Northwest US, the sky was orange, but the populous there knew it was an anomaly because the sky is blue, normally. So even if our senses are screaming that the sky is not, in fact, blue, we acknowledge and agree that it is. Our perception is prescribed for us. The water on this planet appears blue because it reflects the sky. Of course. So from space, why isn’t the sky blue when we look directly at it? It only appears blue when you look at the horizon and you see that thin blue ribbon of atmosphere that separates this life on earth from the cold, unforgiving death that is the vacuum of space. And the water is still blue. It is reflecting something. You’re above it and cannot see it. So now when you look up at the clear sky, what do you really see?
- All the science, math, poetry, art, and literature are a means to describe our world. Yet we study them independently. We believe if we break them down into tinier pieces, we will understand them better. My Son-in-law loves Legos. He has tons of them. They come in kits. But they also come in big boxes of miscellaneous pieces. Imagine, then, you take a Millenium Falcon apart and leave the pieces on the table. Then your friend comes in and you tell him to put together this project, without instructions, without having had to dismantle the original project, and without a picture to guide him. All he has is a big pile of pieces. He may be able to make an educated guess if he finds a Han Solo or Chewbacca piece embedded in the detritus. The individual pieces DO relate to one another, but we haven’t been taught to look at those relationships in order to understand what we’re seeing.
- If we look at poetry, and all we see is the scan and the rhyming words, we’ve missed the point.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,by Joyce Kilmer
But only God can make a tree.
She’s describing a tree with poetry and comparing the two. She uses very descriptive language that goes beyond dimensions, color, size, or texture into how the tree relates to the earth and the nourishment it gets from the sky. What is she REALLY describing? It is an awareness of our place in the world and how inadequate our thoughts about what is important in our existence are. It indicates how complex life is in the simplicity of a tree, and how complicated we make our lives. It is…anything you want to see in this poem. After reading this poem and thinking about how it relates to a single life form, and all the plants, and all the animals and the bugs and insects, can you look at a tree and think the same as you did? What if you looked at everything around you in that manner?
What if the air quality and the bird song and the smell of the diesel fuel and the little twinge you get in your left knee were all related somehow. What I want you to come away with is this thought:
If you see everything as connected, as a whole system, like a breathing thing, you become more aware of your place in it. You can’t take anything for granted. While Elton John will sing of the Circle of Life, he refers to living things. We will look at the Rhythm of Existence that includes living and non-living elements–everything in the universe. OK too big. But you get the idea? You can appreciate all the compartments we’ve divided things into, the arts and sciences, thoughts and actions, and see them as a whole, and it boosts your understanding. It increases your resources, then all the things you know get rolled up into whatever you do. And every new thing becomes the piece of that puzzle that you were missing…the PacMan shape with the brown and the little dot of red and what looks like fingers that fits…right…there.
What do you think that does to your performance?