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Abraham, Martin, John, and Capra.
(Pedagogy) Philosophy and Nonsense      
Thoughts about writing, education, and experience                                  Presented by Forrest D. Poston

The first goal of teaching is to strengthen, deepen and refine our intrinsic love of learning. All other goals and all methods must stem from that idea. Any that do not support that goal must at least be questioned and adjusted, if not eliminated. Otherwise, we are not teaching but training.

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In a Jimmy Stewart world....

Writing and Education

Autobiography Challenge

Considering Conclusions

Considering Introductions

Four Meanings of Life

Godot and the Great Pumpkin

A Major is More Minor Than
You Think

The Poetry Process (A look at 4 versions of a poem.)

Thoughts About Picking a Major

Quick Points About Education

Quick Points About Writing

Reading Poetry and Cloud Watching

Revising Revision

Reviving Experience

Reviving Symbolism

Using an Audience

Videos

What Makes a Story True?

What's the Subject of This Class? (Being revised.)

Why Write?

Writing and Einstein (The Difference Between Information and Meaning)

Writing and the Goldilocks Dilemma

Links to Other Sites
I Believe in Capra   by Forrest D. Poston

In  a fit of idealism and civic duty, I spent a week at a leadership camp during the summer after my sophomore year of high school.  Many decades later, I’m surely more jaded and somewhat less naive, even if I can’t quite shake the idealism, but some experiences from that week have endured and remain meaningful beyond mere nostalgia.  One applies too well once again.

In our groups of six or so, we played a variety of games intended to make a point.  One of those involved each member secretly picking either “x” or “y” (and no, it had nothing to do with chromosomes).  A chart showed winnings or losses based on how many people picked which letter, and  we all saw the chart ahead of time.  There were a few ways for several people to win a high number of points while others lost and one way to win a huge number of points while every other person lost big.

And if you looked carefully, there was also one way that every person could win some points with no one losing.  Keep in mind that these points had no actual value.  You couldn’t turn the points in later for even so much as a cheap stuffed animal.  No one was even keeping score except for anyone keeping track in their head.  We could talk things over before making our secret selections, and we could make agreements.

Once we saw the option that allowed everyone some gain, we agreed that we’d all make that selection and marked down our choices.  As you might guess, if only one person decided to renege on the deal and pick the other letter, that person would win the biggest number of points possible.  Every other person would lose.  Seemed pretty clear what we should do, but my expectations weren’t exactly high.  I was naive, not newborn.

When all the choices were revealed, we had all kept our agreement, all won.  Seems perfectly reasonable.  We were also the only group there that did it.  In every other group, at least one person went for the big personal victory at the expense of everyone else.  They had nothing tangible to gain or lose, and yet greed still won out. No one was trying to build a business or feed their family.  We're competitive creatures, and that's good, but we're also greedy creatures, and that's a pretty big weakness.

Now you know why gas prices are so high and why a lot of other things are messed up. Being greedy doesn't make anyone the alpha, and having more money doesn't make a person better.  Being greedy simply means you're too weak to control your urges, too blind to see beyond yourself, or both. No, I’m not promoting communism, socialism, or any other social, political or economic system.  All I’m promoting is common sense, decency, and, as Jimmy Stewart put it in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, “a little looking out for the other guy.” 

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Other Essays and Poetry

Something Somewhat Vaguely Like a Resume

The Cat With a Bucket List

Being Like Children

The Blessing and the Blues

Booking Down Brown Street

David and the Revelation

The Dawn, the Dark, and the Horse I Didn't Ride In On (an odd, meandering, semi-romantic story)

Ghost Dancer in the Twilight Zone

The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices

I Believe in Capra

The Mug, the Magic, and the Mistake

Sadie on the Bridge

Trumpet Player, USDA Approved

Videos

Poetry

Selected Poems

The Poetry Process

Writing by Current or Former Students

Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr. Ms. Write Now
by Heide Perry

I'll Just Have Cats
by Cara Hummel

Toys to Toys
by Allyson Bowlds

Scribbles and Bits

Links to Other Sites