101 The new style for better education

Note use of gender neutral pronouns: ze (s/he); zem (her/him); zir (his/her); zirself Bidirectional Starting at home Do you control your children? Do you feel manipulated by them? Do you learn from them, as suggested in Article 28? Often, I think children learn to manipulate in self-defense as parents learn how to lead without threatening. So, the learning relationship is bidirectional: each party teaches; each party learns. Today we study the layers of that process. At first blush, what is learned is what is being taught. When a parent explains or demonstrates (teaches) how to paint a window frame, we …

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100 Labor for heaven here and now

Heaven in progress Come walk with me through the outskirts of heaven, a metaphorical staging area. We can stroll through the prototype together. Rearward view First, let us reflect how I got here. Before my earliest days of marriage and fatherhood, I had dropped out of a free clinical trial after ten sessions with the psychiatrist at student health. The rest of my psychoanalysis has been autodidactic. That means I had to figure it out for myself. Occasionally, after tuning a piano for a social worker, I would bounce around some ideas. I had long before figured out that the …

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99 What is so good about heaven?

Heavenly relief You know the song, “Is there Mogen David in heaven? If not, who the __ wants to go?” There is a reverent way of looking at the lyrics. They anticipate that heaven is a pleasant sensation akin to the effect of mild intoxicants. The very question suggests that both items are favorable and asks assurance that they will be enjoyed together. There are countless portrayals of heaven as the place of rest—but nicer than the grave. They appeal to the human sense of overwhelm. We seek an end to stress, relief from external pressure to perform. I compare …

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98 Why hold wealth for somebody else

Education I started at The University of Chicago shortly after the tenure of Robert Maynard Hutchins. His era was called “the old college.” It was marked by dropping the football program that had been built up by Amos Alonzo Stagg. In a tongue in cheek moment, President Hutchins had written that the bachelor’s degree should be granted at birth so that universities could get down to the serious business of learning. He was criticizing the attitude that colleges merely prepare people to earn money. As a beginning, education is important to an income stream. This country was greatly admired for …

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97 Helpless, clever, enlightened – which are you?

Just like you A woman approached a stranger in a narrow hallway. Just as she swerved right the oncoming woman swerved left. They simultaneously switched directions, putting them again on a collision course. The teller of this tale spontaneously blurted out “I wonder how Emily Post would feel in a situation like this,” whereupon the stranger replied, “She would feel exactly as you do. I know because I’m Emily Post.” Sometimes in this blog we have a zig-or-zag dance where neither of us knows quite where the other party is going. When that happens, I feel exactly as you do. …

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96 The precious dignity of people

Faithfulness means people I’m proud of this blog’s publication schedule: Tuesdays and Fridays—no misses since February this year. On the other hand, my support services (email notices and school supplements) have suffered delays during unusually busy times. When I was gone, did you miss me? Of course not! You didn’t even notice what was missing. That contrasts strongly with my mood today, Black Friday. I did notice what was missing. Several pressing purchases made good use of the online specials. However, that enjoyment did not fill yesterday’s missing ingredient: people. Fortunately, most of the immediate family joined the Zoom call. …

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95 The peaceable dignity of understanding

Whining dog baseball A puppy down the street was whining miserably. I told my friend it was sending us baseball signals. “Those are the sounds you make when playing Left Out.” Can I communicate from Right Center Field? Can addressing a stranger in public be the Left Out signal instead of a pickup line? Does a pickup line come from a generous, or an ulterior, motive? On the subway a stranger who speaks to me is usually trying to share a religious thought. Human communication makes the person feel better. It usually has the same effect on me. Mumbling strangers …

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94 Spiritual boost from raw Brussel sprouts

Supporting fairness In article 90 I declared that natural resources cannot be private property. The thought coincides with Chief Seattle who said “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of the earth is sacred to my people.” The article containing his quote is a balanced analysis of the role of Native Americans. It acknowledges the difficulty of unrealistic expectations and forges ahead to respectful reverence. …

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93 How to be more than infinite

Simple infinity Three articles, beginning with article 50, describe life as an ascending progression from one order to another. A person grows at each step. Birth and death look like end points, but in the whole story they are points on an infinite line. In mathematics a line extends infinitely in both directions and any lesser portion is a ray (one fixed end point) or a line segment (two fixed end points). Mortality is a segment. Several word games are possible. Can one thing be more infinite than another? That sounds oxymoronic—the words don’t fit together. On the other hand, …

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92 Think about infinity like a child

Space and time Early in life I realized that I was not the same size as some people even though I looked much like them. Gradually I became aware of things beyond myself and developed a concept of small and large. That was easy with physical objects. Sensing different sizes of time intervals was a completely different experience. At first it seemed everything took a long time. Eventually I realized that some things take longer than other things. That probably was the beginning of comparing spatial to temporal measurement. Because I see motion, I conclude that time is passing. Objects …

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