alesnick's picture

the grammar of suffering war

To me, Alexandra Teague's "Adjectives of Order" (below) speaks powerfully to the problem with formal education when forms are fundamentally unresponsive to human experiences, especially those we undergo rather than originate.  The poem shows a "student's" schooling in English as an education in the ruthless impersonality of the way grammar is conceived.  It also shows how the situation of formal education erects bizarre barriers between "student" and "teacher"  -- in quotes because the student is, among other things, also a veteran and former prisoner of war, a speaker of a language or languages other than English, and a person working to make sense of his experience through language; the teacher we don't learn much about, but she is clearly also a learner in this case.

alesnick's picture

Would You Like to Swing on a Star? Reflections on the Evolving Systems Project Year One


Would You Like to Swing on a Star?

Reflections on the Evolving Systems Project Year One

Alice Lesnick, May 24, 2010


Q: When the cosmos talks to us in its own terms, what does it say?

A: Notice that I am bigger and stranger than anything you have yet imagined based on your experiences to date.  And the more you experience and imagine, the bigger and stranger I will get.

-- Evolving Systems Web Forum, 7/31/09


Caroline H's picture

The Effects of Music

Music is without a doubt a universal language that transcends time, generations, and cultures. It makes for good entertainment, interest, and constructive pursuit that enriches the lives of whomever it touches. Some researchers believe that our natural, almost universal predisposition to the enjoyment of and emotional reaction to music is hard-wired into us – that it has always played a pivotal role in helping humans develop their minds and relationships with others. One writer suggests, “ Babies are born with musical wisdom and appetite, music facilitates well-being and returns people to well-being from mental and physical impairments – it is deep in our genetic structures” (1).

skim's picture

Reading Minds and Mental States

skim's picture

Sound and Reality, Jonathan Stern's Audible Past

cschoonover's picture

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

   Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink is an exploration of rapid cognition, of the thinking that happens in the blink of an eye, and is an attempt to “understand this magical and mysterious thing called judgment” (Gladwell 260). He refrains from using “intuition” to describe this kind of thinking, as he believes we use that word to describe irrational thought. Gladwell argues that those first two seconds of rapid cognition are completely rational and just involve thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than deliberate, conscious thought and decision-making.

natmackow's picture

Oliver Sacks: An Anthropologist on Mars

    Oliver Sacks’ novel, An Anthropologist on Mars, contains seven fascinating and strange neurobiological stories that explore unique perceptions and experiences of both the world and oneself in the world. The first tale, “The Colorblind Painter”, is about Jonathan I., a painter who, after an accident, lost his ability to perceive color in the world, his memories, and even his dreams. He could not remember what color ever looked like (the entire concept was obliterated from his brain), yet, intriguingly, it was determined that he could discriminate wavelengths of light.

Raven's picture

Eric Kandel: In Search of Memory

 Eric Kandel: In Search of Memory

Throughout In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, Eric Kandel describes his approach to understanding how memories are stored. While at first glance, the book might seem like a boring biography of an experiment; in the first chapters, Kandel’s captivating writing constantly keeps you wondering about the next chapter.

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