Garrett (garote) wrote,
Garrett
garote

blah blah rant rant

I just had to respond to this, like a dog jumping on a chew-toy. I couldn't let it float by unchallenged.

Waking Up To The Holographic Heart
Starting Over With Education
Joseph Chilton Pearce 1998 Interview
Casey Walker, Wild Duck Review

Reprinted from Vol. IV No. 2, the Corporatization of Education edition of WILD DUCK REVIEW, with permission from editor & publisher, Casey Walker. For sample copy or subscription information call 530.478.0134, write to WILD DUCK REVIEW, Box 388, Nevada City, CA 95959 or casey@wildduckreview.com.

The following conversation took place between Joseph Chilton Pearce and Casey Walker on May 20, 1998 with the production assitance of KVMR, a community- supported radio station in Nevada City.

Casey Walker: Will you begin by assessing education as we know it today?

Joseph Chilton Pearce: Over the past thirty years I've given some 2,500 talks to thousands of people on these issues, and it seems our whole nation's mental set is too locked into a radical denial over education. I'm pessimistic because of our capacity for denial -- what 14th century Spanish Sufi, Iban Arabi, called "our enormous capacity for self-deception" -- and our simple desire to maintain things as they are. The other criticism, of course, lies in looking at schooling as a concept. I don't think it is at all correctable as it is.

The setup. "Most people are living a horrible lie about education, and they don't care. Of course, I'm not one of them." Stop begging the question and get on with it, sir.

I recently received a beautiful paper from a school teacher who spent twenty-five or thirty years right in the front-line trenches, in the classroom. She gives the perspective that armchair generals sitting back in their ivory towers just don't have. Her title tells it all: "Torch This Tower." She states there is no facet of the American school situation which is at all redeemable and believes we ought to eradicate the entire thing down to the very rock bottom, clear the grounds totally, and rethink what do we do from here. This has been my position for years and years.

Nice anecdote. Here's one from me: My father was a teacher for thirty years. He taught three different subjects, and at one point designed his own mathematics curriculum from the ground up, which is still in use today. He believes nothing of the sort.

If we look at any system and find that it has an error within it, we can address the error and consider the possibilities of correction. But, if the entire system from beginning to end is one whole, integrated, total error, then there is nothing that can be done. There is nothing, zero. That, I believe, is the American school situation today. Nothing can be done.

I find that people who wish to entirely dismantle any well-entrenched and far-reaching system are making extraordinary demands, for which they need to provide extraordinary arguments. Dismantling slavery, for example, had such arguments. So did the American Revolution. There are few other examples, because even in the most dire need for change, people perceive some good in the design of the current system.

Further, the school system produces -- as John Gatto claims -- exactly what the system needs to keep itself going, and that is uncorrectable. We can't change institutions. And, we can't give the public an answer to a question they are not asking. People simply aren't asking the questions that everyone is rushing around with answers for.

Wait a minute, you're not saying you're a solution in search of a problem, are you? Because that's what it sounds like.

Okay, I admit, that was low. Reading on...

My one exception would be a Waldorf education, and I think the original Montessori had a lot of great, great value. But, I would champion a Waldorf approach as a true educational procedure. Unfortunately, Waldorf is beginning to modify and accommodate, little by little, and take on some of the dreadful errors of the public school system in order to survive.

In its original, genuine sense, Waldorf is not preparing the child to be a dollar commodity in the marketplace, but is meeting each stage of a child's life with the environment that allows the child to be fully and completely and wholly a child at that time. My statement has always been that the three-year-old is not an incomplete five-year-old, but a complete, total and whole three-year-old. If a child is given all the nurturing to be here as a three year old, they'll be the perfect five year old later on, and so on.

Why do you need to try and slip a false dichotomy by me in order to make your point? The public school system is not primarily designed to prepare children to be dollar commodities either. It's why we have science, creative writing, social studies, history, dances, and P.E. -- and later, sex education, drama, graphic arts, choir, and band. Strictly speaking, if a public school was only interested in making the youth employable, our entire curriculum would consist of math, english, typing, and shop.

As for your bit about developmentally appropriate environments, I agree with it in theory. The tools and methods to which a three-year-old will generally respond are different than a five-year-old, because they are facing different developmental challenges. But what are those challenges, and what are your proposed methods?

The first thing I would say about any true educational system is that it is not founded on the notion that we are preparing a child for life. The theory we are preparing the child for life, or for the future, is a terrible travesty which betrays every facet of the human being. We don't prepare for life, we equip the child with the means to live fully at whatever stage they are in. The idea we're going to train a child at seven to get a good job at age twenty-seven is a travesty of profound dimension. It makes for a world where every 78 seconds a child is attempting suicide, as is true today. It is this kind of terrible despair we breed in our children when we don't see the difference between preparing and equipping our children to be present to life.

Holistic sounding, but what exactly do you mean by "equipping a child to live at whatever stage they're in"? I hope you explain that, because it sounds interesting. The rest of this is an unrelated straw-man argument aimed at your tacit assumption above: That public school is exactly the same as vocational school.

Will you speak to the neurological damage in modern children, as you've described in Evolution's End, which renders them "ineducable"?

It's been ten years since I wrote Evolution's End, and, believe me, the situation today has worsened by thousands of percentile. Most people involved in educational reform are speaking of curricular programs when the truth of the matter is the children they are dealing with now are, by and large, damaged past the point of educability in any real sense. The public has yet to recognize this is so. The clearest indications of such damage recently came out of Tunbingen University in Germany with a twenty year study of four thousand people. It shows three significant findings as a result of the failure to furnish appropriate sensory stimulation for growth. First, there has been an average of one percent per year reduction in the sensory sensitivity of the human system and the ability to bring in information from the outside world.

I could argue that that's actually a sign of a developing mind. For example, I've noticed that as time goes on I have become less directly aware of my environment. I also spend a lot more time reading, writing, remembering, and thinking about what I've seen, versus what I'm seeing before me, and finding insight in comparing the two. You know, like, older people usually do?

And another word, on "failing to furnish appropriate sensory stimulation": Every day after elementary school, I walked home. It took almost an hour. It was the same road, at the same time, day after day. I was a very inward-focused child and I liked to be left to my own devices, and walking along the road suited that. To pass the time I made up music in my head, I imagined little planes and rocketships darting around the trees, I made up stories about the people living in each house, and I pondered the differences between the plants and the bugs I saw. I have more memories of that road than first, second, and third grade combined.

My point is, if I could develop my childhood mind so readily, just by walking the same road, over and over, alone, ... how can I take your dire predictions about "failing to furnish appropriate sensory stimulation" seriously? The problem of brain development solves itself. The solution, my experience tells me, is to just take a freaking walk.

And that leads me to a real, salient point about the educational system. It's the reason that students and teachers don't go on walks, or field trips, very much at all these days. It's not because they don't wish to. Field-trips, personal projects, and team activities enrich the time of both teacher and student. The reason these things don't happen as much as they could, is a simple factor of class size. The only way a single teacher can keep track of 20+ kids at a time is to keep them indoors, sitting in rows. Put two, three, or four teachers in that same room, however, and the possibilities grow exponentially. They can even leave the room.

The solution is sitting right in front of everyone's face: It's not fancy computers, balanced environments, holistic new teaching methods, or groovy architectural design. It's the ratio of TEACHERS TO STUDENTS. The most obvious thing in the whole wide world. In the race to reform education, people are off and sprinting at the opening gunshot, and they all jump right over the solution with their very first stride, and leave it far, far behind. MORE TEACHERS PER STUDENT.

The rest of the system's issues actually sort themselves out, beyond this, because it gives the system the energy it needs to make corrections. Education gets more interesting when more people are around to coordinate its execution. Teachers and parents wish to make it so.

Compared to children twenty years ago, the children we are looking at now are comprehending or registering information from their environment at eighty percent, which simply means they are twenty percent less consciously aware of where they are and what is happening around them. Secondly, the kind of stimulus that does break through the reticular activating system in the ancient reptilian brain, the brain stem, is only highly concentrated bursts of over- stimulation. That is, the only signals they're really bringing in from their environment are those bursts of stimuli which are highly charged. If it's sound, it must be a loud sound. If it's touch, it must be an impact. If it's visual, it must be intense. Subtleties cannot catch their attention because they are not sensitive to their environment. One comparison is that twenty years ago a child or young person was able to differentiate 360 shades of red, and today are down to something like 130 shades, which means the subtleties are lost to the pure, heavy impact of red now necessary to penetrate the reticular system. Once we look into the whole developmental system, the implications are profound.

Frankly, I just don't buy this. As a species we have undergone infinitesimal genetic variation, IF ANY, over the last thirty thousand years. That leaves the environment as the 100% cause for this. (Which means you can chuck that whole alarming comparison about reptiles out the window, by the way.) And that's about as narrow as it gets, for determining the cause. Assuming that the educational system is the major cause for this shift is premature at best. It could also be that parents have increasingly less time to spend with their kids as a result of being overworked. Or that toxins in the environment are degrading the eyesight of everyone, including children. Or, even: Due to advances in medical technology, more children with poor eyesight are able to survive today than 20 years ago. The speaker must have an axe to grind, for jumping to such a conclusion. The speaker must also have a poor understanding of genetics.

The impediments to proper development from birth on are attributable to a whole raft of causes -- from technological childbirth, a failure to nurse, day care. Often what occurs is a substitution of proper care with highly inappropriate, massive over-stimulation of non-growth stimuli of the kind a child gets with the average day care, exposure to the television and music meant to pacify and entertain him or her.

Okay, now you're making some sense - you're talking about parents being increasingly overworked and unable to spend time with their kids.

Has an actual, physical atrophying been documented?

Yes, it's a physical atrophying of the whole sensory system. This is right in line with Marcia Mikulak's work that I wrote about in Evolution's End. Fifteen years ago, she found there was anywhere from a 20-25% reduction in sensory awareness of the technological child as opposed to the pre-literate, or "primitive" child in the grass shacks of the jungles.

It's no big news that kids these days are being over-stimulated and saturated by mass media. As a result of information systems we have ALL had to raise our tolerance for noise in our environment. I would attribute this more to an unchecked explosion of capitalism's need to advertise than to a problem inherent with the media systems themselves. For example, I find some television shows worthwhile, lots of modern foods to be enjoyable, and many things on the internet to be useful - but fever-pitched commercials on TV, chemically enhanced flavors in my breakfast cereal, and eye-stabbing animated banner ads on my web pages are a detriment to my clear thinking, my independence, and my enjoyment of natural food. And two things that these ALL have in common are that they are ADVERTISEMENTS, and they are entirely absent in the pre-industrial world.

This is something that I would really like to see increased support for, actually. A society-wide drive towards enforcing rules of advertising, and truth in advertising. Free speech of individuals is a valuable thing, but how does this translate into, say, the right of the National Dairy Council to air an ad on television, insinuating that if you don't guzzle down cow-juice like a motherfucker, your arms will rip right out of their sockets when you get old? The answer is: poorly.

England barred Apple Computer from airing an ad for it's Power Macintosh G5, simply because they didn't supply ADEQUATE EVIDENCE that their statement - "the world's fastest personal computer" - was true. The equivalent regulations in the United States are so weak that they've become part of a cultural joke. We've gotten used to hearing ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims, trumped up with inadequate or biased research, thrown at us from every possible angle, as loud as possible. And there's no real reason it has to be this way.

("The instructions SPECIFICALLY SAID -- do not taunt Super Happy Fun Ball!!")

The third finding of the German study is that the brain is maladapting on a level which seems almost genetically impossible. That is, the brains of these young people are not cross-indexing the sensory systems, so there is no synthesis taking place in the brain. Sight is simply a radical series of brilliant impressions which do not cross index with touch, sound, smell and so forth. There is no context created for sensory input, each is an independent, isolated event. It explains why so many kids get intensely bored unless they are subject to intense input.

Actually I have to take issue with this too. I think that the process of sensory cross-indexing that results in real education - associating spoken words with written ones, for example - is something that begins to take place after a combination of hormonal triggers begin firing, at a certain age, and that no associative method - low stimulus or high stimulus, cheap or expensive, simple or elaborate - will have any real effect before that age.

I also find this unrelated to the alarmist claim that a louder, brighter, environment can somehow burn out or stunt a child's senses. I grew up near the constant rushing noise of a freeway - it was present every second of the day. I was a teenager before we finally shut it outside with double-paned windows. However, outside at midnight when I went for a walk in the woods, I could still appreciate the snapping of every branch, and feel the texture of the stones in the creek. My own experience makes me skeptical of your simplistic interpretation of brain development -- especially how it is unable to occur beyond a certain level of raw stimulus.

On hearing a certain sound, it doesn't bring up all sorts of memory patterns and other senses that resonate with it. They are single shot affairs in the brain system. All of this is from the failure of appropriate stimuli and the massive over-application of inappropriate or high level, artificial stimuli.

You're saying that cross-indexing cannot happen without a certain appropriate level of stimulus in the environment? I find that to be both insultingly simplistic, and dangerously hubristic. Hubristic in that you are somehow possessed of knowledge of a magic stimulus level that the brain must have, to develop properly, which you can then apply to great effect. The human brain has been around a lot longer than YOU have. It has dealt with all sorts of stimulus, and still grown into a person.

Now, Jerry Mander and I just spent a weekend in New England at a conference with a medical doctor, Keith Buzzel, studying the effects of television and computers. There is simply an unbelievable amount of medical research on the neurophysiology of television viewing that shows a serious breakdown in the whole genetic encoding. Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist and brilliant man, has pointed out that the internal emotional state of these children is radically altering the whole DNA structure.

Oh dear. "Genetic encoding"? Altering their DNA STRUCTURE? Good grief, all of a sudden I'm hearing thousands of ducks, and they're all shouting at me ... what are they tying to say ... can't quite make it out ...

So, I can't talk about education, the future and so forth, unless I'm willing to deceive myself about the halt and reversal of damage now being done to the majority of children in the first three years of life. If we could just get that across! Appropriate nurturing in the first three years of life is critical. Of course, there are always a small number of people who are aware and trying to do something about it, but most err in trying to change institutions with hundreds of billions of dollars of vested interest in the television industry, in medical technological childbirth, and all the rest of it.

Oh yeah, it's all a big conspiracy. My english teacher, Mr. Nelson, gave me a bad grade for my report on "A Maude Reed Tale" because it didn't contain any TELEVISION REFERENCES. Fuck you, jack. Oh wait a minute, my mistake. Children up to the age of three don't even set foot in a classroom. So it must be some failure at home. You must be talking about a conspiracy of educational television!

Here's the question that the author is currently begging, in case you didn't notice it: Parents all over the nation think that television is a good substitute for their presence in their child's lives, because some monolithic conspiracy of television industrialists has convinced them so. No, they don't. There isn't. And it hasn't. Parents are fully aware of the raw deal they're getting, and passing on to their children, in the form of endless work hours, an ever-escalating paranoia over their neighbors (who are apparently no longer trustworthy to 'watch the kids'), and elected officials who will try anything -- anything! -- to reform education except hire more actual teachers.

Why are people like this author so intent on decrying unseen corruption from an unseen river of money, by definition an insurmountable obstacle that demands they scrap the whole system, when the solutions to their problems are relatively simple? If you don't want your children raised by television,

DON'T LET THEM WATCH IT.

I was in Thailand last year at a birthing conference put on by the World Health Organization and UNESCO. Thailand imported our American way of birth and television about thirty years ago, and they are now in complete shambles -- their family structure destroyed, their schooling in shambles, their whole social structure collapsing. They were once called, "The Gem of the Orient, The Land of the Smiles." Few will look at the fact that Thailand imported our two deadly twins of medical technological childbirth followed by television, both of which deny appropriate sensory stimuli for growth and substitute the radically inappropriate stimuli which brings about a totallyconditioned mind. Huxley's Brave New World was timid, a lollipop, compared to the type of conditioning that comes with interfering with the natural processes of a mother, child, and community.

I think you're starting to work towards a point here, but keeping just shy of it. Actually I agree that various forces are combining to weaken community structure, and the bonds between parent and child. I do not agree with your reasoning, however, and I have yet to see any of your proposed solutions. So I shall read on.

So, these are the three issues. First, we have to realize that education really begins in the womb and that the first three years of life are when ninety percent of it takes place. Secondly, never waste effort or energy on trying to bring down institutions, but put every bit of effort and energy into doing what must be done for as many children as can immediately be reached. Look to the tangible and real need in a child, in a family, or in a neighborhood.

Ah hah. While I think your pronouncement that education begins in the womb is suspect, depending on where you go with it, I wholeheartedly agree with your second point. Now what's your third point?

Let's turn to the idea of intelligence -- what we are yet to understand -- with a systemic function between the body, the heart, and brain.

Drat. We were so close to something meaningful, and now we have to detour into some kind of duck pond.

Yes. To me, the most exciting single thing happening -- which I touched upon in Evolution's End throughout the whole last part of the book -- is about the heart. The medical and scientific world is just now producing evidence to verify much of what I explore through my last three books: the intelligence of the heart. Hard core researchers, including the National Institute for Mental Health, have massively ignored these questions.

Duck-pond signpost number one: Well respected institutions are deliberately ignoring my findings.

I thought I had put it together pretty well -- what the heart actually was and what was going on -- but I was a babe in the woods. I knew nothing. In 1995, I came across the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California, and found that they were gathering together research from all over the globe. They brought me up to date on neurocardiology, which is the general title of the newest field of medicine. Oxford University brought out a huge, thick volume of medical studies from all over the world entitled, Neurocardiology, which includes studies that haven't worked their way into the journals yet. Discoveries in the field of neurocardiology are, believe me, far more awesome than the discovery of non-locality in quantum mechanics. It is the biggest issue of the whole century, but it's so far out and so beyond the ordinary, conceptual grasp, that a lot of the people doing the actual research are yet to be fully aware of the implications.

Duck-pond signpost number two: The findings are brand-new, revolutionary, and hard to grasp.

Close to a century ago, Rudolph Steiner said the greatest discovery of 20th century science would be that the heart is not a pump but vastly more, and that the great challenge of the coming ages of humanity would be, in effect, to allow the heart to teach us to think in a new way. Now, that sounds extremely occult, but we find it's directly, biologically the case.

I can't in a brief time share with you the full implications of neurocardiology except to say three things. First, about sixty to sixty-five percent of all the cells in the heart are neural cells which are precisely the same as in the brain, functioning in precisely the same way, monitoring and maintaining control of the entire mind/brain/body physical process as well as direct unmediated connections between the heart and the emotional, cognitive structures of the brain.

Holy crap I can't hear anything, there are so many ducks! What an incredible racket!

But seriously folks, why does the author even have any ground at all to stand on here? This is, after all, like saying that we digest food with our eardrums. Why is anyone even willing to hear it? Could it be because the heart is, and has been for centuries, a big player in popular culture? Because, back BEFORE the majority of medical research took place, people assumed just what the author is claiming above? Until an incredible volume of interconnected evidence accumulated to discount these very notions?

Secondly, the heart is the major endocrine glandular structure of the body, which Roget found to be producing the hormones that profoundly affect the operations of body, brain, and mind.

Whah!? I'm sorry, I can't hear you over all these loudly protesting ducks.

Thirdly, the heart produces two and a half watts of electrical energy at each pulsation, creating an electromagnetic field identical to the electromagnetic field around the earth. The electromagnetic field of the heart surrounds the body from a distance of twelve to twenty-five feet outward and encompasses power waves such as radio and light waves which comprise the principle source of information upon which the body and brain build our neural conception and perception of the world itself. This verifies all sorts of research from people such as Karl Pribram, over a thirty year period, and opens up the greatest mystery we'll ever face.

What?!? No, seriously, what the fuck?! The electromagnetic field around the earth is created by the rotation of it's molten IRON CORE. The electricity generated and consumed by the heart is used to trigger the muscle contractions that -- oh I don't know -- could it be -- PUMP OUR FUCKING BLOOD? How in the hell are these phenomena similar at all, except in that they both tenuously involve a magnetic field?!

Roger Penrose, for instance, in England, has just recently come out with a new mathematics to prove that where dendrites meet at the synapse -- of which you've got trillions in your body and brain -- is an electromagnetic aura. And, we find that the electromagnetic field of the heart produces, holographically, the same field as the one produced by the earth and solar system. Now, physicists are beginning to look at the electro-magnetic auras as, simply, the organization of energy in the universe. All these are operating holographically -- that is, at the smallest, unbelievably tiny level between the dendrites at the synapse, the body, the earth, and on outward. All are operating holographically and selectively.

Oh dear. I'm sorry, the author has just completely drowned in the duck pond. The ducks are absolutely furious. Feathers everywhere. This above paragraph, my friends, is an example of pseudo-science. It's a long string of scientific-sounding words and semi-lucid insinuations designed to make you feel so incompetent that you feel unqualified to challenge any assertions laid on top of it.

Holographic means, literally, "having to do with the measurement of light". To say that something is "operating holographically" is by itself nonsensical. In addition, to compare one electromagnetic field with another "holographically" is a meaningless comparison.

(By the way - saying that the electromagnetic field of the heart "surrounds the body" somewhere between "twelve to twenty-five feet" from us is rather arbitrary. All electromagnetic fields project their influence out around them at the speed of light, all the way to the edges of the universe, uninterrupted. They just get exponentially weaker as they go.)

Also look out for the word "aura". It by itself means nothing. An "electromagnetic aura" could be two things - your garden variety magnetic field ... or the infinitesimal decay of a difference in charge, built up between two regions, that expresses itself, among other ways, as a magnetic field. That mysterious unnamed physicists are "beginning" to look at these, is one of the duck-pond signposts we encountered before: It's brand-new, and revolutionary, and hard to grasp.

When I was in high-school, I overheard a pair of girls in my choir class excitedly talking about atoms. One said to the other: "And the electron goes around the proton just like a planet goes around a star! Just think, we're all made up of millions of tiny solar systems, each with people on it, just like us! Or totally different!" To which the second girl replied: "Ooooooooooh!"

I think the biggest insight I gained from overhearing that is, ... the world needs more skeptics.

The next discovery is of unmediated neural connections between the heart and the limbic structure, the emotional brain. Now they've found that neural connections go right on up through the amygdala or the cingulate cortex into the pre-frontal lobes. Now, the pre-frontal lobes, or neocortex, are the latest evolutionary addition to the human brain because they were only rudimentary until, perhaps, 150,000 to 40,000 years ago. They are what we call the "silent areas" of the brain simply because we are using only the lower part of them so far. The higherparts of the pre-frontal lobes are not even complete in their growth patterns until age twenty-one, which is about six to seven years after the rest of the brain is complete -- when we thought the whole show was over.

And yet, if you look at Demasio's recent work in Descartes' Error, he writes about the role of emotion in reasoning and about the lowest levels of the pre-frontal lobes. He talks constantly about the pre-frontals being the whole show, but he's talking only about those parts that are developed in the first three years of life and the great, long dormant period following. Around age fifteen, the pre-frontals undergo a huge growth spurt and begin a massive, rapid growth which isn't complete until about age twenty-one. It is that area that then remains silent and unused.

At twenty-one, Rudolph Steiner said the true ego is designed to come down into the system and begin what he called the exploration of the higher worlds. Now, of course, that hasn't happened historically because of the entrenched positions of the lower structures of the brain system itself (which means that the entire thing is biological). We resort to philosophical concepts and moral, ethical issues -- but we're really always talking about the biology of our body and brain.

Even Paul MacLean at the National Institute of Mental Health, who is one of the brightest in brain research over the past fifty years and is still doing research in his eighties, spoke of the pre-frontals as the "angel lobes," as the origin of all the higher human virtues. That is exactly what Demasio was pointing out in Descartes' Error, and yet both are only talking about the lowest of the pre-fontal structures, which complete themselves in the first three years of life, and not of the new growth that takes place between fifteen and twenty-one.

For this reason, I am the arch-optimist of all. I think these discoveries, the implications, are terribly exciting. Of course, our whole cosmology will shift dramatically when we realize what I call the "holographic heart." But, you see, at the very time we're moving into a period of total chaos and collapse, this other incredible thing is simply gathering.

I think of Ilya Prigogine's comments that so long as a system is stable, or at an equilibrium, you can't change it, but as it moves toward disequilibrium and falls into chaos then the slightest bit of coherent energy can bring it into a new structure. What you find in Waldorf families, and people who read Wild Duck Review, and others, may seem small, but they will be the islands of coherent energy which then bring about the organized, entrained energy for a new situation. I think it will happen very rapidly.

Aaaaaaaaarrrgghhh this is such an incoherent mess of name-dropping and unsubstantiated gook that I can't even begin to analyze it.

In the next issue, I expect to work with the idea of one's capacity for metaphor as one's capacity for a full life.

Good for you, pal. Don't take this the wrong way, but ... you've got a very upper-class male attitude about what constitutes a "full life".

Jerome Bruner once said the great beauty of human language is its metaphoric capacity . . . that we could represent the world to ourselves metaphorically, mutate our metaphors and change ourselves in the world. Bruner came up with that very beautiful and brilliant insight thirty or forty years ago.

There is a book by a medical doctor living in Seattle, Leonard Shlain, called Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light. In it he says art is always presaging what will happen in the whole scientific, social world. He gives the most incredible defense of this idea over the past 600 years -- how art has always shown exactly what will happen in the scientific and social structures a century later.

And the growth lines in the tree in my backyard, heralded the coming of George Bush. And Nostradamus predicted 9/11. And mathematical analysis of Bible passages predicts winning lottery numbers. All three, and the above, are examples of selective evidence gathering being used to prove the predictive powers of a pool of information.

As an example. Science fiction "predicted" a lot of advances in science that have come to pass, like satellite communication (Orson Scott Card was it?), and nuclear powered submarines (Jules Verne, I believe). On the other hand, Jules Verne also wrote a fine work of science fiction, in which he describes the moon as a great pasture of white flowers, riddled with holes leading to a vast underground city populated by sentient ant-creatures who are on the verge of invading Earth. It was adapted into a radio play starring Leanord Nimoy, which I enjoyed a lot.

The great Margaret Mead once said, "No education that is not founded on art will ever succeed." I think the beauty of the Waldorf system is that they don't teach art -- it's not a subject. Art is the way by which everything is taught and learned. Art is "high play" and only through high play does real learning take place. Yes, this is the way to a real life. The rest of it is conditioning to another's employ, another's motive, another's idea of life.

As the great philosopher Ly-Tin Wheedle once said, "I call elitist codswollop, and your fish is wearing cardboard spats. "

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