Archive for the Education / Schools Category

Power Corrupts People

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Education / Schools, Ethics & Morals, History, Recommendations & Tributes, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by Drogo

Baron J.E.E. Dalberg-Acton (aka Lord Acton 1834-1902) was a noble English Catholic historian, politician, and writer. Lord Acton knew several major foreign languages. Acton’s linguistic and religious passion may have influenced Tolkien many years later. A fellow Catholic, Tolkien used the literary legacy that power tends to corrupt even the best men, as his main theme. In Lord of the Rings, the most powerful Ring cannot be used as a tool for good by even the best heroes, because they too would eventually be corrupted, no matter their intentions. The revelation seems to be that power is part of Original Sin as described in the the Bible, in the book of Genesis, in the Garden of Eden. The Old Testament myth that humans fell from the grace of godly paradise because we submitted to the evil temptation of power (the apple advocated by the serpent), seems to have found new expression in the words of these men. Acton collected a large historical library for the “History of Liberty”. Acton was politically Liberal, and travelled greatly. Acton loved reading original historic letters. Acton lived at his country house in Aldenham, Shropshire; and served in the House of Commons. Acton admired the U.S. Government for the Constitution, but oddly sided with the southern Confederacy for defending individual citizen liberties against the tyranny of Union Federal empire (while ignoring slavery). Acton was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order, as a Knight Commander (KCVO).

“History is the arbiter of controversy, the monarch of all she surveys.” “There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success.” [about Oliver Cromwell] “The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge.” “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought.”

In 1887 Lord Acton wrote his most famous quote:

“…I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you super-add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means. You would hang a man of no position like Ravaillac; but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the jailer to murder Mary, and William III of England ordered his Scots minister to extirpate (destroy) a clan. Here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes; you would spare those criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them higher than Haman (biblical Persian minister in the Book of Esther), for reasons of quite obvious justice, still more, still higher for the sake of historical science.”

He is best known for that remark he wrote in a letter to an Anglican bishop; but according to an editor of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica: “Lord Acton has left too little completed original work to rank among the great historians; his very learning seems to have stood in his way; he knew too much and his literary conscience was too acute for him to write easily, and his copiousness of information overloads his literary style. But he was one of the most deeply learned men of his time, and he will certainly be remembered for his influence on others.”

**

Mohandas ‘Bapu’ Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian Hindu non-violent civil disobedience activist. Gandhi was leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Gandhi’s self-sacrifice inspired freedom movements for civil rights across the World. Raised in a merchant caste family in India, he later trained in law in London. Gandhi first used non-violent civil disobedience in South Africa, for colonial civil rights. Returning to India in 1915, he organized farmers and workers to protest against high land tax and bigotry. Leading the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led national campaigns for social causes and self-rule (Swaraj).

Gandhi helped India challenge the British salt tax by marching in 1930. In 1942 Gandhi called for the British to leave India. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in South Africa and India. Gandhi lived modestly in a community and wore a traditional hand-spun Indian dhoti and shawl. Gandhi was vegetarian and took long fasts for spiritual and political reasons. Muslim Nationalism (Pakistan) and Gandhi’s Hindu pluralism in India helped to force Britain out of India in 1947.

Displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs migrated; and religious violence broke out in Punjab and Bengal. Gandhi visited the riots to help and fasted to stop religious violence. Hindu nationalist conservatives criticized and assassinated Gandhi. Gandhi’s birthday is commemorated in India as a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence. As with all martyr heroes that lives real lives, Gandhi had many human flaws of the sort that might be emphasized more when historical writers express loss of popular favor their cults.

**

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s work was certainly influenced by the events of the World Wars, despite his public refusal of metaphor speculation. ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ explores abuse of corrupt power, by considering that the temptation of use of power can eventually corrupt anyone. The One Ring of Power created by Sauron promises great power, but eventually corrupts all who use it. Even good people are corrupted by lust for the Ring because of its power to rival Sauron, and by using its vast powers even the lightest souls darken. The ones best able to carry the Ring are innocent souls with meager ambition, and the best they can do with the Ring is to destroy it.

Tolkien said these words about power: “The proper study of man is anything but man, and the most improper job of any man . . is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” [Letters #52] Tolkien believed that leaders should be judged by their example, more than common people are judged [James 3:1]. Power and authority allow for the most terrible things. The misuse of power often ruins leaders and followers who allow the abuse to happen. Vigilant active citizens will demand wise balance.

***

Power within us and others is clearly our responsibility; not only to control our own will power to keep it within reason, but also to influence the power that we allow others to hold over us and others. If citizens cannot control their own leader’s passion for power from within a government using democracy, then it will be left up to other governments in other countries (see World Wars). The conclusion to the problem of power is perhaps best summarized by Spiderman in Marvel Comics – “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Advertisements

Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering

Posted in Education / Schools, Events / Celebrations, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, jobs, news, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2018 by Drogo

Day, Month, Year, Time – Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering – You are invited to the Victorian Townhouse of the Honorable S.P. (near Market Street) __ Third Street, downtown Frederick, MD; to read anything of your choice for apx.10 minutes, and our informal group will discuss for about the same time as the reading. Tea will be served.

Democratic voting on name of group, which selections to read, whether to record, and date of next meeting.

[for actual current details contact SCOD members]

Self-Publishing Paradox

Posted in Book Reports, Commercial Corporations, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Languages, Pub Library, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2018 by Drogo

How DC area book stores handle major publishers vs. local authors in 2018.

Book stores are still stuck in the old mentality with major publishers, rather than allow the flooded local markets to flourish with support. Retail profits largely hinge on perceived ‘popularity’ of brands, which is largely self-perpetuating based on reduced whole sale rates, and exaggerated sales advertising to push the merchandise on customers. Book mongers still have a very snobbish attitude towards local authors, even more so now that printed books are in competition with ebooks. Book mongers, like other capitalists will often declare that “there is a DEMAND’ for what they are selling, just as housing developers do when they create a artificial demand by making the supply and cornering the market with advertising and debt based commercial production.

Here is how one book store describes their consignment process on their website:

“Our consignment program helps us accommodate the overwhelming number of requests from local authors who wish to sell their books and host events at Curious Iguana. If, after reading all the information here, you have any questions, email. Please do not stop by or call the store with questions about our consignment program. Click here to download our Consignment Policies and Consignment Form for Author. Note that we do not read review copies, and we do not accept any books without a completed consignment form and FEE. About events – We receive numerous event requests from local authors every week. Only authors whose books have strong consignment sales and broad reader appeal will be considered for an event on a case-by-case basis. Authors should not expect that consigning books will result in an event.”

Consignment usually forces the local author to be in debt to the local store, rather than provide them with any net income. Local authors tend to purchase more books at stores from commercial authors in one visit, than their books may sell all year; so even local authors are more likely to spend more on international authors than their own book sales will make in years. After a few years of their books not being advertised, but often hidden, the author must then contact the store and ask what has sold, and then pick up their check if any have sold. Now that there are more local authors, they are even asked to pick up their remaining books to make room for others. In essence local authors are treated like cattle, and told they are not worthy to make money, and they should be lucky to have a consignment deal before getting kicked out. Quality differences in the contents of books, whether self published or not, have very little to do with these market issues; as mistakes can be found with many mass produced products. Even National Geographic published the wrong image of a sparrow in a major commercial release; not just typos but the very information that is the focus of the ‘best selling’ book can be factually wrong.

Perhaps some day there will be a book store just for local and self-published authors, and their books will be PURCHASED just like the major brand names are now, rather than relegated to forgotten shelves and treated as though they are not worth the paper they are printed on. Perhaps some day we will invest more in our local economies, rather than giving all profits to a few rich fat cats that could barely care less.

So in this area there are basically 2 stores that accept local authors, but due to demands by local authors that they have a place to sell their books, it is increasingly rare that the small portion of the store dedicated to local authors will have room for everyone in the flooded self-published book market. It seems that self-published is a niche market that is not being allowed space due to corporate monopolist priorities. The competitive cut-throat capitalist monopoly model of economics, stands in contrast to the sharing and networking pluralist (multiplicity) more free-market model. Some business workers pride themselves for being very morally patient with customers, clients, bosses, employees, co-workers, and partners; in that they value them as fellow humans and are very generous to the point of pleasantly accepting financial loss as sacrifice for more happiness. That moral model is considered a bad business model for serious capitalists however, because survival success of business is based on financial capital, not ethical capital. There is a strong historic argument to be made that more financial wealth can be made quicker and greater by meaner people that take huge risks, rather than generous people who tend to give away and share more (studies show these people are often considered ‘poor’).

Self-published authors can be economically vital, if local stores open to showcase them as the main product. Some regional examples may soon show that people will travel from around the world to visit unique collections that support populations directly with financing. Rather than stores asking you pay to maybe keep your book there temporarily, and refusing to talk to authors in person or on the phone about the issue of slavish consignment; an alternative option will be to support stores that support self-published authors, which would make independent authors the best meaning (and most fitting use) of the word ‘common’. Possibly current store owners don’t want to be harming the local economy by practicing their old business models, but supply and demand and advertising have very real aspects that corporations do not want commoners to discuss.

The self-publishing paradox is that although the book market is flooded by grassroots citizens writing and publishing books, the means to support them are not part of conventional business models. Even alternative efforts are suppressed due to social, economic, and linguistic self-destructive elitism. Most people that write books do it because they love it or are best at it, not because of the economic incentives because it is generally well known that artists, musicians, and writers are not given living wages. The attitude that the voice of the people is not worth hearing, has never been considered wise or good.

Delft TU Library, Holland

Posted in Education / Schools, Futurist, Sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by Drogo

Central Library of Delft University of Technology (TU) in Holland by Mecanoo Architects

This angular and environmentally dynamic library was opened in 1998. It was designed by Mecanoo Architects, which was a 61 person firm located in Holland near Delft TU. The library design was based on four themes: The adjacent pre-existing Auditorium (by Van den Broek & Bakema), the site absence of campus atmosphere in the university quarter, the need for advanced technology, and of course plenty of room for shelves of books.

delft mecanoo 5

It is a “Triangle of Glass and Grass”, with a large tee-pee like ‘Cone’ in the middle. The glass around a few sides allows a large amount of day-light inside. The grass sod roof brilliantly allows people to use the entire area of building as they would a yard, in addition to the library. The center cone allows natural light also, and a communal study space.

delft_mecanoo_entrance

The grassy roof lawn of the Delft TU Library forms a harmonious whole with the campus walkways that emerge from underneath the adjoining assembly hall. The Library roof can be walked upon, but also offers a place of dreaming, reading, and picnicking under open luminous sky. Teachers, students, and visitors call all meet informally in this public space.

delft mecanoo 3

The concrete / stucco Cone structure is open topped and 150 ft. high. The Cone and the cavernous entry are the only main features that are seen from campus, so it appears as though most of the building is not there. On the other sides, the wildly-canted glass wall rises from the parking lot to a max height of about 14 meters (40 ft.). At night the glass wall glows exposing activity within the 4 levels of library stacks, study areas, offices, and storage. The grassy roof shoots across the site creating a gently sloping area in contrast to the nearby ‘Brutalist’ style Auditorium.

delft center circle

Changing illumination (luminous flux) upon the Cone accentuates the sculptural shape as an abstract Platonic solid form, partially deconstructed. The channeling aspect of the Cone shape is intentional, as it is conducive to gathering with focus. The glass walls are towards the North, so they get non-direct ambient light. Horizontal bands around the glass facade facilitate ventilation between the window panes, and give distorted impressionist reflections from the outside on sunny days.

 

The perforated roof overhand is supported by stilted tubular steel struts, and rises from a foundation perimeter plinth-bed of fine stones. Under most of the structure is a spacious hall. A ring of glass circumscribes the Cone at roof level, allowing natural light (solar lumens) to wash in along the curved white stucco funnel side.

Delft University of Technology Library (DUTL) stocks one of the largest technical book collections in the World. Most of the books are stored in stock-rooms in the basement, but those that are accessible to the public are arranged in a single enormous book-case and are within hand reach. The combination of books, computers (with internet and catalogs), and people allows for knowledge, interaction, and better citizens. 300 out of 1000 study spots are equipped with computers (this may have increased).

This ‘Library as landscape’ evokes the feeling of how our ancestors believed technology to be magical, and magic arts were held by their spirits under hills to keep it safe. Not only priests and royal family members are allowed to visit this sacred place of tomes, it is open to all that seek it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • (images for education only, not owned by blog)

Presentación1delft_Mecanoo_SEC 1

 

 

SCOD-cast Audio Shows

Posted in Education / Schools, POB Audio, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2016 by Drogo

SCOD Pod-cast Audio Radio Shows:

Philosophy Lecture Series:

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element
500 BC – Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides. Change vs Non-Change with Math as religion.
400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers
300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics
200 BC – Epicureans, Aristarchus & Library of Alexandria – Happiness, Science, and Scrolls
100 BC – Caesar, Cicero, Anthony & Cleopatra – Politics & War vs. Love & Peace
0 BC-AD – Jesus, Augustus, Boudica – Roman Empire vs The World
100 AD – Marcus Aurelius & Stoics

*

SCOD-cast Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides Lecture – 500 BC

SCOD-cast on Thales the Ionian 600 BC 

SCOD Radio Show on Philosophy

SCOD-cast Audio Show 1

*

The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

Posted in Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2016 by Drogo

Book report on The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori (1966 version)

Learning how to enjoy learning by asking questions, and liking what you do; not just doing what you want or are told to do.

Content Summary

Childhood: A Social Problem

Era of the Child; Psycho-analysis secret

Newborn Child – Alien Environment, Natural Instincts, Spirit Incarnation

Psychic Development – sensitive periods, observations

Order – Inner / Outer

Intelligence, Growth, Sleep, Walking, Rhythm, Movement, Comprehension, Love

Montessori Method Origins

Normalization

Deviation – pampering, fugues, barriers, cures, attachment, possessive, power, fear, truth

Conflict – adult vs child

Instinct to Work

Guiding, Teaching, Rights, Mission

Conventional ‘direct teaching’ impedes child learning, based on the erroneous assumption that teaching molds young minds. The will-power of the child to create their own skills (walking, talking, eating, etc), is how children learn. Children have the power to change their own behavior, and are more successful when it is self motivated. The key is to determine where teaching and self-motivation meet in each case.

Children will notice with frustration, that they are considered unreliable and weak compared to less fragile adults. This dissociative relationship between the helpless child and their environment causes children to think of themselves as hopelessly inferior, and combined with social competition makes them desperate for attention and constant continuing dissatisfaction as they grow. In many ways this conditions people to be fighters and survivalists, which are certainly strong roles; and is naturally similar to resistant forces that cause a tree to grow denser and shorter if there are high winds, or thin and tall with little wind. However there is a problem with children viewing themselves as less valuable than the objects they are forbidden to touch, as without self worth, they have nothing to lose by hurting themselves or others.

If a child is to develop their own interior life, they must be allowed to touch things, and work rationally; as this can help them early on to develop considerate habits of acting. They must develop ethics by their own free-will, although we can guide them. Establishing sustainable successions of working actions, based on rational play, is successful education.

Git, Get, Bigot Duality Theory

Posted in Languages, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by Drogo

To ‘beget’ seems to have some relationship to the words git, get, and bigot.

– Drogo Empedocles

Git or ‘yit’ was old english for ‘you two’. The phrase ‘you two’ can be interpreted as ‘both of you’, almost like a doppelganger; there are two ‘you’s’, as in fact you are saying ‘you and the second you’. Old country folk kept using the term ‘gyit’, in ways that may have been insulting for any number of reasons (classist, racist, bigoted, etc); so it became known as an insult after generations of use.

Get or ‘acquire and have’. Got is the past tense of get aka ‘had’, so bigot may have meant ‘two have had’ (Bi-Got / Be-Got), almost inferring an inherent hypocrisy in reproduction (yin-yang, duality of male-female). To possess something or someone is similar to get something or someone. ‘Possess’ also has two meanings; to hold control, and to be inside another. Got of course is also related to ‘god’, as in Swiss ‘by-god’. This gets into the ‘i am god’ / ‘son of god’ historical-linguistic issue, which is long enough for another essay.

A git or a bigot is a person that makes another self, perhaps in the future, that is destined to disagree with them, or attempt to replace them at some point, for any reason. This meaning of words has complex psychological concepts involved in the cultural historic definition, therefore dictionaries have probably not been adequate to record or teach how we think of these words. There is a natural parallel with this duality concept of ‘two selves’ and Janus, or the god with 2 faces. Threshold guardians are mysterious keepers of secrets of life, of light and dark, of two perspectives. The fear is always that they will be Jeckyl and Hyde, the evil making the good suffer.

To me these meanings were intuitive, and I remember feeling their greater implications as a child; when watching He-man and seeing his doppelganger Fakor, or in the Never Ending Story with the mirror of Atreu, or how confusing and mysterious creating, possessing, and being a creation of another was. Getting a thing, or begetting a child, makes another you, that is not yourself.