More Important Stuff School Doesn’t Teach

5 05 2008

So the same “preemptive” do-it-yourself rules apply to learning philanthropy, then, that apply to everything else? School is not just unnecessary but obstructionist to education, if the main goal really is to chart your own best course, to learn how to be happy and productive with in your own life, in your own life:

Colleges, hospitals and myriad other charities are applying ways to measure their own effectiveness, including staff-time-to-donation ratios. Development offices now have quarterly gift goals. They are working on the Big Ask.

While plenty of schools teach fund-raising, there are no advanced degrees in how to be a philanthropist, turn down a request or shrink the amount of a gift that is being sought.

There is a way to avoid awkward situations like that lunch with your old college chum and the fund-raising pro. It’s called pre-emptive philanthropy. By practicing it you will probably feel happier about the gifts you do make, and you will give in ways that have more impact. . .





Unboxing Our Lizard Brains: Can You At Least Think About It?

5 05 2008

“Not choice, but habit rules the unreflecting herd,”
William Wordsworth said in the 19th century.
. . .The current emphasis on standardized testing highlights analysis and procedure, meaning that few of us inherently use our innovative and collaborative modes of thought.

“This breaks the major rule in the American belief system — that anyone can do anything”. . . “That’s a lie that we have perpetuated, and it fosters mediocrity. Knowing what you’re good at and doing even more of it creates excellence.”

. . .But . . .“You cannot have innovation. . .unless you are willing and able to move through the unknown and go from curiosity to wonder.”

So there’s plenty of contempt to go around and deservedly so, especially imo for continuing to quarrel amongst themselves and plot against each other in domestic wargames, instead of working to turn things around for *us* in the real world.

Can we creatively and collegially cultivate our personal curiosity to the benefit of ourselves and human society, despite discomfort to our lizard brains? Can we embrace that stretch and move through its wider range until we reach “the freeing discipline of wonder”?

Here’s some bad news in good cognitive science: this won’t be easy even if we’re NOT hampered by conservative dominionist control freaks styled as preachers, pundits and prophets. Being liberal is no help, Thinking Parents have learned the hard way, because so-called liberals run most forms of public thought control, from schools to the media, and it seems with similar social-dominionist arrogance.

So somehow, in this intellectually rigged and regulated environment, we nevertheless need to get ourselves and our kids in the habit of asking open-ended and complex questions rather than memorizing and following the Orders of the Day. Start defining real education as productive, creative thought and ourselves as comfortably confident to think and learn independently. Somehow, enough of us must learn (by teaching ourselves against all odds, apparently) that humanity isn’t merely socialized, standardized insect life born to exist in preordained church hierarchies and/or one big biologically imperative collective called “School.”

So what we seem without better data to have here, is simply more white men demanding the power to Decide for everybody.

What difference does it make to me loving my own family at home in guaranteed freedom from all of them, just desiring to be left out of their Grand Plan for Global Domination, whether megalomaniacal men are liberal or conservative or communist or fascist, atheist or Southern Baptist or Jewish or Mormon or Muslim — if what they’re peddling drags us all down to the same place, servility to their agenda rather than freedom to set our own course and laugh in their frowning faces?

No one knows how many lizard brains can evolve and become conscious of curiosity and wonder, leaving the primordial ooze of dominionist thinking behind. The earthly and yet celestial ending remains to be discovered, if not created, and there are plenty of public school-pandering “Squelchers” we desperately need to “move through”— home education critics Rob Reich, Michael Apple and that Ladenblather guy for example — pulling us all back down into the slime, their narrow comfort zone bounded on all sides by credentialed, government-controlled mediocrity misnamed as merit and politically correct diversity:

. . .But there was some real public education (as in education of the public) in her next hour . . .(drum roll, please) . . . Howard Gardner!

(Can’t we just let him run the country, or at least public education?)

Renowned Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner explains the five ‘minds’ everyone will need to succeed in the years ahead.