PROCRASTINATION

is not what it seems. What looks from the outside like our delay; our lack of commitment; even our laziness may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and a central struggle with the core realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds. To hate our procrastinating tendencies is in someway to hate our relationship with time itself, to be unequal to the phenomenology of revelation and the way it works its own quiet way in its very own gifted time, only emerging when the very qualities it represents have a firm correspondence in our necessarily struggling heart and imagination.

Procrastination, when studied closely, can be a beautiful thing: a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already, we are surprised to find, caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first, in our minds; on the blank screen, on the empty page or staring at the bedroom ceiling. Procrastination enables us to understand the true measure of our reluctance.

An endeavor achieved without delay, wrong turnings, occasional blank walls and a vein of self-doubt running through all, leading eventually to some degree of heart-break, is a thing of the moment, a mere bagatelle, and often neither use nor ornament. It will be scanned for a moment and put aside. What is worthwhile carries the struggle of the maker written within it, but wrought into the shape of an earned understanding.

Procrastination apprentices us to the very nature of our own reluctance, to understand the hidden darker side of the first enthusiastic idea, to learn what we are afraid of in the endeavor itself; to put an underbelly into the work so that it becomes a living, satisfying whole, not a surface trying to manipulate others in the moment.

Procrastination does not stop a project from coming to fruition, what stops us, is giving up on an original idea, because we have not got to the heart of the reason we are delaying, because we have not let the true form of our reluctance instruct us in the way ahead. To procrastinate is to be involved with larger entities than our own ideas, to refuse to settle for a too early, underachieving outcome and choosing to wrestle with something worthwhile, like Job with his angel, finding as Rilke said, ‘Winning does not tempt that man, This is how he grows, by being defeated decisively, by greater and greater beings.’

PROCRASTINATION: excerpt from The Reader’s Circle essay series. ©2012: David Whyte.
infoneer-pulse
Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.
queerbodhi
Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.
C.G. Jung (via queerbodhi)
queerbodhi
Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.
C.G. Jung (via queerbodhi)
myschoolofthings
People are fulfilled only to the extent that they create their world (which is a human world), and create it with their transforming labour. The fulfilment of humankind as human beings lies, then, in the fulfilment of the world. If for a person to be in the world of work is to be totally dependent, insecure, and permanently threatened - if their work does not belong to them - the person cannot be fulfilled. Work that is not free ceases to be a fulfilling pursuit and becomes an effective means of dehumanisation.
Paulo Freire, ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ (via myschoolofthings)
infoneer-pulse
This is a really important article—the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work. “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.
bellcurved

Our best college students are very good at being critical. In fact being smart, for many, means being critical. Having strong critical skills shows that you will not be easily fooled. It is a sign of sophistication, especially when coupled with an acknowledgment of one’s own “privilege.”… But this ability will not take you very far beyond the university. Taking things apart, or taking people down, can provide the satisfactions of cynicism. But this is thin gruel.

The skill at unmasking error, or simple intellectual one-upmanship, is not totally without value, but we should be wary of creating a class of self-satisfied debunkers

Read this and pass it along to every college student and every parent of a college student you know, then revisit Daniel Dennett on how to criticize with kindness and argue intelligently

As I’ve written before, ours is a culture where it’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. But, in the end, Vonnegut put it best

(via explore-blog)

yahoogroups

yahoogroups:

Following the recent changes in Yahoo DMARC policy to protect users from email spam, we’ve made changes to how Yahoo Groups sends mails to members’ inboxes.

When a member of a Yahoo Group replies to a post, mails are sent by Yahoo Groups on behalf of the user. The message is sent with the…

When a member replies to a post, the email no longer shows who made the reply. This is not good. Please bring back the reply sender’s name, at least as an optional feature for groups that require it.

infoneer-pulse

In describing his experience teaching at West Point, Dr. Stapell started by describing the first rule that West Point teachers are given—you’re not allowed to lecture—at all! …What? Isn’t that what college teaching IS? And wouldn’t you expect a place with such a military history and an authoritarian approach to underscore this traditional teaching method—of having one expert individual lecture and provide information to a bunch of young, dutiful students? They don’t lecture at West Point? At all?

So this seemed surprising to the folks in the audience. And, of course, the next question is begged—what DO they do at this esteemed, larger-than-life institution? How do they educate—how do they create such great leaders?

Apparently, according to Dr. Stapell, this educational method is 100 percent activity-based. The classrooms have boards on all four sides of the room—and all cadets are charged with engaging in activities related to the material throughout the class. Get in a group, discuss the material, write notes on the board—come up with a set of implications for modern life—tell the class about it. You’ve all read about this famous historical figure—discuss as a group his positive and negative attributes—and controversies regarding his life—and give a presentation to the rest of us—teach US about what his life and work implies about how the world operates now. Etc.

In this context, students are constantly engaged and empowered—they own their education. They own how much they learn and how much others learn. How much education will happen within the confines of a given class? This is up to each and every individual cadet—with the professor who is tasked not with teaching them, per se, but, rather, with getting them to teach one another.

We can never dispense with language and the other symbol systems; for it is by means of them, and only by their means, that we have raised ourselves above the brutes, to the level of human beings. But we can easily become the victims as well as the beneficiaries of these systems. We must learn how to handle words effectively; but at the same time we must preserve and, if necessary, intensify our ability to look at the world directly and not through that half opaque medium of concepts, which distorts every given fact into the all too familiar likeness of some generic label or explanatory abstraction.

Literary or scientific, liberal or specialist, all our education is predominantly verbal and therefore fails to accomplish what it is supposed to do. Instead of transforming children into fully developed adults, it turns out students of the natural sciences who are completely unaware of Nature as the primary fact of experience, it inflicts upon the world students of the humanities who know nothing of humanity, their own or anyone else’s.
Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, 1954