The Ritual of Learning

Ritual is important. It is a way of transferring knowledge and beliefs.To ritualize is to learn. That is a rather Masonic view of learning. In a way I agree, yet I also disagree. Much to my amazement I am fully immersed in learning. I am trying to teach so much more than I know. Yet I am successful. I am surrounded on all sides by incredibly smart people. Awestruck I tell stories. Most of the time I do not finish my stories, I become distracted as my mind jumps around. This is certainly not ritual. I encourage and challenge, then look to my past for real life stories.

So I wonder how I teach, what is my ritual. What is my methodology. I believe in empowerment. I absolutely do not believe that I know more than the students and I need to make them believe what I believe. I summarized that some time ago with my saying “I am not programed to program”. When I say that I am not talking about software. I stay away from things I perceive as propaganda.

I tell my students that when I was your age they told me not to trust anyone over 30. I say you are the future, I will try and help you learn from my history. I explain what the times were like for me back in the 1970’s. Then we talk about the future. I explain that there is a variety of of opinions depending upon people’s backgrounds.

The best part of teaching is learning. As in I am learning. I listen, and try to relate to what I hear. Manufacturing makes our lives better. We would not be what we are without items that have been manufactured. We have to find our place in a manufactured society.

A Gaslighted Village

My wife and I watch a TV show called Midsomer Murders. The setting is always a beautiful rural English village. During a two hour show typically three people will die. Chief Inspector Barnaby then figures out the culprits. So it is a bit of a game to figure out who dies, and who lies. The clues and misleads are subtle, yet there is a certain amount of predictability. The scenery and architecture is always gorgeous.

During an episode the wife of the chief inspector was shopping for a house. She wanted to live in a beautiful little town. The reaction of the chief inspector was, why? People are so mean and die of unnatural causes. Of course it was a reference to the show. Small town are not that bad are they?

Of course a show like that may cause misperceptions. It is true some city people find small towns to be completely evil. As I have said before I wonder if it is a matter of projection. Yet not every small town is nice. Naturally, small towns are governed by a small click of people. It is not easy to run a town. So there is invariably a certain amount of self interest involved. The hope is there is also some altruism also. The mix in every town will be different. The TV show town is most certainly an unrealistic worst case scenario. It is good that the show can poke fun at itself.

None of us are perfect, yet some are more imperfect than others. I never considered my little town to be perfect, yet I was willing to let it be. Till now. How can the preported party of environmentalism be so callous towards the environment. How can the party of sensitivity be so blantly insensitive? In a bit of surreal reality the lies of my little town were echoed on the national stage. A promise of high-speed internet was made on the national stage. I figured that maybe my local Selectmen would soon be a representative, or maybe a senator if he played his cards right. He was in with the boys and girls at the top. Or so I thought.

No internet was forthcoming. The promises were empty. I mentioned the unfulfilled promise, they were not happy. Inexplicably the town decided to kill the beavers. Then blow up the dam. Honestly they may have blown the dam then killed the beavers. Yet the truth is they did both. Effectively. What was a twenty five acre pond to the west of the Mill Rd sudenly became a stream. The town denied they had done anything of the sort.

My wife and I stod on what was left of the beaver dam. She took a picture, then posted it to Facebook. People began to comment. Some were agast. Some called us names. I shared pictures of before and after. Other people shared pictures of what was lost. The town called me a lier. I invited them to come and see what I saw. They called me more names. Literally there were hundred and hundreds of posts about the lost beaver pond.

I went to the town conservation commission and mentioned the loss of a massive amount of wetlands. They did not care. I wrote the EPA and the governors office, and heard back from neither. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the law. I found it was legal for the town to do what they did. So why did they lie?

When I found that it was legal for the town to do what it did I decided to post the law on Facebook, and essentially admit defeat. The post my wife started was gone. Other posts about the beaver pond were also gone. I have no clue how they did it, but they did.

The people that run my town are as genetically capable of telling the truth as a pandemonium of gaslighting parrots. My view is that is no different than the national stage. They are of the same feather.