Saturday, October 10, 2009


Anaxagoras was the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who proposed the concept nous or mind as the controlling force of the universe, and yet he also believed that the hands were the source of all human wisdom. And thus arose within the split view of Anaxagoras the conflict that is with us still today.

In schools we have this idea that the mind is something separate from the rest of the body, and that having children sit at desks while we stimulate their minds is the most cost effective means of providing for their growth. At this time, we have a significant body of scientific evidence gathered through centuries of examination of real human beings to tell us otherwise. And yet, we do very little to make necessary changes to improve education. Make, fix, cook, plant, nurse, care, sew, create, tend, repair, become powerful, self-reliant, gather with others to teach and learn, and be smart.

Engagement of children in the arts avoids the oversimplification of right and wrong answers, thereby coaching children toward intelligent understanding of nuance and subtleties of relationship and form. I continue to digest Elliot Eisner's book, the Arts and the Creation of Mind. Abandonment of the arts in schools is the dumbing of our children and our culture.

Today, in the wood shop, I will continue to finish boxes, start some new ones from scratch for the next order, and work on drawer facings.

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