Thursday, December 01, 2011

out on a limb...

I have been reading a book about how academicians think we think. It is a heavy read for one unfamiliar with the concepts. I tend to have a more practical approach. I tend to prefer tools to concepts. Tools are used to manipulate objects; concepts to manipulate understanding and/or verisimilitude. One is the domain of the craftsman and maker and the other the domain of the professional academician even though Einstein had said, "My pencil and I are more clever than I am."

We know that a huge amount of intelligence is invested in the man-made and natural objects that surround us, and intellect is not something that resides within the brain alone. But I have started to learn that when complex concepts concerning human intelligence are addressed one must walk with care or be subjected to attack by those who make a living from their speculations. I ran across the following quote in The Way We Think, by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner:
"Linguistics is arguably the most hotly contested property in the academic realm. It is soaked with the blood of poets, theologians, philosophers, philologists, psychologists, biologists, and neurologists, along with whatever blood can be got out of grammarians."-- Russ Rymer.
Not quite the same blood as when one gets a slice from a sharp chisel but I do not like the sight of any blood, particularly my own.

I know that the blog has acquired many readers from around the world, and I was informed of a link to Wisdom of the Hands from Radio Netherlands Worldwide. They, like so many here in the US, have become concerned that their education is failing their kids and their whole nation by neglecting the education of the their hands. They wrote,
"The link between educating children and hands-on work is explored in depth by US woodworking teacher Doug Stowe in his blog, Wisdom of the Hands. One of his tenets is that "creativity is accomplished through the engagement of the left and right hemispheres of the human brain". Current education is increasingly focusing on the left, language-oriented, half of the brain, while ignoring the right-hemisphere-based, creative problem solving skills, Stowe says.
It is interesting that many of the early advocates of manual arts training emphasized the need to educate the "whole child." And while they did not discuss the left and right sides of the brain, they knew that something vital was missing when the hands were not engaged.

These days academic hot water awaits all those who attempt to explain things in terms of the left and right sides of the brain. There are academicians laying in wait for the unwary to mention such things. But I will trudge along and just as left or right might offer useful directions when you get to the intersection at the top of the hill, they offer concepts useful in finding our way toward better education.

In the wood shop today, I have been sanding boxes and oiling boxes as you can see in the photo above, bringing some to completion some freshly made and some that have languished on the shelves unattended for years. My object is to be able to sell some this Saturday at Lux Weaving Studio in Eureka Springs where I will join two other favorite artists in selling our work. 5-8 PM Saturday at 21 White Street. Bring your checkbook.

After using the word "languish" I wonder if you've noticed the similarity between it and the the word language? While evidently unrelated, coincidence may be telling us something...

Go ahead,  join me on a limb and explore your own true intelligence... I'll lend a saw.

Make, fix and create...

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