Saturday, June 04, 2011

More from Sir Charles Bell, 1833...

More from The hand, its mechanism and vital endowments as evincing design – Sir Charles Bell, 1833
It would appear that in modern times we know comparatively little of the pleasures arising from motion. The Greeks, and even the Romans, studied elegance of attitude and movement. Their apparel admitted of it, and their exercises and games must have led to it. Their dances were not the result of mere exuberance of spirits and activity; they studied harmony in the motion of the body and limbs, and majesty of gait. Their dances consisted more of the unfolding of the arms than of the play of the feet, ---"their arms sublime that floated on the air." Their Pyrrhic dances were elegant movements, joined to the attitudes of combat, and performed in correct coincidence with the expression of the music, The spectators in their theaters must have had very different associations from ours, to account for the national enthusiasm arising from music and their rage excited by a mere error in the time.

This reminds us that the divisions in music in some degree belong to the muscular sense. A man will put own his staff in regulated time, and the sound of his steps will fall into a measure, in his common walk. A boy striking the railing in mere wantonness, will do it with a regular succession of blows. This disposition of the muscular frame to put itself into motion with an accordance to time is the source of much that is pleasing in music, and aids the effect of melody. There is thus established the closest connection between the enjoyments of the sense of hearing and the exercise of the muscular sense.

"The hand is the instrument for perfecting the other senses and developing the endowments of the mind itself." -- Sir Charles Bell.

If we were to fully understand our children, would we have them sit at desks with their movements restrained, or would we set them at motion with their natural rhythms expressed?

In the meantime, we have a Republican presidential candidate willing to admit that man's activities may have "some effect" on global warming. We have such poor science literacy in the US that we have a large proportion of people in leadership positions in government who deny the validity of science. When schools and parents fail to engage children in making, those children have little skill or confidence in the direct observation upon which science is based. When science is taught in the same manner as religion, you can you see why some believe that belief in science is a choice unrelated to fact, and that they get to choose whatever is convenient. Please believe me when I tell you, that we have made a mess of things in more ways than one. Global warming damages our future, and the well being of every species on earth.

As Mitt Romney eases himself timidly into the issue he puts his candidacy at risk. I wish him luck. But the US cannot continue to be aligned with stupidity.

Mindless making is a waste, as is mind without the benefits derived from inquisitive hands. But when making is mindful, and when mind is applied hands-on to solving real problems, wisdom and compassion arise within the home, community and nation.

Make, fix and create.

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