Monday, November 14, 2011

a warehouse of metaphors...

We think of metaphors as being literary devices. My love is a rose. No, not exactly. But the use of the expression may say something about what one feels. And then again she may have a scent, have blushing beauty, and THORNS. We know that tools and processes can serve as metaphors to explain things in real life as well. So what is the fine line between metaphor as a literary device, and the use of metaphor as a source of hypothesis and creative physical exploration? If a hammer can do this, can a hammer be used for that, too?

Yesterday in the blog I mentioned Sir William Petty, one of the founders of the London Royal Society and one of the first to describe an educational system reliant on the hands to develop intellect. The following is from Charles A. Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Arts, volume I.
In addition to his literary work-house for children, Petty proposed a college or society or gild of tradesmen. It was to consist of several expert workmen representing different trades grouped together for the double purpose of the production of fine examples of craftsmanship and the advancement of "mechanical arts and manufactures." In this institution he would have written a book laying open the "mysteries of trades." It would also describe in detail the manual process of each trade.
And so you can see in the writings of Petty, the groundwork laid for Moxon's Book of Trades which was begun 30 years later. It provided a literal warehouse of metaphoric potential for those members of the London Royal Society who wished to expand their own intellectual and physical research capacities.

To fully understand one physical process provides (through the use of the human capacity for metaphor) the ability to extend and expand human capacities. As scientists and philosophers, Sir William Petty and his collaborators in the London Royal Society, knew that the skilled intellectual pursuits of hand and mind were best not left alone to the poor and undereducated. It is a pity we have lost that understanding.

Friday was a very special day at the Clear Spring School. We had a visiting Tibetan Lama on campus, complete with monks and DIY sand mandala making. If anyone had any particular doubts about CSS being one of the most profound educational experiences they would have been dispelled by a visit on Friday.

Today the students at Clear Spring School will begin our annual toy making project to make toys for holiday distribution through our local food bank.

Make, fix and create...

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