Monday 2.13.12

Lin-Sanity – A long-shot player (who was actually pretty good in college!) gets an opportunity, makes the most of it and becomes an overnight social media phenomenon being credited with leading his team to wins. No, not another Tim Tebow story. This is Jeremy Lin who is playing for the New York Knicks. The Harvard graduate is the first Chinese American NBA player. Another great part of the story is the character and faith that he possesses. Here is an interview he did while still in college.

Turkey’s Test – This post raises some serious questions about Turkey and its role in relation to the violence that is being carried out in Syria. While certainly it would be foolish for anyone to try to paint this as a simple scenario it is one where action needs to be taken. The most compelling statement from this post was this:

Power stems not just from size, strategic location, a strong economy, able diplomacy, and military capacity. It also requires the will to act – the understanding that true leadership means the courage to take and implement even decisions that are deeply unpopular in some quarters.

Changing Education Paradigms – This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.
For more information on Sir Ken’s work visit: http://www.sirkenrobinson.com

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Debating Duck-Duck-Goose↑

So I imagine you are familiar with the game duck-duck-goose? Probably played it as a child. All but one starts out sitting down in a position. Then the one on the outside goes around chooses one person to be the “goose” they then have to jump up and try to run and tag the person before they get back and can sit in the “gooses” now vacant seat. Lots of fun. Well, I’ve recently noticed this phenomena in a few other realms.

About a week ago I was listening to a debate by two constitutional lawyers who were discussing the concept of what is so special about religious freedom. Why do some call it the “first freedom.” Throughout the debate I found myself typically agreeing with one of the speakers more than the other. Then towards the end the other speaker articulated a point that I expected the first to be fully in agreement with. But because of the nature of debate he couldn’t agree. So he had to get up and run around to the now vacant viewpoint of the other speaker. Listening I found it almost humorous.

I also have noticed it in another series of debates. For those in the USA I imagine it has been hard to not have been exposed to some form of “Tebow-Mania.” I’m from Denver and a big Broncos fan so I’ve enjoyed following this story. It becomes humorous though to listen to the “experts” debate what is going on and what the explanation for it all is. They end up picking sides and then as they debate invariably end up switching viewpoints. If the other speaker starts articulating something too close to their own views they run around and take up the now vacated view the other speaker used to hold.

So what? It’s just an observation that in many venues agreement is boring. We don’t really want consensus. Our own viewpoint is so often driven not by consistency with our own principles but just in distance from the person we are debating. We define ourselves not by what we are but by what we are not. We can’t stomach a perceived convergence between our views and someone with whom we “ought” to disagree. In the end we are playing a form of logical or principle duck-duck-goose.

Did you know?→

A few days ago I shared a video of population growth. This one has some similarities but goes much broader in cataloging changes that are happening.

Did you know?

Particularly striking to me is the application to education. How do you teach students for a world that doesn’t exist yet and is changing faster than ever? How do you prepare them for jobs that don’t exist yet? What would you focus on? What would you hope every student was taught?

The Unexamined Life↑

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I have a few book reviews coming shortly. But wanted to just share a quick thought I had today while listening to a podcast.

The speaker was talking about the problem of pleasure. We often consider the problem of pain. When life goes wrong people tend to question the justness or the fairness. If they have a belief in God perhaps they wonder about his character. If they are considering God perhaps at this point they blame him or reject him because pain is hard. We can all resonate to this challenge in some way, I think.

What about the problem of pleasure?

The speaker borrowed an illustration from a book that I’ve heard often referenced that unfortunately I haven’t read yet (and refers to two others that I also want to read!). In the introduction to Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman contrasts the conceptions that two authors had of the future. On the one hand is George Orwell’s 1984and on the author is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In the one life is so restricted that people are unable to think. In the other people are so saturated with distractions they are unable to think. The illustration is further developed and showed how easily the enjoyable can detract from the meaningful.

This is a problem I face myself – often. It is easy to get caught up in the endless pursuit of…pursuing something anything. Really just chasing distraction – grasping after wind. In this sense it is an unexamined life.

Is that a goal worth chasing?

Justice→

So I have unfortunately gotten out of the rhythm of posting. What that means is that there is a backlog of ideas and thoughts that I want to document and share. I’ve been thinking about and interacting with a bunch of different ideas that I hope to eventually be able to coalesce into something meaningful (largely a thesis in the Spring and hopefully even more meaningful things beyond that).

In the meantime though I want to post a few of the cool resources that are available. I’ve posted quite a few TED talks in the past. Those are always enjoyable. I’ve also been into iTunes U. Just the past few days I have been listening to lectures from Georgetown, Wheaton, Harvard,  it’s great.

This course I actually listened to in its entirety last year. I’m by no means a philosopher but this was extremely interesting. Michael Sandel is a great communicator and thinker. There is a reason why his course Justice is one of Harvard’s most popular courses of all time.

It is extremely enjoyable and be careful you just might get caught thinking along the way!

“What is the Right thing to do?”

The entire semester is available here: http://www.justiceharvard.org/