Monthly Archives: February 2013

Philosophers’ World Cup

In which we delight to near hysterics at a Monty Python sketch….

 

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Astronauts and Allegories

In which Carrie’s young filosopher friend considers the ambitions of children and difficulties they face because of the American debt crisis ….

Guest Post: Roisin

Ask a kindergartener  what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll hear cliche answers such as doctor, veterinarian, astronaut. Grade schoolers and middle schoolers answers are more diverse. Still a common element is significantly found in all young children’s answers when asked what they imagine themselves to be in the future; all of them have their hopes set high. No one tells the child with her eyes fixed upon the moon how unlikely it is to make it into the space program. No one tells the child, plastic stethoscope in hand, that his family would never be able to afford medical school. How dare we squash innocent ambition? Reality will eventually sink in, I suppose, somewhere between the first high school report card and that meeting about tuition with your college counselor. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Hard work in life doesn’t automatically equate to monetary funds. Sometimes, it seems like we live in an unfair society. That years of hoping and dreaming and long hours and idealizing are trampled upon and reduced to more “practical” careers. And suddenly, that little astronaut who could is left to merely gaze in envy at the moon.

Yes, I’ve realized that I’m probably not the first kid who claimed to be future president. I know many before me have vowed to change the world. As I prepare to enter college, with all it’s built up glory and anticipation, I’ve encountered an unanticipated obstacle. Money.

 
Naive, I know.

 
Forgive me for believing that good grades and pure drive were enough to get a student an education in this country. Forgive me for even posing to ask the question of why the cost of self improvement escalates into the thousands of dollars. Then. Forgive me for being so selfish.

 
Life is hard. It’s been said before. Our dreams slowly change from being a doctor, to becoming a mother or a secretary or a carpenter. It’s not about the occupation. It’s about being happy. Who am I to say that one dream is bigger or better than another? The enlightened one in Plato’s allegory discovered that his previous games and awards were nothing compared to what awaited him on the outside, in the light. In the light I see that title or money really doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. What matters is having a dream. Strive to reach it, no matter what. No matter if that dream is to become an astronaut or secretary. Those who say that your dream is “impractical” are still living in a cave, and they’ll view things differently. Their awards consist of nothing but shadows and titles and money and none of that truly matters.

 
I think that inside, we all still carry that flame of a goal. A goal perhaps deemed unreachable by a insensitive teacher or friend. It’s true, in the end we cannot all be the President. But some one has to be, right?

 

About the Author:
Roisin is a senior in high school and spends her time playing basketball, writing, attempting to understand her AP Statistics homework and contemplating what exactly Kant was talking about…. (when she figures it out, she says she’ll get back to us).  Roisin loves being outdoors and hopes to attend university in Montana.


Academic Learning, Love of Learning, or Both

In which Carrie metacognizes learning surprises and vows to put love of learning as priority above grades…

I am considering the idea try not to let school get in the way of your learning.  I don’t know if it was Mark Twain or one of my very own teachers who instilled this notion in my brain, or if I realized it through a subconscious voice breaking the surface of my mind as I begin to study for an actual exam today.  I find that sometimes I forget to be interested in the material when there is a timeline and set structure to my learning already in place.  But as I read the chapter I discover myself wanting to learn – in this case linguistics and teaching content – while reawakening to a love of language (wordnerdism).  Like John Green explains about himself in the video below, I wasn’t a strong student in my earlier years.

There is a certain feeling which overwhelms when the learning process is happening, others might call it “flow” and really this technical term encompasses a great deal more than learning, I’ll suppose.  But when I am eager to crack a “textbook” open, and feel compelled to jot down vocabulary or hero-making bits of inspiration from the academic biophilic realm, I realize I am not resembling my 16 year old self at all, at least not the self I knew very often.  Occasionally there were times though, in my my youth, when I was behaviorally like this: excited to study, primed to exercise cognitive  linguistic, and academic processes.   Because I have experienced this myself helps me understand other learners, and hopefully empathize with them when the material seems plastic and forced, or real and enforcing of what they already know, love, and aspire to be.