Seek

605. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Master David Miller just sent his update-my-life newsletter and at the bottom he included this quote:

“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those that find it.” Andre Gide

I cheered and clapped my flippers! As someone who has done an insane amount of seeking in his life I was gratified to know that other seekers have also found nothing. And, more to the point, “not-finding” is in fact, the point of seeking.

The great thing about science is that there is always another question. Math is a language we’ve invented or discovered (a chicken and egg debate above my pay grade) that is used to describe our universe; no answers there! Math is also nice for balancing your checkbook or keeping track of how many widgets were sold; it’s a great a way of notating music. Math is the language of pursuit. Chase math down the path and it will lead you to strings and quantums and bubbles…more and more questions. History is never about answers though we pretend that there is a definitive narrative as if we only have one brain and a single set of eyes. At the heart of every seeker is an artist asking, “I wonder what would happen if…?” Mystery upon mystery, question upon question: why then have we constructed an education system dedicated to reducing everything to an answer?

Given my steadfast belief that education is about seeking and not about finding – or put another way – education is about asking questions and not about having answers, I propose a simple step that could revolutionize education in America (note – I wrote “step” and not “solution” as to seek a solution is to reinforce the notion of finding a truth): remove the emphasis on the answer and reinforce the quest. That’s it. A local simplicity to leverage change in a complex system.

This is how I’d do it: first grade would start at night around a campfire with the entire community present, the children closest to the fire. Some old grizzled elder would tell the story of a quest, an ancestor that faced monumental odds and severe hardship and returned to the community with a scroll of questions stolen from a cave guarded by monsters. And since that day every member of the community has been in pursuit of the truth within the questions. All the adults would nod – an impossible task and the community now needs fresh eyes for the questions. And then the elder would give each child a copy of the scroll and ask them for their help. The next day, a teacher would ask, “Where should we start?” The next evening, a parent would ask, “What did you discover?”

Since we are so dedicated to our need to test I wave the white flag of compromise and suggests that the scroll given to the children is the one-and-only standardized test the children will ever receive. It is given on the first night of their new life in school, not with an expectation of answers but as a launch pad for the greater test of their capacity to pursue. Of course, the questions would be designed so that there was no single answer possible, each question would lead to more complex questions; and isn’t that a great definition of “truth?” It’s a treasure hunt. It’s life training. And they, like us, would need each and every member of the community to fulfill their unfulfillable quest.

3 Responses

  1. This is worth an illustrated story…

  2. we have the fire pit and the woods right here to begin school at Stella by Starlight.

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