Of Men and Wisteria

Of Men and Wisteria

A few of us were to get together at Art maven Joe Cardella’s home this weekend. Many have been through the mill as it were, in recent months, so Joe invited the lot of a group of artists and critical thinkers over for a pleasant Sunday afternoon, under the great awning of Wisteria which are in bloom here right now, in Ventura California.

I would be away shooting on location, so scooted by to get a photo of the flowers and dose of time with an inspiring friend.

Today started in unique fashion. My friend and former editor Drew Kampion sends out a Walt Whitman missive each week. This was the first thing that I read. Above, I pasted it over an image of the wisteria. For good reason. For easier reading, Walt’s words are here :
by Walt Whitman

All great ideas, the races’ aspirations,
All heroisms, deeds of rapt enthusiasts,
Be ye my Gods.

Or Time and Space,
Or shape of Earth divine and wondrous,
Or some fair shape I viewing, worship,
Or lustrous orb of sun or star by night,
Be ye my Gods.

Seth Godin’s blog
was the next thing which struck me. The words are pasted below.

The difference between commitment and technique

We spend way too much time teaching people technique. Teaching people to be good at flute, or C++ or soccer.

It’s a waste because the fact is, most people can learn to be good at something, if they only choose to be, if they choose to make the leap and put in the effort and deal with the failure and the frustration and the grind.

But most people don’t want to commit until after they’ve discovered that they can be good at something. So they say, “teach me, while I stand here on one foot, teach me while I gossip with my friends via text, teach me while I wander off to other things. And, sure, if the teaching sticks, then I’ll commit.”

We’d be a lot more successful if organized schooling was all about creating an atmosphere where we can sell commitment (and where people will buy it). A committed student with access to resources is almost unstoppable.

Great teachers teach commitment.

Teacher and writer Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley had commented on my share of the blog on Facebook and a discussion had ensued regarding digital devices in the classroom and the role (or lack thereof) in the development of education.

I appreciate my friends. So when I am with them I tend to leave my iphone in the car. For me a digital device augments my world, but I must never let it filter my connection to another, else I would become something other than an artist. I might not even notice the wisteria, the scene stealing bright blue of a warm afternoon sky, the sage wisdom of my friend Joe, or the raw beauty in the words of Walt Whitman.

Below is a segment from my conversation with Gwen today.

I have learned while working in think tank environments, that lateral and critical thinking are not skills seeded by device connection, but rather are augmented by that connection. The penchant for perpetual connection to the digital voice will reduce individualism, and promote a collective consciousness.

The quirky aspect of education in my eyes, lies in the disparity which can exist between an emerging social norm, where people are perpetually engaged by their devices, and that of the discipline and focus on a particular subject in a classroom environment.

Learning never takes place in a free for all neuro-spatial environment. Not really.

Wiki explains why pretty well, here.

The world needs you. Not your device.

Aloha nui loa.

Artist Joe Cardella
Artist Joe Cardella

4 Responses to Of Men and Wisteria

    • Joe, I find a lot of enlightenment regarding what drove Art-Life all those years, each time we sit and discuss our big blue marble. Thanks once more for your generosity!

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