Learning by Discourse

While simple in structure and seemingly boring, a grain of salt is really rather interesting.

Life is rarely what one would suppose in detail.  Sure, many out there in the world have little expectations of how the next moment will unfold and are seemingly complacent without interest.  Mine isn’t a life where I can stare into space without some underlying thought.  Aside waiting for some calamity, a fate of boredom or the acceptance of boredom is a product of complacency and laziness.  I’m here to not only tell you, but remind myself that “if you are bored, it isn’t because the world around you is boring but rather you that are boring”.   Whether the heat of autumn or the confinement of winter, I’ve pointed out, mainly to my students as they’d cry “Pappa P I’m bored” (since when did school have to be entertaining?), without remorse of trying to be entertaining to anyone other than myself – “… it’s because you’re boring” … in a sad, yet boring tone.  Yes I’ve had great fun with the idea, from the start of trying to muse my then daughter (and students) that there was a lot to be interested in and to explore today’s challenges of time, money, personal and professional …

Peaches actually are interesting and are more than just yummy fruit. I’ve wanted to extract the pectin out of them for other projects … think of all the boredum you could solve just from understanding peaches.

* injected thought, “peaches”*  No “peaches” is not the next word, I’ve just stumbled upon a block in thought and thought to myself “peaches”, I just ate one and it was ripe and delicious and that left me with this mental tourettes moment (note from the link, there is no cure for this condition – no I do not have tourettes despite what you who know me may think, my profane moments are willful and with (poor) thought, and yes I’m in a constant state of asking for forgiveness).  You will undoubtedly get to read a lot of these as I elaborate and/or struggle for clarity.  I include them so that you can see there is a thought (?) process here and not just some bot run amuk … although you may wish one had by the end of all this, should it all end. *

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Table salt crystal (NaCl, sodium chloride). Salt is a mineral that it necessary for the survival of life, especially humans. It is compose of primarily sodium chloride. It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light grey in colour, obtained from sea water or rock salt deposits. There are different forms of salt for human consumption: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. Over consumption of salt can increase the risk of health problems, including high blood pressure. In food preparation, salt is used as a preservative and as a seasoning. Magnification: x78 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

… management.  As my pre-teen daughter copped the “I’m bored.” line, I silently had to concede to a 12 year old living in the woods had it’s challenging moments.  Admittedly we lived in the boonies, her friends were wayyyy up the road – as “country folk” we actually had some distance between houses.  Searching for something to occupy her as I toiled about on some unremembered quest of my own, I poured some salt out on the table and slid a magnifying glass onto the table.  “Here, what shape is a salt crystal? I squawked, all too knowing she’d answer … bemoaning having to do something outside of the 1 television channel we got at the time and that dear ole dad didn’t want to play a board game with her (remember I’m on my own quest to quell boredom).  This is were the fun begins to unfold with my little clone scientist enters a yet to be discovered microscopic world.  The tiny square crystals are truly cubic and rather uniform crystal to crystal. The cool thing is, if you are able to break one, it simply forms another cubic like shape for the most part.  The challenges of curiosity.  … and it was terribly fun watching her try to break the salt into smaller pieces to see if I was correct. She would turn red faced straining to squeeze the crystals between the two cupped together spoons, repeating the process to get smaller and smaller pieces.  Curious devil she was (and still is).

The observation to be made is that in proving the crystal properties of sodium chloride (NaCl) there were moments of struggle, both physical and mental she encountered. In the case of the cubic structure of NaCl, it is literally due to the angle of the bonding mechanism between molecules. They only break one way. The struggle to demonstrate this arises from a discourse to gather evidence of whether or not something is true or not. Simply put, you have to prove what you’ve been told, you have to understand it first hand – you have to say you experienced it yourself. Combining the struggles of visual, auditory and kinesthetic observational insight, of learning, into one powerful moment of – discourse. A moment of frustration were relief from the same frustration only arises when the answer is obvious. Your psyche is at peace with the solution. There is something fundamental in our instinctual curiosity that is set into play when we truly know the nature of something.

Creating a desire to know something at a higher level of understanding is the goal. Mentally answering the challenge to be able to communicate a set of results with confidence based on substantiated evidence, evidence you have measured and/or verified, compares with a physical need to win, to champion over adversity. This is a part of the quest for true understanding, not just inert knowledge or memorization. This mental struggle is real, and over coming it has the same feelings of elation and satisfaction as over coming a physical challenge. This is the region of interpretive enlightenment, the discovery of some revelation that creates a moment of liberation and freedom, a moment of truth and reality. For the learner it creates an adrenaline junkie like desire. To return to that moment of truth again and again is where this life long learner’s passion lies. It isn’t enough to be told about or see pictures of Jupiter and it’s moons, when you’ve seen them first hand you’ll be motivated to want to understand all there is to know about the motion of the planets, stars, universe and world around us. Enlightenment has just begun, yet once again.

Embrace the struggle to the use and understanding of truth.

* more peaches *

Should you read this blog and wonder “what in the heck is this jibberish?!?”, most of this will be hand typed, other portions will be dictated voice to text – so it may be a day or two (maybe even a week or more) before some posts will be proof read, reflected upon, corrected and edited.  I’m just babbling and in the mood and with the need to get something down for prosperity.

Which beings me to one of the objectives of this blog.  In writing another blog centered around professional development and insights, I did a web-search for a article quote (google: “So I’m gonna give you a piece of advice. Don’t ask for something that’s a burden if you get it.” – Jack) and I came across a blog article entitled “7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life“.  I thought to myself who the heck is this guy that is so pessimistic with life? … and has the audacity to marginalize “my life”.  My initial instinct was to ignore it, but it really sorta pissed me off (what arrogance) and I thought to myself “what’s this guy got to say?” … and I must say there was some insight in his thoughts on life.  I get his point.  It must have been the discourse I felt with the lead in of his title.  So I’m going to put to the test his 30 days of blogging challenge (except I may accelerate it a touch, I am after all a busy person ;).

–> or so I thought.  I was really disappointed to learn “30DoT has been postponed.”  Never the mind, I’m game for this anyway and will go through the motions, so let’s see what unfolds with my own style of learning and the topics he suggests.  This is where the idea of “discourse” comes in.  It is an actual element in teaching were disbelief or the lack of belief and understanding frustratingly leads to understanding (kinda like trying to break those salt crystals into ever smaller units).  The idea is to not only solidify some body of knowledge but to better “know thy self” (Know thy audience! Know thy self! Know thy stuff!) in the case of undertaking this blog in part as self knowledge.

Let the blogging begin! … after all I don’t want to be accused of “never doing anything with [my] life”, amazing or not – like I was put here to entertain someone else.  Shheesh. Go be bored on your own time.

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