stoner

“He found his release and fulfilment in the classes in which he himself was a student. There he was able to recapture the sense of discovery he had felt that first day, when Archer Sloane had spoken to him in class and he had, in an instant, become someone other than who he had been. As his mind engaged itself with its subject, as it grappled with the power of the literature he studied and tried to understand its nature, he was aware of a constant change within himself; and as he was aware of that, he moved outward from himself into the world which contained him, so that he knew that the poem of Milton’s that he read or the essay of Bacon’s or the drama of Ben Jonson’s changed the world which was its subject, and changed it because of its dependence upon it.”

‘Stoner’ by John Williams

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what drives exploration and investigation?

jo2-124

 

Surprisingly, it is not the intellect.

The intellect may well be utilised as a tool but it is not the driver.

How do you lay yourself open to inspiration?

There is a big difference between simile and metaphor: If you are asked to dance, quietly feel the difference between ‘dance like a bird’ and ‘you are a bird’. If your presence can be filled with images , thoughts and feelings of you as a bird, and you forget the other story of yourself, you will dance well. As soon as you become aware of dualities, for example between what you are being and what others think you are doing it will fail.

When you are the bird you feel your feet clutching the branches, the wind in your face, the hardness of your beak. When you slip out of this into dancing like a bird, the duality reappears and you become fragmented as usual.

This non dual deep belonging is not a mental visualisation. All activity is transformed. Spontaneity appears. The person you were, or you normally think you are is not present. That story has vanished.

There is no one left who dances, there is only the dance.

The actor does not act the part. Only when the actor as person is absent does the other temporarily emerge. The other is the creative mathematician, the scientist, the artist, the writer.

That’s all I can say about becoming an explorer.

The main problem is that people do not believe they can explore, they do not believe they are capable, they believe the story of themselves that is their normal story which has unfortunately been constructed over the years by inadequate experiences.So treat yourself how you would wish to become.

Do not fear the judgement of others.

Forget ‘can’t’, ‘don’t want to’, ‘don’t like’………….

Be imaginative, be explorers.

Find things that have never been seen by you before.

Begin.

Find out something you didn’t know before about a square

like learning a language…

Some methods, especially those that rely on memory and de-contextualised vocabulary and intense grammar are awful. They start with lists of words and complexities of grammar that generally mean something to those who have studied grammar in their own language but feel so fragmented and distant from speaking that one senses its going to be very hard going. The best (in my opinion) way of learning a language is through a live course using ‘The Silent Way’, which was created by Caleb Gattegno as he learnt how people learn. Some other methods however such as the Michel Thomas courses are very good for learning at home. I personally am learning arabic using this method and find in some ways it is like learning maths in the style of the subordination of teaching to learning. I could not find a course on arabic using ‘The Silent Way’.

One immediately feels useful learning is taking place and a certain hopefulness and confidence to continue takes over. It feels optimistic and fruitful. Arabic is a bit tricky because of the written language, the unfamiliar sounds and the unfamiliar words having in general no Latin roots. Most words are completely different to what an english speaker knows and the word order and other things are also unfamiliar.

OK so this sounds a bit like coming across mathematical ideas when you are little.

The knowing use of algebraic ideas in simple conversations and question and answer ‘sessions’ using the rods is similarly freeing and powerful. You can just see it so easily in the children’s eyes and actions. There must be no pressure at all. Certainly no pressure to write anything down, unless it comes from the children, and even then do not force them to ‘write it down correctly’. Do not ‘be a teacher’ in that sense. Bide your time.

Look at Caleb Gattegno’s  ‘Mathematics with Numbers in Colour’ Book 1, part II, ‘Qualitative Work with the Rods.’  ONLINE…

Don’t take it as a ‘course’, just read it through three times:

1. As if you were reading a newspaper

2. As if you were reading it out aloud to another person and

3. Try and fathom the general flow and gist of the chapter.

WARNING: DEFINITELY DO NOT USE IT RIGIDLY AS A ‘COURSE’

awareness 2 some examples in rod pre-number…

some algebra before arithmetic pre-number awarenesses

examples of free play awarenesses:

rods are good things to play with

we can make pictures

we can build models and buildings

we can play games

we can invent games

we can share our ideas

we can learn from each other

rod colours are in families

rods can be packed away in family colour order if we like

rods can be packed away in other ways

rods have a definite regular order of size

I can recognise rods by how they feel

rods can be named by colour and in other ways

directed informal awarenesses:

rods of same colour are same length

rods of same length are same colour

groups can be made of the same colour

groups can be made of the same lengths

language (word concept) awarenesses:

trains can be made in a variety of ways

rods can be swapped for others

 staircases can be made in a variety of ways

 mats can be made

mats can be made with rows of rods of the same colour

we can answer questions by making patterns of rods

awarenesses relating to adding and its inverse:

I can find one rod to fit two others

I can find two or more rods to fit one

I can find rods to fit long trains

I can find the difference between two rods in different ways

I can find the difference between two trains of any length

awarenesses relating to equivalence, multiplication and factors:

I can find one rod which fits two or more rods of the same colour

I can find rods of the same colour to fit some other longer rods

I can find rods of the same colour to fit some, but not all trains

borges and the infinite book…

I made the image below because I was inspired by Jorge Luis Borges ‘The Book of Sand and Shakespeare’s Memory’ from the story of the same name. A Bible peddler from the Orkneys knocks on the door of a fifth-floor apartment on Calle Belgrano and persuades the occupier to buy it or rather trade it for a black-letter Wyclif bible and a week’s pension. “Summer was drawing to a close, and I realised that the book was monstrous…….I considered fire, but I feared that the burning of an infinite book might be similarly infinite, and suffocate the planet in smoke.”

thebookofallbooks

It is a very high resolution image which can up to 2 metres long at photographic quality. Here’s a tiny sample:

thebookofallbookssel

I made the old book by scanning and knitting together an antique book I have, given to me by my father. The book could be called ‘The Book of all Books containing the first four letters of every book that has ever been written, ever will be written or ever can be written.’ I wrote a computer program to generate every combination of the first four letters of our alphabet then selected some of it to include in these two pages using an old english font. The program generated over 600 pages of Word as it found combinations of even the first four letters. Every beginning is there, including the Bible and Trainspotting etc, for any writing. It is at one level a little representation of that awkward idea infinity.

huatou: all is love