Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How Listening Leads to Knowledge.

Sound and the language we build from it (and then writing) ie abstraction, allows us to make claims to each other. There is exactly one thing you learn for sure from a claim, and that is that the person delivering it wants you to believe it's true. Especially when the claim is widely broadcast, there is little correlation between the content of the claim and what you can learn from it. It can inspire exploration, which is its main value.

On lots of minds in recent months is the term "fake news." Using that term indicates a claim. Anyone talking about "fake news" wants you to believe something.  You might already believe it, depending on what it is. Sure, there's fake news, but sometimes the fake news is that some other news is actually fake.  Who should you believe?  No one.  Rather than believing, just be aware of possibilities and explore them if they might be important to you.  "Fake News" is the new conspiracy theory, but they ruined that term and now they've found a decent replacement.  They still lie to us though, sometimes.

Sometimes, a person who is making a claim will also advise that you take what they say "with a grain of salt" because they recognize that they might be biased.  I like analogy and metaphor so much that I'm now going to describe what I think the salt represents and why it's useful. It's doubt, plain and simple.  The person is saying "Doubt this, but ... X!"  In my experience, they also justify their advice that I should have some doubt. Why is salt used to represent doubt?  That's fodder for a future post, I suppose!

Last night, I met a couple friends and we discussed education and what can be done to improve the experience of young people.  One of them, a math teacher, posed a question about the metaphor of planting a seed.  He suggested that there should be something between the sledgehammer and planting a seed.  It would be something non-destructive and less drastic than a sledgehammer, but quicker and more successful than just planting a seed.  We came up with "grafting."  To extend the metaphor to address the successful introduction into another person's mind of doing something a different way, or viewing the world in a different way, grafting means connecting the healthy living idea in your head into a healthy living idea in the other person's head.

This morning, I had occasion to practice this middle-ground between seed-planting and sledgehammers.  I watched a Valedictorian speech posted to Youtube by Josh Tolley, and then I used his contact page to describe the seed / grafting / sledgehammer metaphor and apply it to his Youtube post. His post allows the valedictorian to plant some seeds into his audience's minds.  My suggestion was to graft something in as well.  I left the following comment and suggested it as content for the information section under the video, or that he pin the comment I made.  Here it is: "If you're interested in the issues discussed in this speech, you might enjoy "The School Sucks" project and/or podcast at"

I keep asking you for comments, partly because the better idea I have of what healthy ideas are already living in your minds, the more effective will be my efforts to graft into those ideas my own ideas that I think will help bring more peace and prosperity to all of us.  It will also provide me with things to graft into my own ideas. So speak up!

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