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links for 2009-07-01

01 Jul
  • "You change a culture with stories. Right now your stories are about how hard you work people. Like the woman you forced to work on her wedding day. You may not be proud of it, but it's the story you tell. That story conveys your culture simply and reliably. And I'm certain you're not the only one who tells it. You can be sure the bride tells it. And all her friends. If you want to change the culture, you have to change the stories."
    …To start a culture change all we need to do is two simple things:
    1. Do dramatic story-worthy things that represent the culture we want to create. Then let other people tell stories about it.
    2. Find other people who do story-worthy things that represent the culture we want to create. Then tell stories about them…
    We live by stories. We tell them, repeat them, listen to them carefully, and act in accordance with them.
    We can change our stories and be changed by them.
  • Unfortunately, without deep knowledge, the best you can have is a shallow understanding. Without any knowledge, meaning facts, any understanding you think you have is illusory, baseless, and void. The "new angle" on teaching continues the bankrupt reform tradition of replacing specific content knowledge with vague attitudinal goals, where social studies curricula are more concerned with how students feel about history than what they know about it.
    You can't attain understanding without knowledge, and you can't acquire knowledge without mastering facts. You can't skip the grunt work, even if it's often dull and painstaking. That's true in any discipline. Our children need to realize and accept this. So do the experts who mastermind our schools. So do we all. That's the new angle on teaching and learning that we desperately need. More gimmicks won’t help.
    True, grappling with facts and turning them into knowledge can be hard work.
    But reckoning with ignorance is even harder.
  • Since the notion of spying on prisoners through the night was ridiculous, the IG said it was better to discontinue the condom project, and pretend there was no homosexuality — and no criminal activity — in the prison in the first place. Ignorance was bliss, damn the public health consequences.
    The story above is instructive and in some respects uniquely Indian. It reveals the extremes to which the Indian bureaucratic mind can go…It leaves one wondering: does the law exist to make life easier for society, or does society exist as a useful framework within which to test whimsical law?
    The issue of legalising homosexuality and removing or amending Section 377 is typical of this conundrum…
    Is liberalisation not also about the expansion of individual freedom, about the citizen’s liberty from the tyranny of bad laws, behaviour inspectors and a nanny state that wants to know how people live their lives?
    …the gay/lesbian issue is a compelling examination of the quality of our democracy.
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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in Links

 

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