RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Alfred North Whitehead

Art’s nature versus “real” nature

Art’s nature versus “real” nature.

The beauty and perfection of Nature is in its imperfection. It is asymmetrical. Alfred North Whitehead and Albert Einstein suggested whatever we needed to find was in Nature.

Nature has ways of speaking to us and revealing itself when we are present and attentive. Being awake means encountering Nature as part of it rather than outside of it as virtual observers. When we open up all our senses Nature reveals herself readily.

It is in the ordinary we find the extraordinary. Art is a way of expressing Nature through the sensuousness we feel. When I look at art, it is the less than perfect representation that attracts. There is something in the asymmetry that pulls me deeper into my relationship with the world.

Nature’s Secret

Grace Holmes wrote this poem. I was unable to find a link to the poet, but wanted to share the poem. If someone has a link, I will edit and add it.

The poem reminded me of Alfred North Whitehead‘s thinking. He suggested we only need to look at nature and find general patterns for life. Nature reveals patterns when we take time and observe living in nature.

There’s a secret with these rugged hills, whose slender tops are gray;
There’s a secret with the wild flowers that bloom along the way;

There’s a secret with the roaming clouds that change the changeful sky
A secret have the busy winds, that chant and moan and sigh:

A secret has the moonlight, that touches land and sea,
A secret is between the stars that blink and you and me.

Ah the secrets! can you count them? so numerous are they!
Ah the secrets! can you find them out? can you find them out, I say?

I knew that some sweet secret ‘twixt my garden flowers grew.
But I said, I know, I feel, it is not for me, or you.

I felt there was a secret with the wondrous charming sea,
But again I shook my head and said, that secret’s not for me.

Yea, every where I turn my eyes on nature living show,
I feel there is a secret that ’tis not for me know.

The Peace of Wild Things

Wendell Berry is one of my favourite poets. I have many favourites. It is much easier to find a poem when you have many.

We spend time each summer wandering through nature. I think for Kathy and I it is a return to our roots. We grew up in rural settings and were outdoors a lot as a result. I think as we mature, getting older is so passe, we look for the roots that connect us to the universe. Nature is one those things.

Alfred North Whitehead suggested we only need to look at nature to find the patterns we need in life.

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The Irony of American

I could have taken the following from any history. It transcends borders. I was unaware that Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer.

I chose this passage as it resonated with my writing today and it was the first page I turned to in the book of poetry I used today. What resonated with me was in my writing I draw on the work of John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, Plato, and others. The first two lines about hope provide a people with hope. What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century? This question is partly premised on what it meant to be educated in earlier times. The context of Dewey and Whitehead was in the shadow of the Industrial Revolution. Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson wrote in the shadow of the American Revolution. The rapid change of their times can give us faith that we will figure out what it means to be educated in these times.

I do not outline well. I get to writing, but, with a dissertation, I have to try outline so I have broken it up a bit. Today, I wrote part of the introductory chapter and sent it to Kathy to make it makes sense. In that I have hope and faith that love will save me.

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;

therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense

in any immediate context of history;

therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;

therefore we are saved by love.

[HOW MANY MOMENTS MUST (AMAZING EACH]

I enjoy e. e. cummings‘ poetry. I read it several times and it reminded me of my other reading today. I read Alfred North Whitehead for part of the afternoon. It has been pretty circular as well, but at the end it comes to the same point. Life is full of uncertainty and mystery which is what is worth embracing. A good portion of life is missed if I am not attentive and mindful of the world.

how many moments must(amazing each

how many centuries)these more than eyes

restroll and stroll some never deepening beach

locked in foreverish time’s tide at poise,

love alone understands:only for whom

i’ll keep my tryst until that tide shall turn;

and from all selfsubtracting hugely doom

treasures of reeking innocence are born.

Then, with not credible the anywhere

eclipsing of a spirit’s ignorance

by every wisdom knowledge fears to dare,

how the(myself’s own self who’s)child will dance!

and when he’s plucked such mysteries as men

do not conceive–let ocean grow again

Mindful

I struggled for a few days with the overwhelming job, or so it seemed, of beginning to craft a purpose statement for the dissertation topic. Thankfully, my advisor told me to read and read and read the classics in education and the not so classic. I immersed myself in John Dewey, who I have read before, Alfred North Whitehead, who I had not read, and Ivan Illich, who worked with Paulo Freire. I am going to re-read Freire.

Last night, I fell asleep thinking about these people and woke up still thinking about them. As I got mobile, it dawned on me what happened and I recalled Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem. I don’t hold answers. I hold questions. Their eloquence lead me into life daily and the answers are often in the things I take for granted. I posted a re-worked purpose statement, based on just letting things percolate and doing some free writing, and one of my colleagues commented back that it was making more sense. Be mindful scholar.

Every day

I see or I hear

something

that more or less

kills me

with delight

that leaves me

like a needle

in the haystack

of light.

It is what I was born for–

to look, to listen,

to lose myself

inside this soft world–

to instruct myself

over and over

in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful–

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help

but grow wise

with such teachings

as these–

the untrimmable light

of the world,

the ocean’s shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,045 other followers

%d bloggers like this: