March 13th, 2009

egg stone

Critical Thinking!

Papananook posted the following this morning and I am carrying it over here.  Ah, so easy, this copy and paste. 

I think critical thinking skills are key to our success, individually, and as a community, nation, and world.

I love how Barack Obama is emphasizing his mother's influence on his school years.  She woke him at 4:30 to tutor him, not fun, maybe, but essential, yes.  Now, we have a president who can think.  May that process expand and root deeply in the world.  

Are you a critical thinker?

Quality thought is vital. So why don’t schools foster it?


How can we hope to thoughtfully address the economic issues, conflicts, world poverty, and many other pressing concerns that trouble our planet, if we don't take the way we think seriously?

We can't. To effectively deal with these issues, we must cultivate the spirit of critical thinking throughout human societies.

Right now we are not even teaching the skills and dispositions of the critical mind in our schools. We are not cultivating the intellect.

Everyone thinks; but we don't always think well. In fact, much of our thinking, left to itself, is sloppy, distorted, partial, uninformed, or prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and all of the decisions we make depend precisely on the quality of our thought. At present, the act of thinking is virtually ignored.

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking that aims to take the reasoning we all do naturally to a higher level. It is the art of analyzing and evaluating with the goal of improving thought. When making a decision, it is the difference between weighing information to come to a logical conclusion and making snap judgments without understanding the information.


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alan - lilies in the shade

Valuing what is here -

A friend of mine has been traveling in Argentina.  Since she returned, she has been reading books on the history of Argentina and Latin America.  It allows her to better feel what we have here, to even more assimilate what has been endangered in the last eight years, and to see even more clearly how we each must work to ensure the values on which this country founded, continue.   

It was not an easy beginning.  People sacrificed.  People died.  We know this and yet we allowed Bush to lead us away from ethics and morality, into a world of torture, savagery, devaluation in every way, and horrific greed.

We now have a leader who knows what it is to work.  We have a people who can stand up to create what we want.  It begins with each one of us, today, this moment, one breath, many.   Enjoy!  Have fun and consider your piece of the quilt, and spin what is yours in this incredible weave.

oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls

Organic -

Barack and Michelle Obama speak very clearly about health and nutrition.  Eating well on the campaign trail allowed them to endure what most of us would find horrific and they maintained their health.

Michelle Obama is coming on strongly for organic foods.   I was surprised to read this week that Laura Bush emphasized organic foods in the White house, but she did not publicize it.  If anything, the Bush administration did the opposite, taking away oversight of our food supply, and dismantling environmental controls.  Why?   I always wondered how they could not see the connection between the food each of us eats and the water we share.  It seems they thought organic was essential for them, but not for others.

When I attended the Ecofarms Conference a few years ago, the farmers were very clear, that here was the organic field next to the non-organic, and yes, they are working to clean up a water supply damaged over many years, and yes, non-organic crops are sprayed, and spray spreads, so it is important to eat organic for the attempt to make the changes, and because the food may be less contaminated, and organic farmers pay their workers well.  It is a complete system of health and it will take time to un-do the damage that has been done.

The ideal, of course, would be that we each grow our own food, but that is not possible for most.  We now have a presidential family emphasizing the value of healthy eating, of consuming fruits and vegetables.  It is inspiring, and this family is taking steps we all can follow, and, yes, there, is more to go.

alan - winter bird

life and death -

I woke this morning dreaming of Christmas.  I have been reading a book on how our traditions began, and, of course, many of our belief systems, many of them set down in stone as religion,  formulated way back in those "pagan" times, when people observed the sun and the moon, and the seasons and fertility in birthing and ripening of crops.  That is when the idea of seasonal sacrifice began, to ensure a good crop for next year.   The traditions have been incorporated into religions of today. 

Yesterday I was mesmerized with the clean shine of greens.  Today is gray and yet, still the greens, perhaps in momentary rest, know the feel and fuel of rising sap, the internalization of the increasing light, the return of spring.  Spring!

The moon gave us its huge bowl of light the night before last and now each night a little less until three days without it.  Three days.  Hmmm!

I read recently that in the 7th century, the symbol of the crucified Jesus replaced the Lamb.  A symbol of death and suffering replaced one of growth and possibility.  I wonder what it does to our psyches to see a man hanging from a cross, nailed there, with his head falling down, wounds exposed.  I couldn't believe that image as a child, could not believe someone would nail another to a cross, though I had seen the image, but I could not somehow take in the act of it.  Perhaps that gives a clue as to how gently I was raised. 

According to the above reading, in the 7th century, Mary, the Great Goddess, the feminine, was replaced by the Holy Ghost.  

Here we are, grounded in, on, and of the land, and the image of that productivity and support, Mother Earth,  is replaced with the image of something ethereal, sometimes seen as a dove. 

When I was a child, I would awake from a dream of a witch stirring a huge cauldron.  I was frightened by the dream.  Now, I know the cauldron is the symbol of transformation, restoration, the womb.  

I believe we do need support, a belief system and I have no desire to denigrate or question anyone's beliefs or non-beliefs.

This is the season, in this hemisphere, when life appears to return.  What was bare with the appearance,  possibly of death,  now waves flowers.  I am surrounded with scent and branches of pink, yellow, and white.

For those "down under," there is a different rhythm, a different settling in.   These times allow us to choose to experience two summers in a year, two winters, or to live on the equator, where each day the sun sets at six, where twelve hour days and nights are norm.   

We are exposed to so much now, so many belief systems, so many seasons.  My friend who just returned from Argentina is in long summer days.  She cannot adjust, and yet, her travels bring her more appreciation of the country in which she lives, the landscape of  home. 

Perhaps I simply want to share this growing bubbling within, this cauldron of love and light, the joy I feel in the Home that I am, the land in which I dwell.

Continuing blessings, understanding, and insights for us All as we wiggle in this new juiciness of Spring!  The ladybugs and worms are out where I live.  The earth is alive! 

As am I!