Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week 3 - Going with the flow

This week in class we talked about the theory of flow.  The basic idea is one where we can experience moments in life where we lose sense of time, gain total focus on the task at hand, and come away feeling that this moment has changed us.  This is achieved by fitting a series of criteria.  1) We have to balance the difficulty of the task with our skill level.  If the task is too easy we become bored and if it is too hard we become frustrated. We have most likely all felt both of these problems in things we have done before, maybe like how Calculus was infuriatingly difficult when I took it in college.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week two- when the real work starts!

This week the thing that hit home with me is the idea of what I will call catalyst personalities. As a society we value youth, strength, and intelligence. So what does this mean for those who find themselves with none of those qualities?  What makes a baby who will never grow to hold a job or finish school valuable?  Do they have a value to society?  How about a grandma who is slipping slowly into senescence because of Alzheimer's?  Are these lives worth living? In class the professor talked about how there is an idea that not every life is worthy of life.  So if these people are not going to be "productive members of society" then what function can they play? Are our ideas of youth, strength, and intelligence the only measures of what makes life worth living? That is a lot of question marks that need answers.

So as I sat in class pondering how to describe the value of every life I thought of the whole human race as one living organism.  Just life a human body there are things that we notice all the time: muscles, brains, stomachs, and bones.  These are the major structures of a functioning body but there are also tiny molecules that have essential roles to play.  So these less thought about people in society can be thought of as catalyst personalities.  When a person has the ability to bring out virtues in others they can play a role even if they lack the abilities commonly seen by society as useful.  A person with a disability can give those around them greater empathy, patience, and help them appreciate the little things in life.  So the true measure of the value of an individual life can not be standardized or quantified because each individual has a different role.

Now that this has been brought to light in my mind I feel the need to see around me the value that can come from even the most bleak of lives.  A person that may only live from birth until 3 years old will make an indelible mark on his parents.  They can learn the value of love and patience even through the sorrow of loss.  I now hope that I can be, at least in some small part, a catalyst for positive change in those around me.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Deja vu week

At the start of each semester the first week is spent looking over the syllabus for each class.  We discuss expectations and assignments that will happen over the course of the semester. This semester I also have a unique situation, deja vu. Last year at this time I was in the same classes and even had a lot of the same professors.  Then a month in I had my life changed forever when I had major surgery and multiple complications.  So as I sit in class I feel like I have been there before, since I have been.  The feeling of deja vu often makes me feel like it is God telling me I am in the right place though.

This first week as we have been doing a lot of the boring syllabus reading I had a great lesson about what the professor called "active learning."  When we sit in class and listen we are only doing a tiny bit of learning.  As we go out on our own and do other activities we learn from experience.  So what does this mean for me?  In order to learn more effectively and naturally I will need to take the information we discuss in class and carry it into real life.  After learning about this I want to try for the whole semester to apply this learning model so that I assimilate more of the information into usable knowledge.