Saturday, August 15, 2015

Captain Oh my Captain


I think I heard yesterday from the 
bullet presentation  that #1 on 
President  Solnick’s  imagination 
bucket list  is that  we might figure
out how to stand out nationally
as a meaningful  contributor to
institutional higher education—
a repeat somewhat of our 70’s 
experience with the National 
 Endowment of the Humanities: 
its   salute and endorsement of our
Ways of Knowing Core.

That  program  broke us out of 
Swannanoa and our nestled-in-
the-Blue-Ridge habitat. Timing 
is everything. It was a time  of 
 educational reform  across the 
country and we were part of it.   

Linguists and Information Theorists 
define MEANING  as a difference 
that  makes a Difference. Tautological 
in  form,  but it’s clear that the second
Difference is not on the same level (of 
logical type) as the first difference.  

The first difference is merely descriptive.
 The second is evaluative—more than 
just a difference: a difference that makes 
a  Difference—counts for something, 

Aesthetic on the one hand (literally: view, 
is-what-it-is: denotation ) and Ethic on 
 the other hand (value-added, connotation). 

The Presidential challenge: not just to be 
different, but to be a difference that makes
a difference.  We’re already different although
much of our difference (work and service) 
has been appropriated by colleges and universities.

Because pedagogy (the media, means)  has
always been more engaging to me than 
 content and subject matter (message)—and 
context more significant than text and the
same with background and figure, my vote
for coming up with program difference that
makes a difference nationally would be wondering
how to develop a pedagogical environment that
also encourages failure  as well as sustains
high suspicion of “clarity” 

Sampling my own past posts—redundantly,

“Our universities, however, continue to
teach and operate in the system that is
destroying the biosphere. Adherence
to the old mind-set, the old curricula,
obsolete pedagogy, and shortsighted
planning are producing graduates who
are trained to perpetuate the destruction
of the biosphere.

Business, upon which so much depends,
will never “get it” with graduates like these
entering the work force. “
   (Ray Anderson, our 09 graduation speaker)

“Clarity is not a virtue.

If everything you say is detailed
and explicit, you won’t give your 
collaborators room to run. Put ideas
 out there that are half-baked, ideas
where you’re not even sure what it 
means yet. Put yourself in an
environment that rewards failure. 
Creativity is risky; successful creative
people are also the ones who fail 
the most often.

Creativity is inefficient.

Don’t expect every idea and every
project to pan out. Know when to cut
your losses and move on. “Innovation
emerges from the bottom up,
unpredictably, and it’s only after the
innovation has occurred that every 

one realizes what’s happened. 

Innovation can’t be planned;
it can’t be predicted: it has to
be allowed  to emerge. Like
successful improvisation.

Key to understanding innovation: 
to realize that collaborative webs
are more important than creative
people. The power of this 

collaborative web …is what companies
must tap into if they want to create
a culture that encourages significant innovation.”

Sampling some of Keith Sawyer’s Group Genius:
The Creative Power of Collaboration

               Genius is the Enemy of genius
(Re: Collaborative Genius as opposed to Singular.)

Richard Nixon would say repeatedly:
“Let me make one thing perfectly clear”

I swim in an addiction to clarity.  
Homeland Insecurity Systems demand it.
How diametrically if not diabolically opposed 
failure-encouraging, clarity-suppressing
environment would be to institutionalized 
academia with its sustainable bias for

cultivating  individual  not so much  
collaborative  genius. 

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