Whenever I read Dougald Hine he catalyses new connections in my mind – his posts are thoughtful energising and provocative - he seems able to effortlessly paint ideas with words in his blog – whilst I struggle to size the walls and slap up a wallpapering of ideas (ideas that after 24 hours of comments from others develop air bubbles, and seam slippage), in Artichoke.
His latest post "To be AND not to be” captured my attention right from the start because “sitting bolt upright” is how I do air travel nowadays – a consequence of “a near death bisection at high altitude experience” -
A reckless decision to lower my tray for coffee on an Air New Zealand flight saw me pinned to the back of my seat when a passenger in the seat in front hit the recline button. It took two stewardesses and a travelling GP to attempt the reverse bisection procedure and extract the tray from my lower abdomen. Thank god for those “FAQ when dealing with a tray bisection when at high altitude” procedure manuals.
I had hoped the plus side of the bisection experience might be qualification for the “mile high club” but the Magnet reckons that quite a different sort of breathlessness and groaning is required for membership. The solution to avoiding high altitude bisection is apparently quite simple – all I have to do is let Stanley the errant Labrador take me along on his “other dogs’ urine splashes sniff adventure trail” each morning, eat only bean sprouts and drink only water, adopt a personal trainer, and join the Magnet at the gym each day. After careful reflection I have decided that I much prefer to adopt the alternative – the “sit bolt upright” and avoid any tray lowering activity whenever flying Air New Zealand.
Hine ‘s latest post explores the thoughts of my very most favourite thinker – Ivan Illich – on silence
As words must be learned by listening and by painful attempts at imitation of a native speaker, so silences must be acquired through a delicate openness to them. Silence has its pauses and hesitations, its rhythms and expressions and inflections; its durations and pitches, and times to be and not to be.
The last phrase of that passage, from Illich's reflection on 'The Eloquence of Silence', makes me sit bolt upright whenever I reach it. Let me try to explain. Excerpt from “To be AND not to be” post. Changing the World blog – Dougald Hine
Illich on “silence” not only makes me sit bolt upright – the hairs on the back of my neck stand up –
It is a timely post – Lucychili has been trying to persuade me to look at the Sapir Worth hypothesis through National Geographic explorer Wade Davis’s TED Talk on Cultures at the Far edge of the world - it is a fabulous talk - a must view TED talk - but when I watch it I become uncomfortable - I want to ask which cultures are allowed to observe – and which cultures are required to remain the observed?
What do we make of members of indigenous cultures who also aspire to a day job that involves travelling the world doing ethnographic research as Explorer in Residence for National Geographic.
Being trapped as “one of the observed cultures” - “being an exotic object of fascination and condescension” that enables the poetic imaginings of ethnographers of another culture is not always universally sought after. Perhaps cultural equity will exist when everyone has equal opportunity to access the doing bit of ethnographic research.
Hine’s post makes me ask “What part does silence play in understanding the other?”
If I uderstand Hines' argument - “modernity” includes a predilection for “either/ or answers” and that as a consequence we lose the sense of timeliness “ - Wade Davis seems to explore "timeliness" in his talk about indienous cultures and different ways of knowing. Furthermore Hines suggests that “this 'either/or' tendency is itself a characteristic of a desire for once-and-for-all solutions. “
When I try to understand this thinking in the cultural context of the ict_pd clusters I get quite interesting ideas – In the culture of the ict_pd cluster programme we are always being asked to report against identified solutions -E.g We currently believe that the solutions to successful PD for teachers in integrating ICTs lie in planning, leadership capability and establishing a professional learning community.
After reading Hine on “To be AND not to be” - and listening to Wade Davis I understand that in focusing on either or solutions in the ictpd clusters we have lost a sense of timeliness – lost that sense that “seemingly opposite, things may be right at different moments”
In dismissing the value of understanding the “silence” within a cluster community – the AND - we have neglected the micro "ethnosphere" within the ict clusters -- "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination." within the cluster schools.
By focussing on solution reporting we fail to acknowledge Lucychilis’s “local expression” and “diverse attributes” – we fail to allow the “unique cadence of the dance in every culture” within the ictpd cluster schools .
What would an ictpd milestone report look like if it encouraged expression of “pauses and hesitations” “rhythms and expressions and inflections” “durations and pitches” and “times to be AND not to be” rather than "once and for all solutions" thinking?
Can I make ms_8 a milestone of "delicate openness"?