Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knot in My Neck

I have a knot in my neck. Stress.
I went to a party at my neighbour's place yesterday. She is an actress who home-schools her children. She is one of those whacked out New Age people who eat only organic vegan food based on pseudo-scientific theories. Actually, I do not think science has anything remotely to do with what she believes.
I told her I thought I was coming down with a cold and she told me to put 3 drops of oregano oil under my tongue and I would be healed.
I did not know how to respond.
What do you say to that?
I think I said, "Oh yeah," and nodded my head a bit.
It was a party and I did not want to be rude. Besides, I do not think I would be able to dismantle her whole belief structure with a pithy comment.
The place was littered with healing crystals and healing teas and scented healing candles. There was a weird contraption attached to the kitchen faucet. One of the other guests was trying to get a drink of water but it was too complicated for her to figure out how to accomplish this- what should be simple- task. I helped her out and we got to talking about the water. That is when the host came over and explained her new water filtration system.
Apparently water naturally forms into hexagonal shapes and divides itself into acid and alkaline but humans have upset the balance of nature and now we have to use technology to do what should be natural blah, blah, blah, bullshit.
Other guests tasted the water and declared it "clean tasting" and stated that they could really notice the difference.
I said, "It's water."
She spent $4,000 (!) on a nonsense water filtration system.
Then her soon to be ex-husband came in to fill up a few jugs. He is also an actor and comedian.
Youtube Video
He is currently on the tv show "The Air Farce" which is being cancelled this year after a run of about 20 years. He is actually a welcome addition to what I have previously described as "the unfunniest show on television."
I said to him, "You know that's just water, don't you?"
He replied by telling me the plot of the latest James Bond film. *Spoiler alert* Our most precious resource? It's water.
I was confused.
Later in the evening our host told us that she used to be Catholic but now she does not "self-identify" as a Catholic anymore. That is why we were having a pre-solstice party instead of a Christmas party. She is more in tune with pagan beliefs, she told us. I made the comment, "So, you traded in one set of nutty beliefs for another." I don't think she heard me but the sister-in-law beside me laughed.
This experience, and the one at Thursday night's party where a colleague said he found it harder to believe in the scientific explanation of the universe than to believe that it was created by God, have left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of ignorance accepted by, what seems like the majority of society.
What does one do? I do not want to be totally antagonistic but I can't really respect someone who believes such nonsense. That is not true. I can understand how someone could believe something that is not true. If one does not have all the facts and does not have the ability to apply critical thinking skills to the facts which they encounter then they are operating in a deficit situation. My problem is I am hesitant to try to supply fully grown adults with the tools and information they require to see the errors in their thinking. It never turns out well. Look at Socrates.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recalcitrant Meadows

I have not written in a while because I have been busy and I did not know what to write.
The situation has not changed.
Sebastian and I got $50,000 today from Best Buy to buy stuff for our classrooms.
That was pretty cool.
We put together a proposal some time ago and we were wondering why the results had not been released. They were supposed to make a decision about a month ago. It turns out our submission was so good that instead of giving us the top prize of $20,000 they upped it to $50,000. We had a big assembly at the school and put on a bit of a presentation about the CyberARTS program. The kids went wild when they heard the news from the Best Buy guys.
I am at work writing another proposal to HP. The prize is not so grand but a few computers and a projector and a printer are part of the prize.
The problem is they want to know about how technology is used in the classroom to improve education. They want no more than 500 words. I have been draft writing and I am about one third of the way through what I want to say and I have about 700 words. I'll keep at it and then pare it down to the essentials. Hopefully I'll come up with a few good phrases that will make it worth while, whether I win anything or not.

Recalcitrant Meadows.

That popped into my head.