Debate Magazine

Beautiful Things Grow from . . .

By Stevemiranda

I just finished David Shenk’s awesome book, The Genius in All of Us. In Chapter 7, he quotes the legendary musician Brian Eno:

What would be really interesting for people to see is how beautiful things grow out of shit. . . . Nobody ever believes [that it happens that way]. Everybody thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head, that it somehow appeared there and formed in his head, and all he had to do what write them down . . . What would really be a lesson that everybody should learn is that . . . things come out of nothing. Things evolve out of nothing. The tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest, and then, the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing . . .

I think this would be important for people to understand because it gives people confidence in their own lives to know that that’s how things work. If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted, that they have these wonderful things in their head, but you’re not one of them, you’re just sort of . . . a “normal” person. [But with this insight], you could have another kind of life. You could say, “Well, I know that things come from nothing very much and start from unpromising beginnings, and I’m an unpromising beginning—I could start something.”

* * *

I have two responses to this notion. First, I think Eno is right. Second, I think the traditional way we’ve set up schools is in direct opposition to the spirit of his message.

Schools are not designed to make beautiful things grow. They’re designed to help students reach a minimum standard, and to teach students to follow directions. They’re not designed to encourage students to “start something.” (When would they do it? During history class? At lunch?)

* * *

Eno’s sentence, “[Y]ou could have another kind of life” is one that is present with me every day. It reminds of something a parent once said to me when I was teaching in a traditional school. I said that, essentially, my department was in the process of working on a plan that would create a schedule for when we might roll out an improved academic program. She said, “Steve, kids have a shelf life.”

She’s right. While I write this blog post, while Alfie Kohn researches his latest book, while Sir Ken Robinson polishes his next speech, another generation of kids is wrapping up yet another school year. We can pontificate forever about the way schools should be, but it doesn’t add up to much unless we do the important work of growing new and beautiful kinds schools.

This generation of kids could have entirely different lives.

(Join the discussion at www.facebook.com/reeducate. Get updates at www.twitter.com/reeducate.)


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • How To Style Your Shorts in 10 Unique Ways

    Style Your Shorts Unique Ways

    Summers are here and they are in full swing, all we want to do is chill by the beach side. While all of us can’t hit the beach, yet we can definitely bring beac... Read more

    7 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Dreamtechie
    LIFESTYLE
  • Monday Miscellany: Shoes, Shows And Friends

    Monday Miscellany: Shoes, Shows Friends

    The last several weeks have been such a whirlwind of activity, so this weekend I’ve been giving myself the gift of some “down time.” Playing a bit of catch-up... Read more

    7 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Unefemme
    LIFESTYLE
  • Nine Steps to Using a Paddling Pool

    Nine Steps Using Paddling Pool

    Sometimes, you just gotta cool down. These last few days it's been really quite warm, so we've had the paddling pool out for my son to play in. Read more

    7 hours, 26 minutes ago by   Ravenswingthog
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Catrice Long-lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil Review

    Catrice Long-lasting Waterproof Pencil Review

    Hey everyone, what’s up? An eye-pencil is a must have in your vanity. That’s why I love trying out new brands every now and then. Today, I’m going to review... Read more

    7 hours, 54 minutes ago by   Jhilmil D Saha
    HAIR & BEAUTY
  • The Edge

    Edge

    While vacationing at an Alaskan lodge during a photo shoot, a pragmatic, solitary billionaire (Anthony Hopkins)--with a steel trap mind when it comes to... Read more

    7 hours, 55 minutes ago by   Kaiser31083
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • Mike Philbin - Art - Twin Towers 1, 2 and 7

    Mike Philbin Twin Towers

    This most-recent tryptich has a title of "Twin Towers 1, 2 and 7", an obvious and unsubtle allusion to a) the twin towers or pillars of freemasonic egyptologica... Read more

    7 hours, 59 minutes ago by   Freeplanet
    DEBATE, SOCIETY
  • Find a Travel Buddy with Ease and Make Solo Traveling Even Better

    Find Travel Buddy with Ease Make Solo Traveling Even Better

    Traveling solo as a woman has so many advantages. You can go where you wish, keep to your own schedule and spend some times really getting to know yourself. Read more

    8 hours, 30 minutes ago by   Poundtravel
    TRAVEL