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 :

  • DusitD2 Khao Yai: Romance in the Hills

    This week we escaped the relentless heats of Thailand’s lower lands, with a stay in Khao Yai, a region not far from Bangkok, which... Read more

    9 hours, 33 minutes ago by   Allanmwilson
    DESTINATIONS, EXPAT, TRAVEL
  • Experience Mexico City From the Top of a Bus

    Experience Mexico City From

    Mexico City is a fascinating and beautiful place to visit.   Everywhere you go there are artworks, murals and sculptures to enjoy as... The post Experience... Read more

    10 hours, 52 minutes ago by   Imogenl
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Experience Mexico City From the Top of a Bus

    Experience Mexico City From

    Mexico City is a fascinating and beautiful place to visit. Everywhere you go there are artworks, murals and sculptures to enjoy as the Mexican's seem to reall... Read more

    10 hours, 52 minutes ago by   Imogenl
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 – Daily Updates – Day 32 – Alan Young

    Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 Daily Updates Alan Young

    Latest news, Multiday News, Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 - Daily Updates - Day 32 Daily Diary Wednesday 19th July ... Read more

    11 hours, 21 minutes ago by   Abichal
    OTHER SPORTS, OUTDOORS
  • Matcha Azuki Mochi Buns

    Matcha Azuki Mochi Buns

    (basic bread recipe adapted from cook kafemaru)Ingredients:110g Blue Jacket Bread Flour40g Blue Jacket Cake Flour1 Tbsp matcha powder1/2 tsp instant yeast1/4 ts... Read more

    11 hours, 39 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Rebel Role Model Podcast with Cynthia Smoot

    Rebel Role Model Podcast with Cynthia Smoot

    Nancy Coblenz or Rebel Role Model with OSC's Cynthia Smoot (May 22, 2017) Rebel Role Model is a new podcast featuring interviews of everyday disruptors... Read more

    The 20 July 2017 by   Ohsocynthia
    DESTINATIONS, LIFESTYLE
  • Movie Review: ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’

    Movie Review: ‘War Planet Apes’

    Movie Review: 'War For The Planet Of The Apes' Plot: Two years after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his tribe of apes... Read more

    The 20 July 2017 by   House Of Geekery
    ENTERTAINMENT, TV & VIDEO