Friday, June 24, 2011

Regarding Information

A great irony of our age:

Information is insanely available. One can, after perusing youtube, change the ball-bearings in your car, fix a washing machine, lay tile, and know the appropriate time to harvest broccoli. One can study investment strategies, language, and art from an unprecedented amount of sources without leaving your living room couch.

In defiance of the basic economic laws of supply and demand, this radical development in human history has occurred alongside the tripling (repeat that: tripling) of the cost of a university education.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Regarding Authority

Authority is a crazy thing.

To change anything, you need it. Yet the amount you have directly correlates with the amount of responsibility one must take if those changes have unintended, or unwelcome, consequences.

And so humanity has a bitter sweet relationship with authority, rejoicing at the freedom it gives one to work change while cursing the heightened expectations laid upon their shoulders.

Fortunately for us, we have created a middle ground.

To work change, criticize those in authority, lambasting them with derision until they do what we expect (or until some other poor fool is willing to take their place with the support of our vote).

The result: A convenient buffer.

When plans that we disagree with go badly, we are able to shake our heads as we stand on the sidelines.

"See Bob, I told you that would happen."

When plans that we agree with go badly, there we are, still shaking our heads on the sidelines.

"See Bob, told you that guy/organization/branch of the government couldn't pull it off. They always bungle everything."

Here is the kicker: on the rare occasion that a plan we actually agree with goes well:

"See Bob, that's why I voted for that guy!"

Its a win-win. Democracy rocks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Regarding Dreams

So recently I had a friend have a huge opportunity open up to him. He was basically handed a fully operating camp at virtually no cost to him.

His response when I asked what he would do: "I'm afraid to do it. I have never done it before."

I have to admit that his answer was refreshingly honest. It still grated me. Grates me still.

Fear, in and of itself, strikes me as a terrible reason to refrain.

Lack of experience is an equally grossly insufficient reason.

From an educators perspective, the reason for this is immediately obvious. Learning cannot take place if the student is unwilling to place themselves to risk. Risk itself is required for learning, be it walking, investing, teaching, driving, or writing. When fear of falling or lack of experience causes one to refrain from the experience, stagnation always results.

Lets take this idea one step farther.

If risk is the necessary starting place for growth, than the size of the dream you currently pursue is the immediate limitation on your own personal potential.

Invest small, reap small. Sow much, reap much.

Failure is inevitable methinks. Its only difference is the form of failure you will encounter: be it stumbling before ones first step, or the failure of a life spent in safety, crawling on all fours for fear of stumbling.