Andres Agostini

Andres Agostini
and his locus

Tuesday, February 16, 2010




Emerson indicates that educators do not educate but offer the means of education. I am not trying to educate anyone but myself through these lines. However, most of my wisest colleagues and thoughtful friends are seeking relevant contents. Relevant contents that prove interesting in entertaining their legitimately hungriest minds as they mean well in every purpose. All citations here are accurate to the best of my knowledge. Not even for educational purposes have them been simplified or modified in any way since it is neither my duty nor my nature as of now. Subsequently, quotations have been kept intact and in the state that they have become available to me.

1.- First off, we must establish universal acceptance of the greatest axiom of all times pertaining to the subject matter to be dealt with now. Said axiom establishes: “An ounce of prevention is worth millions of dollars of cure.” In the West we are over-working at the “cure” while under-working at the “prevention.”

2.- Having spoken of prevention, let’s now chat about preventive medicine by using the greatest wisdom of Sir Francis Bacon: “He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.”

3.- Okay, Bacon has spoken loud and clear. People who listen to him benefits greatly. Those who don’t are in shock, bewilderment, and even undergoing times of struggle regardless of the Era. We have the choice to ignore his extreme wisdom or we can accept and practice it thoroughly in every facet of our lives. The undersigned firmly suggests either one or the other, since “gray scales” type of choices will not work for us at all. The term “extreme” sometimes can be optimal. See, for instance, NASA’s effort in sending an unmanned Rover to Mars. Wasn’t that over-perfection after traveling – by means of highly sophisticated telemetry – some 120 million miles into outer space and a perfect landing on Mars?

4.- If we take Bacon’s wisdom literally, we are exploiting the UPSIDE of our life’s risks. If we don’t take Bacon’s wisdom plainly, we are exploiting the DOWNSIDE of our life’s risks.

5.- Supporting the Bacon motion there is that of Dr. Bertrand Russell. This finest Britton, supporting further Bacon’s motion (under 2, 3, and 4), indicated: “I know more people who prefer to die than to think.” Intellectual laziness is a topic heavily studied and addressed by advanced scientists? Why? Because people prefer to commit suicide than thinking, thus making such a terrible situation an indispensable matter to be thought through by society at large. The idea is simply getting people in deep, systematic thinking forever. Ancients Greeks told us about lavishly but we insist on proving them wrong (which we’ll never get our way!)

6.- As I really wish to offer you every possibility of hope and optimism, rigor calls upon me to exhaust the downsides so that said downsides eventually become UPSIDES. Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller will be making their great ensuing contributions. Einstein: “It has become appallingly obvious that OUR TECHNOLOGY HAS EXCEEDED OUR HUMANITY … WE SHALL REQUIRE A SUBSTANTIALLY NEW MANNER OF THINKING IF MANKIND IS TO SURVIVE.”

7.- Supporting Einstein motion, Buckminster Fuller reminds us of the following: “Either war is obsolete, or men are.” Very respectful opinions that of Russell, Einstein, and Buckminster Fuller. But the German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, reiterates that if we change the present we can change the future, and if we change the future – as well as the way we proactively and qualitatively envision and practice it through futuristic scenario methods – we will be changing the present in fact and taking increasing control over the negative circumstances that impact us so dramatically. In actuality, we must change both the PRESENT and the FUTURE simultaneously and at once. The PRESENT’s vest interest into the FUTURE is too huge not to note it immediately. Nietzsche, thereby, stated exactly: "It’s our future that lays down the law of our today." Can a prominent USA president make a difference and yet further support the Nietzsche motion? I think so. Ensuing:

8.- Theodore Roosevelt, a lifelong and topflight statesman concerned about making the best out of his mind and that of his constituents, established: "All the resources we need are in the mind." Dr. Carl Sagan, notwithstanding acknowledging the wisdom by Nietzsche and Roosevelt, really wishes making a point of his own next.

9.- So Sagan made his motion public, which basically indicates that if we embrace serious knowledge progressively, we will build great hope for the world. Without euphemisms, in this case “world” is an analogous term to “the people” and “by/for the people” worldwide. He said: “The greatest danger for the survival of the present civilization is neither atomic war, nor environmental pollution, nor the exploitation of natural resources, and nor present crises. The underlying cause to all of the above is the acceleration of man’s obsolescence … The only hope seems to be an electroshock program to re-instill to the current adults the competencies required to function adequately under a mode of perpetual change. This is a profound need – the immeasurable challenge – that is presented by the modern society to adult education.” Emerson and Wernher von Braun understand Sagan, but Braun really wishes to make a more hopeful and viable point.

10.- Wernher von Braun offers his great concern about education, which is quite practical to put into a bigger perspective what Sagan has stated. Therefore, Sagan summarized it this way: “…The average citizen today, of course, has far more scientific information at his disposal than did those greatest of intellects of earlier times. Yet paradoxically, I think that THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A GREATER NEED FOR INCREASED UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION OF SCIENCE. It has been said that, although the choice of direction for our civilization will be determined through democratic process, it is there that the problem begins. TO MAKE RATIONAL CHOICES, THE AVERAGE CITIZEN MUST UNDERSTAND THE NATURE AND ROLE OF SCIENCE AT A TIME WHEN ITS BREADTH AND COMPLEXITY ARE INCREASING ALMOST EXPONENTIALLY .... Conversely, the scientist, at a time when he can barely keep up to date in his specialty, must not isolate himself in his parochial interest. Instead, he should see his profession as a part of the larger world, to evaluate himself and his work in relation to all forces, especially the humanities, which shape and advance society. THE NEED, THEN, IS FOR AN EDUCATIONAL PROCESS RESULTING IN MORE SCIENTIFIC LITERACY FOR THE LAYMAN, AND MORE LITERACY IN THE HUMANITIES FOR THE SCIENTISTS .... Man in this scientific age is free only to the extent that he has a grasp on himself and his surroundings. FREEDOM – THE ABILITY TO SPEAK, THINK, ACT, AND VOTE INTELLIGENTLY – is based largely on our ability TO MAKE CHOICES growing out of our understanding of the issues involved. With each advance of science, there is an invitation to more understanding. This is the essence of the burden borne by all peoples since the dawn of humanity. There must be widespread understanding of the role of science in modern society, both as to its limits and our dependence on its basic function as a tool for our survival. This is the imperative for scientific literacy .... How do we encourage scientific literacy? I THINK THE PROBLEM IS HOW TO INSTILL IN STUDENTS A PERMANENT DESIRE TO LEARN. All youth is endowed with curiosity from the very beginning. What can education process do, not only to keep this natural curiosity alive, but to make it a permanent part of the individual drive? … Students should be encouraged, beyond learning facts, to be intrigued by objects and events in their environment, as well as to become aware of and responsive in a positive manner to beauty and orderliness in their environment. THEY SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO WILLINGLY SUBJECT THEIR DATA AND IDEAS TO CRITICISM OF THEIR PEERS WHILE ACQUIRING A CRITICAL, QUESTIONING ATTITUDE TOWARD INFERENCES, HYPOTHESES AND THEORIES. Early in education, they should be led to recognize the limitations of scientific modes of inquiry and the need for additional, quite different approaches to the quest for reality … ULTIMATELY, THEY SHOULD BE INSTILLED WITH AN APPRECIATION FOR THE INTERRELATEDNESS OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY .... This is essentially the scientific method. By learning the scientific method, students will understand its role in society and at the same time to think for themselves. LEARNING TO THINK FOR ONESELF, IN TURN, IMPARTS A DEEP SENSE OF FREEDOM. ONCE TESTED, AN APPETITE FOR IT IS FORMED WHICH MAY WELL ENDURE THROUGHOUT LIFE .... But if our young people are going to gain the appetite, our schools, our colleges, our universities, must bear an ever greater responsibility. ALL TOO MANY TIMES IN THE PAST, EDUCATION – PARTICULARLY IN THE SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES – HAS PLACED EXTREMELY HEAVY EMPHASIS ON TRANSMITTING THE ESTABLISHED KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST. THERE HAS BEEN A TENDENCY FOR TEACHERS TO ASSIGN, AND TO ENCOURAGE ROTE LEARNING, INSTEAD OF TAKING THE ADMITTEDLY MORE DIFFICULT PATH OF ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES .... THE MAINSPRING OF SCIENCE IS CURIOSITY. SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL, THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MEN AND WOMEN WHO FELT A BURNING DESIRE TO KNOW WHAT WAS UNDER THE ROCK, BEYOND THE HILLS, ACROSS THE OCEANS. THIS RESTLESS BREED NOW WANT TO KNOW WHAT MAKES AN ATOM WORK, THROUGH WHAT PROCESS LIFE REPRODUCES ITSELF, OR WHAT IS THE GEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE MOON.”

11.- Ralph Waldo Emerson – in an attempt to synthesizing Braun’s magnificent contribution – succinctly yet brilliantly writes: “Man hopes; Genius creates.” Emerson motion is in its entirety supported by Charles Darwin, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” As you make your knowledge more driven by you and as per the goal, objectives, and results expected from you and by yourself, the smarter you will become without a fail. The more intelligent you become, the much better at solving problems – regardless of how simple or complex they are – you’ll become more successful in ever dimension of life. Becoming truly intelligent is a bit of a struggle but it also fully winnable, educational, and enjoyable. And in my opinion no one can contradict Emerson on such an important theme. In some strange form, though with a positive outcome, Dr. Knowles wishes to confirm the exactness of the Emerson motion by using his words in a different way now. In matters of education, I habitually suggest researching the life of Dr. Burrhus Frederic Skinner, ˝Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” If we ignore education and above all self-education, we end up ignoring our own survival literally. Dr. Henry Kissinger – backing Braun, Emerson, and Darwin with his own words –addresses it here: "An ignored issue is an invitation to a problem."

12.- Dr. Malcolm S. Knowles, Ph.D. stated: “The greatest danger for the survival of the present civilization is neither atomic war, nor environmental pollution, nor the exploitation of natural resources, and nor present crises. The underlying cause to all of the above is the acceleration of man’s obsolescence … The only hope seems to be an electroshock program to re-instill to the current adults the competencies required to function adequately under a mode of perpetual change. This is a profound need – the immensurable challenge – that is presented by the modern society to adult educator.” This might sound a bit worrying but if we reverse the challenges he mentions (which are quite reversible by far), we can prevail. A compatriot of Dr. Knowles, and former president of the United States, wishes to offer his insight thus underpinning the motions by Emerson and Knowles. Practical, actionable, mobilizing, and theoretical education are important because of the means to overcome and supersede any increasing obstacle as Einstein proved by claiming: "A problem can never be solved at the same level of knowledge that was created." But if you use the highest order level of knowledge systemically, you can win.

13.- Thomas Jefferson let us know: ̋I prefer the stories of the future than history.˝ You see, an indeed conscientious futurist always thinks through doing all his risks FIRST to then accede to doing all his futures and the benefits stemming from said futures SECOND. I believe Jefferson was America’s first, foremost, and most responsible futurologist. In high spirits and under great responsibility, he added: “Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.”

14.- Then a great Britton and American came along to support Thomas Jefferson motion to the fullest. His name is Winston Spencer Churchill. Yes, he was Prime Minister of the U.K. and became American through an enacted law by the U.S. Congress. And, in his time, Sir Winston Churchill lucidly asserted the following: "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind." In supporting the Churchill motion, Bonaparte asserted: “Imagination rules the world.” Then, Machado (from Spain) made his motion in supporting further and yet in a subtle way the Churchill motion.

15.- Antonio Machado established: “An eye is not an eye because you see it; an eye is an eye because it sees you.” Going even further than Machado regarding what grants a person the maximum possible own visibility of the world (cosmosvision — i.e., weltanschauung), the Panchatantra (body of Eastern philosophical knowledge) offers us a maxim: “Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes.” Then Bernard d'Espagnat finds a middle-ground for the motions by Machado and the Panchatantra by saying: "Even if the Universe is a little myopic is true that, more than others, MEN OF SCIENCE ARE ITS EYES."

16.- The father of American management – and that of management spread throughout the world – wishes to make an optimistic point and a word of caution that is “fine tuned-up” with all of the current work. I am referring to Peter Drucker, “Things that have already happened but whose consequences have not been realized [because they were not imagined, considered, or envisioned by disciplined foresight and far-sight, early on as their driving forces were coming together and gaining critical mass] … Don’t confuse movement with progress.” Furthering the Drucker position, a great American Nobel laureate is bound to amalgamating this motion. I mean James D. Watson, Ph.D.

17.- Briefly, Napoleon Bonaparte is a much greater activist of EDUCATION than of waging war. He really makes some points that are extremely valuable and timeless. He stated: “…Education, strictly speaking, has several objectives: one needs to learn how to speak and write correctly, which is generally called grammar and belles letters. Each lyceum has provided for this object, and there is no well-educated man who has not learned his rhetoric .... After the need to speak and write correctly comes the ability to count and measure. The lyceums have provided this with classes in MATHEMATICS embracing arithmetical and MECHANICAL KNOWLEDGE IN THEIR DIFFERENT BRANCHES .... They will continue their [initial] course of construction. In the third class students would pursue their STUDIES IN HYDRAULIC ARCHITECTURE, CIVIL and military. They would busy themselves with the most complicated part of construction and LEARN EVERYTHING NECESSARY to direct and superintend the construction of a fort. They would take cognizance of the details of foundries, mines, etc. ... This portion of the military art (the same art waged through most surviving, competing, and prevailing midsize and large for-a-profit organizations, those organizations that have taken the hyperbolic stance of ‘war games’) is classified among the PHYSIO-MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES, … Students having completed one course in mechanics know nearly everything that they must understand and apply… It is appropriate therefore to strive above everything else, and not as one of the foremost foundations of the instruction, to see that each student executes the manual of arms and all of the maneuvers of artillery better than a veteran soldier, that he is skilled in large practice and HAS PERFECT KNOWLEDGE of the employment of artillery … Old sergeants will not be jealous of these young officers when they never have to teach them anything.”

18.- Watson tells in Charlie Rose show, originally aired in 2009, a very relevant and constructive thought for our greater enlightenment with hope: "Science gives society a great sense of decisive freedom." Watson motion gets amplified by the luminescent assertion by Arthur C. Clarke: “We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 – and half of the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20?” In supporting all motions – without being contradictory – Otto Herman Khan, German-American whose contributions are beyond the sine qua non quality these days, takes a final pondering by indicating: “Clearly, the first task is to gain acceptance of a more reasonable view of the future, one that opens possibilities rather than forecloses them.”


British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli staged in the world of knowledge a wonderful reflection. To this end his contributions are world-class and numerous. Once known that he was elected for public office, a journalist asked him: “What will you first government action be?” Disraeli readily responded: “I will send my best friend to Australia.” “To the antipodes? What for?,” the journalist asked. “So my friends tell me how my administration here is seen from there,” Disraeli most accurately responded.

Disraeli’s intellect was immense. And he also was a “future-frendly” type of a prominent large-scale CEO. In his mentioning of Australia, one could – playing through serious critico-creative thinking – envision that Disraeli was actually thinking about sending his best friend into the future. So that said friend could gain – in ample foresight – the most reliable feedback (kind-of public opinion ratings) way in advance from the locus where the broadest perspective can be gained at the maximum and the easiest and the earliest.

General Francisco de Miranda – an outsider with a Londoner’s heart, mind, and a British wife in the nineteenth century fighting against the Spanish army in the Americas – stated a phrase that greatly bolsters the brief and yet lucid dialogue held by Disraeli above. Miranda said: “Time is the context by means of which action is delivered.” In the mean time and proceeding with the combined and constructive forces of all of the above wisdom, let’s pay attention to W. Clement Stone who asserted, “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

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