In special education, the ability to innovate with practical ways of developing and strengthening neural connectivity that leads to new ‘thinking pathways,’ even alternative sequences of thinking process that create new mental perspectives, is both easy and challenging. The vast majority of Special Educators are stationed within a formal classroom environment, and thus, must work within the physical parameters of the school building and the individual educational plan agreed to in team meetings. Should the Special Educator adapt to more entrepreneurial outlooks, allowing for themselves to take on a much more independent thinking style in line with that of what is known as the ‘clinical educator?’
Taking license from the entrepreneurial mode of production, clinical educators look first unto observing, reflecting, and studying how their own instructional approach, as a series of methods, strategies, mindsets, and fine-tuning of their professional relationship with those they teach, can be made better, tailored, or even discarded, if not useful. Surely, in time, successful instructional patterns that are effective and efficient are set in place and the clinical social educator enters a mode ofinstructional production that appears to be somewhat static and unchanging. How much ‘innovation’ is practical and demanded largely depends on how the educator works. That is to say, a self-employed Special Educator must continue to innovate in order to stay novel, whereas a school-based educator, who’s pay is fixed, enjoys a degree of guaranteed salary every month, and as such, the performance measures, though they carry similitudes, do vary in scope.
The notion of educating the whole person
Without recreating the wheel, I have carefully introduced a form of Tai-Chi dancing movement, or a very sober, meditative, mindful movement of the body to music that delivers a cognitive-physical workout, and deepens a sense of inner growth for an individual. It is my current understanding that the meditative mindset profoundly affects the practitioner from the inside-out, and the outside-in simultaneously. I see that we can then change our mental, emotional, and physical state of being through this meditative, movement therapy, making space for a new neural rhythmic story that can reverse engineer either the creation of new neural synaptic growth connections, or re-extend old ones into stronger forms, leading to increased cognitive wherewithal.
That said, I caution myself to move beyond this gentle,Tai-Chi movement therapy story dance into a full-blown practice of martial arts as an instructional method, less I serve as a catalyst for an aggressive style of teaching not in line with my own goals as a teacher and person. Hacking cognitive -physical growth through the advent of creating physical warriors is not a pursuit, but innovating with new activities that are practical, novel, and community-oriented is. Hence, though Tai-Chi itself is a gentle, martial art that is integrated by many, even senior citizens, my instructional focus on the development of the whole person, that they be themselves mindful stewards in the building of others and community, stops the forward-march of placing emphasis on ‘martial art’ as a means to harness neural connectivity, and banks on the establishment of inculcating the more gentle, meditative story dance, as a strategy that allows for a gentle mindset that is friendly to self and to others.
In that spirit, I see no foul in borrowing even from various heritages of meditative dance movement. Capoeira, the historic slave dance of African-South Americans living in Brazil hid an expansive range of physical motions according to music that takes an individual to the brink of physical self-defense, yet staying in the realm of dance. The slaves would practice such maneuvers to retain an inner liberty, and stay alert on a very internal level though they were in a state of human bondage. Such a practice led these slaves to the fortifying and maintaining of their cognitive-physical ‘wherewithal,’ and created a community of art and culture that addressed such abstract human needs as nourishing their very souls.
In my work, I do not teach Tai-Chi, nor Capoeira, but I do lightly borrow from these, as I do from Afro-Cuban salsa, and modern dance moves, all in keeping with the careful observance of what effect such innovation is having on the student. The clinical educator
in me, ever present, asks again and again, how is this helpful, where is it leading the student, how can I make it better, how can it serve to empower the individual to be a community-builder of others, and what is the goal.
1. Who can understand economic oppression without the benefit of a solid education? Who can know how to see opportunity in the absence of an educational curriculum that shapes a lop-sided professional?
2. How can the quality of education, differing across America, lead to different individual outcomes for people?
3. Is it possible that not all education is of the same quality, leading towards the same purpose, and that their are advantageous gains for students in elite, private schools, as compared to inner city public schools?
4. What are powerful, positive actions that can accelerate the social and economic realities of an American citizenry, wherein all are afforded the finest educational supports needed to fully access the opportunities?
5. How would the raising of outspoken, critically-minded citizens be deemed beneficial to society?
6. Should we not have more citizens in tune, in participation, and in conversation regarding how the country moves forward?
The whole person must be taught to be as independent as possible, that they may have skills sufficient to not simply be professionals in one field, but have wherewithal to shift, integrate and create a number of opportunities for themselves. Parameters such as the social-economic conditions of the surrounding community of a school, class sizes, teacher training and teacher salary, as well as the clear purpose of the instructional curriculum all lead to different end goals for students.
As of late, the educational mantra across the United States of America is to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four subjects are all left brain thinking, with art, music, and physical education playing eternal catch up, with the exception of dedicated schools here and there within public and private school systems that mainly focus on the arts. We must teach the whole individual though, not simply their left brain hemisphere, across the country through our mainstream public schools.
Creating professionals that are great employees does not make for a robust economy that can be dynamic, but a continuation of economic system that is largely led by those fortunate enough to have attained to the best schooling. We must change that. Creating art and music ARE very important right brain hemisphere activities that bring about respite to people’s hearts and minds, yet these are left to those who can afford it. Entrepreneurship and political science both favor creative, individual thought and are very much community-focused in their regard for self and others. The teaching of both would invariably lead to social entrepreneurship, but these are top-shelf educational subjects not given the value that the ‘STEM’ subjects enjoy. Educational curriculums cannot obtusely focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but on those four subjects AND:
These five subjects listed are not to supplant science, technology, engineering, and math, but to compliment them as equal subjects. Those educational environments that understand the value of teaching the whole person will create the best leaders, and the rest will work for them. Our current social-economic American system of society is not being steered correctly because we are accustomed to living in the moment. Discourse on the enhancement of education on a national level is largely not had, or it is not adequately given the best points of reference, in order to have the better conversation.
Political science is incredibly important. It is not simply the study of history and social theory, but the study of what makes a society, how it is created, what can downgrade it, how different forces influence it, how it interacts with other societies, how government works within themselves, with other governments on the local and international level, how individuals relate to their government, how they can be positive transformers of it, all this is political science. It is not the study of how to be a politician; it is the sharpening of a intuitive understanding of community and all the interrelationships that make it happen. It is a study that leads to an understanding of the scaffolding and framework of the systems we live in, and such knowledge is power.
With such full knowledge that extends beyond being professionals in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, we awaken a renaissance mindset on an individual level. From this platform, people become more dynamic in how they operate as professionals and citizens of the American republic. Music is a language. Art is a perspective. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, a mindset. Political science is an observation and a reflection that can lead towards informed action. These undervalued subjects of study develop thinking skills, writing, speaking, and new ways of addressing problems.
We need to make people be smarter.
1. Develop critical thinkers, less their very hearts and minds be enslaved to every whim and desire laid before them, enticing their time, their focus, and altogether,…. their purpose.
2. Develop critical thinkers who exercise the outspoken thoughtfulness needful in the American republic that is one nation under God, and you gently raise up a nation from the sides of the earth that is not merely content with making a living, but making a living that is connected to make living better for others.
3. Raise up new generations of community participators, versed, not in in the purpose of exchanging intellectual duel, but in the thoughtful, focus of building community, and of building individuals.
4. Raise up a new standard in the deliverance of an honest education, ingrain it with the valuing and practice of public speaking and of analytical writing, place the understanding of how society is formed, how it is impacted, how it is downtrodden, and how it us uplifted, and we raise up a mindful citizenry that is increasingly, non-tribal, non-political, and a champion of human rights.
Can such a change be made? Perhaps it may be too late for many who are set in their ways. In the time of Moses, God basically only allowed those aged twenty and under to enter the ‘promised land.’ None of the original people, except Caleb, Joshua, their families and the family of Moses set foot in that land of Canaan. It may be so that some people are simply not going to change, nor have the economic and social opportunity to do so anymore. But we can still teach non-tribal, non-agenda, non-political critical thinking to each new generation of human being, and this can change society in ten to twenty years. Suddenly, the conscious mindfulness of a very alert citizenship would be raising questions, thoughts and discussion on a scale never before experienced across America.
“What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference— so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ.”
‘A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,’ 1845.
I find it not robbery to call this man of black skin color, a great-grandfather of the American spirit, as it is one nation under God. I find it not robbery to call him a spiritual brother. Having passed away in 1895, Frederick Douglass’s legacy is only now beginning to surface from beneath the historical record piling; surfacing unscathed as a magnanimous force aligned with God’s providence. His labor for God’s narrative on human rights was given no surety of fruition in a land long accustomed to the industrialization of humans as commodities. I see not a black man. I do not see a man born of an impoverished African-American slave woman and a wealthy white slave-master. No. I see a man of God— hotter than fire for others,—not singed by the flames of God, but emboldened to ascribe liberty to his circumstances, and then that of others.
He, himself, a bishop of souls through his oratory and written word, through the example of his life, a critical thinker in acquiescence to God’s will, speaks through his works as if right next to our heart, a human being who’s life was in peril of death, of slavery, of intellectual deprivation, of being outcast from a Christian land, even as he himself was a shining Christian in form and deed. Gentle into that good night of complacency he did not go, nor did he rage with unruly passion in his speech and word, but studied his time, measured his cadence, and controlled the release of his message to the people of the United States of America. What is a ‘modern day’ Christian, but a nomad for sale in a dark spiritual land, which no eye can see, save the awakened eyes of the lively spirit? Are we not continuously distracted and sliding backwards in the warmth of complacency?Are we not continuously distracted with the pursuit of happiness, rather than the pursuit of God and his Way—
God, the Great Shepard of souls,of hearts, minds, and of body. What is an awakened Christian, but an ancient pilgrim formed before the foundations of the world— What is a Christian belonging to Christ, but a harmless dove, clever as the Serpent; called to endure with long suffering, daily rejoicing with sacrifices of joy daily putting on armor doing finished works, preordained as ancient soldiers and ‘freed slaves’ to the Lord,walking in the liberty of a life ransomed forever from a second death..
God Put a Lively Spirit in Him
Frederick Douglass put stock into Abraham Lincoln at a time when there was no forward-path to bringing a solution on how to end slavery. It was the soul and the Godly spirit, the self-educated mindset of Douglass that binded onto the U.S. Federal Government, if such a union can be, saving the American dream from four hundred years of horrendous human slavery.To his inheritance, the Lord of Lords, the very King of Kings sais through Jeremiah in Chapter 1, verse 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
“For, behold, I have made thee this day a defended city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land…and they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” 1:18a and 19.
God saved America using Frederick Douglass as his instrument, making him a ‘defenced city,’ even ‘an iron pillar’ to keep His Word, to strengthen himself through His Word, and to stay in tune to His Word; that in doing so, God would use him to bring light through the perfect law of liberty unto a people who had lost their way in the four centuries of enslavement of fellow brothers and sisters. But ask Mr. Douglass of the social isolation and the spiritual divide as a fellow Christian, and you may be surprised to be answered through the work of his life, that he brought forth sacrifices of joy, not in open laughter and jest, but in his continuance of reaching out to the hearts and minds through his speech and word, and then, in striking contrast to the abolitionist of his time, through the leveraging of his oratory and writing into political action. His form of Christianity followed God’s Word devoid of the trappings of earthly Christianism. He was no preacher, but he was surely a teacher and, yes, bishop to many souls. Yes, Frederick Douglass traded the physical bread he had as a seven year old boy for coins to purchase his first book, a collection of essays and short literary excerpts (The Columbian Orator, by Caleb Bingham) of the great orators throughout time, ranging from George Washington to Cicero. His friendships with white-skinned children of the street in his childhood had none of the racial prejudices besetting the country of the time, though he was a slave, and they were freeborn. They empathized with him and he was able to begin his onward march to teach himself to read and write. Together with Judeo-Christian holy scripture, these two books were the creators of his dynamism, and his ancient form of Christianity, which he wore proudly on his sleeve, as if to say, ‘no sir, I am no slave, but an eternal man of God.’It is this pure, ‘tried in the fire seven times’ form of Christianity that served as the vehicle of faithful, integral, confidence— making Frederick Douglass a commanding intellectual Christian, if not a force of God, precisely at a time when the United States of America was tumbling down from the golden achievements of its independence.
“As thou knows not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:”
Are not the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights derived from a foundation in the Judeo-Christian holy scripture?
Does not the abortion industry place itself as the standard of international morality, seating itself as if it were the God of family?
Central to the corporate abortion industry taking this position is that the women has what has been called ‘reproductive rights.’ The woman’s rights suffragist movement of the 19th and 20th century was co-opted and craftily displaced by a eugenics movement that found strong footing in the 1920s. From this vantage point, the eugenicist began to move in a completely different and secularist direction by taking political action to secure formal power.
In defending itself, eugenics proponents used womanhood as a shield, claiming that the ‘woman’ was being trampled under male chauvinism, and with the use of money and media, it effectively campaigned for political action, even beginning to take elected office power in local and national government, showing itself to be a growing dominance in America, hereforto never before seen. From this seat of power and media influence, the eugenicist gained enough power, allowing it fifty years later to assume the throne as the defacto covert head of the traditional family, not only displacing man from his seat, but shouting him down from the family hierarchy as created by God.
Has the corporate abortionist industry creating its own informal judicial lineage, placing itself on top and individual women playing as its ‘second fiddle pawn judges’ of what happens to the human in their body?
Has this not emasculated the man’s role as an equal procreator?
How has this displacement of the man as the head decision maker in the familial relational dynamic negatively disrupted the traditional family unit in the last fifty years? The husband and wife are to reverence each other, with the husband treating the wife with the utmost love and respect, and yet, our abortion law has dethroned the husband and father, placing not even the women as the head of the household, but placing the corporate abortion industry itself as an abominable overseer of the family, with the woman being but a pretense to the corporate body structure of abortionism.
Abortionism itself has assumed full power in family planning, even reaching as far as performing a coup de état upon placing elected officials totaling more than 99% of all Democrat Political Party congressional seats, and directly and indirectly supporting the taking of congressional seats in the Republican Party. Thus, the eugenics ideology of abortionism is tantamount to having near absolute control of the government and the creation and upholding of the American family.
Their coup de état becomes complete with their soft control of the informational propagandization through all established media outlets and academic institutions starting in grade school, either directly orchestrating that these emphatically support an abortionist America, or placing such pressure as to limit the calls from less subservient media outlets to protect the sanctity of life.
Should we have the right to kill ourselves at the stage of life where we live in the womb?
Should fathers have legal parental consent choice in the ending of a child in the womb?
What are the numbers and percentages of woman from different ethnicities who get abortions? Is it so that people of African-American and Hispanic heritage compromise the majority of the human abortions performed on a daily basis on U.S. soil?
Is it proper and rational that individuals and organization of individuals may unite and object to the legal ability for human beings to have their lives ended when they are children in the womb? What kind of response should be coming from any citizen who believes that the United States of America is “one nation under God, with God calling the human life in the womb “a child?”
If the United States is one nation under God, then not even the U.S. Supreme Court has the authority or constitutional right to override the Word of the Judeo-Christian God in proclaiming human abortion to be legal on U.S. soil. Our ‘founding fathers’ repeatedly proclaimed the need to be a Godly-driven nation, and that in the absence of this faith being our focal point, that the nation would not long endure.
Given the daily average abortion kill rate on U.S. soil that hovers at about 5,000 murders, recently initiated federal investigations into the business practices of the leading abortion company on U.S. soil and the prioritization and discourse given by U.S. Supreme Court judges unto such a longstanding source of national discussion of such social-political contention need start, and not be done separate from what God sais is already a child in the womb. We are not a secular society, but a Judeo-Christian society that tolerates a secular population, as well as multiple religious cultures on our land.
“Outspoken critical thinkers are…individuals who understand the value of thinking objectively, fairly and altruistically as they observe, analyze and conclude in their assessments. They then use the written and spoken word as the vehicle in which to share their insights. “
The most formidable force in the world has never been through the blast of the cannon, nor the effect of the bullet. It has not been found in the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, or the release of violent combat. No… the most formidable force is the power of the word. Through its effective use, hearts and minds can be moved to move mountains, change laws, proclaim the freedom of an entire people, bring empires to heel, and change the direction and ways of nations.
Truly, life should not be purposed to seek the wielding of social and political power. That is not being advocated here. The ability of a massive number of individuals to write and speak persuasively on a nation-wide scale helps dilute the power of the word as it is invested in an elitist few, and delivers a strengthening of democracy starting from the bottom up. What is implied is that a sharp increase in the number of American citizens who are not merely professionals in a given trade or industry, but also active participants in the shaping and auto-correcting of our democracy would raise our country, one from many, to a new level of intellectual operation nothing short of a non-violent revolution.
The perceived, yet false danger to an established social-political system in raising free-thinking, critical thinkers is that they tend to be non-tribal and in favor of individual advocacy. In the best of cases, critical thinkers create more critical thinkers. Bringing about un-indoctrination thinking releases hearts and minds from a binary-thinking mode of ‘us versus them,’ and creates a platform of ‘we the awakened intellectual people.’ Critical thinking sharpens non-tribal thinking and intellectual confidence, as it does foresight and intuition. The individual gains ground as an intellectual force over any type of collective, tribalist-thought social construct, even sidestepping the continuance of such a system. Moral, non-tribal, critical thinkers are consistent altruistic advocates of revitalizing social, political, and economic life in a community. They are listeners, leaders, and informational-content creators. They protect foundational truths, bring to light grievances, tear down falsities, and stand in the face of steep opposition.
“Moral, non-tribal, critical thinkers are consistent altruistic advocates of revitalizing social, political, and economic life in a community. They are listeners, leaders, and informational-content creators. They protect foundational truths, bring to light grievances, tear down falsities, and stand in the face of steep opposition.”
Consider the work of all the prophets in the Judeo-Christian holy scripture. Some were kings, while others led very difficult lives, many a times at odds with the prevailing cultural norms of the local and national communities they lived in. If you can believe it, God sent them to proclaim a return to His Way with his Word and even to stand fast in patience and long suffering the wrongful wrath and disdain of many. Throughout the history of recorded humanity, and especially in the last 5,000 years of recorded history (starting with Moses recording of the first five books of scripture), we have had the memorialized stories of men and women (Queen Esther, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, David, the Lord Jesus Christ, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Mohandas Ghandi, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Karol Jozef Wojtyla, and Mother Teresa), who have stopped the directions of cultures, been sources of righteousness, created empathy in oceans of apathy; having done so mainly through the power of the spoken and written word. Surely, Moses led a standing army and Queen Esther’s story included the slaughter of thousands, King David was known for his leadership in armed battle, John Adams-the second President of the United States of America, was the foremost sustaining revolutionary energy in the Continental Congresses through his power and use of words as a public speaker. For all these, the ability to persuade others was due to their effective use of words and paraverbal (how you say what you say) dominance, if not divine will as well.
Outspoken critical thinkers are then individuals who understand the value of thinking objectively, fairly and altruistically as they observe, analyze and conclude in their assessments. They then use the written and spoken word as the vehicle in which to share their insights.
bring about valuable discussion
re-prioritize such discussion in accordance to fundamental human values
squelch attempts to remove or obfuscate the cultural value of the critical thinker in a society
It is then that this kind of individual is viewed as a non-conformist, and that can be deemed as an unsettling and negatively disruptive counterweight to any prevailing hierarchical social order.
Taking on the educational development of outspoken critical thinkers in the American educational public school system may never catch on given that it could quickly create what would be ‘misconstrued’ as an abundance of unwanted expression and political division from current social-political norms. Youth and young adults would be taught a default method of critical thinking based on a lack of understanding of the instructional parameters.
“All of a sudden, parents and entire communities could see their children go from being on the political social-leftto being on the political individual-right, and that would be a political failure for binary, tribalist politics.”
For example, the political slant of a community would impress itself upon the student-learning as the ‘winning-social-economic-political ideology,’ in contrast to the community, its scholastic teachers and school administrators allowing the free-thinking practice of understanding and questioning the politics of communities and how these shape thinking. All of a sudden, parents and entire communities could see their children go from being on the political social-leftto being on the political individual-right, and that would be a political failure for binary, tribalist politics. Such a reality would not be allowed to flourish in its entirety and would be co-opted at a given point to grow critical thinking skills in younger generations, yet slant these intellectual powerhouses towards the favoring of local social-political-economic views.
It is then that the American public school system’s attempt to literally introduce critical thinking as a stand alone instructional curriculum on par with science, technology, engineering, and math would be railroaded at key points in order to secure the livelihood of the social-political structure.Hence, public school systems would not seek to understand or value the shaping of generations of freethinking leaders who can be team players, but generations of ideological followers who can be team players. Exceptions or anomalies to this rule do happen, but by and large, instructional methods are aligned in accordance to social-political ideological thinking of that prevails, in most of our academic institutions, and that is a leftist leaning perspective. Unfortunately, the system in public schools indirectly supports the continuance of an ‘us versus them’ binary thinking, and indirectly supports the allowance of a continual creation of an elitist professional leadership over and over again.
Generally speaking, the wealthiest families are able to send their children to the best private schools, wherein, the future leaders of industry and economy are created. Public schools tend towards creating professionals who conform and follow the social-political system in place. In contrast, the most elite private schools teach towards ingraining a sense of confidence, decisiveness, and intellectual agility. Same people, different learning environments. A lopsided development occurs where a vast majority of the ‘educated’ population is routinized into being receptive and passive citizen professionals, whereas an elite few are taught to be industrious social, economic and political leaders. It is a binary hierarchy based on two basic educational empowerment approaches.
“A lopsided development occurs where a vast majority of the ‘educated’ population is routinized into being receptive and passive citizen professionals, whereas an elite few are taught to be industrious social, economic and political leaders.”
Unless, public school administrators, teachers, and parents call for and institute a change in this perspective, their student populations are largely taught (through default) to:
work within the social-political-economic system
not cultivated in thinking to question the scaffolding of the social-political-economic order
not taught to stand alone in a non-conformist intellectual position advocating for an improvement of the prevailing system
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes
The solution to positively disrupt such an order is both responsible and mutually beneficial to all people across our cultural strata, yet negatively detrimental to the existing order of operation. It is not to be feared though. Teaching people to be critical thinking advocators alongside science, technology, engineering, and math makes for a revitalized democracy of citizens who:
Are increasingly non-tribal
Observe, question, and use the written word to add informational content to the local and national social-economic-political conversation.
Gravitate towards the defense of human rights through the defense of the rights of the individual citizen
are confident in joining, adding, or bringing correction to the local-national conversation
increasingly decisive and intellectually agile in understanding what the true issues are, what they should be
tend to seek out how society can function better, how the physical environment can be cared for, and what kind of solutions can be brought forth towards the issues
Such a shift brings about a revolutionary change in society through the favoring of intellectual empowerment, rather than reactionary reflexes, like physical violence, and falling back into calls for political tribalism based on ideology.Through the favoring of mindfully teaching the use of our thinking side, instead of our reacting side, we send a message that ‘people power’ is not found in the indoctrination of people at the individual level, that they then become tribalist followers, but in the un-indoctrination through the inculcating of critical thinking that leads to social, economic, and political advocacy.
The singular obstacle to the realization of this shift is a complacency to not rock the boat. The forms of information production and distribution are solely owned by an elite minority of people, as is the power of influence from entities and organizations who fund or are protected through the remaining of the social-political status quo. These may be already benefiting from the prevailing construct, and would not be akin to change what is already working for them. Hence, given their direct and indirect control over what information is distributed, for how long focus is kept on each topic, and how informational content is managed to affect our culture, the aims described herein can and are suppressed and dismissed.
However, what joy, what adventure, and what a refreshening of American democracy it would be if non-tribal, altruistic, outspoken critical thinking would be valued as importantly as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the arts, and vocational professions. Suddenly, the focus of the management of American society moves from the playing field run by the elite power structure, and favors the soft rise of individual and unique critical thinkers. Be not alarmed, it will be so that these will naturally be anchored in the protection of human rights, in the overt championing of more critical thinkers in democracy, and in the staunch defense of America’s founding doctrines.
How and why can the practice of critical thinking and public speaking instruction turn the tables on the quality of men and women we are producing in America?
Is it not evident that inner city public school systems in the United States skew towards racial segregation?
Are we looking to increase and maintain local and national economy, or should we be interested in developing objective, critical thinkers who are also professionals?
Does the singular focus on teaching science, technology, math, and engineering in the American public school system create a professional labor force of followers?
The valuing and shaping of individuals who employ critical thinking as an academic focus equal to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics may never happen in America. It would be downright dangerous to the established political power order to have citizens de-tribalizing from the current culture system ‘modus operandi’ and becoming a nation of free-thinkers. If you notice, no politician or media organization, themselves ‘tribalist critical thinkers,’ would see it fitting to support an educational empowerment construct that could directly release individuals from tribal loyalty to ideology, political perspective, or self-identification as pertaining resolutely to a binary mode of thinking. Hence, we shall not hear it valued in inner city public school classrooms, predominantly teaching ethnic minorities, nor will the subject be broached as an educational goal which would refresh the founding principles of the American democracy.
Instead, what we hear is the steady drone of creating professionals who are focused on their work, rather than renaissance professionals who work, yet also are powerful participators of democracy. The default present condition is that individuals who are higher on the social-economic ladder reap the benefits from access to quality educational institutions aware of the importance of uploading and refining critical thinking skills into their students. Surely, exceptions can be found. Parents who promote family discussion at meal time strengthen their children’s critical thought and social-relational skills, and this supplements the educational endowment received at school. Former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass realized that the African-American slave was being kept devoid of critical thinking by being deprived of the ability to read and write. Due to this, African slaves were successfully kept in bondage for four hundred years in America. More so, upon his self-empowerment to read and write, he found that perspective of thought and character-building was instrumental in delineating his purpose in life. It was the intellectually empowered Douglass, whom through consistent public speaking and ownership of a form of historical production, a printing press, was able to positively disrupt the established political power order simply with words that reached hearts and minds. His ability to speak and write eloquently and persuasively coupled with the printing press and distribution network he created, effectively changed the national conversation. I would add that God was with him because of his alignment to God’s Word, but that could be argued as subjective. Even so, critical thinking matters.
To what end is the education of the people in the school systems across the nation?
We must stop and consider. We must have this conversation. And we will have to have it in spite of the content information, the very conversations main stream news media outlets choose for us. In other words, we start like Frederick Douglass started, without help, without support, without the mega-phones of the established news media and social media organizations. We start the conversation as the beginning of an alternate culture that does not push an ideology, but seeks to develop free thinkers who are objective and non-tribal. The odds are wholly against such a conversation picking up momentum given that the result of having masses of awakened citizens would change the political and social economic order in America, or any society for that matter. We need to create professionals who are leaders, not professionals who are followers. It is a mindset and it is a set of skills. The rise of artificial intelligence technology that can ‘reason, analyze, and choose,’ as Thomas Friedman puts it in his op-ed essay for June 27, 2018 in the New York Times (page A23), directly challenges an individual’s ability to think critically. Such algorithmic technology will ultimately curate and prioritize information according to the ideologies of the agent-creators of such technologies. That is to say, the menu options of information-content that is presented to us is pre-picked for us, ultimately sidelining organic choice and rerouting our likes and dislikes into options and choices made for us according to the reasoning of the agent-creators, like Google.
In such a paradigm, individual human reasoning of an entire country becomes a slave to the human reasoning of an elite few that plans out critical thinking algorithmic computation. In such a ‘matrix,’ human critical thinking becomes subservient and the vision of a few becomes and is, the vision of hundreds of millions of people. This is how the American democracy of our founding fathers is brought down to the ground quietly.
As the American flag billows in the wind and we pay our respect to all who have fought, to all who currently protect and serve our country, consider the reality of what has happened, consider the challenge to each individual, consider the duty to raise the intellectual rigor of our children as critical thinkers who are passionate enough to not run, but take a stand to start the conversation of what America we want to have as responsible sovereign citizens equal to each other in inalienable, God-given rights. Their is no other country in the world like ours. We have gotten this far because of the founding principles we have polished and upheld. Frederick Douglass, the critical thinker, the patriot, the All-American man of God, found that we were not living up to the universal human right ideals and he took a stand. He endured the ravages of slavery, intellectual deprivation, mockery, defaming, financial destitution and cultural isolation to get his point across. In doing so, I posit that he moved hearts and minds to wake up and lead, not as his followers, but as brothers and sisters walking shoulder to shoulder as leaders.
Conviction to start new journeys is needed to motor over and beyond self-doubt and a heart brought to a lull through the travails of life; of dreams believed to be perished. Courage to fire up the heart and soul is needful to defy complacency that settles in. Courage that refuses quiet submission to time; to not rocking the boat; to not doing leaving off doing great ‘life work,’ and courage to surrendering to a mindset that welcomes endless grey clouds and naysayers that say, ‘it is over.’
Such an inward action requires critical, thoughtful introspection. Critical thinkers can arrive on the scene from anywhere. We are, in our best moments, the protectors and creators of freedom and liberty. An education in the academic sense is not as necessary as a willingness to grow one’s critical thinking instincts, including the power of observation, reflection, and expression. To think critically then, is not a negative connotation, but a mindful practice of detaching from one’s own preconceived biases, prejudices, and ideological view of the world, and allowing self to enter a non-tribal and objective stance. This requires mindful introspection that brings a ready awareness of how our own thinking has been shaped over time, and who and what has impacted it. More so, why such forces have purposed to shape our thinking in a certain way.
In her sixties and seventies, my maternal grandmother, Elena, mother of seven, began to paint. She took art classes, changed a room in the house into her personal studio, and painted long hours day after day. She kept an old radio and a large table with all her brushes, palettes, and finished work. The walls of her house were lined with her work. She painted woman, still-lifes, scenes of people.. it varied. Dozens and dozens of canvases were produced, shared amongst the family, and sold locally. She was both mathematical and abstract in her work, detailed and original in her methods, andinspired by Paul Klee.
A frail woman of ninety-four years of age now, it has been nearly nearly two decades since she stopped painting. It was a twenty year period of work that she produced, a twenty year period of her own regeneration forever changing the life experience of the family around her. This eruption of passion, creativity, focus and persistence extrapolated itself, I am certain, into the lives of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I can see how her self-empowerment gave new lifeblood to the heart and mind of her husband, my late-grandfather, and as a clear marker that one’s life is not over in old age, but ready to be regenerated again and again.
She was not allowed to go to college. Her Dad had told her that was not for her. She married a lawyer and birthed seven children. In the adolescence of her oldest children (my aunts), the country’s government ceased, and the posh life they had enjoyed stopped abruptly. The new leader had ordered that the bourgeoisie’s children had to go work in the sugar cane fields as laborers. They would have to squander their education and dreams for the benefit of the agenda of the new administration. My grandfather would not have this be. The decision was made to leave. Nothing could be brought on the plane. They left their their wealth, property, family and culture, scarcely being allowed to leave with all the children. The authorities hassled them at every step of the departure attempting to make their exit as difficult as possible.
This was Cuba in 1959. It was the end of an era.
There was no time, room or space for Elena to flourish. The time for her to create her way had not arrived. The seven children had to be fed, the clothes and house had to be cleaned, a new language had to be learned; a culture assimilated to as the 1960s started in America. Her husband, Enrique, a sensitive and caring man, known affectionately by the family as Papí, left the legal profession of Cuba and would work long hours year after year in the insurance industry. The family was tight-knit. Mamí and Papí were the backbone working like a tag team to make it all work for the kids. It was an operation and labor of love.
About one hundred and thirty years prior, in the Seneca Falls convention of 1848, women in the United States of America had begun a forward march to boldly demand equal political rights with the movement to establish voting rights. In 1870, Victoria
Woodhull, a writer, newspaper publisher and stockbroker, declared her candidacy for the presidency of the United States. This was the first time a woman attempted to lead the country. She advocated for the protection of human rights at all moments of life, even in the womb. So important was the idea of human rights in the womb to her that she co-wrote an article with her sister, “The Slaughter of Innocents,” bringing awareness to a growing apathy in the country:
“… Wives deliberately permit themselves to become pregnant of children and then, to prevent becoming mothers, as deliberately murder them while yet in their wombs. Can there be a more demoralized condition than this?… We are aware that many women attempt to excuse themselves for procuring abortions, upon the ground that it is not murder. But the fact of resort to so weak an argument only shows the more palpably that they fully realize the enormity of the crime.”
Mrs. Woodhull had an education, and achieved a level of independence that gave her the breathing room to develop herself and her aspirations. On a very humanistic level, she was able to operate on a different playing level, not needing to scrounge for her basic human needs, perhaps due to a moderately wealthy and uninterrupted upbringing,Woodhull literally had the time to think critically, write, organize with others and campaign for a change in society. Invariably, her financial independence and educational wherewithal allowed for her to plan and work for more lofty aspirations.
Another woman of the same time as Mrs. Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, editor of the newspaper, The Revolution, and mother of seven, wrote on the issue of human abortion too:
“There must be a remedy for such a crying evil as this. But where shall it be found, at least begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women? Forcedmaternity, not out of legal marriage but within it, must lie at the bottom of a vastproportion of such revolting outrages against the laws of nature and our common humanity.”
The Revolution 1 (10): 146 – 147 (March 12, 1868)
From where, it is pertinent to ask, did this cavalcade of women appear? Where there forerunner women pioneers before them who had actuated in like manner as these?
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, was the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. Apparently, she found it important to also expand on the most precious of rights, seeing that human rights start with the right to life, with everything else being a distant second.
“Little by little the faint specks will appear in the enlarging cell, which marked the head, the trunk, the budding extremities; tiny channels will groove themselves in every direction, red particles of inconceivable minuteness will appear in them – they move, they tend towards one central spot, were little channel has enlarged, has assumed a special form, has already begun to palpitate; finally the living blood in the small arteries joins that in the heart, and the circulation is established. From every delicate incomplete part, minute nerve threads shoot forth, they tend invariably towards their centres. They join the brain, spinal marrow, the ganglia. The nervous system is formed. The cell rapidly enlarges, it attaches to the maternal organism become more powerful… The human type is surely attained, and after a brief period of consolidation the young existence, created from that simple cell, will awake to further development of independent life.”
These woman of yore, created not only a true movement of women’s rights and womanly achievement as equal and dignified as that of man, complete with the right to be citizens with equal citizenship rights, but were forward-thinking forces, whom had catapulted into the national stage through the attainment of critical thinking and the forms of publishing production. This must have only been possible once their basic human needs were not at stake. For who begins to change hearts and minds on such a scale if they have not their basic needs met?
For who begins to change hearts and minds on such a scale if they have not their basic needs met?
Many have actually— and it has been within the struggle of life that some of the most outstanding individuals have moved mountains within our hearts and minds, even without access to the available forms of publishing production in their times. Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, though not published writers managed to leave their mark solely through their presence and their heart work for others, at the last, having their stories historically captured and distributed through the available forms of production in those times, and now in the present, with the reality of the digital internet age. These last two were unspoken hero’s operating at times in the cover of night, away from the gleam of established society, yet wholly within the light of God’s will; not having their life’s work sung during the time of their contribution, nonetheless captured for posterity for all of us to read about now. These two ladies had no meaningful, formal education, but were guided through a very Christian morality that imparted wisdom and understanding to them.
These women of the 18th century were brave when no one asked them to be. This topic of human rights was inextricably woven into their own campaign to bring about a respect for women in society. Human rights encompassed their social purpose and struggle. Their ability to think critically, organize and campaign through spoken and written word; even through the ownership or use of printing presses (forms of production), allowed them to reach the level of being able to educate the public, impressing upon others hearts and minds through the message of their writings, presence of life. Woodhull’s action to run for executive office was groundbreaking. Blackwell’s achievement of a medical degree was the first of its kind for a woman. Stanton’s newspaper organization achievement set a beachhead that would not be erased. Elena’s twenty years of art production as a women in her senior years forever changed a family’s understanding of when it is time to give up.
But such women are not heralded today. The current forms of production are largely held together through the control of what is known as the ‘mainstream media.’ A conglomeration of connected and independent enterprises mostly housed under one overarching ideology that is socialist-democratic and in staunch alliance with the abortion industry eugenics view that humans need to be managed somehow, rather than be empowered to be these critical thinkers.
In effect, these early forerunner women as Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Stanton and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, signaled the regeneration of womanhood, and have had their contributions silenced in favor of a competing mindset that does not see human life in the womb as separate to the human life of the mother, nor the right of humans as existent until they are born into the world at full-term.
How can the ‘needs of women’ be met if abortion has been offered as a viable solution, even a human right, that the woman may have a second chance at life at the expense of another human life? Does the act of killing a child in the womb require a degree of indifference? Are not the promulgators of abortionism (eugenics) also pushing a global sexual revolution, (Target Africa: Neocolonialism in the 21st Century, Obianuju Ekeochoa)? In America, have we not been taught to believe that it is morally fine to kill the unborn, and that in fact, it is an exercise of freedom and liberty?
How does the violence to the human womb of the woman co-opt the social regeneration of women? What message are we sending to each new generation on the sanctity of life?
No longer constrained into her role as an exceptional chef connoisseur within her own home, Elena, became a creator of content, and in effect, a regenerated women of accomplishment beyond her work as a mother and survivor of incredible challenges. An exile from Cuba months into the totalitarian regime of Fidel Castro, she was able to finally disembark, take the beach, climb the ramparts and plant her flag.
Certainly, my understanding of the woman, whom my late-eldest cousin began to call ‘Mamí,’ was inextricably woven with her art, and her art, for me, was woven into my understanding of who she was. Her daily purpose said, ‘I am not old, I am young. I am productive to my soul. I keep moving and caring for my heart, for my mind.’ In doing so, she regenerated herself, continuing onward from where her own father had told her what her place and station was.
In our best moments, I think, we grow and unloose our souls, somewhere a garden not seen with eyes grows a little bit each time if we tend to it. It can be cultivated by inward stewardship, both conscious and unconscious, of a very human need to deliver, render, and compliment releases from deep within ourselves. Is that too abstract a thought? Is it beyond comprehension? If so, do some gardening, develop someone else, move to music, write something, sit quietly and then you may understand. The allowance of my grandmother being creative was a powerful action that both gave and received. In her out-pouring of art, Elena, a woman who was told that her place was in the kitchen, created a gentle revolution within herself, a positive disruption, if you will, if not a disentanglement of her humanity as a woman.