There Are Swans in the Lake

There are swans in the lake down in St. Stephen’s Square.
If you look in this world, you’ll probably find
There are swans all around everywhere.

In the high desert air, along black lava cliffs,
There are dry artemisias, bearing dry yellow flags
Of small seeds since escaping those wombs.

On cold northern prairies along frozen windows
There are crystalline messages etched on the panes
There remaining ‘til vernal winds blow.

On the streets of San Pedro, below coffee trees,
There are warm glowing birds of small children’s bright smiles
That stand out like the white Irish swans.

There are swans in the lake down in St. Stephen’s Square.
So now look in this world, and you’re sure to find
There are swans all around everywhere.

Christmas 2012

Yet another inversion of good sense

Growing Gap Between What Business Needs and What Education Provides

   The priorities seem a little skewed here. Is the purpose of the education of America’s children to feed the interests of business above providing their development as complete persons with quality lives? Or is quality of life only determined by one’s ability to feed the machine? If all children were educated broadly and deeply, would some not choose to thrive in a business environment and help it prosper? Or would the problem be an extension of the raging "never enough" attitude? Never enough productivity. Never enough profit. Never enough. If "business" – and just who we mean when we say that, I’m not sure – were as concerned with quality of life as bottom lines, we may have a sufficiently common interest to have success all around.
   First, if we get away from the ridiculous notion that everyone needs a college education – good for the education industry – and assist the educators in providing the actual skills needed, we would get better results. Schools are not factories producing products to compete on the open market. And educators are not likely to jump on the dehumanizing process of developing better widgets. A team effort would certainly help.
   We must face up to the reality that societal change, not institutional change is what is needed. We suffer from institutional feudalism, and we need to shift to a more open and collaborative system. As any modestly educated individual will have observed, the decline of feudalism and the rise of the merchant class was also a period of booming creativity, and it drew heavily on structures and arts of the ancients to develop a launch pad for the Renaissance.
   I think a creative workforce who have passed through a period of business sponsored internship sounds brilliant, and the potential for a better quality of life while helping American business lead in the world sounds a lot more promising. Certainly sounds better than a life spend passing from grade to grade, school to school, job to job, employer to employer, as if we were spending 70 years going from one room to another with little more than a door to connect them – ending up out the back in the alley of retirement. Maybe we should start with some windows instead of just banging on the walls.

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