Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Post: Modern-Day Alice in Wonderland?

This guest post was written by my friend and colleague Denise Mason.  In another life, Denise would have been a scientist because she is brilliant and insightful and remarkable; instead, Denise was, like me, a victim of the period of time when smart kids with learning disabilities weren't exactly encouraged to excel.  As a result (and fortunately for the kids in my school), Denise became a teacher--and if you ever want to know how to be a rigorous, "fun" teacher who blows things up (in a safe and controlled manner) and somehow gets students to think for themselves, figuring out their own solutions to student-generated problems, talk to Denise--she's one of the best.  

Incidentally, I had to force Denise to write this.  She has writing phobia because her writing got slammed her entire life.  I've told her repeatedly that her spelling and grammar is pretty rough but her ideas are wonderful and her voice is strong.  It's confidence she lacks.

As K-Lo knows, I am a science geek to the core. I am fascinated by science and how we can use our reasoning to understand the world. I also have a slight philosophical leaning and always wonder about our higher purpose and how we as individuals fit into any master plan for the universe.

I’ve been home sick, so I was watching the documentary "What the #$"! Do we Know!?" I decided to watch it because I had been pondering a recent post by Katie on artistic genius. The purpose of the documentary was to bring science, spirituality, and philosophy together to understand how we influence our world rather than a higher being controlling us, so it fight right in with what was already on my mind.

The documentary started off by delving into recent theories in quantum physics. The premise is mind blowing! It suggests that our perceptions of reality might not be real. What we perceive to be solid is mostly empty and what we see as being in one place may be in fact in two. They compare our perceptions to holograms. It then went on to discuss how this is then supported by how our brains actually work, which leads to the ultimate idea that our very thoughts could create our reality.

An especially mind-blowing scene was a discussion about the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his research on water molecules. His well known books, Messages from Water -Vols. I, II, and III, demonstrate that by humans thinking positive thoughts, water would form beautiful snowflake pattern crystals when frozen but, when thoughts turned negative, it formed a sloppy, indistinct mess.

Just imagine the impact of our thoughts on humans (which are 90% water) and on the earth (which is made up of 70% water)!. So if our thoughts can determine water patterns, imagine the power of humanities' thoughts on the world!

In other words, how we think about our world ultimately determines our reality. If you wake up thinking it will be a bad day, it will. If you consciously plan to have a great day and fulfill your hopes and dreams, you will. Visualize the collective power of human consciousness.

The movie as a whole was incredibly thought-provoking! It challenges our perceptions about the universe and our role in it. I can’t say I agree with everything it said; what I can say, though, is that it makes me want to be more mindful of my thoughts and actions to lead a more positive life.

The documentary ends with the thought provoking question “So, Alice, how far do you want to go down the rabbit hole?”

Speaking for myself, I find that I'm already at the bottom wondering, "Do I drink the potion or not?"

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...