Zen wisdom

Some thought provoking points from Richard Farson, interviewed at tompeters.com.On education:

In America now, we’re on a binge of accountability, where everything has to be tested and evaluated. Of course, that�s exactly the wrong direction. It is so counterproductive, but very few people understand that. It’s wrecking education.

…when people focus on specific tests, they lose sight of the overall picture. Students now spend thirteen years in full-time study. At the end of that time, among the fifty-nine percent who don�t drop out, half can�t read, and the rest don�t read. Let alone develop critical thinking and an understanding of subjects that lead to wisdom, to responsible citizenship.

On Eastern vs. Western thought:

The great contribution that Eastern philosophies can make to our own thinking is that they have little difficulty embracing the co-existence of opposites.

Westerners don�t know quite what to make of it when confronted with a statement like, “every profound truth is also true in its opposite.” Yes, less is more-but less is also less too. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But it’s also in the object. The co-existence of its opposite occurs with every profound truth. If we could begin to see that, if we could understand that, then we’d see that winning and losing and success and failure are not just opposites, they’re also similar.

On success & failure:

…P.E. “Piggy” Lambert, who is a legendary coach at Purdue…was John Wooden’s coach. One day Lambert said, “John, remember that the team that makes the most mistakes is probably going to win.”

What he meant, of course, was that they’re going to be the doers. They’re going to try more, they’re going to risk more. We were impressed with that as a kind of paradoxical example of the way in which people have to start thinking about success and failure.


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