Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


This conversation is closed.

Does Education teach us to memorize information, instead of understanding it, or is memorizing important for future use?

I belive that knowing and understanding are completely two different concepts. Understanding something is far better than knowing something, but does the education system teach us to memorize everything? Wouldn't memorizing everything be a bad thing or does small things not matter as long as you knew it was supposed to happen (even if you somehow forgot). Like in the case of Atul Gawande's Talk about doctors should use checklists and cowboys already using checklists.

Should education not dually educate their students to know something for the first half of their educational life, then understand it for the second half? Would that system not be more efficient that way?

What can we change about, or what is the use of, memorizing so much information in a course at school, as opposed to understanding?

Update: check out this video introduced by Edwin Nazarian:
I elaborated about it in a seperate post, just a bit though.
Mini Update: Edwin's video has bad sound quality, but try to bear with it and hear it through. Amazing information.

Watch this! =)
Thanks Mary for sharing this amazing video with us. =)

  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: Assessment systems are usually what drags an education system down in terms of what you're talking about.

    I also think that many of these issues are the result of logistics and reducing the student to teacher ratio would solve most of these.

    Don't forget that deep understanding often comes from time and experience and cannot be effectively "delivered" in the classroom.

    Also, what's in the curriculum? That would dictate the nature of the content and how it should best be delivered, retained, practised, and demonstrated.
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 17 2012: "I also think that many of these issues are the result of logistics and reducing the student to teacher ratio would solve most of these"

      Here in FL we have passed legislation to reduce student/teacher ratio......it hasn't worked. There is just no controlling what goes on inside the classroom. And here I speak of elementary, middle and high school.

      Also, I wholeheartedly agree with your point: "deep understanding often comes from time and experience and cannot be effectively "delivered" in the classroom."

      Life is a work in progress. Little by little we learn.....and as we get older we learn to understand IF and ONLY IF we want to. If we are searching for understanding, asking questions, investigating......and so on.

      I will give this example: I collect quotes, and I find it amazing, that every once in a while I will peruse my collection, and a quote will stick out and I will go AHA, so that is what that means, NOW I understand it. Now I can make this thought my own, I can own it, use it, share it, enlighten others with it.......

      I know that I don't know everything......so I search and try hard to educate myself. I also love to share what I have learned throughout my life. And I love to hear other people's stories, analogies, experiences, hardships......because these, help me understand people....which to me is the most precious understanding we can have.........understanding another human being.

      As far as curriculum in schools.......I won't even go there.......that is another topic all of it's own.

      Teachers can do much good, but they also can do harm. Let's be thankful that children get exposed to all kinds of teachers, and aren't stuck with just one all of their lives. Parents can do much to help kids develop their mind's faculties......I wholeheartedly encourage this, and with the use of the internet, and websites as this one, it is easy to do.

      I rambled.......sorry. Thank you for reading my reply.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: In New Zealand, we've got a pretty damn good curriculum - it's child-centred and focuses on teaching essential skills (called Key Competencies) and tends to be about 'adding value' or moving a child on from where they began rather than a focus on a benchmark that everyone is expected to meet.

        Our big problems started with our current government. They introduced standardised testing (it seems the only thing these bureaucrats can comprehend) and it is this sort of out-of-date approach to education that causes all the problems - why? Because the assessments are generally irrelevant and artificial and built around traditional content that is also irrelevant but worse than that, boring.

        There'll only be a solution to all the problems of education by bringing together a range of answers - unfortunately, they all cost money and for some unfathomable reason, governments seem reluctant to spend tax-dollars on the future generations. Much better to invest in short-term money making schemes for their good buddies in the private sector.

        Sorry, there's my rant.

        In the (ideal) future there'll be schools, Jim, but not as we know them..
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Mary, Scott,

        I feel that schools should attempt to expose their students to as many situations as possible, so they should try and inspire deep understanding in that way.

        I couldn't agree more with Scott saying that tests can be boring/irrelevant, but in my head I referenced a game. Usually in a game you play a bunch of little levels leading you to the ultimate boss, which in a sense is a test of all your skills you built up from previous levels, so maybe schools should reform testing in the format of a "BOSS level". =P
        • W T

          • +1
          Apr 19 2012: Well, this is the way it is done Derek.......here in florida we use a spiral curriculum.........each year the same information....but different.....and going deeper and deeper into content and complexity...........BUT, always, always, it is is the teachers hands.

          If the teacher is doing a job.........she will not be as effective as the passionate teacher who inspires and ignites learning.......you know the kind of teacher I'm talking about......Also, if the teacher is phenomenal, but the student is apathetic, or creates disturbances in the classroom by challenging the teacher or other student's thoughts this can affect everone involved...........School is a challenge............kids don't just come in and participate perfectly............they come with issues, and one rotten apple spoils the bunch.

          Like I said before Derek, your question is phonomenal, and one that is interconnected with lots of others. As a teacher, I truly value you asking it, I hope that as people read through my simple comments, they will glean a better understanding of our role in education and how challenging teaching effectively is.

          To you my dear Derek..... =) (And thanks for teaching me all these new faces to make with my keyboard......I am "imitating" you.......but I still don't comprehend their meaning....I hope I am not being unwise in using them........haha......toodles)
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: Hey Scott,

      I just had a new idea. What if we have two teachers in one classroom with more 25 students? or What if we broke down area codes for schooling in American societies, would that not make education more competitive?
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 19 2012: NO...........been there............done that.

        Don't get me started......=) =P :(
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: Memorising a fact is easy to quantify, easy to write on a report, easy to evidence. Schools and governments like this, because it 'proves' that education is happening.... 'look, see... It's here on this paper'

    Understanding something is difficult to quantify, difficult to put down on a spreadsheet.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Why is demonstrating application difficult?
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: I'm not sure understanding necessarily needs application to be called 'understanding' . Perhaps there are concepts that are understood but have no way of being physically applied.
    • thumb
      Apr 18 2012: Why try to quantify understanding to begin with?

      The desire to quantify is the driving factor behind the poor results in today's classroom.
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 18 2012: I'm not sure I totally agree with this...........I think that the poor results in today's classroom is a cooperative "lack" of effort on the part of teachers, parents, and students. I don't think it is the driving factor...........of course I am speaking in elementary schools in my area....I don't like to generalize too much.

        Many times teachers leave their teaching on the knowledge level, getting kids to say back something they memorize.....without caring if the student understood the concept...



        This simple problem, is knowledge. Answer is 7. If the kid knows what 3 is he can draw 3 sticks.
        then 4 sticks, then if he knows the cross means to put together he will put the sticks together and arrive at 7 sticks.

        But look how some teachers test for understanding:

        Mary got three stickers for getting good grades. She already had four stickers in her collection.
        To find out how many stickers Mary has now which of the following will you do?

        (a) 3 + 4 = ___ (b) 4 - 3 = ___ (c) 3 x 4 = ___ (d) 4 - ___ = 3

        This is how the FCAT test is composed in the state of Florida. I personally think the FCAT is a wonderful tool to test higher order thinking in children.

        Trouble is.............and it is trouble with a capital T, is that teachers, like all humans, want to take the path of least resistance...........they teach to the test..........instead of going about teaching normally and helping ignite a passion for learning and higher order thinking. If you teach with the goal to ignite a love of learning, and use a variety of exciting techniques, the technology that is out there, the smart boards, the videos, the websites, oh my goodness, you would not be teaching to the test..........and still kids would pass it.....some of my fellow teachers don't see it that way............because teaching, like many other professions, is a job to many...........A job.....not a passion.

        Dr. Seuss' Hooray for Difendoofer Day addresses this issue of testing.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Your example of testing understanding proves my point. How does a multiple choice problem prove understanding?

          "Here's a question. Here's list which contains the answer. Let's see if you can pick the one which is correct."

          Quantifying drives tests, and as a result, it drives the "teach them to pass the test" mentality due to the test results being used to measure the success of a teacher and/or institution. The lack of effort you speak of is best illustrated by multiple choice tests, the laziest of all testing formats. I don't want students who can perform well when the answer is in front of them, an environment where process of elimination can play a significant role. I want students who see a question, work to find the solution and have the confidence to state "I know this is correct!"

          Removing the desire to quantify a student's ability, we are allowed to test a student's understanding by pass/fail grading. If the student understands then the student moves on to the next level; if not, then the student continues working on the current material. Of course, this would require us to recognize the nonsensical idea that all students learn at the same rate - the linear approach to education.
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 19 2012: Shallow, you are an adult, of course it appears to be easy.

        This example I gave is for 7 year olds.......Trust me, alot of 7 year olds fail to answer this question correctly.

        First, they have to be able to read. Second, they have to be able to understand what they read,
        third, they have to be able to understand the concept of when you accumulate items you have to add. And finally they have to know the the + sign is for adding and that the answer has to appear on the right side of the = sign.

        Me personally, I wait until I see they understand to administer the test....but that's me.

        Multiple choice tests can be made to exhibit higher order thinking, in Math these problems are called "Problem Solving" activities.. They can even have extraneous information such as:

        Mary got 3 heart shaped stickers, 5 lollipop stickers, 2 flower stickers, a pencil and an eraser for her good grades. Last week she also received a pencil and 1 heart shaped sticker. To figure out how many more lollilop stickers than flower and heart shaped stickers Mary has, what do you need to do?

        This requires several steps......knowledge, understanding....thinking in logical sequences....gathering information, and throwing out what they don't need.

        Seven year olds can be taught to handle problems of this type. Putting the multiple choices is a way to grade quickly.......especially in standardized testing.

        Here in FL these tests (FCAT) also have questions where the students have to explain their thinking and how they arrived at the answer, which in my opinion is a good thing.

        And you bring out a very good point in your last paragraph. That of students not learning at the same rate. We have to trust nature. Children's growth, their intellect, maturity and so forth is not always visible to us........because it's inside......then one day.......AHA!!! they bloom......the light in the attic turns on!! It's wonderful to see these moments as a teacher...it's very rewarding
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: As a teacher, I have wrestled with knowing and understanding for years. It is a constant cause of frustration for me when my students know so much and understand so little.

    I have come to the belief that the ratio between knowing and understanding that is fundamental to a society indicates that society's ability to be inventive and creative. It also indicates the society's ability to change and accept differences in other societies. The more a person thinks they know, the less likely they are to seek new knowledge. The more a society as a whole thinks it knows, the less it is able to compromise in its dealings with other societies.

    I see the movement toward standardized tests as a movement toward 'knowing' as opposed to 'understanding.'

    I see the use of the National Test of English in China as a use of 'knowing' rather than 'understanding.' Many of the people who have talked to me achieved very high scores on the National Test of English, and went to the best universities in China. After graduation, they found that in the real world, you must understand others, and be understood by others. I have talked to many people who were angered and disheartened when they discovered that the thousands of hours spent studying to get high scores on the National Test of English did neither enable them to understand people who spoke English to them, nor be understood when they spoke English to others. Many use text translating programs on their computers which translate the English to and from Chinese so that they can communicate with foreign businesses. The problems arise when they get calls from foreigners and neither can understand the other. This whole set of problems arises because they 'understand' English in Chinese. Idioms, cultural innuendos, humor, and sarcasm are beyond their capability to understand. All this is because of the use of standardized testing which tests for knowledge.

    Knowing that I wear a size 12 shoe does not enable you to walk a mile in my shoes.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Yep,

      You can know things - but life makes it real.

      I salute the learners of language, but all the multi-lingual friends I have known relate to teh need to go into the live culture . and tehn when you start dreaming in the new language .. then you have the connection.

      Language belongs to the core self .. it is typically developed in childhood .. and then all the proxy selves inherit it as interfaces to the people you meet and choose to interact with.

      As a musician, we often hired players who could read musical notation, but when we asked them to create within a given space, they could not do it. This was bad for live performance - where one had to read a crowd and play back their emotional state in a peaking feedback-loop .. the music reading player could not achieve that. Music belongs to a deeper place than the core self - the place which defines it has no notation.

      Tradition is important. It is like the trunks of trees, and we are the happy leafs. Talking to sunshine.
    • W T

      • +2
      Apr 17 2012: Jon, how beautifully stated your thoughts are...........as a fellow educator this is all to real to me also.

      I have also seen, that many times, when I want to teach the understanding of a concept to students, they are not interested...........they want me to hurry and spit out facts............I think it is a prevailing attitude in some people, this just wanting to know, without understanding.

      I had not thought about this before.............it is not just the teacher that fails to teach "understanding", but oftentimes also, it is the students themselves, especially in upper grades and college, who have little patience for going deep into an issue.

      Wong quoted someone as saying: "Education in America is a mile wide, but an inch deep"

      Thank you Jon for your thoughts, and for this most appropriate quote:

      "Knowing that I wear a size 12 shoe does not enable you to walk a mile in my shoes"
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: I tell my students that I create a banquet but I cannot make them eat.
        • W T

          • +1
          Apr 18 2012: Sometimes, when I am besides myself with frustration, because I see and perceive the problem to be, not that they don't understand, but that they don't WANT to understand, I get enfuriated with myself.............I keep cool in front of the kids though, but inside I am praying....please think Mary, how can you reach their seed of motivation to want to understand?

          It is me I have the struggle with. Because how do you go about getting children motivated to want to UNDERSTAND............And now here is what I think.....

          Sometimes, I think that they stare at us as if watching a tv............and they want to stare and listen silently.........and not participate.............just counting down the minutes to 3:00.

          I have had students like this.........usually what melts them is kindness.......because truly who can go inside the mind of a child or another human?? I can't

          Ken Brown made a great comment in the critical thinking conversation Jaime Lubin has posted which reflects how I feel...............that there is nothing you can do if the person does not want to understand or to think..........which is precisely what your comment solidifies for me.

          And, now, let me congratulate you for keeping up with Mitch and his zero theories. I'm afraid I don't have the knowledge or understanding of such lofty ideas to have kept that going. Kudos to you!!!

          What do you teach Linda?
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Mary,

          I think using simple gimics can intrigue younger students as well. I found myself engaged with a teacher that used some insight into reality and intertwining that with some light entertaining humor. Humor is a good rhetoric or even Great for teaching something that is seemingly dull. Just my views, but I am no expert.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts. =)
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: Not in a teaching role at present. But one of the things I used to teach was Pathophysiology. Talk about boring and students not wanting to learn... But actually, I love patho and for me, passion was what got through to them.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Sounds really interesting when reading and looking up the definition. =)

          It sounds like the psychology of diseases. =P
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: Jon,

      That last part was a zinger! Education should teach skills that are relevant and I understand certain basic information needs to have a foundation, but after that education should really be pertinent to real world usage.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      • W T

        • +1
        Apr 19 2012: Well, I maxed out on thumbs up for you Derek...

        This conversation has been phenomenal. I hope you haven't been creeped by opening and closing of electric doors while reading our posts...hee hee hee

        You are getting information from people of various fields of study, and different perceptions, which is great............Five years from now, you might come back, and find this conversation even more profound, or perhaps too simple for your developed mind...........That is just the way the brain works. The results are up to you, and you only............So keep asking questions Derek.......Keep on learning......... :)
  • May 15 2012: As someone who works in education I believe that our task is to develop learning and knowing how to distinguish between good 'knowledge' and bad 'knowledge'. This means that at the same time we are learning something 'old' it is teaching us how to learn something and understand experiences or information we have not yet encountered. Too often in the past we have been told that the purpose of education is to develop children who will become adults who are learned but not adults who are learners - For example -as a child I learned very efficiently how to use simple algorithms to solve mathematical problems but really did not 'stand under' them to be able to apply them in the real world. In fact it was not until I was at college learning how to teach maths that I really 'got' place value, I just applied the method. A real Eureka moment stimulated by a short vidoe sequence of dancing buidling blocks... Unitl then I had been applying my rote learning and could 'do' calculations in denary, octary and binary notation but did not really 'get it'. My point is that knowledge can be applied but only understanding creates new ideas which present new problems which require new solutions. To do that, we need brains which can learn to acquire knowledge and minds that can understand what that knowledge means and its significance, validity and relevance. Knowing how we learn and what 'content' helps us to practice different kinds of learning is the metacognitive aspect of learning which is just beginning to make an impact. How we use our knowledge and understanding to make a positve difference requires wisdom and having the abilty to communicate with, influence and change how others feel, think and then behave requires emotional intelligence. Those four (powerful information, growing understanding, profound wisdom and creative emotionally literate communication) together makes for the genious that is TED!
    • thumb
      May 16 2012: Annette,
      That was very well put. I totally agree with your perspectives. I especially agree with your comment about 'creative emotionally literate communication' because I myself have come to realize that I have yet to fully develop this skill.
      This was very much an eye opener that there is a lot to learn and you can't learn it all in one sitting, though I am sure there are improvements that certain educational systems can make to improve their students to better comprehend many concepts. Most students probably won't become teachers or be in a field of education, and children born in this day of age have so much to consider in life, as well as so much competition, because of these factors many people are going to switch career paths at least 5 to 6 times or more in the new generations, starting from generation Z and above. Good 'knowledge' should start from the root of education, the parents. The environment comes next because it affects the childrens' first perspective of "outsiders". Finally, early levels of school need to be reformed as well because learning does come from life experience, so why not bring the 'experience' into the classroom. Students who are able to apply all they have learned in real world, tangible, and sensible teaching strategies, then students will have stronger foundations.
      My other issue of early schooling is the social environment. Children usually have no training in filtering information and most of these information are usually copies of their environment outside of school, so some reform in that aspect would be nice. I personally recall the difficulties in my early schooling with children and was labeled the outcast due to my "different" qualities. I was also marginalized by my facilitators, and especially the principle at the time I was in school. That really hurt me and I grew from that experience, but I don't want anyone else to suffer. That is all seperate though, but reform would be nice.
      Thanks for the thoughtful response.=)
    • thumb
      May 16 2012: I am going to start a new conversation about emotional literacy. I wanted to thank you for giving me the idea. =)
      • May 16 2012: Hi Derek,
        Thank you for responding to my contribution so thoughtfully. i am delighted that I have tirggered a conversation about 'emotional literacy'. Here in the UK we have introduced the concept of EL in schools through a programme called SEAL ( the social and emotional aspects of learning) but as usual with ideas that are 'known' ( EL is significant - Emotional Literacy is a key component of success) but not understood ( To teach EL you have to own it!), we have done it in such an emotionally illiterate way, that only in those schools which didn't really need it ( i.e those schools where the adults model EL behaviours, has it worked!!. In those schools where it is most needed, as a result of the emotional illiteracy of the adults implementing the programme, it has not been communicated effectively is not supported by EL attitudes and behaviour from adults and has not had an impact.
        I very much look forward to joining your conversation thread.
  • thumb
    Apr 25 2012: Music .. very important:


    Tradition - also very important.

    Tradition carries the love of our ancestors through the generations.

    Without it we are lost.

    I know - I am honoured by my ancestors, and that opens up a life that all should know, but few can see.
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2012: One more thought.
    Education is a fundamental part of society. I stress that 'part of.'
    What I am getting at is that the children come to kindergarten already knowing a lot about how our society works. They have spent more hours watching TV than they have spent talking to their family.
    The medium is truly the message.
    And what does TV do? It chops reality into bites and segments. You watch something interesting for a length of time and them listen to a short bit that just gets in the way of your concentration and tries to sell you something.
    It is very rare for an American child to experience 30 minutes of concentrated, focused, coherent, content.
    These things do exist on TV, don't get me wrong. But they are far outnumbered by the other kind of content.
    Then comes school. Classes with teachers who want children to pay attention for 40 minutes to an hour.
    By that time, it is not natural for a child to have the habit of concentration. Their whole world view is formed by sound bites, clips, and segments.
    The natural child can concentrate on play for hours at a time. So I know they are able to do it. They can play computer games for hours. But how do they communicate within the games? Perhaps there are short clips of text that give them some relevant information or a voice or cartoon character which tells them about the next level they will play. But I have never seen a computer game in which the player has to sit through even 2 minutes of instruction. And the player is not required to answer back.
    Perhaps they have to click on something, or slide a virtual control over to one side of the screen.
    And then when they want to quit, they can often just quit, to start where they left off at some later time.
    What is all this teaching them? Do they learn critical thinking skills?
    Do they learn that when you are tired of something, just turn it off?
    How can they learn how to work, when, with all the cool things they 'work with,' you can just turn it off when you are tired?
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 19 2012: Jon I'm glad you brought this out...I remember listening once to a speaker that said that any image a child is exposed to on tv will not remain still for longer that 11 seconds..........I thought, no way, I'm sure images last longer than 11 seconds on the screen, I have yet to be able to count up to 11....and I have tried Jon, I have tried.

      I think that off-task behavior is decreased when a child has a balance in what they are entertained with. It is what I have always recommended to parents, and what I strive for as a mom.

      Your thought provoking questions at the end of your entry reflect the questions alot of us educators ask ourselves. But everything is about balance.

      Look, a few weeks back a young man posted a talk on "what life lessons have you learned from video games", the answers surprised me....look it up and read through it if you can.

      I like my kids to play board games, and I let them play chess on line......but mostly they read, talk, and play.

      Thank you for your observations.
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: So Jon and Mary,

        Should we strive to find more educational, less brain-washing, and/or less life-sucking pass times for the future of humanity? Maybe some refining of our current pass times?
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2012: hi Derek
          As Mary said, I think it is up to the parents to do the best they can.
          I am not in favor of censorship by the government, so the best way is for parents to control the TV, turning it off as much as possible.
          I have often heard the phrase "Get a life," and this is one easy way to do it.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: Thanks for the Response Jon.

        I have met parents who have removed these distractions completely, like going "COLD TURKEY" with attention retaining stimuli. I thought that would suck, but the parents said their children improved a whole lot in one way or another. =)
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 22 2012: " Ihave often heard the phrase "Get a life," and this is one easy way to do it"

      Front and center on my refrigerator door, I have a big magnet with a Mary Englebreit illustration.
      It is a little girl holding a big hat filled with small pieces of paper. Each paper has a different job/profession written on it. A sign sticking out of the hat says "Lives". Then in big letters imprinted next to this sign it invites you........"Get One".

      I bought this magnet a very long time ago..........it spoke to me. For the longest time I had it front and center on my white board at school. Now it is on my refrigerator. Thank you Jon helping me make this mental connection.
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2012: Oh wow, that was an amazing story Mary, I missed this comment until just now. =)
  • Apr 19 2012: Hi all

    Derek thanks for your explanation. I understood Mary M's point.
    She has explained it very well.

    You both went into understanding the system of a clock. I went into electricity.
    I have to admit that I don't understand how my watch works. it is automatic.
    (saves time from winding and buying batteries) but yes, I know what time it is.

    The same thing might be said for your computer or your mobile phone, you know how to use it, but when it break down, you might not know how to fix it, it doesn't matter how old or new it is.
    we simply pay attention on what is most important to us. today, we are bombed with information,
    do you think our brain is capable to take in all at once? if it did, we would have gone mad.
    our unconscious mind delete the parts of the information that we don't need and takes in only the very best of it.

    Can I say that we, as human beings, can NOT know or understand everything?
    that is why there is a word: SPECIALIST ... we are training ourselves in one things that most interests us.
    We can learn certain things throughout live but sometimes we forget what we have learnt,
    just because we don't use them very often.

    an example. I used to work for architects (I have no idea how it works, what every line means)
    but I knew how our brain receive the information, decode it and translated it into the language that we know.
    and when a certain client came in there was a tension in their interaction. because just like me the client didn't understand the architectural signs and language but they knew what they wanted. they would ask all sorts of question until they understand what the architect wanted to explain.
    Same for a doctor, you don't understand what they say, but you know that certain pills will help you to recover.

    so here come the knowing and understanding - these two things are connected in one way or another.
    we can't have one without the other.

    be well
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: Very true Edwin,

      they are definitely connected, but in my personal aggregation of different ideas, the definition and meaning of the two words are different. Though, that may ultimately not matter in a larger scale of things. Like I always say, "we can agree to disagree", but luckily not on everything. =)
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: Understanding, to my current way of perception, is a process of reductive resonance.

    We certainly are the beneficiaries of those who reduced understanding to some methods. But the methods are dead ends. these dead ends prevent us from going where the master went - they short-circuit "understanding".

    THe master was judged by personal result - by his gift of "magic tricks" he gained advantage, but locked us away from his insight. In so doing, he assured his advantage and extracted tenure from it. And his understanding died with him.

    Underneath our bag of magic tricks is the flaw the master inflicted upon us - eternal darkness in exchange for his personal advantage - and our momentary comfort.

    THe result of this behaviour is a world of momentary comforts with no access to understanding and the happiness beyond materialism.

    The true teacher invites the student to come along - watch and see why and how and let's do it all together .. and tehn the student becomes the teacher as he/she becomes inspired and dances in the phenomenon and describes it in glorious resonance. All come away enlightenned.

    Tricks of memorisation keep us locked in darkness. In neural topology, this is the local minimum - and none locked in it can find the absolute until the noise of the error makes us humilliated enough to abandon our old comfortable fortress of personal advantage. This process can last for millenia - and the latent revolution will cause more suffering than all the comfort combined.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: As a result of living in the Information Age, the memorization approach to education has become outdated. The value of retaining specific facts deteriorates at an exponential rate today.

    "Should education not dually educate their students to know something for the first half of their educational life, then understand it for the second half? Would that system not be more efficient that way?"

    I actually say the opposite. Education should promote understanding from the very beginning; knowledge will follow naturally.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: Damn this is a good topic Derek!

    I have some observations that might spark up some development - I'm looking forward to this!

    Where to start??

    Ok I start at teh old axiom - "any fool can learn from his own experience - the wise man learns from teh experience of others".
    This is the basis of empathy. We have not named ourselves "homo sapiens" for nothing.
    And "sapiens" is almost exactly equal to "empathy". Let me expand:
    The simple organism alters entropy by taking sensual data into "meta-space". The sensual data crosses the boundary defined by "perception" into meta-space, which is a compressional representation of reality. It is a place of symbol.
    Within metaspace a transformation occurs that results in "potential agency" .. a decision is made on that potential = ground or not-ground. Upon grounding, the "information" provided by perception is transformed and discharged into "agency". "Agency" is the de-code boundary that converts compressed/transformed information into change in the real world - the real world is transformed by the physical motor systems and alters entropy to create "advantage" for the organism. The most typical example of this is "i see something I can eat/I eat it".

    In between the boundaries of perception and agency there are mechanisms of stored causal information that we call "knowledge". Knowledge is a store of compressed data= information. The "knowledge": of an organism is direclty bound by the sensual/perceptive transformation of data into information - it is refined by observation of agency .. which provides a function of convergence between knowledge and reality. This is "noise reducing" and allows the organism to track reality close enough for effective agency. It is effective agency that provides the space in entropy for the organism to inhabit. This actually creates extra dimensions of time, but I won't go into that.

    Efffective agency is bound by field of perception - I will continue in the next text frame.
  • May 6 2012: Memorizing things to some extent does not do any good, Understanding does. To understand something, a person needs to be in a particular scenario, like for example, stepping into a poor person's shoes so that he can understand what the poor guy goes through. But, it takes a lot of time to understand things and thus we are made to memorize stuff so that it can be used in the future.
  • Apr 29 2012: Thank you for complimenting my son's playing. He is probably going to be an excellent pianist someday. :)))

    For me, knowing does not equate to remembering. You can remember a vast list of things but that is not understanding. Knowing something is about understanding it. I never used to take notes on any of my courses. My tutors would despair because they thought I was not paying attention. When pressed, they all thought I should be writing down notes that helped me to record the salient points of their lectures. I explained that I preferred to listen to the discussions and lectures so that I could understand what was being said... then I had no need to remember it verbatim.

    Examples of memory testing... History exams: Remembering dates when things happened (purely memory testing) as opposed to learning about the social milieu at that time and the resultant pressures which forced people to live in a certain manner. (understanding rather than memory)

    Maths: How to work a particular kind of problem, in the hope that the memory of the process will stick and subsequent problems will be amenable to the same solution. (purely memory testing) Learning why the method employed to solve a mathematics problem is valid and useful. The techniques behind manipulating the numbers in a certain manner and why they will always lead to the answer sought. (Understanding the process rather than remembering how it was done)

    I once had an exam to complete after a 3 week x 8 hour intensive course. (respiratory medicine in cardiac arrest) The pass mark was anything from 96% upwards. Anything less was not acceptable and this was not an examination which could be passed by remembering the plethora of facts. One had to understand the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the diseases and traumatic situations being discussed. There was far too much information to memorise so really understanding the information provided was the only method of gaining the requisite knowledge.
    • Apr 29 2012: How does a person understand something you don't remember? I understand if you want to marginalize memorization, and I even support you, but that lies under the assumption that understanding a concept doesn't involve any form of memorization, which I disagree with.
  • thumb
    Apr 28 2012: Sure Derek,
    Disclaimer: I ll give you knowledge on the education system I had so it ll be specific not generic ..
    School was hectic with 11 subjects to prepare which included 2 languages
    College was cool with 6 subjects (Physics,Chemistry, Maths ,Computer Science , English and Hindi)
    Engineering was moderate with again 11 to 12 challenging to easy subjects every year with practicals
    I have no idea about Commerce and Arts so google should help you out with that

    • thumb
      Apr 29 2012: Bharath,

      I don't think that our system is even close to pushing their students to that extent. It didn't feel that hectic in high school, but there was a lot of soul searching or drama for some people.

      Did elementary/middle/high school prepare you for college or did you feel you were in some completely different world when you got to college?
      • thumb
        Apr 30 2012: Well Derek,coming from a country like India, you are considered a super kid only if you score real good scores but I have seen people really talented in arts, sports but due to pressure from parents/Society , they were forced to leave behind their passion. I would suggest you watch a wonderful hindi movie :"3 idiots" with subtitles (as it is in hindi) , it tells about how many passionate people are forced to leave behind their passion and how wonderfully 3 guys persisted and succeeded in realizing their dreams ...

        • thumb
          Apr 30 2012: Yah - I did that - I recommend it :)
        • thumb
          Apr 30 2012: Thanks Bharath!

          I will definitely check it out!
  • thumb
    Apr 28 2012: Hi Derek ,
    You have bought up a valid question , if you remember Albert Einstein never memorized people's phone numbers , yet he had done marvelous inventions. But in the present day , we do need to remember phone numbers....However , In India education system is strict,we are not allowed to carry reference books and western Education system (Correct me if I am wrong) encourages open book tests and adaptive tests .So if we bring the best out of these 2 education system , we can literally do wonders for our future generation

    • thumb
      Apr 28 2012: Hi Bharath,

      I think education isn't necessarily seperated between western and eastern forms of education. Education is mapped out more specifically by individual regions/continent or even differs from each individual country.

      Since I believe you are referring to the United States, I will give you my best interpretation from my knowledge. American style education doesn't usually allow open book testing and adaptive tests are more for specialized/major type education, I think.

      I am curious, could you elaborate more on the tye of education system India has?

      Thanks for reading my thoughts and sharing yours. =)
  • W T

    • 0
    Apr 27 2012: Derek, have you seen this presentation on education?

    • thumb
      Apr 28 2012: OMG! Mary!

      That was totally mind blowing! I think you should emphasize the importance of really amazing videos such as the one above! =)

      I was fortunate to be having one of those days that my brain wanted me to click on the link. =P
      Usually though I watch all the links in a conversation, but I wait till much later sometimes. I am amazed by the visual stimuli from this video as well as the depiction of the "factory" educated students.

      I am going to be highlighting your video in the description as a must see now. =)

      Thanks for sharing the video! =)
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 28 2012: I actually came across this video through a TEDster that posted it as a link.
        I have used it more than once in several conversations.

        It is food for thought....isn't it?
        • thumb
          Apr 28 2012: The funny thing was I learned about R.S.A. recently and when the words popped up on my screen I knew that the video will be good. =)
  • thumb
    Apr 27 2012: I find it reasuring that there is so much discussion about what education should look like and so here is my spin.

    I believe that education should be an ongoing and mutual experiment between teachers and students, that regularly presents to unfettered minds as much information as they can assimilate (of course in appropriate doses). Test the rules, define the exeptions, explore all corellations then share and apply new understanding.This approach I think would making learning much more dynamic for all parties involved.
    • thumb
      Apr 28 2012: Hey Wayne,

      I think you should check out Edwin's video in the description, if you haven't already.

      It talks about the United States doing a several billion dollar study on the best form of education.

      Give me some of your views on the video.

      Thanks for the contribution. =)
    • May 16 2012: Hi Wayne,
      I think that maybe the problem with an unfettered or 'indisciplined' mind is that it does not know what to do with its knowledge. The purpose of different 'disciplines' is to teach the methods of thinking- Maths-Logic ; History- filtring relevance, veracity, bias truth; Science : deductive reasoning; Art ; Music - Aesthetic appreciation; Literature : Cultural refence, linguistic powers.
      Perhaps 'fettering' is helpful if we understand what the underlying cognitive processes.? Freedom of thought is a right, a disciplined focused mind is a powerful tool which needs sharpening on something that is not so important before being used on something crucial or significant.?
  • Apr 26 2012: [D] I belive that knowing and understanding are completely two different concepts

    [J] I disagree: You cannot KNOW anything unless you understand it.

    [D] does the education system teach us to memorize everything?

    [J] I hope not. If the system does not aim for understanding (rather than rote learning) it would have little value. It would only serve those with a good memory.

    [D] Should education not dually educate their students to know something for the first half of their educational life, then understand it for the second half?

    [J] Education should teach students how to learn and to have a love of learning. Understanding is integral to this notion and memory tests have absolutely nothing to do with education. If you understand something, you have no need to remember it.

    [D] What can we change about, or what is the use of, memorizing so much information in a course at school, as opposed to understanding?

    [J] Stop using memory tests as a measure of knowledge and understanding. (examinations which only test memory rather than understanding of the syllabus)

    further downstream Mitch Smith says that music is very important... I tend to agree.

    My ten year old. http://yt.cl.nr/77lqHj9ARSY
    • thumb
      Apr 28 2012: Jeff! You kid is so good! So adorable too!

      Okay, back to the subject. =P

      [J] I disagree: You cannot KNOW anything unless you understand it.

      [D] That is a topic we can "agree to disagree", but if you feel strongly we can discuss it more. =)

      [J] I hope not. If the system does not aim for understanding (rather than rote learning) it would have little value. It would only serve those with a good memory.

      [D] Precisely what I am attempting to take a stab at. I feel the American educational system educates by dictating their students to memorize information for tests, but not many teachers really teach a student to understand the material. For example, we all had bad teachers, but when a good teacher comes our way we usually instantly know and they usually are extremely helpful. The good teachers don't usually teach us to memorize, but instill deep understanding.

      [J] Education should teach students how to learn and to have a love of learning. Understanding is integral to this notion and memory tests have absolutely nothing to do with education. If you understand something, you have no need to remember it.

      [D] Yes, I couldn't agree more! So why on Earth are we still using these memory tests in United States, that don't work, is it laziness to change the old system? Also, I was thinking in chemistry they require you to memorize so many small bits of information, but all this information is listed out on charts and if you are in the profession of a chemist you won't need to memorize those information because they have charts for them. I think...

      [J] Stop using memory tests as a measure of knowledge and understanding. (examinations which only test memory rather than understanding of the syllabus)

      [D] Maybe I don't know how to tell the difference, but could you explain two examples of a test that is based on memory and the other test on understanding?

      Music! Is! Amazing! =D

      Thanks for reading mine and sharing your thoughts. =)
  • thumb
    Apr 24 2012: Yes exactly, at present the system of education in most part of the world propose to know more and more things and give very minor important to actually understanding the same subject.
    Knowing is the part of Memory, and present education teaches the same thing! Ironically no one is bothered about the understanding the subject with practical experience! The same question was pocking a nail in the back of my mind for so many years and to address this dilemma and help school and college student to redefine education and redefine innovations, I started an initiative at my home town Rajkot in Gujarat-INDIA.

    I insist that there should be an ideal education system right from primary education which balance memorizing as well as practical experience to understand different subject.

    Note: I have recently uploaded some video of mine which is prepared for "Resilience Creatives" just enter "Bakulvalambhiya1972" in the search bar of www.youtube.com and check the videos and give me your comments. Thanks
    • thumb
      Apr 25 2012: Hi Bakul,

      I'm happy this was able to catch your attention and also for you sharing similar ideas with my topic. I hope you will find most of the comments in this conversation will help you.

      I will try to find the time to view your youtube video. I will get back to you with my thoughts. =D
  • thumb
    Apr 22 2012: wouldn't you say that memory is actually the basis of intelligence?
    • thumb
      Apr 22 2012: Orlando,

      That is pretty clever! Ha! Yes, you pose a very good point.

      Memory is very much, from my knowledge, the foundation for intelligence, but the point being that intelligence, according to google, means "The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills." and you are possilby making a statement that everyone has fully realized and fully reached their full potential of their abilities and they would basically either understand/know-it-all or understand/know a lot.

      Good question though! =D
  • thumb
    Apr 21 2012: Hi everyone,

    I am in no way stating that memorizing is a bad thing, but it is bad if, and only if, you purely memorize for the sake of gaining a good grade and graduating, then keeping that mentality that all obstacles in life are these "tests" that you must divulge the information you memorized in order to use it at your job/profession. In the example of Gawande, it would be bad if the doctor graduated top of their class and they purely regurgitated information they crammed into their mind to graduate with a high GPA because what about all the freak cases of medical issues, they don't usually have those new or unique situations listed on a test or book. Discovery of new or unique situations would literally cripple society if we stuck with a system of pure memorization, but that is all hypothetical, though with the logic that my mind contains it seems plausible.

    Thanks for all the contributions so far. =)
  • W T

    • 0
    Apr 19 2012: Look at this quote, it is in another conversation on how TEDx can helf change the world..............

    “In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”

    What do you think of it?
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2012: I memorized the multiplication tables. As a result I understand that 4 X 6 = 24. They are the same thing. One cannot understand something without knowing it. One cannot know something without understanding it. Someone might say, "I know gravity but I don't understand gravity." That would be untrue because they must have some knowledge of gravity to know gravity, maybe they don't know everything about gravity, but they know enough to "know/understand" it.
  • thumb
    Apr 19 2012: Hey Everyone,

    I extracted this awesome video from our talk, thanks to Edwin Nazarian.

    Watch This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-QS7Fo6FTk

    I extracted these points from Mr. Woodsmall's Tedx:


    2)Dis-educational system

    3)Michelle's version of education

    4)Government research and Direct Instruction

    5)Teachers not being creative

    6)Too much government and union interference

    7)You, You, You....LOL....that one was just for fun. ;)

    His video has slightly bad sound quality, but it is tolerable I think.

    Check it out. Thanks for reading my thoughts. =)
  • thumb

    E G

    • 0
    Apr 18 2012: I don t know what the educational system is about in USA . Memorizing happens in my country but here who only memorize are the weakest in the class . Everybody has to know the things teached but the best in order to know them undertand them. In this way it s far much easier to know things .
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: In Romania, do tests in school require students to apply what they learned into different situations or does it test you on your understanding of terms and material coverned in class? For example, teachers test their student on real life situations involving science, instead of testing them on if they remember/understand the terms/materials in class.
      • thumb

        E G

        • +1
        Apr 19 2012: They test them mainly on remember/understand the terms/materials, in the class .

        But when a student want to know how to solve a problem at math for example he tries to understand the logic of the solving algorithm (given by the teachers) and don't bothers to memorize something , it takes time and it's usually very boring . When will come to solve a similar but new problem , the student will do it right away , the best will even realize the way he can solve a totally different problem (using an algorithm or other) very quickly if he have to solve a totally different problem .
        The weakest don't understand too much usually and memorize with an empty mind the materials .

        The best schools here in Romania are mainly theoretical schools , don't deal too much with real life situation in a practical way . Communism left a big print on our minds : everything has to be according to the book . This is also a reason why some who are weak reach further , they memorize and memorize the book .
        • W T

          • 0
          Apr 19 2012: Thank you for sharing this. It helps me understand education in another country.

          Is there rigorous testing done of the students throughout the year, or just one test at the end to pass to the next grade? How is testing done, and what kind of tests are administered?

      • thumb

        E G

        • +1
        Apr 20 2012: There are rigorous testing done throughout the year .
        There is administrated usually writing testing ; but if you want to be the best you need to be very vocal in the class .
        • W T

          • 0
          Apr 22 2012: Why do you need to be vocal? Will the teacher give the highest grades to the most vocal students?
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2012: Hi Derek, I was so glad to see this question as you have hit on a major problem. A man call Richard Ryisczyk has an excellent web site where he discusses this in depth .. The Art of Problem Solving is the title: Artofproblemsolving.com.
    He discusses why so many STEM hopefuls are switching majors. I hope this will answer your question. Education is my passion. I am sure we will talk again. All the best. Bob.
    • thumb
      Apr 18 2012: Hey Bob,

      what tab should I look under to find Mr. Ryisczyk's article about "why so many STEM hopefuls are switching majors"?
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Here an except from a letter to Senator Crandall the Chair for Education in Arizona that outlines the APOS basis.

        We share the common concern of best addressing STEM success for our students. If I reverse
        engineer the pillars of STEM I would soon locate the base as being Mathematics. Three years
        ago I became a fan of Soloman Khan and the Khanacademy as a tutorial and teacher of math
        fundamentals (as well as other subjects). With equal enthusim I endorse Richard Ruisczyk and
        Art of problem solving at artofproblemsolving.com and would encourage instructors to review the
        site and use it to envolve students in math basics and competative math.

        The key is students have been taught that math was a set of destinations and they were taught
        to follow a set of rules to get to those places. They were never taught how to read a map, or
        even that there is a map. Traditional math curriculum is to teach discrete algorithms, a set
        of rules that elicit a correct answer, like how to do long division, or how to use the Pythagorean
        theorem. Then students “learn” the material by doing a large quantity of similar problems. The result is that students are rarely asked to solve a problem they are not thoroughly familiar with. They come to think of math as a series of rules to be memorized. The trouble is kids don’t necessarily learn how to attack a new or different kind of equation. This does not imply that math rules are not important, they are. However, as students reach higher math the capability to extrapolate becomes essential to resolve new or unfamiliar problems that they will face in college.

        This site also provides problems from the American Math Competition.

        You can look under his name or the web site artofproblemsolving.com.

        Also a article in GREAT SCHOOLS.COM or his books and videos.

        Thanks for your reply.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: You're right Rob. I think part of this has to do with the English word understand. I found this out when I was using Blooms taxonomy. Bloom has understanding as a low level knowledge skill (as in do you understand the directions), but the research on understanding a phenomena is such high level synthesis (phenomenology).

      I don't like the word and try not to use it if possible. It can easily be taken out of context.
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: Which word don't you like to use?.....understand, synthesis, or phenomenology?

        I'm glad somebody else on here has heard of poor Bloom and his taxonomy....phew
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: Sorry - understand. And thanks for the smile.
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: I don't understand why people don't "understand" the concept of "understanding"....what's to hard????

        Can you enlighten me, please. I am at a loss.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: For instance, do you understand what it is like to be homeless (yes, am making assumptions but only for purpose of elaboration)? You can understand about homeless but if you did not ever experience it, you would not really understand it.

          So when Bloom has understanding at such a low level it almost negates when someone says 'you don't understand me.' And if you did need to understand, how would you approach it? Would you read about it? Would you interview people? How do you answer this question, 'How do I understand the meaning of being homeless?'

          That is worlds away from, 'you have 50 mins for this exam, do you understand?'

          Two completely different cognitive levels here. Example 1: synthesis. Example 2: comprehension. Same word.
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: If there is no way of it being applied, then what is the point?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: That is all geared towards application.

          You can discern a lack of understanding by a lack of application.

          E.G. Keynesian economics was created to control the fluctuations in the economy. The lack of results by all of those who attempted to apply it indicate the lack of understanding. or Stan is stymied when asked to paint the wall because he doesn't understand what paint is.

          I have an idea lets put those who are trying to fix the economy to work on painting and the painters to work on the economy, could it be done with less comprehension?, only in the area of painting.

          My point is that application is the key.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2012: Sorry Pat, I came to understand (ha ha) that only after I wrote the post so I deleted it. I was hoping you hadn't gotten to it yet. I am with you but I also understand what Rob is saying on an ethereal plane. But I truly, truly understand concrete application of knowledge. I mean paint application. I mean..
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Pat,

        Sounds like your talking walking a mile in another person's shoes?
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Point being that I do agree, and that is empathy. Sometimes all we need is a little love and empathy. =)
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Rob

      Can you give me a couple of examples of that?
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Perhaps Philosophy or Metaphysics are areas where understanding has priority over application, or indeed require no application at all.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Philosophy that has no application is not philosophy, I would have to put that in the category of insanity. The objective is what keeps us sane, application is the objective part.

          Metaphysics probably has some hoped for application such as understanding how to navigate in areas we didn't know about before, knowing about reincarnation, ghosts, etc could be useful in therapy for us human types.
  • Apr 17 2012: Memorize vs. Understanding!
    This is a great conversation to have!! I am a teacher and I have to say that most of what we do is teach to the test!! That's right....We are pressured to teach the students all that material that is on the state mandated tests every year! So, is it memorization or understanding? What an interesting question, that I know most educators are embarrassed to answer.
    Through my years of schooling, I remember learning about things, interesting things, things that made sense to me and grasped my attention. Today, we want students to know how to figure complex algebra problems in third grade and be able to write a superb essay in the 8th grade when their vocabulary and reading skills are only at the 3rd or 4th grade level.
    So I ask you: Is this memorization or Understanding?
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Oh please don't say that! I fight against teaching to the test every day. You really don't want your plumber or your hairdresser or your doctor to only know only enough to pass the test. Because once you have them in your house you have no way of knowing.

      Although it might explain the last doctor I went to...
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 17 2012: Angela, as a teacher, I also am aware of this teaching to the test.

      It is a fact of life. Because, states have to have accountability.....ever since NCLB act, we have had the FCAT here in Florida. This hasn't made the student body any more smarter, or encouraged more understanding. We cram facts and tricks to help them pass the test, then after the test, we relax and do pretty much nothing the rest of the year....well, we take field trips and hold science fairs and book fairs................education's state is sad. I will not reveal what I had to do about it, but I took action 5 years ago, and have not regretted my decision one bit.

      I remember kindergarten being so much fun for kids. Lots of hands on and playing in dirt and all kinds of art projects, but now the poor little souls are tested left and right just like the rest of the school....every 5-6 weeks to assess benchmarks............Our state's educational policies leave much to be desired, but, they must have accountability....too many teachers, were not doing their job, so now, at least they teach something...........whether it's memorization or understanding, that is up to their conscience, and integrity as a professional.
    • thumb
      Apr 18 2012: Angela: Sounds like schools are run through a capitalistic system. I mean that the government wants the students to just be able to function enough to work under an umbrella of major corporations that make money for the system to continue. It sounds very much like memorization to me, but almost robotic like Thoreau and Marcs talking about humans as pieces of a machine, but the machine is not working well, so maybe time to make a new machine?

      Mary: Though I am not knowledgable about the NCLB or FCAT, but still sounds like more ways for the govenment to tax more people and siphoned for other uses that aren't for education. In addition to that, I think all the government/states are doing is removing creative ways of teaching and mandating more ways to maximize their capital through funding by "good grades" and "tests". Sometimes teacher unions can seem to have that effect as well. Why keep teachers that can't teach creatively or have harrassed children? I believe students reflect teachers abilities to teach, usually. What type of light can you shed on this subject?

      Thanks for reading my thoughts. Feel free to share yours. =)
  • Apr 17 2012: hi all

    Watch this first:


    Then I will talk about education system (or maybe it wouldn't be necessarily)
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Dr Woodsmall is either on a rant or is speaking in the pedantic manner he disdains.

      That aside I agree with him, he more or less nails it. Especially when he talks about how the unions have ruined the education system. More importantly it helps to ruin the culture. Why is government involved in education at all?

      But I'm afraid that the school system is a symptom of the cause. The cause is that the application is missing from the culture in other words the government meddling has ruined the culture.
      • Apr 17 2012: Hi Pat, thanks for you note.
        I think you know better than I do, why gov is involved in education system.
        I don't think there is a need to say it over and over again.

        may I say that culture is not ruined by gov.. we are getting a multi culture society.
        this at first seems a bit rare. we don't really know whose way is "right" or "wrong"

        talking about education... I would add that it is the mirror of our society.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: The culture is corrupted by the government as in the tyranny of the majority.

          I will agree the answer is to change who is looking in the mirror. My country is in dire need of this and at the risk of insulting you, yours is in a more dire need.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: A bit off tangent, but pat,

        Does a government create "culture" or do their citizens create it?

        Also, I think it is very nationalistic of americans to always view "our government" as above the rest of the world, so I want to add that other societies are different, which doesn't necessarily mean it is in dire need to reform. Though, I am not aware of Spain's current government and situation. I think the world is a giant bowl of trail mix and we should learn to pick and choose what fits best in the boundary of each society.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: That is a good question and I can report that I have seen the enemy and he is us.

          But homo saps being homo saps vote for more free stuff with out much comprehension that they allow the government to do to their integrity by trading in there freedom for some security.

          I'm not happy with the American government or us at all. That being said the country of America has done more for the world in the last 100 years than any other country perhaps all of them put together. You may disagree with that point and I don't care. Spain on the other hand is in worst shape for the same aforementioned reason.
  • Apr 17 2012: Too often in our current education system what we call "understanding" is actually a memorized rationalization.

    For me, the objective of education goes beyond both memorization or understanding. The objective of an ideal education is to guide an individual to the synthesis of new ideas and realities. In teaching science we teach 1) to observe, 2) to rationalize/generalize, and 3) to synthesize.

    Memorization, as necessary as it is to establish language and the tools of communication, is not about thinking. It's place in education can be to give us a common framework upon which to build understanding.

    Understanding is about rationalizing observations. It's value in education is that it begins the process of thinking. It makes us map our experience and make sense of it. But, understanding does not create by itself.

    Synthesis is where the student trained to think take us all to new places. It uses understanding to carry us forward into the unexplored territory.

    Given the opportunity I would focus on educating the student on how to think, working through memorization and understanding to synthesis. What they think would be not be part of the curriculum, how they think would.
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 17 2012: Paul, your comment brings out the Bloom's taxonomy approach to education.

      Where does critical thinking fit in to all this? Do you know?

      And yes, I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph.....educating the child on how to think......

      In working with Math, I always tell my students, there are various ways to arrive at the correct answer....this is a life lesson........you have to "train your brain" to think of various ways....so you can doublecheck your work......and be open to see how others go about solving the same problems.

      Really enjoyed reading your comment....please let me know about critical thinking if you can. Thanks
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Getting the student to think is only half the equation. I need students to synthesize information, think, then DO.

      Think is not the end-point of education.

      Do without think is training. Think without do is, well, academia. To think then do is profession.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: The object of education is to build understanding. With some knowledge in place (at that point residing in memory) and skills in connecting, analysing, and synthesizing new observations, the student becomes a builder of new ideas. It is mightily convenient not to have to look everything up. Those whose memories are declining could likely offer additional insight here.
    In terms of basic arithmetic, it is convenient to have the ability to estimate things using numbers without needing charged batteries. Automaticity of some skills allows us to give attention to things that are not routine.
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: To me knowing and understanding are the same thing. Memorizing is not as useful to understanding but it does have some benefit.

    The real benchmark on this is application. Any education has to be geared towards application. Otherwise what is the point?
    • W T

      • 0
      Apr 17 2012: Pat, knowing and understanding are two different things.

      For example, you know how to tell time.
      But do you understand how the clock works to the point you can fix it if it breaks?
      Most people do not have this kind of understanding.

      I child can 'know' the rules to follow:

      Cover your mouth when you sneeze,
      Don't talk to strangers, and so on.

      But when a child "understands" why these rules are important,
      then they are at a whole new level of knowledge,
      and are apt to act accordingly (as you say "apply" the knowledge)
      in order to safeguard their welfare, as well as the welfare of others.

      I love discussing the mind and thinking and knowledge and understanding.....
      it is fascinating to me.
      Our brains have so much potential,
      and just talking about these topics like this,
      helps us to grow in the understanding of how we process thoughts.

      Be Well Pat.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2012: And how does this figure into application?
        • W T

          • 0
          Apr 17 2012: I guess I am so used to teaching and explaining concepts to little 6 and 7 year olds until they understand them, and are able to apply these concepts in real life situations, that my vocabulary here at TED, and my sentence structures and illustrations are way too simple.

          Your replies show me you just did not understand me.

          And what can I do about that?
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Simple, in my opinion, is good, but simply laid out explanations are better. I thought your explanation seemed clear, but I am biased to the use of the definition for the difference between the two words.
      • Apr 17 2012: Hi Mary M

        Telling a child these things doesn't mean we are teaching him/her to know or to understand these things. this isn't the effective way to educate. in this way we give commands.
        (I say this after reading the way you have constructed these sentences)

        I don't have to understand how electricity works, I need to know what it is used for. correct? so I know something (but not everything) about electricity that helps me to understand how to use it..
        Same counts for time and clock. Knowing and understanding go together, (once you know a thing, you understand it as well.) It is said: "If you know nothing, you understand noting" - I agree with this.

        We know we don't know, we simply don't want to recognise it.
        We don't know that we know, we simply haven't realise it yet.

        We as human being have all the resources we need (in our mind)
        we simply don't know how to use it.
        • W T

          • 0
          Apr 17 2012: I guess I am so used to teaching and explaining concepts to little 6 and 7 year olds until they understand them, and are able to apply these concepts in real life situations, that my vocabulary here at TED, and my sentence structures and illustrations are way too simple.

          Your replies show me you just did not understand me.

          And what can I do about that?
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Edwin,

          I am going to attempt to give extra information to Mary's example of time and clock.

          "For example, you know how to tell time.
          But do you understand how the clock works to the point you can fix it if it breaks?
          Most people do not have this kind of understanding."

          You know how to tell time because you understand the "big hand" is the minute hand, the "little hand" means hours, and (in some clocks) the continuously moving, usually red, "hand" represents seconds. If you didn't understand that concept, then that would result in you not knowing what the hands represented, and you would not know how to tell time.

          The part about the clock breaking would have been pertinent if we lived in the time before our modern era, but if we lived back when watches were new, we may have had to know how to fix them by undestanding the many parts and their locations/replacements for those parts.

          I'll now attempt to explain more in my own terms now.

          Knowing seems similar to understanding, but when you understand something, an individual has excercised critical thought. Knowing something is a blanket term, which doesn't mean that you used critical thought, but it could. I think the better replacement for the term "understanding" could be "critical thinking" or "critical thought". I don't yet have the knowledge at hand to fully explain, but maybe you could try to understand the explanation through some critical thought? (not meant to offend, but just food for thought)

          Thanks for reading my thoughts. Feel free to share yours. =)
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Mary,

          I think you weren't over simple in your explanation, but your mind may have assumed your audience associates your examples the same way you associate them. I hope that made sense....=P
      • Comment deleted

  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: "You have to memorize the alphabet.....you must memorize addition facts and multiplication facts and number order if you are to make sense of words and number problems in the future."

    I agree with memorization of the alphabet and the numbers themselves, essentially the same thing. It creates a basis for having everyone on the same field of communication. But why addition and multiplication? What is an example of necessary memorization with respect to addition? And multiplication?

    "...and I explain how to borrow one group of tens from the tens place and turn the 3 into a 13 and THEN subtract 7 from 13."

    It is memorization of a method used in simplifying an expression, and the vast majority come away with a poor understanding of why the method actually produces the correct answer.
    • thumb
      Apr 18 2012: It seems kind of evident to me how I had poor understanding of the method in that specific math system when I was younger, but maybe it takes some time to understand certain informations? That was why I was suggesting how we first memorize information, but later instill more of a critical thinking/understanding portion of learning.

      Children, at first, immitate information taught to them and they derive certain information/ideas from pure nothing from their previous knowledges.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Or do we teach children to imitate? Based on the majority of my own experiences in education, I am led to answer with "Yes!"
        • W T

          • 0
          Apr 19 2012: Yes.

          As a teacher, we even say it to the little ones...."do as I am doing....as when we are teaching them to write...."

          Later on in the upper grades, if the teacher is effective, she will have great conversations about all the subjects and listen to the student's questions on any particular topic, then patiently and using all her/his knowledge and understanding of their paticular field of study help their students to come to a good working understanding of said subject.

          The interesting thing is Shallow that there really is no way to test and truly see how deep of an understanding the child has obtained, unless they administered a test asking deep questions, and have the student reply in their own words in writing, BUT THEN, the teacher would have to READ through all of that.....week after week after week......so multiple choice, true and false, fill in the blank and matching takes over. And of course, these questions can be written in higher order........I am able to do it because I have been trained to come up with such questions for primary school students.

          I remember a Civics teacher in high school would give these tests. She would tell us our grades would be based on how many facts we could write down. 100 facts meant 100% 125 facts meant 125%. I thought to myself back then, I am not learning anything here.....

          I have enjoyed reading all your comments.

          Hasn't Derek asked a great question?
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 19 2012: Derek, see, you can memorize,learn, have knowledge of doing subraction with regrouping (borrowing 10s) and still not "understand/comprehend" what you're doing.

        Basically like you bring out, you "imitate" what the teacher is doing......yes imitate is a good word.

        As adults, also, we imitate. We imitate other's actions, words, dress style, lifestyle, wanting to "fit it"..........not understanding some times why those particular adults speak, act or make the choices they do.

        As critical thinkers, people with understanding and discernment, we as individuals then, make choices based on our own understanding, and stop being imitators of others...........teachers, friends, work colleagues, family members, tv personalities...etc.

        This should be the ultimate lofty goal of teachers........to instill the love of learning, and of asking questions and to dig deep for understanding..........

        Your question is such a deep one on so many many levels Derek, it goes beyond mere appearances.

        Thank you for asking it, and I hope my contributions have helped your discussion of it.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Oh no Mary!

          I've also just maxed out my maximum number of thumbs up for you this week! I didn't even know that they put limits on max thumps ups. Kind of funny thought, these thumb ups give you Tedcred, but what can you redeem with these Tedcreds, more flyer miles?! *drum*drum*cymbal* haha!
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Heya Chris Kelly.

      You know . I had a good friend called Chris Kelly.

      He was 6 foot 7inches and an imposing person - his humour was unmatched and he was a total psycho.

      Me and Chris would get on teh train on the long trip to the city, but we would embark at opposite ends of the carriage .. and tehn we would start talking to each other in funny voices and make jokes about everyone between us. By the time we reached our destination, everyone had a smile on their faces, and we knew them all as friends.

      Me and CHris moved into a weird house on teh outskirts of town.. it was a strange place with beutiful snadstone foundations but the timebr frames were clad in flattenened oil drums. My brother and I left that house because we had bought a beutiful hatchet to cut wood .. but we hid it from Chris to avoid his psycho humour .. but he found it and mennaced us with his out of control humour .. and we left soon after.

      Chris stayed and took in some skag addicts to help pay the rent.

      One Saturday, when it was the role of addict #1 to mow the grass, Chris noticed that he was still in his bed at mid-day.

      Addict #1 heard the lawnmower start as he lay in his sleeping bag on the old mattress in his room.

      He heard the mower enter the house via the back door as it proceeded down the hallway.

      Chris burst in the room, revved the mower and drove it over the old mattress.

      He related how it was just like a cartoon with flock and feathers going everywhere.
      And to this day, he says that he never saw someone get out of bed so quick.

      THe addicts left Chris alone very shortly after that, and within a week, the local paper ralated how that house burned to the foundations one nigh .. from an "electrical fault"

      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: By far, this has been the most amazing reply I have seen on TED......where do you get this stuff Mitch? .....................I know, I know..............life.

        Thank you for this story..............and all your many others.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: Snigger . in the previous house me and Chris occupied .. the neighbours called the police to investigate our "terrorist" activities .. well, yes, I WAS making explosives, but they were all legally purchased and really, relatively .. safe. And that was 1979 .. a year later, the local spooks found some real terrorists who had a basement full of C4 .. Serbs who were planning to extort the City of Sydney by threatenning the water supply. Economic terrorists I'd say .. but then, that town had teh national small arms factory, and most of us had a smuggled M16 machine gun .. so it was all moot.

          Chris was homosexual, and was so jelous of my girlfriend .. hey ho. His family had spent 20grand convincing a judge that the note Chris had pushed accross to the teller was just a joke .. and that the M16's he and his mates had posession of were just to get free pizza in inner city Melbourne .. that and the other 10 grand in cocain for the hudge and the legal guys .. everyone went away happy. I suppose. The Gay community in Melbourne were very good to Chriss, becuase he bashed homo-bashers so they could walk the streets unmollested .. he was .. and I suppose still is . a major human.

          Life gets a whole lot more colourful when you dive in. It hurts a lot, but it's good.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: It all has to do with love.

          I can't help it - it just keeps flowing out. ANd all the colourful people I have met .. each with their own issues, all I want to do is love them. From the pimps to the warlords to teh drug smugglers to the politicians, the refugees, the murderers, the money lenders and fraudsters, the corporate psychopaths the bikers and the good normal people (if there is such a thing). I love you all.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: Hmm and don't let anyone scare you with Shiva and Durga and Kali.
          I have met them - they are not so bad. Sure, they get in your face and force you to know things. But only if you ask for it.
          And if you ask, you will be given the tour.
          You come out better.
          Same with the druids and the godamn corporation of London.
          I have seen, and spoken and lived with all of them, and I know the way forward - you only need to ask.
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: Hey Chris,

      So you believe that memorization is the first step towards learning, learning leads to knowledge, etc?

      Could you give examples of the differences between memorization, learning, knowledge, understanding, comprehension, and wisdom or maybe a how-to-step-by-step format of the evolution of thought?
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: I like CHris's checklist, But i think empathic resonance encapsulates the lot.
        EAch step is a noise reduction occuring over the resonant perception/agency/perception loop.
        More often than not, what is being memorised is not rote-memorisation, it is deeply integrated with effective result and improvement in agency.

      • W T

        • +2
        Apr 19 2012: I'm going to give it a go also Derek:

        First, definitions:

        * memorization: faculty of remembering
        * learning: to get knowledge, usually by studying, observing, practicing (learn by doing)
        * knowledge: general information
        * understanding: grasping the idea
        * comprehension: grasp with the mind, perceive
        * wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action

        Memorization is used throughout life (first letters and numbers, colors, times tables...later as adults, phone #'s, passwords, addresses, driving directions, etc...

        Learning is the process of gaining knowledge. Most people have formal education to gain knowledge. Later in life we learn different skill, such as cooking, changing the oil in our car, etc.

        I will go out on a limb and say that understanding and comprehension begins early in life also.....first it is pretty superficial, then, depending on one's thirst for knowledge, and for understanding such knowledge it can deepen profoundly.......one can have a deep understanding of one subject, and be a total ignoramus as to another.

        And WISDOM...........well, that is what we all would love to be.....wise, being able to understanding things fully in order to always make the right choices in life.

        I hope my thoughts together with those of Chris help you out Derek.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: OK you guys Brilliand well done!!

          Now let me take you into reality ;)

          All those bulet points have relevenace only to our current world-view perception.

          Do not make the mistake that your wrld view is remotely equivalent to anyone elses.

          Perceptional Grain size is individual.

          It's part of topology.

          Resonance does not converge grain size - it finds lowest common denominator.

          thus .. to understand another human is to alter your perceptive grain by more than one order of magnitude (otherwise known as "Occam's Razor")

          Go look at neural net self-organisation - the math is quite explicit on this subject.

          It is by mutuial resonance that we defeat "assumptions" .. assumptions are our "rote learning" - the magic tricks that work every time .. but not always ;) .

          to escape "magic tricks" is to resonate and resonate .. untill the trick becomes knowledge.

          Then in our own subdivision - at the hands of our own observational razor .. then we get wisdom - wisdom is the observaion of the pattern in the patterns.

          At that moment, when we see the patterns in the patterns - in that moment, we see it all.

          And no one un-wise can see it, so we make paths for the wise .. and most fail.

          The wise become our true lovers.

          And all else?

          Well . protein - we will find a good use for them . we will, or reality will.

          What is ethics and morality after that?

          We will be bedt plsaced in wisdom to go forward .. and for the rest?

          We will go towards the abundance defind by our planet - there is nowhere else to go, and our wisdom cannot exceed the wisdom of our biome.

          (humans are probably very tasty - but they won't last forever)
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Thanks Chris, Mary, and Mitch!

          All three of you built a very complete picture for me. That was extremely enlightening! =D
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Thanks CHris and Mary.

          To help a little with the world-view observation:

          COnsider the Chinese languages - as pictograms they do not rely on the structured mnemonics that make up our Greko-Roman system.
          IN our mnemonic system, we gain a transitional phase in symbol-building, thus we "memorise" 40 or 50 variants of sound that coalesce into a few hundred mnemonic cells that can then be freely associated and recombined for almost infinite vocabulary - without memorisation beyond the gramatic and syntactical rulesets.

          In teh pictogrammic system, the vocabulary is constrained to teh average memory retention capacity of teh participants - maybe 20,000 unique pictograms at best.

          But wait .. we are talking about written communication here. A child can learn to talk and construct grammatically correct sentences without it. There we are looking at contextual resonance .. what is being memorised is behaviour, not system and rule tricks.
          This forms the core symbol set - the behavioural (spacio-temporal) topologies of success.

          The mastery of secondary symbolic systems of communication gives us access to media that extend beyond line-of-sight/range of hearing/time of utterance.

          It is the nature of teh media that defines the ruleset .. so far, it is mostly heuristic (requiring memorisation of instance) plus some degree of general gramatic system(requiring memorisation of process).

          These conventions lay down cognitive limits. One will find that the written language constrains our thinking a whole lot more than we acknowledge.

          Perhaps there is a more direct way to represent the behavioural-success topology which defines the true process of behaviour - this would obsolete the need for intermediary heuristics and the flaws inherent in them?
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: Yah Chris,

          ut .. well, if we can maintain this internet medium of rich media (high modality), then lossy compressional systems such as text will be eliminated over time. And we will return to the high-redundancy communicaions of rich experience/transmission.

          Skype will destroy text in time - and then there will be no need for heuristic tricks and the priesthoods of the scribes.

          But it's all very touch and go.

          Our Skype technology hangs by a thread - and it is totally dependant on a mergin of energy that is rapidly failing.

          We will see.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: Well Chris,

          After decoding your pattern, I respond with my thoughts about sub-subjects within the main subject. I think it is absolutely fine. Learning brings about sub-subjects that relate or correlate to the main subject, but if not, it can be delving into a deeper source of understanding that I never thought of, so let it fly, but I am in no way saying that memorizing is a bad thing. Only memorizing everything is a bad thing though.
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: Yah Chris, It's all resonance. That is the best way to exclude noise - and we are, essentially, noise-reducign machines.
        • Apr 19 2012: Mitch,what is noise we are trying to exclude ? Maybe it is the sounds we can't make patterns for? Not yet.
          Sum of all noises is silence and it needs no patterns. :)
        • Apr 20 2012: Chris, you said :

          The universe is devoid of silence, there is no such thing as silence.

          I agree with you ,silence does not exist as well as emptiness, there is no such thing. But take 'nothingness', it means no-thingness, there is not a thing, yet nothingness is full and fertile and the womb of all.In this context Silence is absence of sounds, which breeds all sounds. Is void/vacuum silent ? Somebody said that the vacuum is a sacred Silence "filled with profane noise" Is this noise a chaos ? I think, it's a beautiful order (cosmos) we can't grasp. As mystics teach : to know ( not to know about, but to know) you should go into the Silence, where pattens do not exist and it is" beyond the scope of learning"
          I meant that ' silence"
          OK, frankly, I don't know, it's just contemplation ...:)
          Thanks for your response !
      • thumb
        Apr 19 2012: @ Natasha,

        Noise is error.

        I like your observation that silence is without error :)

        But you will see that the sum of all noise is not deviod of pattern.
        Unresolved resonance gives rise to mathematical Chaos.
        Unmatched resonant structures can fall into infinite orbits around strange attractors, they will go into and out of regular oscillation depending on energy being exerted on the resonant pair.
        In the chaotic margins between the regular oscillations you will observe the "ghosts in the noise" - potentials, not actuals.

        By having matched resonators, we avoid a lot of the chaos. The role of memorisation is to fine-tune the resonators. We begin nicely tuned by being physialogically matched - the human genome is very homogenous when compared to other species - without this lack of variance, it would be much harder to communicate.

        Feedback loop resonance reduces noise (error) by trial and observation - the first iteration is very noisy, the error is adjusted for in the next iteration - over a few iterations, the error is logrithmically reduced .. very fast convergence.
        I have proposed elsewhere that we make proxy-selves in our brains with 2 copies of self for all interactions - one proxies for "self", one proxies for "other". Observational corrections are done on each of the pair until they converge - thus the proxies in each others heads converge to very close replication. My proxy for you and your proxy for yourself will converge, and visa versa - depending on iterations of the exchange.
        I suspect that there will always be a noise threshold in which chaotic potentials will persist - you could say this is teh boundary of "understanding".
        Noise is a better word than error, because it infers more than a single dimension of convergence.
        It creates a multi-dimensional "fuzz" around dimensional vectors and topologies.
        Problem with proxies is that you can mistakenly identify with them. One can lose ones true self in the process.
        • Apr 20 2012: Mitch !

          Thanks for the response !
          Clever ! I am not quite sure I understand everything you've said, sorry ! But I like the "ghosts in the noise", I have the feeling that it is the most important part :)
          Seriously, I agree with you , we are noise-reduction-machines. What our mind is doing is filtering, it's extraordinary effective filter, whose main function is not to extend our consciousness, but , in a very real sense, to contract it . Which is what its biology has trained it to do, and for a good reason. What doesn't fit to the pattern, hence we can't understand through logic reasoning, it marks as 'error', 'noise' . And it is a blessing, otherwise we would go mad :) But it's only part of the story about who we are... we also have intuition, imagination , and it's the place where the real story begins.
          But maybe I went too far... as for the communication and understanding , I agree with Chris: Resonance is key. When two people communicate verbally , the words they speak 'drop stones into the pond' .It is not exactly the word that conveys the meaning, but the ripple it sends out and here a sort of computer search begins for matching waves. The mind must resonate with the wave form of the message to 'take it in' If it doesn't , the situation will look like this : ( I love this quote :)
          "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I am not sure you realize , that what you've heard is not what I meant."
          Hope, now it is not the case :)
          Thank you !
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: NAtasha,

        Yes.Um - here are some ghosts -
        THis is from teh chaos function: next year's population = r * this year's population * (1 - this year's population) where r is the birthrate. The (1-P) is a resonant limiter that stands for predation and death rate. When you iterate the equation 60 times for each rising value of r you get the image in the pic. WHen you zoom back to the whole picture you get this graph:

        I make pennywhisles. They are just little flutes. When you drive a small energy breath into the instrument the note will resolve to teh first period(octave 1), as you increase breath energy, a chaotic boundary is encountered that sounds like noise, but one can hear the ghost-notes suspended in potential. THen after a little more energy the note resolves to period 2 (1 octave higher) .. more energy finds another chaos-band, then period 3(perfect 5th) ... period 4 etc.

        Noise is extremely important. In the early neural network research, it was found that neural nets require noise in order to reduce training time. the noise is applied to both the input data and teh initial synaptic loadings. INput noise is reduced with each training iteration, synaptic loadings are self-correcting. If ou don't do this, the network will settle in a "local minimum" which is an incorrect result. The noise serves to "bounce" the topology out of local minima so that it can complete the synaptic gradient to the absolute minimum. GAusian noise was used for this, but I suspect that chaotic noise would serve better - because chaotic noise contains potentials - but it might also serve to skew the topology .. I haven't done those models yet.
        In a human, the noise is actually generated by the behaviour = all first steps are wrong. This is amplified in teh social context where all participants are on different points of the noise gradient
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: SO to bring this into context with the topic (Understanding Vs Memorisation):

        Understanding is a perfect neural training. It allows for direct stimulus to reach result in a single iteration - you just "know" .. and it also explains "intuition" (well trained neural systems can make "quantum" leaps by inference based on fragmented data - limited by teh noise/signal that defined the initial topological dynamic).
        Understanding is not a conscious function - it is an absolute minimum that references both space and metaspace (the full perceptive field).

        Logic, on the other hand, represents a pre-trained/pre-fabricated topology (rules). THis is application to a memory area that contains the pre-fab topology. It takes extra iterations to access it - and is therefore "conscious" - one must access it via perceptive focus into the metaspace portion of perceptive field.

        Rules fall into 2 categories: convention, and causality.

        Convention (memorisation) is a deliberate local minimum that, by nature, has no absolute minimum and can never be resolved.

        Causality can be generated, or confirmed, by observation - the pre-fabricated ruleset eventually becomes subsumed into the direct neural topology and is only referenced consciously for the purposes of communication.

        By its nature, convention is a perpetual noise (error) .. it's best to have as little of it as possible.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: OK, let's go on now and examine "imagination" (since you mentioned it ;)

        Imagination is an intrinsic part of the beysian forecasting system that we build through fully-trained rules of causality.
        The basic purpose of forecasting is to formulate courses of physical action.
        Using the beyesian method within trained neural topology allows us to "project" outcomes over many iterations of "time" in metaspace before committing to agency. This is teh actual noise-reduction device that identifies the corrective vector in subsequent agency.
        To do this, we use meta-proxies that are, essentially copies of core-self that are projected as actors into our causal topology - we then watch them act over sufficient iterations, observe their outcomes and predict possible error to be avoided - including the ability to take action to a certain point of risk and plan behavioural update at an identified crisis point.
        These proxies work very nicely, because they retain actual connection to our body-regulatory systems. So a forecast that results in personal injury elicits a real body-shock.
        The proxies are enhanced in humans - we create proxy-pairs to forecast inter-personal dynamics.
        Each pair is connected to body-regulation, so if an intertaction results in injury to the "other" proxy, we still get the body-shock .. this is empathy.

        Enabling all of this are a series of maps(both geographic and causal) which provide teh environment for the meta-drama to play out.

        That's teh basics of it. But it gets more interesting when we project partial proxies (e.g a single arm or lung) - this allows for invention .. or we can just free-play object or personal proxies across our maps for artistic visualisation .. paintings .. novels. We can even project conceptual rulesets into this meta environment to observe conceptual interaction.

        IT's all a by-product of the expansion of perceptive field through communication. COmmunication requires meta-proxy pairs for noise reduction in the communication.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: More on the associative "map-space".

        This is where we store teh different degrees of "memory".

        It is associative. I.E, they are neural paterns that "co-fire" with experiential events.
        That is useful for blind association - things like "the aaa sound associates with the shape A". OR " "I know what's around the next corner because the last time I was there I saw it".
        THen there is a transitional map .. it is causal E.G "1 + 1 = 2" OR "if I fall that far I get hurt".

        In usual process of being, these associative maps flow constantly through our meta-perceptive field - many fire symultaneously, but our cognitive machinery has not got enough space to deal with it all in real time, so we "concentrate" on the associative "flashes" according to their strength. THis will be a priority loading that has the strongest signal accordind to the highest relevance to body regulation. I.E: "This makes me happy", "this makes me sad" "This makes me hungry", "This makes me afraid", "This makes me horny", "This makes me angry", "this makes me curious" and "WTF!!???".
        Each associative will have a strength that governs imediacy. Very strong associative signals will find their way into instant reactive agency. We call this "instinct".
        As the associative strength declines we might be thrown into a "mood" as the associative chain goes through the noise-reducing loops until they are over-powered by new stimuli or resolve into a new state of association.
        Or, we might simply play-out the association for simple amusement (curiosity).
        Any low-level association that contains negative body response will become progressively de-prioritised, because of teh negative health outcomes of extreme body state responses (fight/flight/injury/startle). But they don't go away until a positive body response resolves the threat - at that point, they resolve into communicative insight - they become fully-trained causal maps. This is what we call "sub-conscious".
        We are perception-widening machines.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: We can focus attention to gain lowest-noise agency.
        OR we can widen it to resolve untrained associative space.

        We so it all by the true "self" - by constant feedback of experience and memory through the true self to normalise signal strength in our entire associative memory.

        You and Mary both express "Zen" conceptualisation.

        This is all about moving the existential identity away from the proxies .. away from the secondary perception-space and into the core self .. and letting the associative map-space resolve itself. It does not go away, you simply don't let it rule you. Then your identity is bound by all that takes a single cognitive iteration to resolve. In other words, this is "coming to your senses" . or "being here" .. or .. "the eternal, all powerful, all intelligent no-thing".

        It is about moving out of the noise of unresolved secondary meta-space (of the communicable) into the relatively noiseless personal primary metaspace of being where (and when) you are.

        My work is to identify how metaspace affords us the ability to move through the expanded dimensions of metaspace into new vectors of reality. I posit that we do this regularly - intuitively - and I am looking for the math and method of it: How we travel in time .. sideways.

        We are more than noise-reducing, perception widening machines. It is all at the service of agency-widening.

        We are "potential" resolving machines . we are the power of life - it is by us (And all of life) that the universe expands.
        TOgether, we resolve the neural limit of "exclusive or" (See Minsky)
        • Apr 22 2012: Hi, Mitch !
          Thank you for responding, I appreciate your time very much !
          I am not zen master not even close, but the idea of enlightenment is very dear to me.
          We may spend lifetime reckoning the strict line from A to B, but it is very difficult line to keep, because of interferences or 'noises', 'errors', which require a lot of patterns to be created in order to be understood. So they multiply exponentially without end... ad infinitum. While reduction of spacetime to 0 makes it 'AB' or even '... ' keyboard capacity doesn't allow me to print two letters at once. Keyboard mentality marks it as 'error' :) But i mean it, A becomes B , they become One. That's where knowing and true understanding takes place ' knowing' is the 'knower' , 'seer ' is the 'seen'. It's ideal, like Plato Forms, but here living in time and with time we are dealing with projections. But i believe, such state of consciousness is possible, even inevitable if one really wants to be there.

          I like your idea : it is by us (And all of life) that the universe expands.
          I don't know why i like it, but , you know, 'gut feeling' :) I think there is a point.
          You've mentioned Minsky, is it Hyman Philip Minsky ? I don't see the connection, sorry, definitely, it's my ignorance. Could you elaborate ?
          And listen to this guy :


          Enjoy !
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: Yes this guy is right (as far as it goes) .. and when we follow the quantum theory, it all gets rather interesting.. I also like Adyashanti's teachings.

        But it does help to not leap out too far beyond our functional machinery.
        A lot of mystycism and metaphysics are turning up in functional biology .. the (endless) process of de-mystification of the state of life.
        Marvin Minski is one of teh pioneers of AI. He is a mathematical topologist who proved that the early neural models had topological flaws.
        Then there ANtonio Damasio on the neuro biological nature of self and consciosness.
        THen Wolpert examines the nature of beysian forecast in neural topology:
        Then we look at the associative mapspace that stores geographic, causal and conventional patterns:
        Hereis another part of teh puzzle:
        And here is a hint about the role of perception in enlightenment:
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: The way I knit all this together is to recognise teh division between space and metaspace.
        THe senses interface with the perceptional boundary which is teh conversion of sensual physical data into metaphysical information. at teh other side of teh equation, the meta-map of intention (agency) is converted into the physical action of our motor systems. In between these interfaces is consciousness. It is all dedicated to the conversion of perception into agency. And it is by the measure of perception that agency depends.
        LIfe requires agency to establish its niche for existence.
        This creates a map - the physical senses of the individual define the basic source of perception. THis sense-locked region I call "primary perception" - dependign on the amount of causal forecast capacity, the field of perception will exceed the field of senses.
        In the social animal, we have a very powerful trick to massively widen our field of perception. THrough communication, we can get the benefit of teh primary perceptive field of others.
        This "inherited" field of perception I call the "secondary field of perception". IT is different in that it contains much more noise(error) and has to be wieghted by an error measure that we call "trust".
        Within the limits of trust, this massively expanded perceptive field gives rise to massively augmented potential agency.
        However, teh secondary perceptive field has a boundary, beyond which we are perceiving the secondary perceptive fields of others .. giving rise to a tertiary field of perception that is even more noisy.
        It is in the secondary and tertialry fields of perception that our communicative self-proxies operate.
        It is in these areas that all of religion, morality, empathy/reciprocity, society, politics, law, ethics, pathos, logos etc all these things are meta. I seek some decent meta-map in order to examine noise reduction and identify structural failure.
        This does not preclude the divine, but it helps to exclude corruption of it (assumption)
        • Apr 23 2012: Are you comfortable with all this complexity ? !
          Maybe you are, your choice of talks gave me a glimpse, only a glimpse, i don't claim for understanding of your 'proxy' .( If i am not misusing the term here ) You are a kind of intelligent noise/error-fighter. :) Please, no offence ! But i think if you wake up tomorrow into a world of a pristine harmony where all noises vanish altogether you'll probably get bored, depressed and start to drink gin at 9 in the morning :)
          Sorry, just kidding ! Moreover such world will never come into existence, so you are pretty safe .
          Seriously, to cut the story short, you are more in a mental department while i am more in intuitive business here. And, as a zen master ( which i am not ), I don't discriminate between those two. No way is better or worse than the other, it's a matter of choice and predisposition. " Ocean rejects no river " and each of us on its own path...
          Good luck with yours !
          Thanks for the conversation !
      • thumb
        Apr 24 2012: @Natasha,
        Yes - I am comfortable with the complexity. Mostly because i understand the underlying simplicity which generates the complexity. I have an advantage through having understood holography at a very early age - that interference patterns can be used to capture images to an astounding level of compression with very little loss .. you can shatter a holographic plate into a million shards and each shard will still show the image (from its own original perspective) it kind of turns our linear thinking on its head. Then evolving that to understand neural topology (synaptic pathways) .. then evolving that through Damasio's observation of the self. I had another advantage through being a forecast systems specialist for 16 years, so I understand the Beyesian prediction algorythm.
        What all that does is give me a chance to redefine a lot of words - some get merged, some get split .. all of it to reduce these kinds of speculations to something you can actually poke with a stick - no assumptions, no guesses, you can set it up and just observe it.
        The interesting part is seeing how language kind of gets it right, but inadequate training of specific words has them trapped in local minima in the lay population .. this leads to mystical assumptions that don't really exist - ambient mass delusions that can be physically demonstrated to be skewed perceptions of reality.
        By cleaning all that up in my own vocabulary, I get insight into accurate predictions of behavioural and perceptional improvement.
        This does not preclude any divinity, nor does it suggest that complexity is for all. COmplexity and simplicity have a balance - every simplicity is delivered by a complexity, and every complexity arises from a simplicity. For the purpose of day to day life, simplicity has the better return, but if you want to adapt, some of teh complexity must be explored (the devil is in the detail).
        • thumb
          Apr 24 2012: Mitch,

          You weave ideas together well. I think usually your comments seem complicated, but this one I can comprehend at a better level. I think....

          You should become a teacher or something. Make your way to California and I will be your first customer, but I get to go for free *cough*cough*. HAHA! =)

          I also reached my maximum thumps up for you this week! =(

          Thanks for sharing your insight with us Mitch!
        • Apr 24 2012: Mitch !
          Thank you for your farewell speech , or speeches , above and below, it's brilliant !
          I agree with you that faith, when it solidifies to dogma blocks the flow, creating a lake on the way to the Ocean.
          Nice extension to the beautiful metaphor. I can't take credit for it, but I am on board with this vision. Originally it sounds " Sea rejects no river" and has continuation :
          "We're in motion to the Ocean. We are not land locked"
          I agree, that all assumptions and even opinions are vanity.
          Isn't it an assumption ? :) You see ?! here is the illustration: the very tool we are using now to communicate - language is a function of ' Maya'- the weaver of illusion. In this context how could you possibly insist that something does not exist ? What does ? If a thought appeared in your mind, hence you shaped it in words, means that your mind collapsed the wave function of the flow, and your thought starts 'to be' in a meta reality ; you put your energy into it, and your thought has a very good chance to be materialised. I don't know if my picture is right or wrong ( most likely both ), but to be on the safe side I try to be very careful with my thoughts. And it leads me to an 'assuption' that it is much more important to be kind than to be right. If someone chooses to reside in a lake,I prefer to respect his/her choice. ( for this very occasion, yesterday I invented a new pronoun -" sheh's".You may check out here
          http://www.ted.com/conversations/10968/love_for_words.html?c=451445 )
          By the way, I love your 'holographic plate' image ! Some time ago i came up with a 'symphony' , in terms of this metaphor, a quantum wave is like a full orchestra with limitless number of instruments, each playing a different version of a common theme. Let's conclude : nothing in this Universe has independent existence apart from everything else. So... lakes are also versions of the Ocean :)

          Thanks again for the conversation !
      • thumb
        Apr 24 2012: @Derek,

        It has been my pleasure .. i DID warn you that I'd have fun with this one!

        It has certainly allowed me to push my little bubble further into the void ;)

        And I thank you very much for the opportunity! (and your patience ;)

        and @ Natasha: Thank you VERY much for teh river/ocean image - that is almost exactly what neural topology does!
        And to make clear what aare local and absolute minima:
        Using your analogy, the absolute minimum IS the ocean, a local minimum is like a lake where al teh water is trapped and never finds the ocean.

        This topic has been quite insightful as I explore teh unresolvable local-minima of convention/rote-memorisation (alphabets, words). I will incorporate this into a new direction of study. The outcome of which will be direct neural communication of causal symbology - this will free us from convention and blow the whole universe apart. SOunds exciting to me! All lakes will have outflows - and we will join each other at last in the ocean. (I happen to inhabit a small version of this already . and it's pretty nice!

        In Hindu terms, we collapse "Maya".

        And then we all become the Buddha.

        Oh - and an edit to say:

        REality moves .. we follow .. faith is equal to following reality.

        As reality moves, our interface with it widens, and results in noise. The noise bounces us out of our comfort and makes us go seeking again ..

        A moving ocean .. let's not be left behind in a comfortable, but shrinking, puddle.

        This is the purest definition of "love".

        I love you.
        Pass it on.
        • thumb
          Apr 25 2012: Mitch

          I am glad that my topic allowed your mind to freely flow in a free verse of messages through the medium of language. =)

          I hope to someday comprehend or somehow assimilate your knowledge.

          I bet you must be a great drinking buddy. Haha!

          Best wishes and many more to come. =D
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2012: OH .. and last gift:

        We have 3 or 4 fields of perception .. maybe more.

        Sartori, Nirvana .. no-thing

        THis all resides in the primary field of perception - it is anchored in the senses.

        Let all your thoughts end back in your senses - let all the big levels of our great awareness run like rivers back to where we are.

        It is the primary field of perception that is like the light that radiates our truth and our light - from what we feel, to what we do.

        This I know.
        SIng, dance, or play music .. it helps - because you have to be here to do those things..

        Um .. right now, I am listening to Alasdair White's CD he made in 2006 .. it has the sound of the whistle I gave him that year ..

        Over Easter I went to a folk Festival to teach whistle and demonstrate my craft, Alasdair was there with Battlefield Band (who I have been following for 30+ years) .. And we lay on the grass telling outrageous jokes getting really pssed and enjoying our love. Specially the space he makes for the young fiddler ..
        SO Alasdair gave me the CD ..
        And I asked Mike (the piper) to play "the little cascade" which is a great tune and hard to play .. and so he got out his highland pipes and we went onto a big loud set of music, and it drowned out the other 3 or 4 sessions going on quietly in the bar .. and all the muso's came round to listen, and then I kicked off a set of jigs on my mandolin - obscure but lovely old tunes .. and the house went silent to enjoy .. and then Mike and Alasdair went off doing their own favourite jigs and reels about 3 times faster than any human could possibly do - and the excitement went through the roof.
        I grabbed a couple of cheap whistles and played Scottish rythms on the plastic chair I was sitting on, and the energy got so high that I bent the whistles over .. and by the end .. everyone there were high as kites .. it's always nice to hear the applause of musicians.
        We are all on the road - flowing to the sea.
  • W T

    • 0
    Apr 17 2012: I find, that from an educator of children standpoint....there is a place for memorizing information.

    You have to memorize the alphabet.....you must memorize addition facts and multiplication facts and number order if you are to make sense of words and number problems in the future.

    Having said that, after you have this knowledge.....then you are ready to move on to understanding...you start to understand that the letter a is a vowel, that it has a short sound and a long sound, ...etc.

    You are right. Knowledge, is just spitting out information, memorizing. I will give you a quote I have in my collection from the quantum physicist Richard Fyenman:

    "You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing---that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something, and knowing something."

    I will add Derek, that at times teachers just "know" stuff, but not all teachers know how to effectively guide their students in an understanding of the material.......doing so is an art in and of itself, and it requires alot of effort and trial and error.

    I will give you just one example......when I teach subtraction with regrouping...


    It is a challenge to explain to 7 year olds how to do this operation. most chidren, with knowledge of numbers, and knowledge of what a minus sign looks like will write the answer as 34.

    It takes specific instruction to get the class to understand how to do the operation, and why we do it the way we do.

    This is just one simple example of how teachers have to deal with teaching understanding of a concept, in order for the child to effectively complete a task...

    Somehow, as kids get older, teachers stop trying to get kids to understand, and memorization takes over....I don't know why. :( Intellectual laziness.....on both parts??
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2012: Um .. my method gets it as 26? 34 is the inverse? There seems to be a missing step in your method? It's elegant, but incomplete.

      there was the guy who invented the method by which all arithmetic could be done with the fingers ..

      I hated math at school because the teachers had no idea whatsoever about the concept underlying their methodical tricks. These days I just see numbers in topology.

      Memorisation is a shortcut .. it precludes understanding.

      We have a lot of shortcuts .. but they lead nowhere beyond short term advantage.

      I certainly support functional heuristics such as alphabets and conventions, but the student must be allowed to see them for what they are - and be given permission to evolve them if a conceptual basis emerges to supplant the heuristic, then all learning will be rooted in nature, not convention. As such, no memorisation will be necessary - only yhe art of observation and extrapolation - from which all can arrive at the same conclusion..
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: Mitch, when I said the kids get 34, it is because that is what their knowledge shows them...of course it is the wrong answer!!! I then explain the correct way of doing such math.

        I have to then explain to them that the problem needs a remodeling job......and I explain how to borrow one group of tens from the tens place and turn the 3 into a 13 and THEN subtract 7 from 13......this takes time......usually two days worth of practice on the board, and using counters (beans or dots)sorry you did not understand my illustration...on line things can get muddled up.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: I suspected as much ;)

          But the elegance reveals a quicker way to the result that I hadn't seen before. THat the inverse is the last step is a powerful way of deriving the result without borrowing 10's.

          I'll work on it a bit and see how it survives the orders of magnitude.

          Actually, I can already see it. By reserving the negative, one is only heading in the positive. The actuallity of value.

          By applying the inverse, one gains automatic access to the imaginary plane - where the sqr root of -1 is -1.

          The convention of borrowing 10's was a fallacy from teh start.

          All dimensions proceed in a positive manner, 0 is a singluarity from which all rays are positive.

          In this way we avoid the dilemma of negative numbers in teh true vector.

          It's important - it gives us access to teh universal codes beyond the singularity of 0.

          from the mouths of children.

          See what I mean?
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: Of course I see what you mean Mitch...My IQ is like 3,000....haha

        Now try explaining your theory to my little 7 year olds. LOL

        What great fun!!!!
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: Ah Mary .. Your anecdote has set me so free . I can only explain in numbers .. everyone will have to take it from there - it's quite important, and I am exhausted from where it has lead me this last hour and I will have to rest.

          As I said - I no longer see integers or numbers, I see topologies where this is more or less than that. Nothing is equal in the universe.

          So I started with the assumption that there are 3 singluarities: zero, one and infinity.

          But your children taught me I was wrong. There is no zero. It's kinda a tautology huh?

          But it explains a LOT.

          If there is no zero, then the confluence of dimensions is a tangent - not an origin.

          The tangets of dimensions decribes the quantum limit.

          All measurement is done form "metaspace" metaspace is the precinct of life.

          So then - Schrodinger's cat lives or does by degree in time - not degree in space.

          Einsein gave us relativity in space, with only the single time dimension of velocity imbedded in C (the universal constant).

          But wait - the universal constant in only one time dimension assumes zero as origin .. and there IS NO ZERO.

          There is only one divided by infinity!!! Zero is not a singlularity, because it DOES NOT EXIST!

          And the space defined by the confluence of dimensions - all at 90 degrees to each other, defines the quantum limit. And that sapce is NOT defined by space - it is defined by time.

          SO Relativity must be updated to include "degree of time" as well as relative position on vectors in space/time. Ergo - there are multiple dimensions of time!

          What exists in teh quantum limit of tangential convergence of space/time???!!!

          IT IS LIFE!

          The math of perception/agency directs us to a dimensional reality of symbol - it is compression of reality and posesses resonant convergence with Newtonian spopace, but violates entropy. Entropy is the single arrow of time, but meta-space creates many more dimensions of time - it disolves zero into one/infinity.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: SO the origin is a sphere - it is not a zero-point.

          THe metaverse behaves much like gravity, but instead of bending the curves of space, it curves the curves of time.

          In this is a unification, but I have not got the numbers.

          Is there anyone here with good theoretial math?
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: Oh .. and before I collapse from this .. Umm hard now .. zrro is the plce from which we measure - it has no physical reality .. zero is a surface, and all our calculations deviate form trith by the measurement of a non existant zero to the true place at which our rulers are layed.We each are teh difference between nothing and something.THere's more but I can't reach it right now .. gotta sleap.Ah .. OK.THe noise becomes a whole lot less with the contraction of the quantum limit.Now we KNOW it is a surface, and now we KNOW that the surface reduction is infinite ...HAve it or be left behind. This is the end of time as we know it. - But it gets soooo much better!!!Fall in! This is good!The contraction of the quantum limit occurs in all points in space and time. It is an array of spheres, from which we choose to radiate.
          As tangents .. and from there is the rainbow. Wow!!! I want this!
      • W T

        • +1
        Apr 17 2012: Oh, and there is a quicker way, using visual..........you just draw a number line and have the kids count backwards...........and if you want to tire them out the rest of the day, use chalk on the hallways of the school to draw the number line, and have them jump from number to number to solve 20 or 30 subtraction problems..........this will free up your afternoon, you can read, watch a TED video or join a TED conversation while the kids take a nap after the exhaustive math lesson. LOL
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: I think that the oure math guys will discover the dark amtter and energy in metaspace - the quantum limit shrinks, but it shrinks disproportionaltely to the agregation of life .. this means that life is everywhere, and it is present, in the hearts of stars and planets.

          Life is no more than a self-organising principle, and it can be done by DNA or any number of phenomenon - it is simply put as "convergent resonance" - and without it, the singularity of zero would collapse everything.

          And now you can see why the expansion of the universe is a trumpet-shape - it is directly proportionate to the expansion of life minus the contraction of teh quantum limit.
      • W T

        • 0
        Apr 17 2012: Mitch, if that was you when you are exhausted, then I can't imagine what your explanations would have been had you been alert and energized.

        I will say this for my buddy "zero"........we do explain zero as a place holder.....and in second grade, it is explained when we read thermometers.......you know, 10 below zero and all that. But we don't do much else......negative integers, and the concept of integers verses numbers is not revealed at such an early age. Although, I have done it, just for exposure.....but that's just me.......and it depends on the kind of students in the class.

        Well, thanks for all the above, can't say I understand it all........after all I am only an elementary teacher.
      • thumb
        Apr 17 2012: Cool Mitch. You're getting close. I would posit that zero is infinity. We just use zero in Mary's math course because we live in the 4 dimensions of our being. And as such allows us to build buildings and calculate distance useful every day things for non-theorists. It also allows us to make change. So if you give me 53 cents for something that costs 27 cents, you're gonna get 26 cents back, not 34:)

        All these discussions on beginning. There just isn't one. Beginning is a product of our being.
        • thumb
          Apr 17 2012: That's kinda what I was getting at.
          When the so-called origin is expressed as a tangent, then it collapses the notion of a "ray" because there is no origin, therefore what we take as rays are actually vectors.
          THis places the convergence of dimension - not in a big-bang, but in every quantum place and moment of the multiverse. It kinda makes everything self-centric.

          There is only one other possibility - that the origin of what we perceive as rays is actually an orbit - still a vector, but curved.

          The reduction is that the multiverse is composed of anything non-zero .. and that "anything" is described by one divided by infinity. But that, at any given moment/place, that infinity, is, in fact, finite - a quantity derived by mutiplying the entire mass/energy of the multiverse by the quantum limit. But since it expands through any number of time and space dimensions, it is holistically infinite.

          I agree with the continuous beginning idea.

          WHat I am trying to get at is the dynamics of meta-space.
          It is quite cogent to the topic of memorisation Vs conceptual understanding.
          Apologies for flying off into the dimensional thing, but the notion of no-zero got me thinking.
          Perhaps it has some relevance .. but I can't see the practical application of it.

          What I'm more interested in is the nature of symbolic conventions .. is there some rule that governs the coalescence of convention around any specific symbol? THat's important because these symbols are the result of a mutual centering .. which, of itself, is noise-reducing. If there is no underlying natural-law to that, then the convention of memorisation of alphabets and words remains necessary.

          Arbtrary convention is problematic because it cannot be re-generated by natural process if lost. ANother problem with it is that it can actually violate natural-law. For instance, the incorrect labelling of the electron as a "-" charge (when it is the actual active particle and would be better labelled "+") has caused error.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: "What I'm more interested in is the nature of symbolic conventions .. is there some rule that governs the coalescence of convention around any specific symbol?" Have you ever looked into the 'sacredness of place?" The symbol representing place? (Place of origin in the multiverse... But I will let your brain take it from here.)

        Sorry I know this thread is about education but I did want to make that observation.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: IS there anyything published on teh topic?

          I have long known that place is much more important than most presume. THere have been a few who tried to codify it .. in terms of meridians/harmoncs etc, but never seemed to go anywhere.
          Most Australian Aboriginal art is based on place-maps .. not many appreciate that, they are environment maps that can be understood by others.

          How that applies to naturally-formed symbol? What are your thoughts?
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: Hope you got it Mitch. I had to pull it because of TMI syndrome. I hope you got how close you were to the author.
        Universe = Life
        Different path but same answer.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: Snork! There is NEVER too much ;)

          THis is the current basis of my life.

          I am a bird in a tree, and I sing my guts out - And I don't give a damn who does not like it.

          I am happy that all the birds in the trees around me .. know me .. and the possums who play sex-games on my verandah at 3 in the morning and the spiders who crawl on my roof and drop on my face somtimes .. and they are BIG spiders, and it all just makes me larf.

          And when someone gives you TMI - then you should dance - and that information will make you greater than you were before.

          And this is why us birds sing.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: Like for instance .. I go to Folk festivals .. this is the place of teh most "real" people in existence.

          And then when TMI starts flowing out from my essoteric promptings .. that is when I offer deep tissue massage and a place free of judgement fo tehat person to escape the constraints of the rules that have hurt them.

          I do OK .. I have freed many persons from the irons placed upon them .. and no one knows what I did. And it's not important.

          And in this thing I have been doing all my life, I don't ask any reward except the dance. And life will keep me arround whilever it wants me . .and while it wants me, I will keep telling the truth .. and they break my bones and they shout false logic in my face .. and .. i don't care. I is what I am .. a cow don't make ham .. and well . life begins with sharing. And I have nothing to hide.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: And univerrse = life? THat's my study of the interaction of metaspace and space.

          But the inference is that stars and planets already have life - at a degree that humbles us.

          That without metaspce, there can be no space. ANd that space is just a referrence for life.

          HAvinfg it all radiant from every moment disolves the god delusion, and I have been working on disolving that as well - throught e understanding that what we take as "god" is no more than a zero-place proxy in our heads to keep a map of what we do not know.

          I have attempted to post this conjecture a few times, but the TED admins feel it's way too hot to handle and keep removing it.

          I feel there is a functional purpose for teh zero-proxy .. and if we get it, then we can cure god - who is currently massively insane.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2012: "What exists in teh quantum limit of tangential convergence of space/time?" Don't you see, there is no life before, there is no life after. There is only life at this convergence of space time. There is no universe outside of this particular convergence of space time. Universe = life
        And symbols mark this place or other places in space time. They connect place through space time.
        • thumb
          Apr 18 2012: Time is always hard to grapple with.

          What comes to mind first is that organisms are quite a bit larger than the quantum limit.
          Also the process of code/decode from the physical to the symbolic to change takes more than twice teh universal constant .. this all occupies a great deal more .. even the essential topologies of symbolic knowledge are physically quite big.
          Life certainly curves time, I suppose that metaspace might exist entirely within the quantum limit - symbol itself having no true space.
          One then has to consider the state of teh individual in context of teh state of the many.
          THere are 2 orders of symbol - that which directly resolves the agency of the individual, and that which converges the many.
          It is the decode event that bends time.
          I suppose, the curvature might afford a larger dimensional space that is relative to agency/space and still remain within the quantum limit. That might mean that an ecosphere has a very large affect on the curvature of time.
          Can't really say without some numbers.
          But it points to a missing function in relativity (E=MCsqr). Perhaps C has to be broken-out to place a mirror function that yields the quantum limit. I'll think about it.
          In the mean time .. the actuality of symbol is no more than a convergence, but it still leaves us with the dissconnect of arbitrary physical transmitters (letters, and words).
          I was hoping to find some formativ phenomenon to converge the physical as well.
        • thumb
          Apr 19 2012: Mitch,

          You remind me of Aristotle or some great Philosopher. I continuosly reread reinterpret the same information differently each time I see/think about it. Much too deep in context, but very interesting. I always search new terms everytime I read one of your posts. I sometimes wish I had a gadget that translates "Mitch" to english, and that is a compliment from me. =P

          Keep it coming Mitch! I am a fan of your brain! HAHAHA! XD

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
  • thumb
    Apr 17 2012: OK.

    In the various levels of organism, you will see the main definitions between them are devices that expand perceptive field - and thus allow for expanded agency. The most effective solitary organisms have a capacity for causal forecast on teh the information and knowledge they receive and build. To do this, they have a "self" against which the forecasts define potential agency and subsequent action. This has the affect of enlarging their perceptive field.

    the rule is = the larger the perceptive-field = the larger the potential agency = the more survival options are available for the organism = favourable selection for the genome.

    Then there is the social animal. The social animal has the ability to co-opt the compressed information of others of its kind - this is loosely called "communication" .. in the human, communication is the pinnacle of this process as we know it. COmmunication can be transferred by symbolic behaviour that we call language - it is both guestural and linguistic.

    The reception of teh codified senses of other organisms greatly expands our perceptive field - and greatly expands our potential agency - this becomes known as "choice" and "freedom".

    IN our basic make-up we have vast capacity to store causal information with which to cast forecasts of our "self" in metaspace before we discharge our choice through agency. This gives homo sapiens a massive agency advantage over all other organisms.

    But now we have the internet. We can google almost any peice of information that we require without face-to-face communication.

    This is a quantum leap .. the internet is almost totally clogged by rubbish, but there's diamonds in there as well.

    Will we be able to noise-reduce all the rubbish? or will we have to evolve for this extra level of potential agency?