Starting a new year makes us particularly conscious of time. Time makes us conscious of limitations. And, contrary to the spirit of the age (at least prior to 2020), this is good, because limitations allow for definitions. When we pretend we don’t live on a calendar that comes to an end and has a beginning, […]
Allow me to tell you The Fable of the Fearsome √2, a proud irrational number with an unsettlingly sinister story behind it. Feel free to share this story with the little children whom you tuck in. Please note that this is, like any respectable fairytale, the stuff of legend. Furthermore, as is a storyteller’s prerogative,
The word liberal is so misused today that it brings confusion not clarity. So what should be liberal in education? The wisdom of Seneca can help us define it.
In my last article, “Can Mathematics be Parables?” I considered the fantastical realm of “imaginary” numbers. Now, wander with me across a terrain of numbers even more dazzlingly head-spinning . . . and even more hazardous, perhaps, to encounter. I’m sure you’ll remember that there is a whole category of numbers that is (gasp) “irrational”?
The idea of the interconnectedness of various disciplines, and the Quadrivium itself, hinges on the necessity and reality of there being an intentional order in the cosmos. If there is no order, then laws of nature, discoverability, and knowledge become chance, capricious, and subjective. If there is no intentionality, then happenstance, luck, and coincidence replaces
Among the most profound mistakes of our era, I am convinced we would have to list the shift from the liberal arts to subjects in our schools. If you teach subjects, one of the many unfortunate things that happens is that students quickly catch on that there is content (i.e. information to be remembered) in
We had been practicing the common topics of rhetoric for several weeks when one of the students approached me after class, brow furrowed. “Miss Brigham,” he confided, “these things are messing with me.” (My teacher’s heart rejoiced within me. If “things messing with me” means assumptions and desires being displaced, upended, rearranged, then surely this
Late 19th century and early 20th century industrialists had to prevent workers from making decisions, because that would interfere with productivity. The effect was to reduce the lives of the works to sub-human routines (it may be worth comparing that practice with Josh Gibb’s article from yesterday about the place of liturgies!). The labor unions
As a physics teacher, I get to play with toys as part of my job. Physics labs give me the chance to dig out classic favorites such as Slinkys and Hot Wheels cars and put them to educational use. Occasionally I get catalogs from laboratory equipment manufacturers full of strange and sterile contraptions, but I