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EDN Themes: People & Life


Listed below are entries for the People & Life theme. Related entries can be found through keyword searches. For example, creativity can be found in other themes. Using Google "Search This Site" to do a keyword search for "creativity" reveals related entries in other themes.

Narrative: Carlos Castaneda - The World We All Know Is Only A Description

Carlos Castaneda is known for his books describing his personal experiences with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian sorcerer. In Journey to Ixtlan I found the following statement in the introduction:

For the purpose of presenting my argument I must first explain the basic premise of sorcery as don Juan presented it to me. He said that for a sorcerer, the world of everyday life is not real, or out there, as we believe it is. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description.
This idea of "the world we know is only a description" is captures an important aspect of learning...

Posted in People & Life | (Nov14/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Cynthia Dunsford - What if getting an education meant learning?

Cynthia at Iridescent Spoke has written a passionate entry about the problems in education. Like Cynthia, I have been down this path too many times. The entry is called On My Mind... In A Big Way. I especially like her question, "What if getting an education meant learning?"


Posted in People & Life | (Oct13/05) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Dan Blogs - Death and the Beauty Within

Facing our own mortality means that we fully embrace what our life can mean. Since the idea of death takes us to the precise center of our own mystery fear becomes our trusted advisor. I have been reading through an inspiring series of posts at Dan Blogs (via Lisa Galarneau in Beauty From Tragedy). The weblog is a compelling account of Dan's thoughts, feelings and experiences related to the tragic death of his partner. Jane died beside Dan in her sleep on July 23, 2005. As Lisa points out in her wonderful title to entry, beauty can and does from tragedy. Dan's commentary about his experiences in the loss of his loved one reveals that it is only by fully embracing the fear, suffering and isolation that naturally occurs when someone close to us dies can we fully embrace hope, healing and contentment. As I read through Dan's inspired and thoughtful writing, he provided deep insight into that relentless question How do we learn the things we value most? Our experiences with death, in fact, bring us into direct and unavoidable contact with this question...


Posted in People & Life | (Dec21/05) | Read/Comments (4) |


Narrative: Dan Eldon - Safari As A Way Of Life

A story is not a mere body of information to be dissected, remembered and regurgitated; it is a model for thinking about living. (Brian Alger, The Experience Designer)

One of the key aspects of experience design is the tension between how we have been living our lives versus how we want to be living our lives. Part of what it means to learn is intimately connected is the growing awareness of this tension between what we are and what we want to be. An important way that we increase our awareness of life is through the narratives of remarkable lives. This is one of the reasons why learning can never be reduced to mere subjects, topics and categories.


Posted in People & Life | (Oct18/03) | Read/Comments (2) |


Narrative: Dax-Devlon Ross - My Imagination Has Become My Refuge

Dax-Devlon Ross wonderfully captures his personal learning journey from education to career.

"It was to my disappointment to learn that my scholastic education had only purchased me a ticket to disillusionment, but Iím finding my way back home, so to speak, even if itís by foot."

There is a great deal of practical wisdom in the story he tells...


Posted in People & Life | (Sep26/05) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Erik Weihenmayer - "I want to summit."

Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind mountain climber ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In his book Touch The Top Of The World: A Blind Man's Journey To Climb Farther Than The Eye Can See Erik explores the many challenges he faced in his quest to find purpose and meaning in his life. The immense challenges faced in mountain climbing is a metaphor for his own journey in life. Indeed, "climbing farther than the eye can see" reveals a vibrant and inspiring learning process...


Posted in People & Life | (Oct15/05) | Read/Comments (1) |


Narrative: Hope Paterson - "Opening My Eyes"

Opening My Eyes is a compelling entry that reveals rich insight into the power of learning. Hope's Our General Store is a weblog focused on Building a community- based food network on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Yet as I read more of the entries there, I find striking insight into the human experience...


Posted in People & Life | (Jan 5/05) | Read/Comments (4) |


Narrative: Jerry Wennstrom - Interview

JerryWennstrom.jpg
Jerry Wennstrom

Jerry Wennstrom is the author of The Inspired Heart: An Artistís Journey of Transformation. He is also the subject of two Parabola documentary videos, In the Hands of Alchemy: The Life and Art of Jerry Wennstrom directed by Phil Lucas and Mark Sadan and Studio Dialogue directed by Jim Friedrich. The Combined videos are now available a new single DVD distributed by Parabola Magazine: The Society for Myth, Tradition and the Search for Meaning.

Jerryís web site is The Hands of Alchemy. In this interview with Brian Alger, Jerry Wennstrom explores the role of learning in art, creativity and life. With Jerry's permission, I have added a selection of his artwork that I feel relates directly to the insights he has offered...



Posted in Art & Creativity People & Life | (Jul31/05) | Read/Comments (4) |


Narrative: Kay Redfield Jamison - An Unquiet Mind - A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Kay Redfield Jamison has written a number of books that explore the ravages of mental illness. I found her book An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness to not only reveal a courageous insight into her personal battle with manic depression, but also her own life as hero's journey. The first sentence in the book sets the stage for what becomes an amazing and compelling story of learning admist life-threatening circumstances...


Posted in People & Life | (Oct10/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Neil Postman - Are You Talking To Me?

Neil Postman has recently passed away, but his work will remain with us. Although he consciously avoided becoming an expert in the traditional sense, it is clear that he was expert at asking questions that revealed hidden assumptions. He was also an expert in probing answers to these questions across a broad range of experiences...


Posted in People & Life | (Oct16/03) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Oscar Wilde - Suffering Is One Very Long Moment

In De Profundis, Oscar Wilde explores the nature of his own suffering and his personal journey to embrace it as a means to revitalize his life. His thoughts and ideas embrace an essential insight on learning; human suffering, and the agony and destitution that accompanies it, is an essential and vital force for animating the soul...


Posted in People & Life | (Aug14/05) | Read/Comments (3) |


Narrative: Pat Kahnert - Community Care

Pat Kahnert's Community Ties: To the Class of 2004 outlines his key principles for being a successful entrepreneur. As I read through them I realized they represented precisely how he ran his own independent business and that years of experience were authentically shining through. Recently, Pat also shared with me the text of an interview in which he was asked about his personal experiences as an entrepreneur. The interview was conducted by his daughter Meaghan as part of her work with the Shad Valley Motivational and Leadership Development Program. I asked Pat for persmission to re-print the interview here...


Posted in People & Life | (Aug 8/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Rainer Rilke - What Must I Do With My Life?

Rainer Rilke's Letters To A Young Poet offers valuable insight into the artist's learning process. Throughout the letters, Rilke refers to ways of building an authentic life designed to pursue Art. In fact, Art in Rilke's terms is a style of living - a way of being in the world (revised and expanded entry)...


Posted in People & Life | (Oct13/05) | Read/Comments (6) |


Narrative: Robert Paterson - Looking Beneath the Surface

Robert Paterson's: Looking Beneath the Surface weblog contains a wide variety of interesting insights. I like the theme of looking beneath the surface since it invites us to probe and question beyond the appearance of things. Given Robert's interesting and diverse background, it is not surprising that his writing is loaded with perceptual acuity. While reading through his work, I was struck by the following...


Posted in People & Life | (Oct 5/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Steve Biko - Psychological and Cultural Liberation

Bantu [i.e. - a member of any of a large number of linguistically related peoples of Central and South Africa] Stephen Biko's brilliance and courage to design a lifestyle for the psychological and cultural liberation of the Black mind was a fundamental presupposition for political freedom. If we are to explore the idea of lifestyle as a means to achieve greater independence and freedom in life, then the style of living fostered by Biko's insights and the authentic application of those insights represent a model of excellence...


Posted in People & Life | (Sep28/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Terri Schindler-Schiavo - One Day Later

Dear Terri,

We have not met, yet I sense we know each other. Distance has a way of relenting during times of tragedy. And people find a sense of connection beyond the frailty of our times. You are now free from our confused and debilitated sense of mercy.

I am writing this letter to you because I know that, one day after your death, you will be present in it. For me, you are indeed a hero - an individual's life that is so special that it speaks to the power of spiritual compassion and human empathy. In doing so, you remain a vibrant and living model for us all. A special life we can all learn from, grow from, and invite into all of our homes. Your death is testament to the mystery of life itself...


Posted in People & Life | (Apr 1/05) | Read/Comments (0) |


Narrative: Viktor Frankl - Man's Search For Meaning

I recently finished reading Victor Frankl's personal narrative of his experiences in Auschwitz. It is overwhelming and an incredible testament to the immense power of the human spirit - and learning. I can only vaguely imagine the depths of mental and physical agony he and his companions experienced. The presence of learning in his experience is deeply important...


Posted in People & Life | (Feb22/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Research Archive: People & Life

A list of People & Life resources powered by Furl, Feedburner, and Feed2JS:


Posted in People & Life | (Dec27/04) | Read/Comments (0) |


Transformation: Stephen Downes and Will Richardson

If I listen to the wind I will hear the voices of my life
- Courtenay, Bryce. The Power of One [DVD]

I have been noticing an increasing number of posts from the heart in the blogosphere. Perhaps it is the entrance of a new year retrieves a deep inner sense of reflection in people, a sense of reflection that inspires an individual to question their journey in life. These moments, to my thinking, are the most powerful moments in learning. I recently posted an entry inspired by John Pederson's dramatic change in life. Yesterday I read a wonderful entry by Stephen Downes that linked me to yet another fascinating entry by Will Richardson. Both Stephen and Will describe, in personal terms, a sense of reinvention that is occurring in their lives. Since I am of the opinion that moments like these are the gateway to learning itself, I will attempt to connect to their insights...


Posted in People & Life | (Jan 6/06) | Read/Comments (2) |