"Actors do not
stand away from a part as if it were an object. They enter into a part
in such a way that they enter into the play. If the play is constructed
well, the whole play comes into presence within the parts so that an
actor encounters the play through his or her part. But actors do not
encounter the play as an object of knowledge over which they can stand
like the lines they learn. They encounter the play in their part as an
active absence that begins to move them. When this happens, an actor
starts to be acted by the play, instead of trying to act the play. The
origin of acting becomes the play itself, instead of the actor's
subjective "I". The actor no longer imposes himself or herself on the
play as if it were an object to be mastered, but he or she listens to
the play and allows himself or herself to be moved by it. In this way
actors enter into their parts in such a way that the play speaks through
them. This is how, their awareness being occupied with the lines to be
spoken, they encounter the whole which is the play - not as an object
but as an active absence." - Henri Bortoft
meaning of this paragraph is not limited to actors in the same way that
the meaning of a (any) play is not the sum total of the words in the
script, a painting to the colors used or education to a lesson plan.
There is something meaningful and important here. Any creative activity
is like an archeological endeavor - the content is out there relying on
us to uncover it.
Added 16th March 2013
Goals for a Science Course
"What is modern scientific
consciousness, how did this arise and what part does it have to play
in our picture of unfolding human development? How does the
development of consciousness relate to the ongoing rise and fall of
civilizations and how can this be related to the development of
children today? Is it possible to seek an approach to science within
education that will enable the students not only to understand the past
and present, but prepare them to be active participants in creating a more positive
In the afternoon sessions we will
focus on the presentation of physical science in the Middle School
Years (Grades 6 – 8) but throughout the day we will also explore
how foundations and approaches to science are developed in early
childhood, lower grades and the “heart of childhood”, and how
through biography, history, art and drama science teaching can be
extended through all areas of the integrated Waldorf Curriculum.
There may be more questions arising
than answers given, but this is a rich and exciting topic for
exploration and there are great treasures to be found!"
"We have, for
the most part, given up thinking of science as an autonomous activity
which stands outside of history, or indeed outside of any human social
context, pursuing its own absolute, contextless way of acquiring pure
knowledge. In fact, we have now begun to recognize that this view of
science itself arose within a particular cultural-historical context,
and that it is an expression of a style of thinking which has its own
validity but does not have access to "ultimate reality." We can now
recognize, for example, that the fact that modern physics is true -
which it certainly is - does not mean that it is fundamental. Hence it
cannot be a foundation upon which everything else, human beings
included, depends. Recognizing that the foundations of science are
cultural-historical does not affect the truth of science, but it does
put a different perspective on the fundamentalist claims made on behalf
of science by some of its self-appointed missionaries today. Looked at
in the light of new discoveries in the history and philosophy of
science, such claims to have found the ultimate basis of reality looks
like no more than quaint relics from a bygone age."
that longing for "ultimate reality" that always comes a cropper. I like
how this paragraph encourages us to put science as another man-made
world-view (that encounters its own limits) in the sequence of ultimate
reality graspers: theology, reason, mathematics.
Somehow this seems to fit very well with Hegel's view of history.
Added 15th March 2013
Five Key Themes (for a five day course)
Here is my provisional outline:
||Sound, Light & Heat
||Sense Perception & Self Perception
||Industry & Technology
||Electricity & Magnetism
||Elements & Temperaments
||Experience, Experiment & Authority
Education and the Unknown - Rudolph Steiner
"We shouldn’t ask: What does a human being need to know and to master for society as it exists? Rather: What are a human being’s predispositions and potentials for development? Then it will be possible for each generation to infuse ever new impulses into society. Then what flows out of these full human beings can live in society rather than a new generation becoming a result of what existing society wants to
make out of it."
(4 August, 1919; p. 26; translation by C. Holdrege)
I am having a lot of fun preparing a Science course for W.I.S.C. this
summer, but I would appreciate input from experienced field-workers and
high school teachers. The initial request was for
"Science in grades 6-8" but I am shaping this as "Approaches to Science in the
Class Teacher Years" as although I will focus on Physics and Chemistry
in grades 6-8 I also want to place this in the broader context of what is science and its place in human development, how does this fit with child development and developing natural science throughout the grades. I am also (always) keen to explore possibilities for collaboration and cross-curricula
work. For example the cultivation and expression of sense-perception
and self-perception can be explored in many areas (I especially like
seventh grade for this), whereas with much of the eighth grade
curriculum it is possible to combine developments in science with the
historical, and even ethical, impact of technology and industry.
Two Scientific Streams:
Inductive (parts up)
Deductive (idea down)
Practical & Empirical
Rational & Theoretical
- the flaws are in abstract reason
- the flaws are in sense perception
From Aristotle on science had its foundations in human reason.
Bacon thought scientific enquiry sould be
rooted in experience,
Descartes in mathematics.
(Hume dismissed both!)
Four Scientific Streams
The First Stream of Science, Natural Philosopy, has its foundation in Reason. (Aristotle & the Scholastic Philosophers)
The Second Stream, Theoretical Science, seeks a reality behind appearances that can be expressed through Mathematics. (Galileo, Descartes & Newton)
The Third stream, Empirical science, is focussed outward, not on the mind but on experience and experiment. (Francis Bacon's "New Organon")
Goethe's Phenomenological Science refuses to accept the splits within and between the above three streams - individuals through experience can uncover "archetypes", ideal forms which are not subjective but arise from experience in the sense organ of the mind.
. . . . ish - Goethe will take more work!
A "Classical" (Scholastic) Perspective:
Click to zoom and read -
"Saving Western civilization one student at a time . . ."
Here's Bacon (representing Empiricism):
Empirical and inductive study of nature, pursued with a view to increasing man's power over and control of his material environment, without regard to authority or the great names of the past.
Knowledge and human power come to the same thing, for nature cannot be conquered except by obeying her.
(personal note: we cannot obtain effects without an accurate knowledge of causes.)
Galileo ~ from "Il Saggiatore" (representing Ratonalism):
"Philosophy is written in the book of the universe, but this cannot be read until we have learned the language and understood the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is impossible to understand a single word."
Emmanuel Kant's "Copernican Revolution"
"Truth" has been held to be when the idea (understanding) and the object (sensation) are in agreement.
What if, rather than the idea responding and conforming to the object,
the object responds and conforms to the idea?
. . . and what we see is not determined by what is before us but rather limited by what we are able to see?
The scientist as "appointed judge who compels the witness to answer questions which he himself has formulated" - Kant
. . . but scientists never notice this circularity because they believe they hear the voice of "nature" speaking, not realising it is the transposed echo of their own voice. - Bortoft
"We must remember that what we observe is not Nature itself, but nature as expressed to our manner of questioning" - Heisenberg 1959
Quoted by Manfred Von Mackenson, who goes on to say:
Nature develops and ripens through the human being - the human being is neither superfluous, nor a mere onlooker.
Above is polarity drawing taken from Ernst Lehrs that I found in an old notebook.
Very interesting workshop with Michael D'aleo this weekend, who seems to be really doing the work http://www.sensri.org/
A question I have been living with is what are we hoping for in the inner development of the students when we introduce formal science teaching in middle school?
The nugget I received was that that at this age the students
are leaving behind the sense of wonder and connection with the world
that is a natural part of childhood, and that by introducing science in a healthy way we can present them with tools to consciously regain this connection and sense of wonder for themselves while developing rather than loosing their identity or sense of self. The "healthy way" bit is key, of course, as a large part of the science teaching that I have encountered is heavily unbalanced towards the phosphorous pole (conscious detachment) at the expense of sulfur (active engagement)
with very little space for "breathing" - which only compounds the
problem when a student is newly experiencing cynicism and alienation.
The Concepts of Immanuel Kant
Which given Kant's "Copernican Revolution" (see above) should be taken as the
thought structures without which perception would not be possible.
Which, as long as they are taken as a picture of the Western Mind at a particular point in its history, are really quite interesting!
I do like that "Causality" is lined up with "Hypothetical"!