Mind Bridges: Seven Facets of Magic

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He seemed almost to resent it — as if the conflict were, like the American project in Iraq, an unwanted inheritance from his predecessor. And in fact, his impatience to get free of Iraq played a role in spawning the Syrian nightmare. As the U. But Syria was different. Decades of minority rule had built up enormous pressures, and the regime was more cunning and better prepared than those that fell in the Arab Spring. Obama resisted but, after a round of strong lobbying by Israel and Jordan, eventually signed a secret order for the CIA to arm and train rebel groups.

Obama continued to send mixed signals for more than a year. It was not until late August that events finally focused his mind. A poison-gas attack near Damascus left hundreds of Syrian civilians dead. But then, with his finger on the trigger, he backed away under the guise of seeking authorization from a Congress he knew to be opposed.

To domestic critics, including some in his own administration, it was an embarrassing flip-flop that would surely embolden dictators the world over. But most observers agree that it came about largely through luck. In the years since, the Syrian war has continued to absorb new players and damage everything in its path. The Obama administration is in deeper, though only to fight isis.

The Russians are fighting for Assad, the Turks against him; the Kurds are in the middle. One of his favorite foreign leaders, Angela Merkel, has shared his concerns about intervention all along. But she has balanced her wariness with a much more generous embrace of Syrian refugees.

It is not too late for him to follow her example. The video is later seen by a friend of the victim. I meant what I said. But this was not a gaffe. Where are there opportunities to think big? So I had already assigned our team to start exploring what that might look like and how we might structure it. And then it started late and it was pouring rain and security issues were a challenge.

And so the handshake with Castro was actually pretty spontaneous. For me not to shake his hand would have been an inappropriate gesture at a funeral. So I shook his hand. It was me shaking the hand of an older man who was sitting on the stage when I was doing a eulogy. At that point we had already begun to have some contact with the Cuban government and were thinking about what might happen. They interpreted that handshake and my willingness to do that on the world stage as a signal of greater seriousness.

And so it did, I think, facilitate the series of negotiations that took place. On the day his political career died, Eric Cantor was busy tending to what he still believed was its bright future. He was there to host a fund-raiser for three of his congressional colleagues — something he did every month, just another part of the long game he was playing, which, he believed, would eventually culminate in his becoming Speaker of the House. The preceding five years had brought Cantor tantalizingly closer to that goal. It never occurred to him that the wave he was trying to ride might crash on him instead.

Cantor and his political team never took Brat, a little-known economics professor, as a serious threat. But by , it was clear Cantor had been defeated. More than two years later, the two have still not spoken. In the two years since Mike Brown was fatally shot by the police in Ferguson, and the video footage of his dead body in the street went viral, we have seen the emergence of a perverse dichotomy on our screens and in our public discourse: irrefutable evidence of grotesquely persistent racism, and irrefutable evidence of increasing black cultural and political power.

In fact, it is all of these things, not least two terms with a black president. In the same way that black skin signals danger to the police and to more white people than anyone is willing to admit , his black skin, to black people, signaled black cultural preservation. Black people are reinventing mainstream vernacular and setting the tone for cultural dialogue.

All of this in parallel to viral video after viral video of black bodies young and old, shot and killed, beaten or pinned to the ground with a knee in the back, knocked out of a school desk. The spectrum of anti-black racism is extreme — from microaggression to monkey memes to murder. But so is the spectrum of black achievement.

In the past few years, black America has harnessed centuries of pent-up capacity and shot it out of a cannon. I remember speaking with the president about how the administration should respond. So we made the determination that I would go. It was high risk because we were, in essence, putting the prestige of the Justice Department, the attorney general, and potentially the administration on the line, and if the trip proved to be unsuccessful, if the protests continued in a violent way, that would have been very problematic.

I had to be visible. We took Air Force Two, the plane normally used by the vice-president. I remember there was a TV on the plane. It had a picture of the plane that I was on landing in Ferguson. CNN was covering the landing of the plane, and we landed and people from my staff were getting off. What struck me about the day was there was consistency from the residents there, young and old, black and white.

When the report was done by folks in our civil-rights division, they found that the police department or the criminal-justice system was being used as a way to generate money for the local government. I remember at the community meeting, there was a woman who was expressing concerns about whether we would conduct a really fair, impartial, independent investigation, and I assured her that we would. But I think it was the right thing to do. The decision to go was one that I made with the president.

We always talk about the value of diversity, and the fact that you had two black men looking at that situation and being impacted in the way that we were, as both public officials and black men — I think that might have impacted the final determination that I should go. I think it certainly was part of the calculus, never spoken, never said, between us. But I think it was something that had an influence on me, on him. It was not something we ever talked about since then, but I suspect that at some level, it was a factor.

That was the Obama years: when pop became a kind of politics and used that assertive power to reconquer a music world that had not so long ago pushed it to the margins. Eight years can be an eternity or an instant in music. This class restored a sense of artistic autonomy following the producer-Svengali era of the mid-aughts with Timbaland, the Neptunes, Irv Gotti, and the like. But it was more than just new musical auteurism: A different kind of pop star was forged in the Obama years, one that attempts to juggle the spectacle of song and dance with internet savvy and caring advocacy.

Many stars effortlessly nail two of the three. The Hive can build and nurture, but dissidents get stung, and hard. But the brilliance of Black-ish was that, as much as its timeliness made it a cultural landmark, it was also pretty timeless. Black America has always needed Black-ish, just as white America has always needed Seinfeld or Sex and the City ; like its s predecessor, The Cosby Show, Black-ish is essentially about the ordinariness of black family life, even if that ordinariness occasionally means staring down race-specific quandaries: What do you teach your black children about use of the N-word?

How do you straddle multiple roles in society and navigate a shaky proximity to blackness and whiteness that threatens to erase facets of your own cultural identity? Or post-class America, for that matter. Tom Frieden, the head of CDC, briefed us with a chart that basically blew all of our minds and predicted that by January , we could have up to 1.

We needed to surge treatment facilities. We needed to surge logistics support. We needed to surge health-care workers. And to do all of that, we concluded that [we would need] the deployment of U. The president felt that it was his job to be the voice of reason. Every plane that came from West Africa or every person who might be from West Africa was potentially carrying Ebola. There were calls to shut the borders and to prevent all West Africans from coming to the United States. There were calls in Congress for the same, and it was really kind of getting crazy and overheated.

By the end of November, we had bent the curve. And rather than 1. His death is the latest killing of an unarmed black man — or, in this case, a child — to fuel a national outrage, as well as private pain for the friends and families left behind. In the age of the hacker, privacy is a thing of the past. Because even though we know these things are none of our business, were illegally obtained, and are flat-out unethical to view, it can still be hard to resist.

After all, what good does it do? This is the unexpected, chilling reality of the information age: The second some intriguing bit of content hits the internet, it is distributed exponentially and will live on indefinitely. Not only will every word from the Sony hack of , the Ashley Madison hack of , and the Colin Powell email hack from this summer be accessible for years to come, but any of the personal information hacked from corporate and government databases Anthem, the IRS, the Federal Office of Personnel Management, Swift, and Yahoo could wind up online, too.

But then, sometimes playing dumb is the guiltiest pleasure of all. Google has a biotech company that aims to beat death at its game. Technological optimism in California is a natural resource, like oil in the Middle East, seemingly inexhaustible, a motive force of the economy, and not a little bad for the environment.

They tend toward a sunny libertarianism, they read relatively few novels, they love productivity tips, and they occasionally propose — so valuable are its pearls — that California secede from the Union, the better to disrupt the world. Pitch an app and a venture capitalist yawns. What they want is the market, the whole shebang. Google launched its own trading floor in , you know? The media tends to make this whole digital revolution a battle between Silicon Valley and, well, the media.

Typical narcissism. The implosion of the media industry is really just collateral damage. Silicon Valley wants to be the fun Wall Street, the market where all must come, taking a few pennies with every transaction. The idea that Silicon Valley could mint currency was almost pornographically exciting. To seduce a VC, whisper the word arbitrage into his pink, pink ear. To them, bitcoin was like a catchy earworm; once they heard it, they had to hear it again and again.

You make the money yourself … with the computer? You mint cash … with computation? You no longer had to find a link between ever-faster central processing units and the global economy? The fast computer is the economy and things are looking uuuuuuuup. And predictably, they lost their minds.

African-American women have been burdened with a reputation for anger, aggression, masculinity, and inhuman strength since their arrival in the Colonial United States. The stereotype was used to explain why enslaved African women, unlike the delicate moneyed white women they served, were able to endure the lash, grueling work, rape, and sexual exploitation. It was more complicated to saddle the biracial candidate Barack Obama, son of a bohemian white mother from Kansas, raised in Hawaii by white grandparents, with being a source of simmering racial resentment.

Though plenty certainly tried. That was on the nice end of things. And she has challenged Fallon to a push-up contest, embracing her strength in defiance of those who question her femininity. She is, according to Gallup, a First Lady with favorability ratings that, on average, have exceeded those of her predecessors. For every person who endorses a stereotypical characterization of Michelle Obama, many more have been moved by her obvious humanity to walk away from broken narratives about her and all black women.

When I started my last book in the early aughts, people to whom I mentioned the trans kids I was writing about were astonished that they existed; some were appalled by what they took to be a precocious sexual perversion. It is now accepted that you are who you say you are.

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Trans and gay are not the same thing experientially, but they have been amalgamated politically under the now-dominant LGBTQ banner — a necessity given the much larger number of gay people than trans people. But that very acronym speaks to diversity within this embracing queer community and acceptance of that diversity outside it. How did it happen? I welcomed this new president, but I mourned Proposition 8 passing in California, revoking the right to marriage where it had already been granted; grieved over the state constitutional amendments in Florida and Arizona that made gay marriage illegal.

But the setback turned out to be galvanizing. The coherence the movement for gay rights had achieved as it fought disease was now focused on seeking acceptance, and through a bewildering alchemy, the test case became marriage. I used to be ashamed of being gay. For all that I put on a good show of pride, I used to feel I was making the most of an unfortunate situation. Partly, that changed because I grew up, achieved self-acceptance, met my husband, and had kids, all of which salved the regret. But also, the world stopped pitying me.

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The external validation of the class of human beings to which I belong has worked a subtle magic. Our assertions of pride have finally achieved that pride. Then, one by one, longtime members would share their sexuality. That, more than any magic verse in the Bible, began to make it more possible for us to have gay people be deacon or teach a Bible-study class. The last hurdle for us, though, was same-sex weddings.

SC: Why would we get married somewhere else? JP: But they never said it in a way that was like blackmail. They were so gracious in saying yes. We lost some families over this. And we miss those folks, but we had to move on. I went with his parents. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.

It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. JK: The initial meeting in Geneva had a little bit of posturing and some resistance.

There had been months of negotiations leading up to that. And we had to keep Congress briefed, we kept Israel briefed. EM: We were asking for a very substantial rollback of the nuclear enterprise, in return for political-slash-economic concessions on the other side. And the technical knowledge did matter. For [Iranian nuclear head Ali Akbar] Salehi, what was very important is that they were not entirely eliminating activities.

So, they still get to run some centrifuges for enrichment, but only the old ones. We would write on whiteboards. But I would never pocket something until we came back the next time and it was still there, since Salehi would have to go talk to his teams and maybe get pushed one way or another. On April 2, we got the interim agreement nailed.

We were cornered into that by the imminent potential of Congress passing additional sanctions, which would have blown the whole thing apart. The people who were opposed to it were passing a lot of disinformation around. He was tweeting. And so we needed to go public with the outlines of the deal. This is terrible. But we plowed ahead.

EM: Getting to that last one was tougher. I remember we all had planned to be home for the Fourth of July. The first of July came, the third of July, the Fourth of July. My problem was I was still in a gingerly state. We had to prop my leg up under the table. There were moments when I thought these guys just were not serious. But the alternative to this genuinely was a road to conflict. EM: The deal really does have to be judged in a hard-nosed way on the peaceful-uses-of-nuclear-energy basis. Unless you were a member of a small number of families in New York City, it would have been very rare over the past century to open up a newspaper and find, between international news and entertainment gossip, pictures of your new nephew or a wedding announcement for a middle-school classmate.

But we live in the future now, and this alarming, alienating, and totally compelling collage of news, gossip, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and videos featuring two different species of animals becoming friends is the conventional way to get information. Where Google requires you to seek out the news you want, Facebook will serve up relevant content the minute you open up the app. Ties Russia to Strike on U. Convoy in Syria. Meanwhile, newspapers, magazines, and digital publishers jockey for space alongside small businesses, enthusiast groups, multinational conglomerates, actors, DJs, models, actor-DJs, model-DJs, and users like yourself.

Who needs to search for news or, worse, rely on editors! The result is less a media landscape peacefully democratized than one violently razed, its great edifices stripped for parts and its gatekeepers reduced to shrieking mendicants. The hacker dystopia Mr.

Robot was different. Unlike, say, Lost, the fantastical elements of Mr. By whom? No one is quite sure. Fifteen years after the Patriot Act and the first drone strikes, and several since Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, Americans are not, whatever previous generations of alarmists warned, living in a George Orwell novel.

The world is much weirder than that. There could be no Guccifer the guy who leaked George W. Surveillance has not brought about total control and desperate passivity. Eventually, as with anything that becomes mainstream, woke made its way to memes, mocking people who believe they are deeper than they actually are. Part of that glee has involved shifting the mortifying burden of the job onto his young daughters, who have stood there, flanking him, every year while he tries out four or five minutes of excruciating dad jokes on the American people. And still, year by year, something remarkable happened that changed the dynamic: The girls grew up.

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Sasha was only 8 when they did the first one, and mostly cheeks; Malia was Each year, their awkward rocking in place and skittering gazes were replaced by a little more poise. They were changed, but still changing. Language is important, folks. But really, must we harp on inequality and exploitation every damn minute? Never mind that there is no audience except for workplace surveillance , no groupies, no music.

Just ask the Department of Labor, whose website features a photo of some dude band rocking steady. What this image really has to do with the major sectors of the gig economy — administrative support, waste management — is up to each of us to decide. Or not. How did we arrive here? Corporations will tell you the answer is Silicon Valley and the restless ambition of millennials, who together have forged a vibrant new model of work.

Others might point to a weak job market that never really recovered from the recession and continues to fail the majority of workers. A close friend just got fired from her gig at a tech company so powerful that if I named it I would burst into a billion shards of frozen carbon. Yet millions struggle with situations far worse. There are high-end gigs with organic snacks and low-end gigs with unaffordable injuries.

Which is why a better metaphor for this economy is another kind of gig, often called a frog gig, a popular multi-tined spear used to impale fish and small game. And, two, I want to move quickly. We moved pretty quickly to put down a slate of potential candidates, casting a reasonably broad net, and then put those in front of the president to get an initial reaction. There was a picture on a Friday of the president carrying home for the weekend this giant binder that we had prepared. Was that a photo op?

Clearly we were giving people the chance to take a photo of it. But he did spend the whole weekend reading through hundreds of pages of material, and he came in on Monday morning with the binder marked up, ready to go through it in some detail. Former politicals, people who have principally an academic background. It was a balance between trying to encourage your team to be open-minded on the one hand and also then being able to make decisions and not get caught in an endless debating society.


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As we got down to the group of four or five, he wanted to sit down and interview them face-to-face. And part of what he wanted to raise directly with these folks was the unique circumstances of this nomination. Obviously, [Merrick] Garland is somebody who has seen a lot of this before.

His path to getting on the D. Circuit Court was blocked for two years for reasons having nothing to do with him. The right policy was also going to be the right politics. That was a good sign that the electorate was turning away from the Establishment— and that Fox had really become the Establishment. And we find it quite thrilling. Aside from the climate and guns, he seems to have got a lot of his agenda through.

We think his legacy is going to be much more negative than people perceive it now, but tactically he was a political wizard. A lot of what the left does is use the culture effectively. They try to appeal to a broader audience. They try to focus on issues that resonate with voters. Before the shocks of , Europe was intoxicated with self-satisfaction. Perhaps someday even the Albanians would be civilized enough to be governed from Brussels. Instead, the subordination of national governments by a faceless bureaucracy has left elected parties vulnerable to populist creep on their right flanks.

In the United Kingdom, it resulted in a vote to ditch the EU — a plea for national sovereignty, a racist howl, or perhaps a bit of both. A common European identity has been another fragile fiction. It was one thing for Western European states to absorb workers from Eastern Europe, but the Syrian-refugee crisis and boats of migrants arriving from North Africa have led to waves of nativist hysteria.

Neo-Nazis have returned to the frame. The slaughter committed in by Anders Breivik in Oslo has been followed by a wave of arson attacks on refugee housing throughout Northern Europe. A continent once given to bragging of its cosmopolitanism and tolerance has discovered itself to be a bit too cosmopolitan for its own liking. Without a drachma to devalue, for instance, Greece has been bailed out three times since and still has debts equivalent to percent of its GDP, as well as 24 percent unemployment. In the ongoing morality play, the Germans are often cast as frugal and generous parents, the Greeks and Cypriots as feckless, lazy children.

Europe today is a dysfunctional family, half-bankrupt, half-abusive, in a house full of unwelcome guests. The police told me to get out of the street and I complied and I was still arrested. So, I spent the next 17 hours in a Baton Rouge jail alongside about other protesters. There are so many incredible activists and organizers in Baton Rouge that I met in jail, though. That there were all these people that believed the same thing as you. The movement has created a critical mass of people who acknowledge that there is a problem across the country. If you think about two years ago, when we were in the street in Ferguson, people thought that St.

Louis had a problem, they did not yet believe that America had a problem. The reality is that the police have killed nearly three people a day in , so the trauma is consistent. The next part of the work is creating a critical mass of people who know what to do next. One of the biggest misconceptions is around the difference between the hashtag, the organization, and the movement. And, you know, what is so powerful about the protests in Ferguson, after Mike Brown got killed, is that nobody started it.

It was just people coming together and organizing, organically, to create a movement that spread around the country. And one of the things that I worry about as the movement continues is that there are people who say the only way to build power is to build an organization. And what we know to be true is that people have been doing incredible work whether they had a c 3 tax-exempt organization or not. Harriet Tubman organized without tax-exempt status. There are many ways to organize.

Of all the storms that roiled America in the Obama era, few, if any, have been more consistently underestimated or more persistent than the Great Populist Putsch. The tidal wave of grass-roots rage that rose out of the wreckage of the crash and Bush presidency has variously spawned the tea party, Occupy Wall Street, the Bernie Sanders revolution, and the Donald Trump insurgency. Yet for much of the way, the elites of both political parties were often slow to grasp what was happening, and Barack Obama was no exception. But the tea party was not your typical conservative tax revolt.

It was not until the populist left staged its own revolt in the fall of that Obama acknowledged a bigger picture. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. All true, but there was still more than that going on here: the sense that the entire system was rigged — for the rich and well connected, for globalized corporations, for the Establishments of both parties, for every Wall Street bandit the Obama Justice Department allowed to escape scot-free after the housing bubble burst. Not that Obama was the only leader who failed to recognize either the scale of the populist uprising or his own contribution to it.

Had Republican leaders been listening to their own unhappy grass roots during the bruising primary campaign that yielded Mitt Romney, they might have anticipated the discontent that would boil over after his defeat. Trump was not just a big target but a safe one in the Washington Hilton ballroom.

And the morning after, those of us who caught the replay on YouTube joined in the laughter. But five years later, the Populist Putsch remains unchecked, with few voters of any persuasion confident that it will be pacified, let alone addressed, by the next occupant of the White House, no matter what happens on Election Day. For others, it could have been reading about bee colonies in collapse or a generation of crabs dying in water too acidic for them to survive or all those bleached coral reefs off the coast of Australia.

Or when they learned that climate change could displace million people by and sweep more than a million species into extinction. For me, the moment of sheerest panic and deepest dread was when I read about anthrax released into the Siberian air when thawing permafrost revealed a frozen reindeer, killed by the bacteria 75 years ago at least and now beginning to melt, and about the hundreds of young reindeer killed as a result, and the dozens of nomadic Russians who were hospitalized, and I considered how much more than just warm water would be unleashed from those ice caps by climate change.

Melissa Dahl: The Fitbit was introduced at a tech conference eight years ago. You got smartphones everywhere. A Fitbit-induced stress vortex. Cari Romm: It feels like productive stress, though. MD: Oh, God. Should I care? Sleep is the one thing I obsessed over for a while.

1. Biographical Sketch

Which does not really help one get to sleep. JS: Would Ben Franklin have been an insufferable tech-bro? MD: The evidence suggests that he might have been, yes. I was a first-time drug offender — no guns or gangs. I got life without parole. When I tell you that I put my petition for clemency to the president together like my life depended on it, I did. I knew there were tens of thousands of petitions filed, so I said, How can I make mine stand out? I put a hardback cover on it. I put it in binders, I put tabs.

I put a personal letter to the president, pictures of me, all the certificates and awards I got while I was in prison, support letters from preachers, schoolteachers, the officer that put me in prison. I got real nervous, thinking probably that my mother or father passed. Getting a job was hard. Nobody wanted to hire me. Some people would ask how long I was in prison.

I was in a Time -magazine article, so I brought that and the certificate from the president. Just come tomorrow so you can start working. The street where Corey was killed is a lonely one, tucked next to a water-treatment plant maybe six blocks from the Little Calumet River, which is where Chicago ends. Corey was brilliant and popular, loved equally by the honor-roll kids and the troublemakers.

I was new to teaching then, but even so I could see he was better than I was at motivating the class. One boy finished his first chapter book ever — one of the Magic Tree Houses — because Corey sat with him for a week trading paragraphs as they read the whole thing out loud. I heard that he had a rough few years toward the end of high school. Tougher crowd. Gang rumors.

More than people have been killed in Chicago this year already, and many have been children, like Corey. Sometimes the killer is, too. Our police chief said this spring that the average Chicago shooter is 15 or 16 years old. Corey was innocent. Certainly he was in his fifth-grade classroom. And if he became a gang member eight years later, that just makes the story all the more tragic. The last time voters pondered the end of a two-term Democratic administration, the Republican ran as the candidate of continuity. Donald Trump is running against a country he depicts as crumbling into decay and ubiquitous violence, and his erratic public displays appear not only tolerable to many voters but are actually celebrated, as they signal the most dramatic possible change from the status quo.

He distinguishes himself by making shockingly explicit the reactionary cultural attitudes that drive this opposition. Hillary Clinton is not promising to radically reshape America, but her election would be further evidence that America is radically reshaping itself. Take the play Hamilton, which supplies a new vision of American history, lionizing its urban, immigrant, pro-government protagonist, and presents its vision through a mostly non-white cast.

A recent poll found that, among Americans who have either seen the play or listened to its soundtrack, Clinton leads Trump by more than two to one. Over the past eight years, Obama has led this country through a convulsive social transformation, one that is now being litigated, on the campaign trail, by avatars of two very different Americas. How much change — and of what kind — do we really want? The answer will become clear in five weeks.

Account Profile. Sign Out. Unemployment 7. Troops in Afghanistan 38, They promise precision, but this promise is false, as the cartoonish failure to kill Baitullah Mehsud shows. When the CIA dispatched its drones for a manhunt, it took at least seven drone strikes to kill him.

More than others, including 11 children, lost their lives along the way. Valerie Jarrett Senior adviser to the president. Unemployment 9. Troops in Afghanistan 79, Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator and presidential contender. Troops in Afghanistan 99, David Plouffe Former senior adviser to the president. Truth, too, is radically reevaluated. For too long, truth connoted an ideal—an epistemic fixity a correspondence, a coherence which could terminate all further inquiry.

As this is not the actual situation human beings or philosophy inhabits, the ideal should be set aside. In scientific inquiry, the criterion of what is taken to be settled, or to be knowledge, is being so settled that it is available as a resource in further inquiry; not being settled in such a way as not to be subject to revision in further inquiry. Truth does not stand outside of experience, but is an experienced relation, particularly one which is socially shared.

In How We Think , Dewey wrote,. Truth, truthfulness, transparent and brave publicity of intercourse, are the source and the reward of friendship. Truth is having things in common. It is probably fair to say that, around the world, Dewey remains as well know for his educational theories see entry on philosophy of education, section Rousseau, Dewey, and the progressive movement as for his philosophical ones. In effect this was a call to see philosophy from the standpoint of education.

Education offers a vantage ground from which to penetrate to the human, as distinct from the technical, significance of philosophic discussions…. The educational point of view enables one to envisage the philosophic problems where they arise and thrive, where they are at home, and where acceptance or rejection makes a difference in practice.

If we are willing to conceive education as the process of forming fundamental dispositions, intellectual and emotional, toward nature and fellow-men, philosophy may even be defined as the general theory of education. DE , MW9: Dewey was active in education his entire life. Besides high school and college teaching, he devised curricula, established, reviewed and administered schools and departments of education, participated in collective organizing, consulted and lectured internationally, and wrote extensively on many facets of education.

This school also became a site for democratic expression by the local community. Learning deserves to be framed in this way: as a cumulative, progressive process where inquirers move from the dissatisfying phase of doubt toward another marked by the satisfying resolution of a problem. The native and unspoiled attitude of childhood, marked by ardent curiosity, fertile imagination, and love of experimental inquiry, is near, very near, to the attitude of the scientific mind.

HWT , MW6: Learning as an activity which incorporated actual problems necessitated a careful integration of lessons with specific learners. One way to do this was by identifying specific problems able to bridge curriculum and student and then create situations in which students have to work them out. As active and creative beings, education should not fetter growth—even instruction should be subordinated to content if necessary. Content was supreme, and instruction should discipline children to ensure they are receptive.

Dewey developed an interactional model to move beyond that debate. He refused to privilege either child or society. While Romantics correctly identified the child replete with instincts, powers, habits, and histories as an indispensable starting point for pedagogy, Dewey argued that the child cannot be the only starting point.

Larger social groups family, community, nation also have a legitimate stake in passing along extant interests, needs, and values as part of an educational synthesis. Still, of these two approaches, Dewey tilted more strongly against the high value placed by traditionalists on discipline and memorization.

While recognizing the legitimacy of conveying content facts, values , Dewey thought it paramount for schools to eschew indoctrination. Educating meant incorporating , with a wide berth for personal freedom, unique individuals into a changing society which—this had to remain clear—would soon be under their dominion. This is why who the child was mattered so very much.

Following colleague and lifelong friend G. Because character, rights, and duties are informed by and contribute to the social realm, schools were critical sites to learn and experiment with democracy. Democratic life consists not only in civic and economic conduct, but more crucially in habits of problem solving, compassionate imagination, creative expression, and civic self-governance. The full range of roles a child might assume in life is vast; once this is appreciated, it is incumbent upon society to make education its highest political and economic priority.

There will be almost a revolution in school education when study and learning are treated not as acquisition of what others know but as development of capital to be invested in eager alertness in observing and judging the conditions under which one lives. Yet until this happens, we shall be ill-prepared to deal with a world whose outstanding trait is change.

Individuals exist in communities; as their lives change, needs and conflicts emerge that require intelligent management; we must make sense out of new experiences. Democracy is the faith that the process of experience is more important than any special result attained, so that special results achieved are of ultimate value only as they are used to enrich and order the ongoing process. Since the process of experience is capable of being educative, faith in democracy is all one with faith in experience and education.

All ends and values that are cut off from the ongoing process become arrests, fixations. They strive to fixate what has been gained instead of using it to open the road and point the way to new and better experiences. The success or failure of democracy rests on education. Education is most determinative of whether citizens develop the habits needed to investigate problematic beliefs and situations, to communicate openly, throughout.

While every culture aims to convey values and beliefs to the coming generation, it is critical, Dewey thought, to distinguish between education which inculcates collaborative and creative hypothesizing and education which foments obeisance to parochialism and dogma. And philosophy must apply this same standard to itself. Dewey wrote extensively on ethics throughout his career; some writings were explicitly about ethics, but ethical analyses are present in works with other foci.

Dewey, in contrast, argued for a more experimental approach. Rather than a grand and final explanatory account of moral life, ethics describes intelligent methods for dealing with novel and morally perplexing situations. There are no stipulated, ultimate values, nor should any be sought. Actual resolutions to moral problems, Dewey observed, typically point toward plural factors aims, duties, virtues , rather than just one TIF , LW5.

Moreover, actual conduct including inquiry is undertaken not by isolated, rational actors but by fundamentally social beings. It is social, whether bad or good. HNC , MW Such strategies tend to fail. Progress in ethical theory, then, means improvements that render inquiry more discriminating, more revelatory of alternatives and consequences. Anderson While those proving valuable can be retained for reuse, all are considered fallible and capable of reconstruction. Dewey rejected approaches relying upon non-empirical, a priori assumptions e. These events strained prevailing liberal theories, and Dewey labored to revise both democracy and liberalism.

Such experience, expressed as collaborative inquiry, required the intellectual and emotional competencies necessary to tackle shared problems and negotiate value differences. Ultimately, democracy requires faith in experience as a sufficient resource for future solutions and that it is no longer necessary to place faith into transcendent rules or aims. Such publics consist of members lacking the critical education, time, and attention necessary for inquiry.

They present democracy with perhaps its most significant and undermining condition PP , LW2: , Festenstein Third, it analyzes the communicative functions of art, especially in education and political life. Nevertheless, it is also life at its fullest. Thus, the main question AE poses is: How did a chasm arise between the arts, artists and ordinary people? Because aesthetic experience has organic roots, it can be recognized even in everyday objects and events.

Leddy The whole story of man shows that there are no objects that may not deeply stir engrossing emotion. One of the few experiments in the attachment of emotion to ends that mankind has not tried is that of devotion, so intense as to be religious, to intelligence as a force in social action. A Common Faith , a, LW9: 52— Dewey grew up in a religious family; his mother was especially devout and pressured her sons to live up to a similar devotion.

His family church was Congregationalist; a bit later, including in college, Liberal Evangelicalism proved to be a more acceptable form of Christianity. There was no vision, not even a definable emotion—just a supremely blissful feeling that his worries [about whether he prayed sufficiently in earnest] were over. Dykhuizen Dewey belonged to congregations for about thirty-five years and turned away circa , as he left for a post in Chicago.

McDermott put it,. McDermott , 50— The challenge A Common Faith took on seems, in retrospect, insurmountable. He wished to reconstruct religion in a way which harmonized it with his empiricism and naturalism, while showing how the power of religious experience and belief could be transformed in ways which supported and advanced a secular conception of democracy. Religions vary, of course, but to a large degree they posit transcendent, eternal, unobservable entities and reveal themselves in ways which are not, shall we say, open to verification.

Empirical experience regardless of its specific construal is seen as inferior—whether castigated as flux, illusion, uncertainty, or confusion, it must be left behind. In short, Dewey had squared himself against the metaphysics, epistemology, and seemingly the morality, of major religions. Dewey was not addressing believers contented with supernatural religion, nor religious liberals seeking a via media postulating discrete realms to scientific and spiritual truths.

Also, he was not addressing militant atheists, whose dogmatism Dewey rejected. ACF was meant to salvage whatever made the religious attitude experientially valuable while shedding both traditional religious frameworks and supernaturalistic beliefs. To mention just two conclusions, Dewey found that whichever qualities exhibited by religious experience feelings of peace, wholeness, security, etc.

A second conclusion was that religious experience is not hermetic, unable to color or affect other experiences.

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Dewey analyzed religiosity in this sense by comparing it with a certain kind of coping. Consider, as adjustment , the case of of becoming a parent which demands significant changes that encompass both self and environment. In adjustment, imaginative possibilities are projected and then put into action—both in oneself wants, aims, ideals and in surrounding conditions—and the cumulative impact is an evolution of identity ACF , LW9: Faith, typically, is juxtaposed with reason.

Faith requires neither empirical inquiry nor verification; one has faith in the evidence of transcendent, ultimate things not seen. Dewey made at least two important criticisms of traditional faith. First, faith is too closely identified with intellectual acceptance, which eclipses its pragmatic side; faith in a cause , for example, indicates a practical willingness to act strong enough to modify present desires, purposes, and conduct.

By over-identifying the meaning of faith with intellectual recognition, the traditional account attenuates inquiry and constructive action. Second, traditional faith tends to reify its objects e. Insofar as traditional faith frustrates inquiry which could be ameliorative, it runs counter to the aims of morality. ACF, LW9: Belief in God is neither warranted nor advisable. Very briefly, he asks that we think not of a singular object but of the qualities to which God is compared—goodness, wisdom, love.

Such descriptions show that God represents our highest ideals. This idea of God, or of the divine is also connected with all the natural forces and conditions—including man and human association—that promote the growth of the ideal and that further its realization….


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ACF , LW9: 34; see also 29— As a pragmatist, a meliorist, and a humane democrat, Dewey sought a way to harness the undeniable power of religion and religious experience toward an end beneficial to all. Religion, he understood, provides people with a story about the larger universe and how they fit within it. He knew it was not enough to criticize religion, because this leaves powerful human needs unmet. The methods of inquiry and criticism are not mysteries; they are deeply familiar already. The necessary turn would come when religious persons realize that inquiry could be extended to enhance religious experience and values ACF , LW9: If it could be appreciated how many celebrated accomplishments were due not to God but to intelligent, human collaboration, then perhaps the idea of community could inspire a non-sectarian, common faith.

Because the idea of the supernatural was, by definition, suspicious of experience as an adequate guide and, consequently, suspicious of empirical methods of inquiry. Unchecked by lived experience or experiment, supernaturalism can produce especially deep divisions. The series includes:. In-text citations give the original publication date, series abbreviation, followed by volume and page number. Addams, Jane aesthetics of the everyday associationist theories of thought Berkeley, George civic education critical theory critical thinking Dewey, John: aesthetics Dewey, John: moral philosophy Dewey, John: political philosophy education, philosophy of faith feminist philosophy, approaches: pragmatism globalization God: concepts of Green, Thomas Hill Hook, Sidney hope Hume, David information technology: and moral values introspection James, William Kant, Immanuel liberalism Locke, John Mead, George Herbert metaphysics ontology of art, history of Peirce, Charles Sanders pragmatism process philosophy rationality: historicist theories of religion: and morality religious experience Rorty, Richard Sellars, Wilfrid Wundt, Wilhelm Maximilian.

Hildebrand ucdenver. John Dewey First published Thu Nov 1, Psychology 2. Experience and Metaphysics 3. Inquiry and Knowledge 4. Philosophy of Education 5. This accounts for the variations encountered. Pure mathematics is just such an abstraction from the real world, and pure mathematics does have a special precise language for dealing with its own special and technical subjects.

A universe of 10 dimensions

But this precise language is not precise in any sense if you deal with real objects of the world, and it is only pedantic and quite confusing to use it unless there are some special subtleties which have to be carefully distinguished. You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office.

You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless to yourself — it is too sad a way to be. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can — if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong — to explain it.

If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory , you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition. In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another.

The question was, how did the rats know, because the corridor was so beautifully built and so uniform, that this was the same door as before? Obviously there was something about the door that was different from the other doors. So he painted the doors very carefully, arranging the textures on the faces of the doors exactly the same. Still the rats could tell. Then he thought maybe they were smelling the food, so he used chemicals to change the smell after each run.

Then he realized the rats might be able to tell by seeing the lights and the arrangement in the laboratory like any commonsense person. So he covered the corridor, and still the rats could tell. He finally found that they could tell by the way the floor sounded when they ran over it. And he could only fix that by putting his corridor in sand. So he covered one after another of all possible clues and finally was able to fool the rats so that they had to learn to go to the third door. If he relaxed any of his conditions, the rats could tell.

Now, from a scientific standpoint, that is an A-number-one experiment. That is the experiment that makes rat-running experiments sensible, because it uncovers the clues that the rat is really using — not what you think it's using. And that is the experiment that tells exactly what conditions you have to use in order to be careful and control everything in an experiment with rat-running. I looked into the subsequent history of this research.

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