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Study: You Really Can 'Work Smarter, Not Harder'

Study: You Really Can 'Work Smarter, Not Harder' | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Research shows that reflecting after learning something new makes it stick in your brain.

Via Sharrock
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

An important aspect of reflecting and learning is getting beyond what went well and, even when we think we have succeeded, look for the things that were different about this learning.

 

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Sharrock's curator insight, July 30, 12:28 PM

excerpt:

"Learning is more effective if a lesson or experience is deliberately coupled with time spent thinking about what was just presented, a new study shows. In “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance,” a team of researchers from HEC Paris, Harvard Business School, and the University of North Carolina describe what they call the first empirical test of the effect of reflection on learning. By “reflection,” they mean taking time after a lesson to synthesize, abstract, or articulate the important points."

Cindy Riley Klages's curator insight, July 31, 11:46 PM

Reflection is crucial.  If we don't take time to reflect, we don't take time to improve.

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Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity
Complexity, chaos, and ambiguity are aspects of leadership and learning. Without those we cannot innovate and create.
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Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from 21st Century Learning and Teaching
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Why It's Time To Put Students In The Driver's Seat

Why It's Time To Put Students In The Driver's Seat | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Think about how you or the people you work with approach the creation of a blended learning lesson plan. The first steps of coming up with and flushing out your initial idea. Then, scouring the web to find safe, factually accurate sites that are not blocked by your school filters and checking the fine print …

 

This method of teaching does require a certain amount of bravery. There is a very real chance that when a student asks you a question (How do I add media? How do I change the font? How do I import pictures? etc. etc.) you will have to say the dreaded “I don’t know”. But the neat thing is, your students are ok with this. You’re all learning as you go. More often than not another child in the class will be using the same site or will have at least used it before. If a classmate knows the answer, they can step into the role of teacher – from which much confidence is gained and leadership skills are learned.


Even the most reserved kid really enjoys teaching their teacher a trick or two. If no one knows the answer, they can collaborate to find the solution; an activity that provides important life skills with many real-world applications. All while leaving the initiative, process development and ownership of the learning itself right where it belongs, in the hands of the learners.


Gust MEES: I started with it in 2002 already and was a pioneer in my country, BUT I got BEST results! Make sure to work TOGETHER as a TEAM with the students, learners, create ALSO some groups where the BEST work together with the weakest. YOU will love it later and YOU will miss it as it gives YOU a direct feedback of WHAT THEY learned and YOU adjust on demand and necessity... WHEN the BEST feel boring, give THEM a special task to motivate THEM ;) ===> Adjust <===.


Concerning the questions from the students, please check my advice here:


http://gustmees.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/practice-better-ways-to-say-i-dont-know-in-the-classroom/


http://gustmees.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/work-sheet-teachers-best-practiceshowto/



Via Gust MEES
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

I am not sure what is being suggested is putting students in charge. It is more about a complicated conversation between teachers and students about the subject matter. There is an in-between space where teachers and students meet.

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Gust MEES's comment, May 28, 3:40 PM
@Ivon Prefontaine Hi, give me some time (???), please and I will create a blog about how I did it ages ago (2002-2003), thanks. For the moment GO for #DeepTHINKing and try to find out (paper & notes & ideas) how You could realize it with your actual #ProfessionalDevelopment, make some #Brainstorming with THE #LEARNERS in mind ;) A good exercise ;) Let me know, thanks ;)
Ivon Prefontaine's comment, May 28, 6:57 PM
Thank you Gust.
Gust MEES's comment, May 28, 7:18 PM
@Ivon Prefontaine I will take it is a priority to create THAT blog, stay tuned, please ;)
Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Fabulous Feminism
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Feminism as Evangelism

Feminism as Evangelism | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

How Gender Justice Brought Me Back to the Church “I have always found it difficult to walk away from the church, but I have also found it difficult to walk with it.” [1] Those evocative words, the first sentence of feminist…...


Via bobbygw
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Justice should be central to all thinking. We do not live in a binary world but one with considerable ambiguity.

 

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Six factors that explain why educational action research is being snuffed out.

Six factors that explain why educational action research is being snuffed out. | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
I'm noticing a trend, and I wonder if anyone else is noticing it. When I was working on my Master's back in the oughts, the big push was for meaningful action research in schools and classrooms. If...

Via Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

It is much easier to jump on bandwagons than to do local action research. Or, at least it appears that way on the surface. Each School, for that matter each class, has its own needs and challenges. The bandwagons are broad templates which can add much when applied with local research in place.

 

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Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom

Standardized tests got you down? Need a dose of inspiration? With strategies from creativity experts, this presentation is for teachers looking for ideas to cu…

Via Lynnette Van Dyke
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Creating a healthy environment where students and teachers contribute to forming good habits is an important first step.

 

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10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management

10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Middle school veteran Jennifer Gonzalez identifies 10 ineffective habits new teachers often develop and proposes some better classroom management techniques.

Via Patti Kinney, Dean J. Fusto
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

These make sense. For example, waiting for the class to be quiet and providing visual cues are excellent ideas.

 

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Is Higher Education Centered on the Student or the Faculty?

Is Higher Education Centered on the Student or the Faculty? | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
FROM ACADEMIC ETHOS TO ADMINISTRATIVE ETHOS The academic ethos of universities has changed very little since the Middle Ages until the present.

Via David W. Deeds
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Higher education should be focused on integrating teaching and learning.

 

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David W. Deeds's curator insight, November 24, 8:54 AM

Not much different in K-12! 

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Beyond Worksheets, A True Expression of Student Learning

Beyond Worksheets, A True Expression of Student Learning | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Possession of facts is not learning. What is an important skill is the ability to sift through abundant information, identify what is valid and meaningful, then use it to create meaning and express it. This is why student creation is so important in the new economy of information.

Via Elaine Roberts, Ph.D
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

John Dewey, in Art as Experience, suggested we express our learning and identity as an aesthetic process. Although he was not a phrenologist and hermeneutic, Dewey;s writing and thinking overlaps with those fields.

 

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Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's curator insight, November 24, 9:54 AM

A lot of what Shawn McCusker says here is not new, but it is a well-written and clearly expressed reminder of what we know about hands-on learning and what we tend to abandon too quickly in our pursuit of the next squirrel.

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Great Scandinavian idioms - ScandiKitchen

Great Scandinavian idioms - ScandiKitchen | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
A list of great Scandiavian sayings and idioms

Via Suvi Salo
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Some of these are a lot of fun, to be enjoyed.

 

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Suvi Salo's curator insight, November 22, 3:17 PM

via Teemu Leinonen (Twitter)

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What Was I Thinking?

What Was I Thinking? | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

Our irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless - they are systematic. We all make the same types of mistakes over and over. So attached are we to certain kinds of errors that we are incapable even of recognizing them as errors.



Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Mindful behavior is in order.

 

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Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from The Daily Leadership Scoop
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The Definition Of A Great Leader - Joseph Lalonde

The Definition Of A Great Leader - Joseph Lalonde | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Everyone has a different definition of a great leader. I try to break down the qualities and give you a good definition of great leadership here.

Via Bobby Dillard
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

There is a lot in the list.

 

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Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Supports for Leadership
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Is Supervision about Teaching or Research?

Is Supervision about Teaching or Research? | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
In fact, it's both! Studies in supervision practice have found a connection between a mentor-model of supervision and better research outcomes.  On the surface, the investment in time and energy in...

Via Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Could it be about both? Research is not always just numbers. It can be about teachers telling their stories and describing teaching as a phenomenological experience. What is teaching? How do we each experience teaching?

 

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Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Teacher's corner
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Learning to Learning: 7 critical shifts

Learning to Learning: 7 critical shifts | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
More than anything else, the concept of self-directed, entrepreneurial learning and transfer stand out. Learning how to learn is very different than learning content. In the 21st century, access to content and resources is no longer in short supply, but rather access to learning pathways, and authentic reasons to learn, which is where meaning making, critical curiosity, and resilience come in.

Making that shift in your own mind is important for these dimensions to be relevant in your classroom. The shift is from learning content to learning how to learn.

The takeaways for teachers probably start with the role of the student in the learning process: voice, choice, personalization, self-direction, project-based learning, and other low-hanging fruit of current trends in learning.

Bigger picture, the conclusions are probably more related to educational structures, the form of curriculum, and school design.

Via Edumorfosis, Suvi Salo
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Learning to learn, self-directed learning, and life-long learning are not just about entrepreneurial achievement, whatever that is. It is about living in wonder and curiosity.

 

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Kathy Lynch's curator insight, November 23, 9:39 AM

Thx Edumorphosis

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If you don’t like your job, you are not alone - Morty Lefkoe

If you don’t like your job, you are not alone - Morty Lefkoe | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

According to an article in Forbes last year:   If you don’t like your job, you are not alone.…


Via Jean-Philippe D'HALLUIN
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

I am reluctant to think of living and working as a game. Having said this, I know many people who think they are engaged are not engaged. It is a sad state of affairs. If only 13% of teachers are engaged, what does that say about the state of School and teaching?

 

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Jean-Philippe D'HALLUIN's curator insight, November 22, 12:09 PM

from article : "The passion and excitement come from playing the game; not from the result"

Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Leadership alternatif
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Understanding servant leadership

Understanding servant leadership | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

“The 21st century has brought much in the way of turmoil and change to the world of business. As a consequence, ways of doing business that were once universally accepted now seem outdated and inflexible in an age where knowledge drives economies and socially responsible corporate attitudes influence stakeholders and shareholders alike. ”


Via Anne Juvanteny
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

I heard Dr. van Dierendonck present last summer at Gonzaga. It was interesting to listen how a quantitative scientist conceptualized servant-leadership.

 

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When everyone is a feminist, is anyone?

When everyone is a feminist, is anyone? | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

Jessica Valenti: It’s suddenly cool to be a feminist. But what does that mean for feminism as a movement?


Via bobbygw
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

It is an interesting question. It is more about accepting that we are always transforming as people this includes our ways of thinking and identity.

 

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It Takes a Community to Educate a Student - Huffington Post

It Takes a Community to Educate a Student - Huffington Post | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Experiences outside of the classroom are often as meaningful as those inside the classroom. The academic professionals on your campuses are integral to the success and well-being of your students....

Via Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

It does. Unfortunately, too many Schools are not communities. Communities are organic and come with dysfunctions that have to be talked through and listened through.

 

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Why Middle Managers Are So Unhappy

Why Middle Managers Are So Unhappy | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Who are the unhappiest among your workers? And what’s driving them crazy? They may not be who you think they are. They aren’t who we would have thought.

To find out, we gathered data from the most unengaged and uncommitted employees from more than 320,000 employees in a variety of organizations. We then identified those employees whose engagement and commitment scores were in the bottom 5% and compared the responses of these 15,729 unhappy souls to the rest.

You might think these would be the people with poor performance ratings or the ones in over their heads – people with inadequate training, education, or experience for the job. Or perhaps they’re the ones who haven’t been on the job long enough to decide they’re a bad fit and move elsewhere.

But when we examined the demographic characteristics of these employees, we found instead that they could best be described as those “stuck in the middle of everything.”

Via David Hain
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David Hain's curator insight, November 25, 9:48 AM

Engagement bombshell! 'Unhappiest people at work are good, steady performers' ~ Zenger Folkman research.

Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Leadership, Toxic Leadership, and Systems Thinking
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Systems Thinking: Seeing How Everything is Connected

Systems Thinking: Seeing How Everything is Connected | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
"Knowledge without deep comprehension, imagination and compassion is just a more complex form of ignorance. We need to shift paradigms, to grow wiser, all of us, especially the dominant cultures an...

Via george_reed
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Einstein and Bohm are important to the intra-acting of all matter. There are other physicists who add a lot to the conversation i.e. Bohr.

 

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The 10 Principles Of The Future Manager

The 10 Principles Of The Future Manager | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

Via Anne Leong, Graham Clark, Roy Sheneman, PhD
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Peter Vaill's work focused on the first point. He argued 25 years ago that managing and leading were integrated. This is not new, but it has taken a long time for others to pick up on it.

 

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Roy Sheneman, PhD's curator insight, November 24, 9:23 AM

It is hard to wear so many hats simultaneously. The wise leader will develop them one at a time and add them to his or her toolbox.  In this way more will be accomplished in a shorter period of time than if we tried to do it all at the same time.  It is better to be excellent at several things acquired over time than to be mediocre at several things tried simultaneously...

Corinne Chauffrut Werner 's curator insight, November 25, 10:58 AM

Vous vous reconnaissez ?

Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from Business Tips
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Introverts in the Workplace: Why they shouldn't be Underestimated

Introverts in the Workplace: Why they shouldn't be Underestimated | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Introverts have been having a bit of a moment in the spotlight lately. (Ironic, since that’s the place they’re least likely to enjoy themselves.) A few dozen Buzzfeed quizzes, a New York Times be…

Via TechinBiz
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

I struggled with my introversion for most of my adult life. I had a few advocates i.e. my spouse who helped me immensely. More recently, several colleagues recognized the strengths I presented and asked for me to use them. One thing about my introversion was, as a teacher, I had empathy for introverted students.

 

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Leo Tolstoy on Finding Meaning in a Meaningless World

Leo Tolstoy on Finding Meaning in a Meaningless World | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.”

Shortly after turning fifty, Leo Tolstoy succumbed to a profound spiritual crisis. With his greatest works behind him, he found his sense of purpose dwindling as his celebrity and public acclaim billowed, sinking into a state of deep depression and melancholia despite having a large estate, good health for his age, a wife who had born him fourteen children, and the promise of eternal literary fame. On the brink of suicide, he made one last grasp at light amidst the darkness of his existence, turning to the world’s great religious and philosophical traditions for answers to the age-old question regarding the meaning of life. In 1879, a decade after War and Peace and two years after Anna Karenina, and a decade before he set out to synthesize these philosophical findings in his Calendar of Wisdom, Tolstoy channeled the existential catastrophe of his inner life in A Confession (public library) — an autobiographical memoir of extraordinary candor and emotional intensity, which also gave us Tolstoy’s prescient meditation on money, fame, and writing for the wrong reasons.

He likens the progression of his depression to a serious physical illness — a parallel modern science is rendering increasingly appropriate. Tolstoy writes:

Then occurred what happens to everyone sickening with a mortal internal disease. At first trivial signs of indisposition appear to which the sick man pays no attention; then these signs reappear more and more often and merge into one uninterrupted period of suffering. The suffering increases, and before the sick man can look round, what he took for a mere indisposition has already become more important to him than anything else in the world — it is death!



The classic symptoms of anhedonia engulfed him — he lost passion for his work and came to dismiss as meaningless the eternal fame he had once dreamt of. He even ceased to go out shooting with his gun in fear that he might be too tempted to take his own life. Though he didn’t acknowledge a “someone” in the sense of a creator, he came to feel that his life was a joke that someone had played on him — a joke all the grimmer for the awareness of our inescapable impermanence, and all the more despairing:

Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort? . . . How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.

[…]

Had I simply understood that life had no meaning I could have borne it quietly, knowing that that was my lot. But I could not satisfy myself with that. Had I been like a man living in a wood from which he knows there is no exit, I could have lived; but I was like one lost in a wood who, horrified at having lost his way, rushes about wishing to find the road. He knows that each step he takes confuses him more and more, but still he cannot help rushing about. It was indeed terrible. And to rid myself of the terror I wished to kill myself.

And yet he recognized that the inquiry at the heart of his spiritual malady was neither unique nor complicated:

My question … was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man from the foolish child to the wisest elder: it was a question without an answer to which one cannot live, as I had found by experience. It was: “What will come of what I am doing today or shall do tomorrow? What will come of my whole life?” Differently expressed, the question is: “Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus: “Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?”

Seeking to answer this seemingly simple yet paralyzingly profound question, Tolstoy first turned to science, but found that rather than recognizing and answering the question, science circumvented it and instead asked its own questions, then answered those. Most of all, he found it incapable of illuminating the infinite and instead reducing its questions and answers to finite. He writes:

These are all words with no meaning, for in the infinite there is neither complex nor simple, neither forward nor backward, nor better or worse.

[…]

One who sincerely inquires how he is to live cannot be satisfied with the reply — “Study in endless space the mutations, infinite in time and in complexity, of innumerable atoms, and then you will understand your life” — so also a sincere man cannot be satisfied with the reply: “Study the whole life of humanity of which we cannot know either the beginning or the end, of which we do not even know a small part, and then you will understand your own life.”

A century and a half before Alan Lightman tussled, elegantly, with the same paradox, Tolstoy captured the Catch-22 of the predicament:

The problem of experimental science is the sequence of cause and effect in material phenomena. It is only necessary for experimental science to introduce the question of a final cause for it to become nonsensical. The problem of abstract science is the recognition of the primordial essence of life. It is only necessary to introduce the investigation of consequential phenomena (such as social and historical phenomena) and it also becomes nonsensical. Experimental science only then gives positive knowledge and displays the greatness of the human mind when it does not introduce into its investigations the question of an ultimate cause. And, on the contrary, abstract science is only then science and displays the greatness of the human mind when it puts quite aside questions relating to the consequential causes of phenomena and regards man solely in relation to an ultimate cause.

He then turned to philosophy, but found himself equally disillusioned:

Philosophy not merely does not reply, but is itself only asking that question. And if it is real philosophy all its labour lies merely in trying to put that question clearly.

Instead of an answer, he finds in philosophy “the same question, only in a complex form.” He bemoans the inability of either science or philosophy to offer a real answer:

One kind of knowledge did not reply to life’s question, the other kind replied directly confirming my despair, indicating not that the result at which I had arrived was the fruit of error or of a diseased state of my mind, but on the contrary that I had thought correctly, and that my thoughts coincided with the conclusions of the most powerful of human minds.

Frustrated, Tolstoy answers his own question:

“Why does everything exist that exists, and why do I exist?” “Because it exists.”

It’s a sentiment that John Cage would second a century later (“No why. Just here.”) and George Lucas would also echo (“There is no why. We are. Life is beyond reason.”) — a proposition that comes closest to the spiritual tradition of Buddhism. And, indeed, Tolstoy turns to spirituality in one final and desperate attempt at an answer — first by surveying how those in his social circle lived with this all-consuming inquiry. He found among them four strategies for managing the existential despair, but none that resolved it:

I found that for people of my circle there were four ways out of the terrible position in which we are all placed. The first was that of ignorance. It consists in not knowing, not understanding, that life is an evil and an absurdity. From [people of this sort] I had nothing to learn — one cannot cease to know what one does know.

The second way out is epicureanism. It consists, while knowing the hopelessness of life, in making use meanwhile of the advantages one has, disregarding the dragon and the mice, and licking the honey in the best way, especially if there is much of it within reach… That is the way in which the majority of people of our circle make life possible for themselves. Their circumstances furnish them with more of welfare than of hardship, and their moral dullness makes it possible for them to forget that the advantage of their position is accidental … and that the accident that has today made me a Solomon may tomorrow make me a Solomon’s slave. The dullness of these people’s imagination enables them to forget the things that gave Buddha no peace — the inevitability of sickness, old age, and death, which today or tomorrow will destroy all these pleasures.

The third escape is that of strength and energy. It consists in destroying life, when one has understood that it is an evil and an absurdity. A few exceptionally strong and consistent people act so. Having understood the stupidity of the joke that has been played on them, and having understood that it is better to be dead than to be alive, and that it is best of all not to exist, they act accordingly and promptly end this stupid joke, since there are means: a rope round one’s neck, water, a knife to stick into one’s heart, or the trains on the railways; and the number of those of our circle who act in this way becomes greater and greater, and for the most part they act so at the best time of their life, when the strength of their mind is in full bloom and few habits degrading to the mind have as yet been acquired…

The fourth way out is that of weakness. It consists in seeing the truth of the situation and yet clinging to life, knowing in advance that nothing can come of it. People of this kind know that death is better than life, but not having the strength to act rationally — to end the deception quickly and kill themselves — they seem to wait for something. This is the escape of weakness, for if I know what is best and it is within my power, why not yield to what is best? … The fourth way was to live like Solomon and Schopenhauer — knowing that life is a stupid joke played upon us, and still to go on living, washing oneself, dressing, dining, talking, and even writing books. This was to me repulsive and tormenting, but I remained in that position.

Finding himself in the fourth category, Tolstoy begins to question why he hadn’t killed himself. Suddenly, he realizes that a part of him was questioning the very validity of his depressive thoughts, presenting “a vague doubt” as to the certainty of his conclusions about the senselessness of life. Humbled by the awareness that the mind is both puppet and puppet-master, he writes:

It was like this: I, my reason, have acknowledged that life is senseless. If there is nothing higher than reason (and there is not: nothing can prove that there is), then reason is the creator of life for me. If reason did not exist there would be for me no life. How can reason deny life when it is the creator of life? Or to put it the other way: were there no life, my reason would not exist; therefore reason is life’s son. Life is all. Reason is its fruit yet reason rejects life itself! I felt that there was something wrong here.



And he discovers the solution not in science or philosophy or the life of hedonism, but in those living life in its simplest and purest form:

The reasoning showing the vanity of life is not so difficult, and has long been familiar to the very simplest folk; yet they have lived and still live. How is it they all live and never think of doubting the reasonableness of life?

My knowledge, confirmed by the wisdom of the sages, has shown me that everything on earth — organic and inorganic — is all most cleverly arranged — only my own position is stupid. And those fools — the enormous masses of people — know nothing about how everything organic and inorganic in the world is arranged; but they live, and it seems to them that their life is very wisely arranged! . . .

And it struck me: “But what if there is something I do not yet know? Ignorance behaves just in that way. Ignorance always says just what I am saying. When it does not know something, it says that what it does not know is stupid. Indeed, it appears that there is a whole humanity that lived and lives as if it understood the meaning of its life, for without understanding it could not live; but I say that all this life is senseless and that I cannot live.

Awake to what Stuart Firestein would call “thoroughly conscious ignorance” some 130 years later, Tolstoy sees his own blinders with new eyes:

In the delusion of my pride of intellect it seemed to me so indubitable that I and Solomon and Schopenhauer had stated the question so truly and exactly that nothing else was possible — so indubitable did it seem that all those milliards consisted of men who had not yet arrived at an apprehension of all the profundity of the question — that I sought for the meaning of my life without it once occurring to me to ask: “But what meaning is and has been given to their lives by all the milliards of common folk who live and have lived in the world?”

I long lived in this state of lunacy, which, in fact if not in words, is particularly characteristic of us very liberal and learned people. But thanks either to the strange physical affection I have for the real laboring people, which compelled me to understand them and to see that they are not so stupid as we suppose, or thanks to the sincerity of my conviction that I could know nothing beyond the fact that the best I could do was to hang myself, at any rate I instinctively felt that if I wished to live and understand the meaning of life, I must seek this meaning not among those who have lost it and wish to kill themselves, but among those milliards of the past and the present who make life and who support the burden of their own lives and of ours also. And I considered the enormous masses of those simple, unlearned, and poor people who have lived and are living and I saw something quite different. I saw that, with rare exceptions, all those milliards who have lived and are living do not fit into my divisions, and that I could not class them as not understanding the question, for they themselves state it and reply to it with extraordinary clearness. Nor could I consider them epicureans, for their life consists more of privations and sufferings than of enjoyments. Still less could I consider them as irrationally dragging on a meaningless existence, for every act of their life, as well as death itself, is explained by them. To kill themselves they consider the greatest evil. It appeared that all mankind had a knowledge, unacknowledged and despised by me, of the meaning of life. It appeared that reasonable knowledge does not give the meaning of life, but excludes life: while the meaning attributed to life by milliards of people, by all humanity, rests on some despised pseudo-knowledge.

He considers the necessary irrationality of faith and contemplates its unfair ask of forsaking reason:

Rational knowledge presented by the learned and wise, denies the meaning of life, but the enormous masses of men, the whole of mankind receive that meaning in irrational knowledge. And that irrational knowledge is faith, that very thing which I could not but reject. It is God, One in Three; the creation in six days; the devils and angels, and all the rest that I cannot accept as long as I retain my reason.

My position was terrible. I knew I could find nothing along the path of reasonable knowledge except a denial of life; and there — in faith — was nothing but a denial of reason, which was yet more impossible for me than a denial of life. From rational knowledge it appeared that life is an evil, people know this and it is in their power to end life; yet they lived and still live, and I myself live, though I have long known that life is senseless and an evil. By faith it appears that in order to understand the meaning of life I must renounce my reason, the very thing for which alone a meaning is required…

A contradiction arose from which there were two exits. Either that which I called reason was not so rational as I supposed, or that which seemed to me irrational was not so irrational as I supposed.

And therein he finds the error in all of his prior reasoning, the root of his melancholia about life’s meaninglessness:

Verifying the line of argument of rational knowledge I found it quite correct. The conclusion that life is nothing was inevitable; but I noticed a mistake. The mistake lay in this, that my reasoning was not in accord with the question I had put. The question was: “Why should I live, that is to say, what real, permanent result will come out of my illusory transitory life — what meaning has my finite existence in this infinite world?” And to reply to that question I had studied life.

The solution of all the possible questions of life could evidently not satisfy me, for my question, simple as it at first appeared, included a demand for an explanation of the finite in terms of the infinite, and vice versa.

I asked: “What is the meaning of my life, beyond time, cause, and space?” And I replied to quite another question: “What is the meaning of my life within time, cause, and space?” With the result that, after long efforts of thought, the answer I reached was: “None.”

In my reasonings I constantly compared (nor could I do otherwise) the finite with the finite, and the infinite with the infinite; but for that reason I reached the inevitable result: force is force, matter is matter, will is will, the infinite is the infinite, nothing is nothing — and that was all that could result.

[…]

Philosophic knowledge denies nothing, but only replies that the question cannot be solved by it — that for it the solution remains indefinite.

Having understood this, I understood that it was not possible to seek in rational knowledge for a reply to my question, and that the reply given by rational knowledge is a mere indication that a reply can only be obtained by a different statement of the question and only when the relation of the finite to the infinite is included in the question. And I understood that, however irrational and distorted might be the replies given by faith, they have this advantage, that they introduce into every answer a relation between the finite and the infinite, without which there can be no solution.

So that besides rational knowledge, which had seemed to me the only knowledge, I was inevitably brought to acknowledge that all live humanity has another irrational knowledge — faith which makes it possible to live. Faith still remained to me as irrational as it was before, but I could not but admit that it alone gives mankind a reply to the questions of life, and that consequently it makes life possible.

Tolstoy notes that, whatever the faith may be, it “gives to the finite existence of man an infinite meaning, a meaning not destroyed by sufferings, deprivations, or death,” and yet he is careful not to conflate faith with a specific religion. Like Flannery O’Connor, who so beautifully differentiated between religion and faith, Tolstoy writes:

I understood that faith is not merely “the evidence of things not seen”, etc., and is not a revelation (that defines only one of the indications of faith, is not the relation of man to God (one has first to define faith and then God, and not define faith through God); it is not only agreement with what has been told one (as faith is most usually supposed to be), but faith is a knowledge of the meaning of human life in consequence of which man does not destroy himself but lives. Faith is the strength of life. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live. If he does not see and recognize the illusory nature of the finite, he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, he must believe in the infinite. Without faith he cannot live…

For man to be able to live he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.



And yet the closer he examines faith, the more glaring he finds the disconnect between it and religion, particularly the teachings of the Christian church and the practices of the wealthy. Once again, he returns to the peasants as a paragon of spiritual salvation, of bridging the finite with the infinite, and once again seeing in their ways an ethos most closely resembling the Buddhist philosophy of acceptance:

In contrast with what I had seen in our circle, where the whole of life is passed in idleness, amusement, and dissatisfaction, I saw that the whole life of these people was passed in heavy labour, and that they were content with life. In contradistinction to the way in which people of our circle oppose fate and complain of it on account of deprivations and sufferings, these people accepted illness and sorrow without any perplexity or opposition, and with a quiet and firm conviction that all is good. In contradistinction to us, who the wiser we are the less we understand the meaning of life, and see some evil irony in the fact that we suffer and die, these folk live and suffer, and they approach death and suffering with tranquility and in most cases gladly…

In complete contrast to my ignorance, [they] knew the meaning of life and death, labored quietly, endured deprivations and sufferings, and lived and died seeing therein not vanity but good…

[…]

I understood that if I wish to understand life and its meaning, I must not live the life of a parasite, but must live a real life, and — taking the meaning given to live by real humanity and merging myself in that life — verify it.

Via Ken Morrison
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Philosophy and literature is filled with many who questioned what their lives meant. In French it is an experience/experiment and in German Lebenswelt.

 

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Ken Morrison's curator insight, November 22, 6:47 PM

Tolstoy's thoughts on the meaning of life

Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from The Daily Leadership Scoop
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30 Definitions of Leadership

30 Definitions of Leadership | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it

Leadership has always been an elusive concept to define. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to learn and great leaders are in such short supply.Leadership quotes: 30 definitions of leadership


Via Bobby Dillard
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Lao Tzu and Robert Greenleaf are two that intertwine and do not get enough credit.

 

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leading and learning: Educational Readings - the Maker Movement/purpose of education/Seth Godin and need for creative teachers

leading and learning: Educational Readings - the Maker Movement/purpose of education/Seth Godin and need for creative teachers | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

We need to find a balance between what is perceived as traditional and what is perceived as cutting edge. There is an in-between which allows experiencing and exploring.

 

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7 Ways to Banish Shame: Helping Kids With Learning Disabilities Celebrate Their Strengths

7 Ways to Banish Shame: Helping Kids With Learning Disabilities Celebrate Their Strengths | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
How can we make sure that children with learning disabilities aren't shackled by shame? Guest blogger and educational therapist Anne-Marie Morey shares deep insights and strategies for playing up your child's strengths to develop resilience in the face of adversity. "As one of my talented, confident students puts it," she writes, "'dyslexia is a beautiful brain.'"

Via Cindy Riley Klages
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

We each have our struggles and strengths in learning.

 

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Rescooped by Ivon Prefontaine from On education
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Learning Environment as the Third Educator

Learning Environment as the Third Educator | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
Reggio Emilia approach has a strong belief that children learn through interaction with others while teachers observe and document the learning.

Via Kathleen McClaskey, Lars-Göran Hedström
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

The teaching/learning environment is a technology that is often overlooked.

 

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Kathleen McClaskey's curator insight, November 21, 4:21 PM
The Reggio Emilia approach is about having children seen as competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, inventive and to possess a desire to interact and communicate with others. The learning environment, the third educator, invites learners to explore and discover on their own as teachers and parents observe and document the process. 
Norton Gusky's curator insight, November 22, 9:09 AM

Carnegie Mellon University and Carlow University in Pittsburgh have been leaders in using the Reggio Emilia model for early childhood. Reggio Emilia sees technology as one tool that actively engages the child. The environment is really a Maker Space giving young learners the tools to learn based on their interests.

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How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness

How A Sense Of Community Can Help Us Achieve Greatness | Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity | Scoop.it
3 measures successful leaders employ to foster a sense of community in their organizations to drive success and growth over the long term.

Via David Hain, Dean J. Fusto, Robert Hubert
Ivon Prefontaine's insight:

Community is organic and natural. Team are formed by someone in charge with a particular agenda. Teams are not bad, but they are more artificial.

 

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David Hain's curator insight, November 21, 2:24 AM

The future of the planet will hinge on the quality and impact of our community building. Ideas from @TanveerNaseer  on how to do that.