Connections, Frontiers, Oxytocin, Empathy, and Walls…Say What?!

Connect! Relate! Become interdependent! What if these pursuits had been immortalized as the motto of the American Dream? I wonder where we might be as a whole culture by now, if we had as much focus on relationship and connectivity as we seem to have on getting ahead and achieving at all costs.

This morning, as I engaged myself in my typical a.m. routine of learning, I watched a few TED talks, I studied a few resources on PBL (project-based learning, problem-based learning, place-based learning, etc.), and I immersed myself in my Feeddler RSS to catch up on some coveted blog reading. Among all of that, two pieces of that learning web really called out to me. Perhaps they were like the chief anchor points on my learning web – the foundations on which the web stands when possible learning meals go by.

From the Paul Zac TED talk embedded below, along with the @occam98 blog post linked below, I am reminded and pre-minded of the power of human connection. Actually, as I write, another chief anchor point comes to mind – Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From.

Empathy, trust, morality…they may originate from those moments and places of collision. May we be careful of the walls and fences that we build to prevent these critical collisions. [See Robert Frost poem below, too!]

Learning Web Anchor Point #1: Paul Zac: Trust, morality — and oxytocin

Learning Web Anchor Point #2: Blog Post from Quantum Progress

Reaching Out to Dispel the Myth of the Wild West Internet

Learning Web Anchor Point #3: Steven Johnson’s RSA on Where Good Ideas Come From

Some Dew on the Learning Web: Mending Wall, Robert Frost,

Mending Wall
SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:          5
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,   10
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.   15
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.   20
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.   25
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.   30
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down!” I could say “Elves” to him,   35
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,   40
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

1 thought on “Connections, Frontiers, Oxytocin, Empathy, and Walls…Say What?!

  1. Pingback: Connections, Frontiers, Oxytocin, Empathy, and ... - It's About Learning | Problem Based Learning |

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