SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 272 – Part Two: “Picking Up The Cyclist’s Pickle”

I’m still in the middle of the pre-production storm in readying for a short film that I am producing and directing. No promoting here, just letting you know that my priorities are still deep in 365. So now with my pickled scented keyboard under familiar hand, I must give thank to my wife, Terri, for introducing our friends of the day cyclists and men of wisdom, Brian and Michael.

Terri already set the scene for today’s entry, and with one hour to spare in my working day, I grabbed a coffee-house chair with our new friends.

We sit and talk cycling in breaking the walls, but soon after that the topics turn towards society. Both Brian and Michael are very intellectual and realistically creative in their outlook towards both the now and the world ahead.

Brian, now retired, is about to check out of the America grind in favor of a projected five years traveling through Europe with his wife. Yet, Brian in no escapist, “We want to experience a different culture than that of Los Angeles,” he opens up.

“It’s really cool what you are doing with 365. It reminds me of a book a read by a British professor (he can’t recall their name, and once I Goggled for it, the list of authors on the topic prove to be overwhelming). In this book the author studied modern perspectives on luck. And in it the first thing that was disproved was superstition. What it did prove was that luck is not by chance, it often fell more on people who regularly engaged in with people. Showing that people who were not myopic in looking at the broader world, had a greater percentage of good fortune fall upon them. Not necessarily from the people who they engaged with, but from unknown and unfamiliar sources.”

And in this discussion of questioning where the fountain of good fortune flows forth, Brian verbalizes his charge of wisdom to us. Humbly this, “Love one another.”

“Make love not war! I say it not just tongue in cheek. The problem is real. We have so much world conflict going on now… and there doesn’t seem to be any resolution and I see no end to it. There are more wars now than any other time in world history. And a lot of the reasons are frivolous.

There are so many innocent people dying for it… so much strife.

We have to find a way of resolving our differences without killing each other. I don’t know what it will take.

And the problem is getting bigger. We are going to become a more populated world. As we do there is going to be a lot more competition for resources. Whether it be water, food, fuel, whatever it is, etc.

There is a lot of real estate out there to occupy, but there is only a limited amount of natural resources. We are depleting those resources while we are also polluting our world. Unless we have some kind of a major overhaul in the way we think and look for ways to use resources, and to regenerate what we have already used up, we’re heading toward a pretty touch future.

We insulate ourselves with money, and the more people have, the less crap they have to take from the world. That is not a healthy way to think.

My fear is that twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years from now we are going to end up with these enclaves of the wealthy… world communities?! We have them now, but for the future the risk is even more so. I fear it is going to be the lessor’s outside of the wall and the moat is going to be there with the Alligators. That is no way to live as human beings.”

We’ve spoken now and then of the problems of modern education and of the brainwashing of institutionalized education and of the numbing of the senses due to our ever-evolving technology.

Michael addresses these issues head on; you see… Michael is an educator and has dedicated a bulk of his academic career taking in the pros and cons of the academic system. But more than that, he is a realist in looking at the way we are learning, and through this, has created a new platform in reforming the sit down, shut up, take notes and raise your hand if you want to contribute method of learning. An approach that has long since seen its demise in a system of learning that is in terrible need of major redesign. “Opps… have I revealed one of my Achilles heals?”

Oh well…! It’s out there now, so I’ll turn the floor over the Michael for his perspective.

“People should text less and listen more. They are losing the art of conversation through texting and their interpersonal skills are being lost. They don’t know how to problem solve or collaborate, so we have to force them to work on the interpersonal skills.” Michael observes of the many students that he has taught, both on a high school and higher education level.

He defines further; “Since I’m in education I’m trying to change the whole process of teaching from lecturing to hands on learning. Learning by doing, a theatrical approach. Which is an umbrella term for all the different theatrical devices that can be used to teach a course: From story telling, to role-playing, to pantomime, to set design, etc. You can teach any subject through theater games, and that is what I am trying to do. To make learning more interactive and to use students real life experiences as spring boards in lesson plans… To make teaching more personal!

Michael calls it “Improv Classroom.”

Brian, Michael, you have given us a lot to reflect on. See you on the hills my peddling friends.