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Amassing information

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Posted On: 29 / May / 2014 Hits: 8933 Comment: 0

"Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information" 

Kurt Vonnegut, US novelist (1922 - 2007)

As I look around, I see children mugging notes for exams and parents prodding them to spend maximum time reading and reviewing their stuff only to regurgitate it during the exams on their papers.

I was reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s assignment where he asks the children to do something just for their own self and not for praise or approval from others – the very rut we are stuck in.

"Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but RHYMED. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!
- Kurt Vonnegut”

Instead of teaching children life skills, most of their time is spent on studying and mugging up irrelevant facts to reproduce in the exams. Being informed is one thing, but accumulating facts without experimenting or reflecting is like stocking your kitchen with all kinds of awesome ingredients, but not having the skills to make a meal out of it to make yourself happy!

While what you need is just a few things with which you experiment, create and make the most delicious things that you can be happy with.

Information is only useful to the extent you can make yourself and others happy.



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