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education;ethics;geometry etc.

Nov 08, 1994 03:33 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


LD> But I'm looking for female archetype kinds of role models.

My all type favorite woman is Athena.  All through the Odyssey
she kept both Odysseus and Telemachus out of trouble.  She was
also Telemachus' mentor.  What better role model than the goddess
of wisdom?

LD> Is your wife's name April?


LD> But I'm also concerned about the violence I've witnessed
around me, especially lately, and I think its roots are in the
non-existent home, which I think should now be supplemented by
community groups who can make up for what's lacking at home, like
decent role models, & meals.  I've also for a long time favored
more popular vocational schools for non- college bound kids.  I'm
also for legalizing drugs, on the assumption that it will take
the profit motive out of the drug trade, & hence the incentive to
entice new kids.  Real easy answers for multicultural problems.

Yes, I think community involvement is a key, but the 60's have
passed.  Since I teach writing, current events is always a topic
for discussion in my class--but the silence and apathy concerning
anything that is going on around us is awesome.  My students
write me in their journals that they don't care what is going on
just as long as it doesn't personally affect them.  I've made it
part of my job to get these students to realize that everything
affects them in one way or another.  I don't care what their
politics are--I just want them to think about it.

When my wife teaches American Government, she requires every
student to put in a certain number of hours of community service
during the semester.  Very few ever had this experience and
complain bitterly when they learn that it is a requirement to
pass the course.  Some even drop the class to avoid it.  But most
of her students by the end of the semester report their community
service to be a positive experience, and some even continue to do
it on their own.

Vocational schools would help a lot.  There aren't enough of
them.  Los Angeles has two that I know of, but more applications
than they have room for.  My daughter applied to one in Los
Angeles, and was put on a five year waiting list.

If drugs are legalized (as heroin was in England) it would have
to go under government control.  I can just see the tobacco
companies converting to marijuana production.  The problem is
that free enterprise is just as amoral as the black market.  The
only significant thing that makes them different is that one is
bound by laws, where the other profits by them.

LD> I'm not too keen to get into how HPB got her material, but
does the fact that she was highly telepathic have anything to do
with it?

Probably.  But the point is that HPB was well read; she saw more
of the world than almost anybody at that time; and she had a
privileged personal relationship with some good teachers.  She
was also very a very intuitive and talented person.  It was part
of HPB's personality to draw credit away from herself to her
teachers.  I think we need to start with HPB and give her the
full credit that she deserves, before going on to the part her
teachers played.

Mike Grenier,

MG> Being very much on the right end of the political spectrum, I
> have to make a few observations:
> 1) I believe your wife's assesments are correct.
> 2) Charles Murray's book "The Bell Curve" provides some
>    fascinating insight into these problems.
> 3) To some extent, I also feel that PUBLIC education is a
> failure.
>    My children, ages 3, 5, 7, are now in a private school where
>    they are not limited to the lowest common demoniator.
>    Parents are upset. The public school spends 4 times what
>    this private school spends per pupil but the private school
>    seems to do a better job (at least according to tests). Many
>    of our friends who are not as fortunate to be able to afford
>    a private school end up home schooling. Yet, if the public
>    school district provide, let's say, $1000 of the $4500 they
>    spend per student and give that money to the parents if the
>    parents agree to put there child in a private school, the
>    district would actually save money and the child would get a
>    better education.

It is precisely because the private schools are not "limited to
the lowest common dominator" that they are able to offer a better
education.  Those parents who put their children in private
schools are not the minorities struggling to find even a minimum
wage job, who live at a poverty level in substandard housing, who
barely speak English if at all.  The public schools take these
children, and they have to educate them along with the rest.  My
writing class, though University level, is typical of what is
going on around the country.  Out of 14 students, I have two who
grew up in Mexico on farms, and one first generation Mexican; one
woman from Laos who remembers migrating up and down the mountains
to avoid troop movements; one from Thailand who decries the
"Americanization" of her country; one from India; one Japanese
American; one Assyrian; and two black students.  Of my four
"white" students, one is a disabled Vietnam vet, and one has
serious learning disabilities.  That leaves two out of fourteen
who don't need special consideration--but they can't afford
private schools.

The difficulties involved in teaching multicultural classes are
far more complex than they might seem on the surface.  We meet
three hours a week with specialists to discuss teaching
techniques.  Most of this time involves issues concerning the
needs of different minorities.

Before the seventies, schools were pretty monocultural, and
before the mid-sixties, most schools were pretty segregated,
either by law or by redlining.  Even in Los Angeles, where I grew
up, I was ten or eleven years old before I met and talked to my
first black person.  Before that, I had no concept of race.  Even
with this meeting, it was this black woman who pointed out to me
her racial differences.

In Elementary school during my generation, we had "Dick and Jane"
readers.  Dick and Jane were two children living in an upper
middle class house in the suburbs of Chicago in the 1930's.  They
lived in a all white neighborhood with a dog (Spot) and a cat
(Puff).  On weekends, they took the train to visit grandma, or to
play on the beach of lake Michigan.  Can you get in touch with
how irrelevant this is to most children today? At one meeting
recently, we were reviewing readers for elementary and Jr.  High.
One of the stories was about cowboys driving cattle across the
Texas rangeland to market.  At the end were questions for
comprehension, and a space for the students to write other
questions that occurred to them.  The most common questions asked
on this reading was: "What is cow?" "What is cowboy?" We can
teach them to read words, but how do you teach everything about
culture? Can you imagine a person who grew up in the Mountains of
Laos pondering over our cowboy lore? Remember, the Hmongs of Laos
are farmers, and are Buddhists.  Their culture is based upon
orality--they didn't even have a written language until the

So you have found one very popular solution (for those who can
afford it)--segregate our children from the "lowest common
dominator"--give them a separate education.  Empty the schools of
everyone but the minorities and underprivileged.  But is this
really the answer? If we really believe that we are truly one
humanity, as taught in theosophical literature, then perhaps we
need to look for better solutions that will serve the needs of
others as well as our own.

JHE> Ollie North was operating from the ethical value of
> "loyalty"--"My country right or wrong." From the
> Kohlberg scale of six, he was operating at stage three.
> Only a minority of people operate at post conventional level
> of 5 or 6 (values of right and wrong--good and evil that
> transcend considerations of selfishness, greed, loyalty and
> law).

MG> Perhaps Ollie was considering the good of supporting the
freedom fighters in Central America.  Unlike you, I don't know
him well enough to judge.  I suppose that G.  Washington and
others were also judged a 3 since they disobeyed the laws of the
land at that time.

No doubt Ollie "was considering the good of supporting the
freedom fighters in Central America." Whether or not the support
of those "freedom fighters" is right or wrong is a matter of
individual political beliefs, and is not the point.  The point
concerns his motivations for doing so.  North in his "loyalty to
the cause" had little to risk and much to gain.  The promised
payoffs in insurance policies, house remodeling, Swiss bank
accounts etc.  at tax payers' expense are very attractive
incentives to consider "the good of supporting the freedom
fighters in Central America." If he and his partners got away
with it, they would have been financially much better off than
when they started, and would have been practically guaranteed
positions of greater power and privilege in the governmental
bureaucracy.  If he got caught, North still had the system (aye--
the President!) behind him.  He was never in any real danger of
spending the rest of his life in a federal prison, and of all
ironies, he is now running for the Senate--the very institution
he tried to defraud! G.  Washington, on the other hand, had no
support if his cause failed.  If he didn't get involved in the
revolution in the first place, he still would have lived out a
privileged life.  By his involvement, he risked being hung as a
traitor if we lost to England.  In other words, he put everything
at risk for the benefit of this country.  He had nothing to gain
for himself, and had everything to loose.  After the revolution,
Washington was drafted into the Presidency, he did not seek it.
After his two terms of office, he retired, though he could have
continued as President for the rest of his life.  Everything
about the circumstances and actions of Washington show that he
was operating at a level of five and six.  I see no bases of
favorable comparison between the actions North and those of

This is precisely why I was hoping to have a discussion
concerning ethics on this network.  Discussions concerning
ethical decision making is not the making up of rules that
everyone should follow, but the exploration of the consequences
concerning the choices of ethical actions that we are faced with
every day.  Ethical decision making has to do with gaining
insight into our own actions and decisions, as well as those of
others.  Ethics make up the underlying fabric of the early
theosophical writings--witness Blavatsky, Judge, and the Mahatma
Letters.  Ethical issues come up on almost every page, yet all of
this is completely ignored now-a-days.  You won't find ethical
rules on daily conduct in those writings either (nor should we),
but you will find an entire philosophy with an ethical philosophy
woven into it.  I think that as students of theosophy, we need to
explore that underlying philosophy.  For instance: one of the
definitions of karma is that it is the "law of ethical
causation." What does this mean if ethics (as someone said) has
no place in theosophy?

MG> This nation and this planet do have some serious problems and
books like The Bell Curve show how difficult it is going to be to
make improvement.  Still we must TRY.

Yes, we must.

Martin Euser,

ME> My special interest lies in understanding something of the
> basic (deductive) principles underlying phenomena (in this
> case: crystal structure and formation, etc.). Also, I'm very
> interested in how we can apply these principles in an
> analogical manner. I understand that Theosophy is a philosophy
> of correspondences: so above, so below and vice versa.
> Jerry Hejka-Ekins, this may interest you also, because Sacred
> Geometry must be involved in this subject.

Yes, I think L.  Gordon Plummer's books on sacred geometry
applies here, and might be a starting point.  The idea of basic
geometric principles underlying phenomena goes back to the
Platonic statement that "God geometrises." Nature repeats certain
patterns throughout all kingdoms of nature--from mineral to
animal.  An identification and discussion on the applications of
those patterns in nature would greatly interest me.  I'm also
interested in the application of these principles to architecture
and ecology.

I used to be very interested in the application of geometry,
algebra and calculus to the analysis of geometric figures.  It's
been over five years since I've done any work on this and have
forgotten almost everything, but I'm still interested.  I found a
lot of personal insights and made a lot of neat little
discoveries back then.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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