Molecules, Man, Memory and Meaning

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’m suddenly involved in a presence before students. I hesitate to call it teaching just yet, because I’ve only been merely in the presence of students while another community-faculty co-teacher leads the 14 age-varied kids into a discussion of design and composition.

At least that is where the discussion will ultimately come to practical ground in the academic lives and projects for some subset of these 14 at the new Blue Mountain High School that holds class near Floyd at the EcoVillage.

The point of reference for this discussion so far has been the patterns that appear in the discernable universe, and for my colleague, this takes the form of “sacred geometry.” I’ve shared some of this discussion here for those few who might be interested. Rightfully, these observations from nature, art, music and human cultures are indeed fascinating. But what do they mean? Are they cause or effect?

I can’t help thinking more about thinking when that becomes what we are supposed to foster in these young minds. Critical thinking: how the world wants for it so in our times.

Again, I’m feeling my way forward here, and ostensibly may be able to share with these students some ways in which my background, passions and skill set as writer, photographer, biology-watcher, teacher and arm-chair philosopher will be helpful towards their work on an arts magazine as a significant project during their tenure at the school.

In the end the student who likely stands to benefit the most from this presence in a classroom is this fumbling teacher. I will care far more than our youngest student, an 8th grader, about the ultimate meaning of meaning; about how we know what we know; about the concept of time and mathematics and and physical reductionism in dissecting the smallest parts of all this to determine what and WHY is life.

I am mindful of the unwillingness of most people, and especially blog readers, to dwell too long or dig too deeply into such pithy matters, so I’ll contain most of my ruminations intracranially, and you’re welcome.

Even so, so I can follow my own personal trail back to some of these ruminations myself someplace down the road, I’ll leave crumbs in these few links that serve to mark my place.

Tomorrow, a return to your regularly scheduled tree hugging.

How Quantum Theory Screws With Our Perception of Reality

The Physicist’s View Of Reality : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant [1 of 3] | Spirals, Fibonacci and being a plant | Khan Academy I’ve recommended this one to my 12 year old grand daughter.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

1 Comment on “Molecules, Man, Memory and Meaning

  1. I was so pleased to see your link to the Khan Academy videos about Fibonacci numbers! But I was humbled to see you had recommended it to your 12 year old granddaughter. I hope she can follow it as well as I did, even though I was struggling mightily. Now I will try to “gut up” and look at the other links. They sound intimidating!

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