Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reason, Logic, Creativity, Civility, Discourse, Debate and Dissent

In writing the Mission Statement for The Mothers Institute, I chose to include the concepts of reason, logic, creativity, civility, discourse, debate and dissent.

I asked several friends to share with me what those terms mean to them and found their definitions interesting. Below are their thoughts...

Reason - as opposed to superstition
Logic - as opposed to intuition
Creativity - as opposed to bland conformity with tradition
Civility - as opposed to strident rudeness
Discourse - as opposed to stay silent, not airing problems
Debate - as opposed to unconsidered acceptance
(accepting) Dissent - as opposed to requiring capitulation

Reason= motivating factor for an action or thought.
Logic= reasonable thinking.
Creativity= In studio classes we were always charged with creating our own art, but in art history we were taught there is basically no "new" art. I guess for me it would be my own way of doing something.
Civility= agree to disagree in a respectful manner
Discourse= a conversation, argument
Debate= a civil argument
Dissent= refusal to submit to authority

Reason and Logic, to me, go hand in hand. It is logical to follow what is reasonable. i.e. common sense. If more people just did what made sense rather than doing something that they know is not right, then the world would be a much better place. Be logical, be reasonable and encourage others to do the same.

Creativity to me can be many things. There may be an insurance salesman who uses loopholes in company policy to actually help customers. There may be a painter or an artist using their craft to make the word a better place. There may be a writer, telling stories or researching to tell the truth. It may be a child- everything they do is creative. It is their own, before they are shaped by the world and before many of them let their peers tell them who they are.

Civility to me is a hard one. Civil as in not arguing or voicing your opinion in order to keep the peace? (Not in my house, lol) Civil as in politically correct? (not so much) Civil to me means that you are polite and can deal with others in civilization. It is important to do this on a daily basis with children- especially home schooled children. This is what people mean when they cry "Their socialization!" in opposition to homeschooling. As if every child who is not brought through public schools will either be a robot answering questions as such with no spirit or a wild animal. It is up to us to show that children can have freedom of expression but behave, they can be socialized with their peers but not be dependent on them, they can use reason and logic without being an automaton, and be civil about it.

Discourse, debate, and dissent all rule my life. Why? Because to most, the concept of personal responsibility and freedom are alien ideas. When I talk about the changes I would like to see, I get a mildly horrified look. So, I am prepared to debate. My choices politically, and of course the ever present debate on parenting. It takes alot of energy to constantly explain why you are not vaccinating, why you are homeschooling, why you don't like the people in charge... and on and on. It is all about educating people on your point of view so at the end, they understand what you mean even if they don't agree. The path to peace is paved with understanding.

To hear Richard Dreyfuss speak eloquently on a number of these same issues watch his appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher at :

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