In America now, you can defend the humanities but only on economic grounds. So a theater improves a neighborhood. Or many people who study English become McKinsey consultants. But the fact is that you do it for itself, intrinsically, and you do it for the cultivation of the person and the cultivation of the citizen. Which should be reward enough.
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I’m very diffident towards values, any kind of. Because you know, values can be very dangerous. And as the poem of Yeats says, the passionate intensity in believing in something can be very dangerous.
I had a life-changing moment in 1984 that finally got my students excited about learning. Apple launched a program called Kids Can’t Wait and gave every school in California a computer. Unfortunately the computer did not come with software.
Today we’re going to have a discussion about what I call liberation pedagogy. And by this I mean a secular version of liberation theology which takes forward the same values. The same values of independence, the same values of creativity, the same values of the integrity of the individual person, even if that person is a peasant, even if that person is illiterate, even if that person is not fully formed in the modern sense.
Well I believe there is a truth we share. I think it’s our sense of justice. I think of the great Paul Newman depiction in The Verdict, his closing argument when he speaks to the jury and says, “You are the law. I believe there is justice in our hearts.” So the truth, the verdict. Vera dictos, speak the truth. That’s what juries are told to do.
When you talk about learning and traditional educational styles, there’s this very common inclination to try and force information upon people rather than having them just kind of discover it of their own volition or discover it by accident.
I think there are countless amazing opportunities for artificial intelligence and its impact on society. I think one of the areas I’m truly the most excited about is education.
In an environment where everybody can pick up everybody’s tools, we’re all weirdly empowered now. And I mean kind of weird in an almost fey sense like, our powers are weird, they make us weird, and they make our our conflicts weird. It’s again that idea that our tools are interacting with our human flaws in really really interesting ways.