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Evolving Systems Course: PGnotes2

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of ourselves in an evolving universe

Paul's notes - Session 2


Course subject: evolution (physical, biological, cultural, individual)

Course method: co-evolution, co-constructive inquiry, evolving by telling/hearing each other's stories, using them to create new ones, individually and collectively = co-constructive dialogue

Course arrangements:

  • Problems?  concerns?  thoughts?
  • two sign up sheets, one for user names, the other for biweekly one on one meetings
  • More on forum writing (see also Creation Myth and Self-introduction and)
  • Thoughts about co-constructive inquiry?  about brain drains? 
  • By Monday evening, post in forum your thoughts from this week's conversations
  • By 6 pm Wednesday, write and email me a creation story of your own (more below)

Creation myths and diversity, the wherewithal for co-construction

identifiable so far from our section

in addition

  • Genesis (*)
  • Hawaiian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindu
  • Hungarian
  • Mayan - "in the words of Thomas King, "It's yours. Do with it what you will.""
  • Norse
  • Tibetan
  • "In the beginning, there was a brain.  And it began to drain ..."  (Anne)
  • "Long ago, there was no beginning and no end, no past and no future, no meaning and no purpose, no ideas and no words.  There was only the continually changing indescribable, indescribable because there was nothing there to describe it, to tell stories about it.  From this emerged, very slowly, over eons, living things and purposes, and then, later, story tellers.  And it was the story tellers who, over time, brought into being ideas and words, meanings, futures and pasts, beginnings and endings, and all the other grist from which new stories and new worlds have been and are being created." (Paul)

A third? brain drain 

Connections to The Truth About Stories

  • What stories do you remember?  resonate with?  connect to?  could you retell in re your own life?

Reflecting on The Truth About Stories - a story story? 

  • "The truth about stories is that that's all we are." (p 2 and repeated)
  • "stories control our lives ... are wondrous things ... are dangerous" (p 9)
  • "When I was a kid, I was partial to stories about other worlds and interplanetary travel ... I just wanted to get as far away from where I was as I could.  At fifteen, Pluto looked good." (p 2)
  • "So you have to be careful with the stories you tell.  And you have to watch out for the stories that you're told.  But if I ever get to Pluto, that's how I would like to begin  With a story.  I'd tell the inhabitants of Pluto one of the stories I know.  Maybe they'd tell me one of theirs ... But which story?  Personally, I'd like to hear a creation story, a story that recounts how the world was formed, how things came to be, for contained within creation stories are relationships that help to define the nature of the universe and how cultures understand the world in which they exist."
  • "But don't say in the years to come you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story.  You've heard it now (p 29 and repeated)
  • "Native writers began to use the Native present as a way to resurrect a Native past and to imagine a Native future.  To create, in words, as it were, a Native universe." (p 106)
  • quoting Ben Okri ... "If we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives" (p 153)

What's a story?  What are the risks, the possibilities inherent in stories?  Why does one listen to/tell stories? 

Writing assignment #1

your story of where everything comes from, how everything is related

3 pages double-spaced 12 pt basic font Word document with title, name/date/assignment number in upper right

emailed as attachment to by 6 pm Wednesday