Re: DSM: Graduates without essential life skills

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Fri Nov 23 2001 - 12:41:20 EST


Hi Joe, and friends:

I am very, VERY glad to know of your experiences, Joe.

I am myself convinced that a person who is PASSIONATE at doing
what he or she wants to do WILL excel in that field, regardless of
formal education in that field -- and perhaps even *despite* formal
education in that field :-) !

Moshe Dayan, in his autobiography, writes about one of his older
relatives whom he used to visit as a child. She was always interested
in children, but never asked them *what* they were doing: rather
she always asked them whether, whatever it was that they were doing,
they were doing it with *all their heart*. Now THAT is the way to
succeed!

I myself, since my early teens, wanted to be a writer and a philo-
sopher -- and that is what I am, now at age 58: I taught myself all
the skills necessary. I can not only write well, I can even type-
set my own works, many of which can be found at my Home Page.

But I have never made much money from writing or philosophy, and
there were occasions when I did not have enough money even for
food, clothing or shelter. The fact is that I am lousy at business, at
"selling" myself, or doing anything whose only object is to make
money. When I am thinking of a philosophical problem, that takes
up virtually ALL my mental energy. I think about it even when
I am lying in bed, just about to fall asleep!

And I know others who are in almost the same boat as myself. One of
my friends is absolutely brilliant, a great thinker and what I call an "under-
stander". (I think, by the way, that being able to *understand* is one of
the most crucial life skills one can ever develop.) But he makes a living
as a lumberjack and a secretary, not as a thinker.

And the best logician and mathematician I know -- probably the best in
the world today -- is my cyber-colleague Ferdinand Romero of Argentina,
with whom I co-authored a 110-page-long "Critique of Goedel's Theorem".
But he cannot make a living from logic or mathematics.

I am sure that lots of people are able to make a decent living from art,
writing, music, logic, science, math, etc.; but there is no guarantee of it.
To quote Einstein: "Science is a great thing, but one shouldn't expect to
make much money doing it!"

But as I said, your post all the same greatly encouraged me. My younger
son, Arthur, is very much like me: he likes to think things through, and
will not do anything unless he can see a good reason for doing it -- which
basically means that he won't do any schoolwork simply because it is
assigned -- and he probably won't go to high school, though of course
if there were a Sudbury-type school here in Ottawa he'd willingly go to it.
I know he will succeed when he grows up (he turned thirteen just today) --
he has tremendous passion for things he is passionate about (which these
days is mainly video games and socialising.)

But whether or not he will be able to make a decent living from whatever
it is he decides to do when he grows up, I really cannot say. Success and
money are, after all, two very different things.

All the best,

Ardeshir Mehta
Ottawa, Canada

Home Page: <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>

************************************************************

Joe Jackson wrote:

> ...Sudbury grads take on life pursuits (like undertaking a law degree)
> based purely on passion rather than money or what someone thinks they
> ought to be doing.
>
> ...As a professional musician, music educator, published composer and
> arranger, I feel authoritative in stating that most of a person's
> ability as a musician or composer is what they have when they emerge
> from high school.
>
> ...In my opinion, the follow-up cases of Sudbury Valley grads reveal that
> the school produces an *inordinate* number of artists.
>
> ...How have you arrived at the conclusion that they are less, when the
> entire Sudbury experience is *predicated* on entrepreneurship?

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