Tuesday, October 29, 2019

the cart and the horse

the analytic and the synthesizer

which path is surer to the complete truth:
to analyze—to break into discrete parts, as if in a dissection,
or to synthesize—to find each larger whole that pieces can make?

truth should be organically alive,
and, by its very nature, 
dissection is of the dead, mechanistic,

the critic seduces us,
to look askance,
to assert one’s own ideas
of what is wrong with the other,
by tearing them down
we feel larger, smarter,
that’s part of what I felt in college:
I was rewarded in the attack,
I felt little support in my drive
to find new wholes within which
I could find truth revealed,

with middle schoolers
I believe in the power of the student as creator,
that stories are not made by putting sentences together,
then paragraphs, 
then the whole assembled as if from Legos,

rather I feel students pull a wholeness
as if from out of the mists within them,
once the story, the thought, coalesces,
something new is born,
punctuation, spelling, convention, 
then can have their time, their focus,
so that the newborn can be presentable,
accessible to the rest of the world,
presentation has its place,
but the necessary miracle, the precursor,
is the creation itself,
a synthesis of imagination and heart, tempered by intellect,

what education should be about is empowerment,
the coming into one’s power and changing the world
with one’s thought, one’s feeling, one’s action,
changing the world with one story,
with one essay, with one poem,
with the gestalt of a passionate involvement with a book,
and one’s reactions to it, shared,
in a corporate reach toward meaning, toward revelation,
toward making sense of the world and our place within it,

math works as revelation, too,
if it can be felt as real to understanding,
to be the language the universe speaks,
not worksheet games that live just for themselves,

the cart cannot pull the horse,
the analytic is the cart,
the synthesizer is the horse,
both are vital,
but we cannot move without the primal creation,
where we trust ourselves
to pull coherence into existence.

by Henry H. Walker
October 28, ‘19

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