Sunday, 31 May 2015

Release the Kraken!

Today is the 100th post… And, over the summer my posts won't follow my regular schedule. They will be more spontaneous... So take the time to enjoy some of the previous stories you've missed and I still love to hear from you! 

I am always so excited for the summer months as I have the privilege of teaching one of my favourite classes which is a constant source of inspiration. These first two weeks of being back in the interweb of my class is a reminder of how these interactions are like a muse. It is such a pleasure to be once again immersed in reading through the critical thoughts and being submerged in the depths of understanding of participants within the class. I am always delighted to find that each of the students in the class are as passionate about the research we explore, diligent in their work and avidly engaged in our discussions. The first couple of weeks we hit the ground running before we’ll settle into a steady pace. We began by examining concepts of cognition, the role of fairy tales, fables and folk tales, Disney and social commentary in relation to our connections with other beings.

By Bruce Strickrott
From Expedition to the Deep Slope/NOAA/OER
(NOAA Photo Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

All this brings me to a quote from this week’s reading "if animals carried the message—if it were not completely clear where natural history ended and social history began—it might be easier to teach children unpalatable truths about the society they lived in" (Ritvo, 1985, 81). This quote stirs up so many thoughts. It brings to mind the Western idioms that are riddled with the use of other than human animals as adjectives which reflect our values, to films that will, if effectively executed, surreptitiously put forth their core message. It is the cumulative repetition of these concepts that form our beliefs, not a singular exposure to a concept which makes me think of cephalopods. Cephalopods are like mythical beasts from the abyss that capture the depths of my imagination. They are fascinating beings with an ability to create a real sense of wonder. 

When I think of the ideas that we touched on in this first part of my class, I cannot help but think of the illustrative concept of the cephalopod… Each of the animal’s arms is like the individual messages we have explored so far. These individual messages group together and are controlled by the larger being (“society”). They are sustained by the fluid patterned exposure they repetitively circulate across media and become the theoretical framework from which we will draw our knowledge, rules for behaviour, and/or varying beliefs. This is something that Colin Stokes touches on in his TEDtalk about the hidden messages in children’s movies. So, when we think of a concept, a rule or a belief to which we subscribe to, its origins are never quite like a serpent and a linear path, but rather, they are implanted over time from several sources like the arms of the cephalopod and they can be fluid to adapt to our environment like this being's chameleon-like abilities… 

So with that thought in mind… 

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