Awesome Day!

I feel extremely happy to be at the MPC and I feel especially grateful for days like today. The lessons I learned today and the feelings I had:

  1. What is wealth? Wealth is value that we gain by giving people something that they like/need/enjoy.
  2. What wealth is not: Contrary to what many think, wealth is not making or having money. Creating value is what makes economies robust because even if many countries print out money to have more medium of exchange (money), they still have the same amount of goods and services to offer, the later didn’t change and so prices are very likely to go up and the currency to inflate. Money is just a medium that people use to trade off and get the goods and services that others offer. What truly creates value and therefore wealth is human action, because people exchange whatever they can because they believe that doing so will permit them to be in a better state than in the one they used to be. We are the meaning and value makers.ImageImage
  3. Where does a drive to seek something better, to have a vision and to try very hard to achieve it come from? Passion, information, everyone is born with ethos (a god within), the system, framework and environment matter, liberty, doing what we love and do it often, taking risks, nature and nurture.
  4. If we are born with a god within, where does it go for most of the people? Maybe as Socrates would say, the ones who lost it or “forgot” it must recollect it throughout life. It is a shame that many people lose that enthusiasm and the drive to dream, learn and create. With my great project I want to help people get their ethos back so that they can become better and happier people who truly get to be themselves.
  5. How do we exercise entrepreneurship?
  6. Ideas on my Great project: recollect your ethos: moms, adolescents and adults; kids, don’t lose it!
  7. Steve Jobs ideas on value (maybe): people don’t know what they want until you show them.

Schedule of the day:

  • Morning meeting-sharing about our vacation
  • “To tell the truth” activity
  • Acton Institute: The call of entrepreneurship
  • Dialogue on the video- what is wealth? What is entrepreneurship?
  • Lunch
  • Persepolis the Movie
  • Dialogue on Persepolis: I loved the movie and I cried a lot because I don’t want my grandma to die and because it hurts that people can so easily destroy each other and the things that we as humans have built and created together.
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Street Markets Dialogue with Robert Neuwirth

We had an amazing dialogue with the expert in street markets, a dreamer and a risk taker: Robert Neuwirth. He traveled around the world to visit the favelas, shanty towns and spent about 10 years writing two books about his experience. He told us that he always loved to write and he was passionate to know and learn more about street markets. One day he told himself: “If not now, when? If not me, who?” Robert called social exclusion absurd because people in every part of the world are just people. Something cool that he mentioned is that he used to believe in big governments and after all his experience outside of Europe and the U.S. he describes himself more as a “Social Anarchist” because he believes that the solution to poverty is the organization of people and hard work. People that get together do things much, much better than any government. He said that the question that we need to ask is why people are not doing things, because if we see a lot of people achieving and making a change, this means that it is possible. So, the right question would be to ask the ones that are not doing it, WHY? And his answer was that it is a veeeery hard work.

3 things that Robert Neuwirth learned throughout his amazing journey (spending about 4 or 5 months in each country: Nigeria, Brazil, India, Angola):

  1. Humility and hospitality: Being nice to people, we are all the same, getting to know people, we can learn from people.
  2. Learn to unlearn: your prejudgments. Thinking in different ways, being creative.
  3. Realize you are good at things that you thought you were not.

November 15, 2012

Today Alejo guided the morning meeting. He shared with us what he has been doing lately outside of the MPC. I am impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit and talent. He also has great pitching skills, or great rhetoric for that matter.

We had a session with PhDj, Dylan Evans, where we discussed chapters 5 and 6 of Thinking Fast and Slow. Here are the notes I took of this chapters:

thinkinfands

Because of cognitive ease, the familiarity of one phrase in a statement suffices to make the whole statement feel familiar. And familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authorities and marketers have always known this fact.
Hot to write a persuasive message:
• Do anything you can to reduce cognitive stain
• If the message is printed use high quality paper to maximize the contrast between characters and their background.
• If you use bright blue or red in your text it is more likely to be believed than if using other colors such as green, yellow, etc.
• Using complicated words is taken as a sign of poor intelligence and low credibility. Keep it easy and simple!
• Try to make it memorable.
• Verse is more likely to be taken as truth
• When quoting a source choose one with a name easy to pronounce.
• System 2 is lazy and mental effort is aversive.
• We live must of our life guided by the impressions of system 1.

Dialogue Notes:
When one writes about a time when one felt powerful, one rekindles an activation in the brain and can feel powerful again. We also discussed the drugs people take in order to stay focused for long periods of time or when they don’t want to sleep. There is a book called Listening Prozac that talks about this topics. We also talked about the experiment of Skinner called superstitious pigeons.
• Sadness probably evolved for us to think, because that’s when we more often use system 2 (theory).
• We feel sad when things are not going our way so we need to re-plan or re-think.
• Mental health consist on being slightly irrational.

Amable Sanchez came today to tell us the importance and value of reading the Quixote. He also thanked us very much for the thank you letter and for the rose I gave him yesterday. With that in mind, he shared with us some poems written by him and by other people related to the rose. As always, Amable behaved like a gentleman. He is very excited to start this journey with us, he even mentioned that we might go to La Mancha in Spain together! That would be awesome. Let’s see what happens, as for now the only thing I can say is that I love Kind Sanchez. Oh, and he even mentioned that he would really enjoy to visit La Mancha with us when we finish reading this book, that would be amazing!

Our debrief was mainly about Amable and whether we are going to start reading Don Quijote this year or next year. It was kind of tedious, with many people not wanting to read the Quixote this year. I think it’s a waste to wait until next year. We will have to read it and we better use our resources while we have them. By this I mean Amable, Giancarlo and Armando de la Torre who are interested and willing to come and join this dialogue with us (awesomeness).

November 14, 2012

Today’s awesome morning meeting was directed by Mabe Fratti. First, she asked for 4 volunteers and she gave each of them a piece of paper with a feeling or emotion that they had to portrait only by making one sound. Isa, the two Javiers and Kata volunteered and illustrated sounds of nostalgia, sadness, happiness and anger. It was very fun and cool that we guessed the word or something related to it. Then, Mabe played 7 tracks of classical pieces and we had to write down the feelings that we were getting from listening to these tracks. It was very cool to listen to real music and to let our feelings evolve and our imagination flow. When we shared what we got we discovered that many times we had written similar things and some people even imagined sort of the same story.

Epicycle on Consilience by Edward O. Wilson: During my individual time I was taking notes on my reading on Consilience and I’ll share them right here, and then I’ll share what we discussed in the circle (dialogue).

Chapter 4:

Theories: are a product of informed imagination.

Created by me via Gliffy.com

Science: is the organized systematic enterprise (def. undertake, new project) that gathers knowledge about the world and condenses the knowledge into testable laws and principles.

Reductionism: Looking for the right questions and then finding them solutions or experiments. This is the primary and essential activity of science.

19th century: Rekindle of the idea of achieving objective truth.
• Positivism: Only certain knowledge is the exact description of what we perceive with our senses.
• Pragmatism: Truth is what consistently works in human action.

Tautological: Every conclusion follows completely from its own premises, which may not have anything to do with the real world. (Mathematics is tautological).

An idea that I got from reading this chapter and one that I will mention in the dialogue part is that maybe an objective truth will never be able to be defined, but we still have to try. Trying is the only way of knowing if we will be able to do it or not.

Chapter 5:

Chapter 5 starts with an analogy of the Greek mythology’s labyrinth and consilience. Now I am glad for the course I took on mythology and vampires in EPRI some months ago because I can understand the references Wilson makes with Greek mythology (this is the 3rd time he mentions something related to the Greeks and this chapter is named after Ariadne’s thread).

Consilience among the branches of learning is the Ariadne’s thread needed to traverse it. Theseus is humanity, the Minotaur our own dangerous irrationality. Near the entrance of the labyrinth of empirical knowledge is physics, comprising one gallery, then a few branching galleries that all searchers undertaking the journey must follow… While there is an entrance, more or less, there is no center, only an immense number of end points deep within the maze. In tracking the thread backward, from effect to cause, assuming we have enough knowledge to do so, we can begin with only one end point. The labyrinth of the real world is thus a Borgesian maze of almost infinite possibility. We can never map it all, never discover and explain everything. But we can hope to travel through the known parts swiftly, from the specific back to the general, and—in resonance with the human spirit—we can go on tracing pathways forever. We can connect threads into broadening webs of explanation, because we have been given the torch and the ball of thread.

Wilson also shared that he had a project once, he is a biologist, and he asked for help from a chemist and a mathematician. He was practicing what he preached, solving a problem of biology with physics and chemistry.

Wilson also talks a lot about going from a level of specific organization (like an organism) to a more general level (like a molecule). He also mentions this structure: superorganism—-organism—-glands & organs—-molecules. He describes this in page 93 as the challenge of scientific holism (going from general to more specific levels of organization). About this I feel like he is talking about going from the micro perspective into a macro one. By examining the macro we can learn more not only about one organism in specific, but also about many, many other which are obviously composed by molecules. We have been working on the micro perspective for years and we still have no cure for cancer which is only incrementing. Maybe we should try to go on and change a little on the process and methods we are using to achieve what we want to achieve.

Discovering stuff in any field, according to Wilson, will help us to get to the objective truth. He believes that there is only on truth which we can achieve or know starting from any branch of knowledge. Then, Wilson goes on talking about truth and he asks this question: “How can we know that nature’s algorithms are the same as our own?” Which leads to:

Complexity theory: Born in the 1970s. Searches for algorithms used in nature that display common features across many levels of organization. The opposite side argues that everything is too complex to be reduced to elementary processes. The opposite side also says that there can be no matter that predicts the wholes.

Fervent advocates:
Believe in complex laws. They believe the can leapfrog conventional science. The opposed to this believe that there is not enough information yet and that their conclusions are vague.

Dialogue on Consilience:
Marce mentioned that what if the scientific method is wrong? Then, all the things that have been proven by it will not be true anymore. Wow, how can we be sure that we know? How do we know that what we know is the truth? How can we know that we are not mistaken?
Wilson believes that there are laws that guide both science and human society. For example: math and physics relate to the collection of men. He also believes that the celestial bodies discovered by astronomy and physics could serve as a model for human society.

Performing Arts: We discussed the play of Macbeth by William Shakespeare ♥. We’ll have auditions for the play characters and we will probably be playing it either this or next year. Here is a link where you can look for the characters in the play: http://nfs.sparknotes.com/macbeth/characters.html. Sounds like a lot of fun. I will be auditioning for Lady Macbeth role and since there are more men than women on the play and since in the MPC we have more women, I will also be auditioning for Macduff role. I love Shakespeare’s plays and I’ll really like to act in one of them. I hope that we get more into Shakespeare, there are some books that mention him. I love the Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet. I haven’t read Hamlet yet.

During our programming class we gave or “one minute” pitch on our app ideas. I had many of them and people had very cool ideas. Some ideas where kind of difficult to program, so Kyle told us to re-think and re-organize our ideas or to try to make things simpler or to set up a small goal that we can be able to finish before this year ends.

November 12, 2012

Today Isa Moino directed the morning meeting. Diego and Pablito shared with us that they won the debate tournament and we talked about the TEDxUFM that will take place this Saturday! Pablito, Diego and Franz are going to give one each. Isa showed us some optical illusion-related-very-cool-stuff.

During my individual time I re-read Euthyphro by Plato and looked for the answer to the question asked during our last session. “What definitions does Euthyphro provide to what is piety?” I personally read a different version than the one we used last class. It say basically the same, the main difference was that they didn’t have the same notation. Here I copy the answers (summarized) I found that Euthyphro gives to Mr.Plato:

1. Doing as I do, charging my father with murder.
2. Piety is what is dear to the gods, and impiety what is not dear to them.
3. What all the gods love is pious and what they all hate is impious.
4. Piety is a part of justice concerned with the care of the gods/ Piety is that part of justice which attends to the gods. (All the pious is just).
5. Piety is knowing how to please the gods in word and deed by prayers and sacrifices.
6. We give to the gods what is pleasing and dear to them.

During our dialogue, we had an argue with the premise number 4, because one side said that care and service is not the same. So that, caring for the gods would be one definition and giving service to the gods would be another. When you care about someone you give them service, and I think this is an explanation of something said before.

Before our dialogue I hadn’t noticed that Plato is talking about trade, where he mentions that if we give something to the gods we must get something back. Another thing that I learned during this dialogue is that Euthyphro’s last premise is the same as the second one he gave. So, in Alejo’s words “that is part of the beauty of the whole thing”. I agree, because in his first answer to what is piety, Euthyphro does not give an answer relating to the external forces, just relating to himself. But during the entire dialogue, he goes on arguing about what is pious to the gods, and everything related to them, not to him. So that is how he ends the dialogue with Socrates.

Another very cool thing is that the first question Plato asked Euthyphro is: WHAT are you doing? The second one is: WHY are you doing it? And then he finally asks: What is piety?

With his first answer it seemed like Euthyphro’s values came from within himself, but when he goes on he discovers that his values come from outside of him. This, we related in our dialogue to Kant’s essay on enlightenment and on Twain’s “Corn-Pone Opinions”. The relation between this and Kant is that nonage means being able to use thy own understanding without the guidance of another, that was what Euthyphro was doing, trying to get his values and understanding from the gods and not from him. Twain says that we get our opinions out of somebody else, which is the public opinion, which some call “the voice of god”. That is exactly what Euthyphro was doing, trying to discover the truth from an outer force, which are the gods, instead of looking for it inside himself. Bert asked this great question: “If we believe that there is an absolute truth, can we get out of nonage?” A universal truth being something that is true even if people don’t know that it exists. Can we all get to the same truth if we don’t get our understanding from one only part or persona? Can a universal truth come from within and can all of us achieve the same answer? Because if it is a universal truth, it shall be the same truth for everyone. Oh, complexity, oh philosophy, oh Shakespeare: “ay me”.

Bert asked if we thought that this reading (defining what is piety) still has value and importance today, and why? We all answered yes. Some of the answers that I got is that it will teach us how to approach a classical reading, like the bible, there is so much that we can take out of this kinds of books. If we define piety, we will understand more our society and how people think. Because even if Socrates didn’t share the same believes with Euthyphro, he was still very interested in what he had to say and in the way he thought and in the way in which he acted.

We also talked about values, and about a time when we start doing the right thing just because it is so inside ourselves and in our values that we don’t even have to choose what to do. We only have one option, which is the good thing to do. Here, I’ll be quoting Bert talking about unpunctuality and punctuality being a part of you: “It is not in the menu anymore because it has become a part of you”. We also discussed the topic “WHAT DO YOU OBEY”, because Euthyphro supposedly obeyed the gods, and that’s supposedly why he was acting in the way in which he actually was acting. So the question is, what do you obey? What do you follow? Why do you do every single thing that you do? Who is your master? Is it yourself? Is it society? Is it your family?… etc.

We had a debrief on this dialogue and I was feeling very ashamed because Isa asked why did we think that the beginning of this dialogue was kind of awkward and was not flowing like in other occasions? I answered that I noticed that a lot of people were not prepared to discuss this and that I felt awkward because I felt like I was the most prepared person for this dialogue in the circle and I didn’t want to show off. Bert said that people feeling bad for doing the right thing is going to sink our boat an ruin us completely. I felt very guilty because of that, I’m still thinking of other ways in which I could have approached the problem. I really liked something that Isa said, acknowledging that in the end everything went out fine: “It was great, we came with pretty good questions”. It stroked me that having questions is something great. I guess that the culture is finally evolving pretty well. YEEEEEEEYY! We also talked about how we’ve been lowering our standards. We can all notice this by people coming late, people not even coming, people not reading or not coming prepared for the dialogues, me no documenting the entire last week and some books, etc. I seriously think that the standards are within us, and we can ofer to help each other but in the end it is all our responsibility. Our standards and commitment to the program end up being something personal. We also discussed that we should have some written rubrics to the ones we’ll agree on, in order to have this so people can really do things right when it is their time to have the roster of the week. I really liked this debrief, it was very long and it took my time for documentation but it was really worth it. We had discussions, negative feedback, sharing, commentary, etc, ant I really think that everyone handle it well and it was amazing.
After lunch we had performing arts, where we were trying to sing some Christmas gospels. I think that it sounded fine, but we still need to work on getting the same notes. Then, we had greek in the terrance, since Moris is not with us anymore, Bert gave us some copies of a book that we’ll be using until the end of the year. The lessons are pretty easy to do and to learn, especially because we have mostly discussed this with Moris or it was mentioned in our Greek book before. On Wednesday we agreed on having a quiz on the first 4 lessons of these copies.

During my individual time, I worked for more than an hour trying to get my thank you letters printed. Because I had written them since last month, but action was never taken in order to print and deliver them. This really hurt because I know that I truly have a lot of readings and documentation in my plate, but I had compromised to write and deliver this thank you letters.

During programming class I went to Amable Sanchez office to give him the letter but he had just left, so I left it with the secretary. Then I just worked in Codecademy and time ran by because next thing I knew is that I was in the circle again, discussing chapter 4 of Taming the Infinite. Something cool that I didn’t really paid attention to before, is the fact that negative numbers and zero where accepted just because of business purposes: to illustrate debt. Economics is everywhere! Then, Kyle showed us the company where he works and which he created, how it works and how everything is managed. I wish I someday can understand all this programming language. One of the things that I found really cool is that Kyle uses github to record all the programs he writes and that he uses gliffy. I felt kindda cool for know what Gliffy is and for using it before. He mentioned other cool stuff like Amazon’s webservice which he uses to process programs for his company. And something AWESOME that I learned is that I can change my IP address in order to be able to use the Kindle Fire and other programs that are available for other country which is not mine. “Strong VPN” is one of the webpages in where I can choose which part of the world I want my IP address to be, in order to use the web with stupid country limitations. Another webpage that Bin Laden probably used was: “Top project: anonymity online”. KEWL! Here is a video including a lot of geek fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5ceaqtWhdnI

Many people were left out of the circle for the debrief for coming late. We talked a lot about Franz and Gabbi and about how can we help them to achieve what we have to and to raise up their standards. With both of them we need to take different action. I think that with Gabbi we really need to let her know that she truly can do this if she wants to, and with Franz is more a thing of commitment and responsibility. We decided that we will be going to talk to them personally, if we felt like it and to try to listen to them and to offer them help. I really miss these guys.

October 24, 2012

Today Lorena guided the morning meeting. We talked for about 20 minutes about the things that we had to do. And again the group that was in charge of writing the thank you letters for our MPC visitors didn’t remember their task. So, I ask my group if it was okay if we took the task, they say yes and so we are now in charge of writing thank you letters for JuanMa Bonifasi, Dale Stephens, Amable, Scott Lee, Richard, Alexander M, Gabriel Calzada, Daniel Herbruger, and Sam Bonis. Bert also asked us if we felt like the MPC was full of negative vibes or positive ones, we all agreed on the latter, thank God! I feel happy for being part of the MPC, and is not a nightmare to spend 12 hours in the university, I actually enjoy most of the time in here. I need to catch up with my work (documenting books and readings, and Greek) in order to enjoy my time in the MPC more, at least I’ll be feeling less stressed. Lore showed us a video of a guy named Joel Osteen, a preacher from Texas. His message in this preach is to make people see things from a bright perspective and to enjoy and celebrate everything that we have. In the future we will look back to these days as the best days of our lives, so we better enjoy them to the fullest. Oh, and this guy has an amazing rhetoric ability, and he seems so happy, he also reminds me of Cash Luna, in a bad way, but this guy is better! And I’m not in the mood to talk about religion so here is the link to watch the video:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eSfmswNkgBw

During my individual time I am documenting my pending stuff and I will read more of the Trivium because we are having a dialogue on it at 11 with Bert. I also did some research on how to write thank you letters for our task group. I started written the letters and I will work with my group either today or tomorrow on this later. Oh, and I am in a very happy mood today because today Real Madrid plays a very important game for the champions league so I am wearing my Real Madrid jersey, along with Diego and Franz who are wearing Cristiano Ronaldo’s jersey. I will try to take a picture with them later in order to post it in my blog. Hala Madrid!

Our dialogue on “The Trivium” was a complete failure. I thought that I was very left behind, being in page 76, but Bert asked everyone till what page have we all read, and no one passed the 25 pages. I think that this shows our lack of commitment to the program and towards our education. Bert mentioned that this was about finding people who actually give a damn about learning for real and that we can’t pretend to read and to be learning if we are not. This was seriously a wake up call for me, I decided to finally schedule the time I am going to need to finish reading the Trivium on Wednesday (because we changed the day to discuss this book).

We continued reading Self-Reliance, half of page number 5 and half of page 6. Emerson mentions that we need to take our abilities, no matter how few they may seem to be, but we need to embrace them and work with them on what we enjoy the most. That would be us, creating great things! This is one of the lines I liked the most: “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” This also means, remaining yourself everywhere, and in the presence of anyone. Emerson also mentions that doing what you are told without questioning will kill our force. Do you put things in your life just because or because you really want to do it? I related this to following religious views or going to school or whatever, just because your parents tell you to do so, even if you don’t believe in those principles or if you don’t value those things. The practice of this stuff, kills our souls. We all related this paragraph with Mark Twain in “Corn-Pone Opinions” specially because Emerson is sort of insinuating that there is no such as thing as an original opinion. He also talks about pretense, and how we very often smile at people that we don’t like, or smile at a comment that we don’t find interesting or we seriously disagree with it. Always be nice, always be nice, that is what society tells us every time. But, should we instead be real and stay always truth to ourselves and our believes, abilities and passions? Thank you again, Sussie Campbell.

We told Kyle what we have done with the program and the books that we have read and the many stuff we’ve got in our plate. Then, we discussed the first two chapters of Taming the Infinite. Many people left the room, because they hadn’t read the book until chapter 6. Anyways, we ended up talking about sound and how it is transmitted. About what determines the tone and pitch of our voices, etc. Obviously we talked about this regarding math and graphics and other cool stuff. I learned two new things, one makes me feel disappointed and sad haha and the other one is just cool. The cool one is that there is a violin called Stradivarius, or there are about a 100 of them, but they are too expensive because no one else has been able to copy or imitate the harmonic sound that they produce. The other thing I learned is that the way in which I listen to my voice is not the way that everybody listens to it. So, the way my voice sounds in the telephone and in the videos is how it actually sounds to everyone. The reason of why this probably happens is because of the vibrations that our voice emits, because we are emitting them, we listen to them from a different way. Is like looking at stuff from a different perspective. The cranium and skin probably influences the way in which we perceive our voices. I felt disappointed because I don’t like the way my voice sound in the videos, I hope it really isn’t that bad. I love how I can listen to myself haha.

October 16, 2012

Today’s morning meeting was directed by Pablito. He showed us a video of the oldest women survivor of the holocaust, she plays the piano and loves music and is a very happy person. Pablito talked about his love for classical music and showed us a link where we can learn more about music.

http://epdlp.com/

Then, I talked with Gabbi and Diego about the power we as humans have, a power that allows us to destroy or to create huge things. We talked about our spiritual beliefs. I shared with them that I do believe that we have a spirit, and that I don’t want nor think that when we die everything ends for us. I also believe that there is a God, someone powerful and able to create things, but I’m not sure if it is the same God that the Christians believe in (Jesus). I do believe in demons and in the power of our spirits and the human race. It’s amazing to think about this stuff, but it is very difficult to encounter and experiment with our experiments. I personally am too coward to do so. Dear Soul of mine, if you are reading this I love you haha. I found interesting Diego’s believes. He said he believes in reincarnation, and that when we behave good in this life, we get to live a greater one. When we live a not so good one, we die and reincarnate to a worst life. When we achieve the top of the learning and wisdom pyramid, we stop reincarnating and become free souls or something like that. I have to quote Gabbi in this: “ay, Jesucito”. What is out there, how the universe works, THAT we don’t know, THAT we are far from knowing, but that knowledge humanity constantly and permanently seeks.

Then, we had our Euclid lesson. Ingrid surprised us because today’s task was to get into our groups and explain the 3 first postulates of Euclid. What worries me is that without looking at the answer I really can’t work with this things. It´s very frustrating for me not to know something, and I really need to be more real about it and say it. I was thinking of how could I document my Euclid learning and that may be by explaining it and vloging it. Besides, Euclid teaches precision, and his work is amazing and how he got things done many, many time ago. I know that I will be able to nail this, but I will have to work hard to achieve this.

October 15, 2012

Today Kata directed the morning meeting. Many people shared about the good time we had in Ati, and we also shared with Franz and Lore who were not able to come with us, our handbook task (the question that was given to us).  I guess that we really feel more like a family by now. Kata showed us a video about the Mayans and about the history of Halloween from a very cool page that I’ll visit more haha. Kata noticed some mistakes from the video that none of us could see until she mentioned them,  she really likes history!

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/videos#bet-you-didnt-know-halloween

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-the-maya-think-the-world-would-end-in-december-2012

Oh, and today is Majo’s birthday so we sang the the happy birthday song and ate cake (cooked by Marce, Lucia and Kata), I really hope I don’t die by eating this, hahaha.
We were supposed to have a Greek lesson, but Moris didn’t arrive, so I just used this time to catch up with my Greek lessons, read and documented for the rest of the morning. I scanned some documents that I needed to post in this blog, which I already uploaded. It feels good to get things done.

During Performing Arts, Javier Tabush directed and activity called “The Trip”. We were told to close our eyes and try to imagine the things that Tabush was describing, but we shall try to use our five senses while trying to do this. He told us to imagine a place where we could relax and enjoy ourselves, I imagine an island where I was alone, looking at the sky and the sea, laying in the sand and looking at the threes and the brightness of the sky and the majesty of the light. I smelled the sand and the nature of the place. Then, I was in my room, looking at the details of the walls, the books, the closet, etc. Then, we were told to imagine that we traveled to a place that we really want to go. I went to Paris at the beginning, but then I thought that going to Paris was not my dream, so I decided to visit the entire continent of Europe, so I was in many places at a time. Oh, and I packed without really knowing where was I going, I remember packing a bikini swimsuit, smelling it and touching it, I remember the touch of it, and I don’t remember what else did I put inside of my backpack. Then, I went to China, I was unconsciously wishing I could get to see my best friend who is currently studying there, but I was just walking through the streets in China, wishing to see her, but couldn’t find her. Then, I just changed places, and was again in Europe, and finally was in a restaurant in China which was decorated with a European style, and there I found a friend from my school (the person I least expected to find there). When we were told to open the eyes I felt sad, I felt something in my chest, it was grief or something like that. The thing is, that my best friend’s birthday was last Monday, but I, being in the Iguana Perdida, utterly forgot and she called me on Saturday from China to tell me to get on Skype (as she always does), I said yes, and I talked with her about me in Skype, I didn’t even remember that it had been her birthday. So I just talked about me, as I always do, which is making me feel regretful because it’s always me, I really should listen more to what other people have to share and say. So, finally asked how was her life going and she told me: “oh, yesterday I went out for dinner to celebrate my birthday”. I felt like a piece of crap at the moment, because I know that she has been feeling sad and lonely these last days in China. When we debriefed this activity I shared with everyone the grief and pain I was feeling in the chest, because of my friend, Sheidy, and started crying right away. I felt better after doing this, though. Mabe showed me this: http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/ Need a hug?

We read the first paragraph of Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson. My conclusions from this reading are these: You should express your latent condition. Make public your discoveries and thoughts. Don’t be ashamed to think. Don’t turn off the voices in your head that you get while reading other people’s thoughts, these are the most important. Express what you think, even if it is a very radical or different idea from the common thought. Isa and Javier P shared that when one has the answer to a question that someone asks, but is insecure about being correct or incorrect, and then, listening to someone after a lot more time say what you thought at the beginning, and everyone congratulating this person for finding the answer to the question. In the second paragraph I found my favorite quote of what we read today, is a long and extremely profound quote. What I loved the most is the last part, were Emerson makes it clear that we have to work hard for what we want, and that nothing is going to come to your hands if you don’t put effort into it.
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction
that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself
for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full
of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil
bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power
which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is
which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried”
http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~doyle/docs/self/self.pdf

With Kyle we kept our group work, and we were supposed to present our groups problems. I still haven’t pass, but I will do next class, I’ll be posting here the links and the solution to Project Euler number 20. I still need to work in one part of it, I want to arrange it for next class. Mabe, and specially Alejo and Diego made a great effort and put a lot of time into their problems and I feel like doing the same in order to explain myself better when I present next class. I talked with Lore, Isa, Gabbi and Diego about why it is so difficult for people to absorb, understand and like the capitalism theory. We also talked about the future of the US, with the elections taking place next month. I think that both Obama and Romney will suck as presidents. I also think that Obama is going to win this election again. It saddens me to see a country that was so prosperous like the US, fall down because of the stupidity of this last generation, which ruined what the founding fathers did to grow it as it grew. This candidates seem more like our Guatemalan candidates, promising stuff and Obama trying to see what he can give to the people as a gift from the government in order to win again. I really hope they don’t give the “bolsa solidaria” in the States in a few years, because if they continue with this unsustainable socialist principles to govern their country, that’s how they’ll finish. Isa mentioned that she went to conference where some expert said that there would need to pass about 63 years in Guatemala in order to eliminate poverty. I really embrace the idea of people taking responsibility of themselves, as Benjamin Franklin did since he was 11 years old, he really deserves to be in the hundred bill haha. I also talked with Kyle about his library project, and how amazing I think these projects are. If we could only get kids to read, they wouldn’t need teachers or schools and the government shall save that money and use it in other stuff. I have this idea of having huge libraries, with about two people working on them, people who love to read, and who would love to teach others to read and the love of reading. So, this persons would share teach the kids and adults that don’t know how to read to do so, and then let them explore the amazing world of books and learning.

October 1, 2012

Today Alejo conducted the morning meeting. He sang a song of his, and another one called “Té Para Tres”. I was feeling nostalgia while both song were being played by him, I guess is his awesome voice and music. He asked us to write down what we thought both songs meant, and it resulted that “Te para tres” was about a guy who had cancer and died. This really got me because one of my uncles died two years ago from skin cancer. The lyrics of this song strucked me, and I cried a bit. I didn’t practice Susan Campbell’s tips on Getting Real, because I tried to hide my tears and didn’t let people see me crying. I just didn’t feel like sharing at the moment. Maybe if they read my blog they’ll find out haha. Oh, Alejo also sang a song by the Rolling Stones. This lyrics are still singing in my head: you can’t always get what you want.

We also had our greek lesson with Moris. It was shorter because today we also had a meeting with Gabriel Calzada, UFM’s director to be. He came to dialogue on Getting Real by Susan Campbell. Firstly, Bert asked a question on how did this book related to MPC and the values we preach and practice. We were thinking, and that’s why we didn’t answer right away, I guess that Gabriel isn’t used to this and asked another question, ignoring Bert’s. I’m sure he didn’t do this on purpose, is just that he is not used to this type of dialogue, I guess. Our mistake was, not letting him know this and ignoring Bert’s questions, but I came back to it later in the dialogue. He also checked his cellphone multiple times, which bothered everyone, but nobody addressed it, Bert sort of said indirectly at the end of our dialogue. Ines was also checking her cellphone a lot and Lucia didn’t join the meeting because she didn’t finish reading the book. My impression what that Gabriel enjoyed our dialogue and that we got our first approval from the director to be. I hope Giancarlo visit us soon, I love him! He is a very wise man, he is also a curios person, a reader, and a constant learner. Giancarlo is also someone very nice to talk with. Some of these things are: the giving feedback and receiving feedback thing that Susan mentions. We, as MPCers need to be constantly improving and that can happen when we give feedback to one another. Another thing, is relating instead of controlling, listening to everyone, paying attention and let go in every lesson we have here in MPC, when we think things are going slow, we better thing what is bothering us and reflect upon that.

During the performing arts time, we sold Mexican candy in order to get found for our trip to Atitlan and New York. I only sold 3 candies, which means I need to improve my selling skills and practice more. I am sometimes shy, God knows why, lol. The cupcakes definitely sold more than the candy and I think, we need to learn from that. We also need to set our store in order to sell more; we shall do that as soon as possible. I even tried to sell candy to Bert, so he told me that selling to the teacher is not a good signal haha. The latter, I cannot argue with. We had Kyle, so we discussed how was our learning going, and things that we could do to improve our math lessons, we also checked out this links with a naïve solution to the stone problem, and a “not so naïve” solution to the same problem. Here are the links: https://gist.github.com/3790717 , https://gist.github.com/3790722. We also created our github and Project Euler accounts! Wohoo, let the fun begin!

During the debrief, we discussed how our dialogue evolve, and we wrote new stuff in the rules. One of it was to call for a pause when someone felt like needing it to think about a new question or to read again a quote. Another one was that we had to let people know when they were not doing the right thing at the right time, like checking their cellphones. Another one was not ignoring any person’s point of view or question and letting people know when we couldn’t hear what they just said.

September 26

We started the day practicing yoga, Lucia directed the morning meeting. It was very cool, relaxing and finally I did some exercise. Here is the link were one can get the yoga lessons in case you need them haha http://gainfitness.com/

Then, we had time for our individual work, so I read Getting Real which is due tomorrow, I finished it. During the Performance arts time, we made an activity that Lorena taught us, we had to make eye contact with as many people as we could for one minute with each person. This was an EXTREME experience. I made eye contact with Javier Tabush, Bert, Alejo, Mabe, Lucia, Ines, Kata and Diego. At the beginning, everyone was laughing and nervous so it was hard to keep the eye contact. When I was connecting with Javier he started laughing so it was distracting and the connection broke. With Bert, I had the most amazing connection ever, it was hypnotizing and overwhelming, I almost cried. Thing is, that when you stare into someone else’s eyes for a while and concentrate on each person’s eyes, then you notice that there is a little child inside of them. It´s like noticing that everyone has an inner child inside, noticing how vulnerable each of us are, and noticing how transparent some people’s eyes look. It was cool because I was imagining Bert as child and about how it was for him to grow up in New York and his personal life in general. When we finished the activity, Bert told me that he thought “oh, Carmen is picturing me as a child right now”, so it was cool to even have this conversation without words. With Alejo, it was pretty cool too, because as I see him every day in the class, serious or not showing off his feelings, looking him in the eye with this vulnerable gaze, he looked so cute, transparent and real. When he laughed, his eyes became smaller and I just thought it was so cute I almost cried. During this activity I was thinking about the Getting Real book, especially in the first chapter, that is, which states that we need to feel, not trying to control a situation or a feeling, but just embracing it and feeling it for a while. Lucia and Ines are sisters, and that I could tell by looking at their eyes, they had sort of the same look in their eyes. With Diego I just couldn’t connect, I was feeling shy by his gaze, I sort of felt judged or something of that kind. My eyes went away every time we were starting to connect or to get things for real, I was the one who looked away. Another thing that I discovered is that it is better if someone stares into only one eye and not both of them, because if their eyes are moving it is hard for the partner to concentrate. Also, when connecting with Mabe she was moving her body, she was very nervous so maybe that’s why I couldn’t connect with her. Ines had this very sweet, childy eyes, as everyone else with whom I made a connection or at least a sort of connection. During our debrief of this activity, I felt dazzled and hypnotized, just looking at everyone. Everything was different. Specially, when Bert spoke I was hanging on to every word that came out of him and staring into his eyes all the time. When someone spoke after Bert, I still had the same attention, but it was an extreme attention, for real, it was too much (in a good way).

eye

We had our Kant and Twain discussion, finally together as a group. The main argument resulted to be whether if Twain was being ironic or not. Only two people thought that he wasn’t being ironic, which meant that Twain really thought that we, as humans, are not able to think for ourselves, that we only imitate and feel. I disagree with this idea, I think that he is indeed being ironic, almost every time he is writing. Here is a copy of my essay which points out my understanding of both texts: kant and twain

With Kyle, we were trying to solve the problem we had with the eye activity. We couldn’t find a way in which we could keep a cycle going and look only once into everyone’s eyes. That was everything we did during the class and we didn’t find a solution for the problem. We even had some people acting out the problem in order for everyone to understand better. We didn’t honor MPC’s rubric, so the class was basically a mess, I felt frustrated and  couldn’t follow what everyone was doing and saying because a lot of people were speaking at the same time and they were repeating the same thing over and over again because no one was paying attention. Finally we watched more of the “Educacion Prohibida” but it was basically more of the same we’ve been watching.