Are Their Faces That Different from Ours?

Today we watched a film/documentary called “Night and Fog” published by the Criterion Collection. This film incorporates media: photos and video, from the 40s in the Nazi concentration camps. This was the first time that I ever watched videos from that time; I had only seen pictures before. I cannot even put into words what my feelings and thoughts were while watching the film. Every time that I thought I had already seen the worst things, something even more horrifying was shown afterwards. I have no words to describe the atrocities that the Nazi regime and ideas generated. Wow.

It was easy to forget that the communist, homosexuals, Jews, criminals, etc. were human because of the way people treated them. They were not treated as people; they were not even treated as dogs. One of the images that really struck me is one of a dog walking around a concentration camp with freedom to do whatever he wanted, with love and apparently even with food because he was far from being as skinny as the people inside the camps. Even dogs were better fed and free, unlike men! I guess that it gets easier to think of people as merchandise and as objects if that is how people treat them all the time. Little by little the mentality of the Germans was shaped to hate, resentment and destruction. This mentality was shaped by small actions, by jokes, gossip and comments. Little by little everyone started to believe in these ideas. Was it out of fear? Was it out of a lack of questioning themselves? Was it out of accepting everything/anything that an authority said? Was it because of the thought that law makes things moral? Was it out of gossip? Was it really out of hate?

The only words that I may use to describe this event is: outrageousness and insanity. The lack of individuality showed by the soldiers is crazy. Each, claimed that they were only following orders and that they had no option and were not responsible for any of their actions. But if they were not responsible, then who was? Who was controlling their minds and bodies? Why did they even permit this? Why was everyone taking part on this madness? We can’t be like sheep all the time. If we do nothing to change what we think is wrong then we are being sheep. We can’t be blaming others for our own mistakes. We are responsible for what we think and for what we do.

I remember how the thought of WWII used to scare me, ever since I was a little girl. One of my cousins watched “The Book Thief” and ever since she has been very interested and surprised by the Holocaust. She is 9 years old and she recognized that the evilness of killing 9,000,000 people is out of question. It is obviously wrong to treat people like that and to judge individuals as part of a group. It is awful to kill people because they were born in a certain place or under a certain religion. I remember how I also recognized this when I was a little kid. There is no excuse for people to claim that the Nazis didn’t know all the harm that they were doing. Every sane person can notice that they were up to no good. But, hey! No one noticed or so it seems, because no one acted until it was fairly late. Don’t let other people scare you. Take ownership, control and responsibility for your life and stop being sheep that other sheep control! Be your own hero, become your better self with every day that goes by. Do what’s right and don’t let others tell you otherwise. Listen to the people who are worth it, who add you value and ignore and stop the negative comments and gossip generated by others. It was with small actions that the Holocaust started. Don’t let it happen again. This happened a few years ago and it could happen again. Today, it is YOUR turn to take responsibility and to not let such a thing happen again! Promise to yourself that starting today you will be very aware of how your thoughts and actions affect, shape and change your environment and the people that surround you.

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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.

Not Just Another Brick In The wall

Chacho guided the morning meeting. This time he didn’t show us a magic trick or to show us some crossfit. Nor did we wrote about Edward O. Wilson and Socrates in the Moon, but you are getting closer to the truth… Yes, we wrote something. Chacho gave each of us different little papers to choose from. In the first one I found the name of Socrates, in the second one Diego Rivera (I guess this was the MPCer but I decided to take him as Frida Kahlo’s husband) and in the last paper I got the word “cemetery”. I wanted to write in verse, some sort of poem, but I found myself writing a story. In my story I never mentioned the name of the things I got in the papers but just characteristics, nicknames or examples that will show you the words if you know how to connect the right dots. Really cool activity, afterwards we shared our first two sentences. Too bad we didn’t have more time to keep on sharing; many of the stories were very interesting.

We continued reading Aristotle with Andrew, It has been helping to read the feedback received on our previous reading, we have improved since the first time. Afterwards we kept on working with Andrew, this time with our speeches. Since we just had a huge session on Aristotle, we decided to working on our rhetoric with something that will keep us moving. We practiced “Ethos”, character, how we are portraying ourselves to the audience. It was really fun, I learned a lot. I learned that people will listen to us if we know something that they don’t, if we have experience in something, if we look trustworthy, if we believe in ourselves and in what we are saying, if we look secure and natural.

We then had time to work on our own; we decided to work on the rally that is taking place this Wednesday. We are organizing this rally through the coolest places in the university for the new MPCers and we want to do something really cool. Since I’ll be Milton Friedman with Lore being Rose, we decided to visit our space and to learn more about it. Then we visited the Trading Pit along with Carla de Hess who told a bit more about it and who advised us on setting an appointment with Helmut so that he would show us and explain to us the lot of activities that can be done in that place.

After lunch we watched the Pink Floyd movie “The Wall”. This was the second time that I was watching it, the first one being in Freshman Experience, a class I had with Bert before joining the MPC. The imagery presented in the movie is great and I guess that for the time when it was filmed it was even better. A lot more of things were clicking in my brain this second time I saw this film. Some of the questions that popped into myself after and while watching this movie, are: How can I know what is correct? Institutions and individuals and the relationship between them, how can I not be “just another brick in the wall? These brick in the wall things really made me think, especially when we had our dialogue to talk about this in our biggest circle so far. To me, being another brick in the wall shows a lack of individuality. We let the wall be created around us and then we need to escape from it in order to not forget who we are, in order to feel, in order to live. We got to pop out of the system, everybody has a wall and we all have to do something about it. I believe that change is possible; I believe that we can take control of ourselves. I believe that we can get to know who we are and strive for the things that we value in life and that make us happy. I believe in individuality, I believe in freedom, I believe in happiness.

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 19, 2012

Today Franz directed the morning meeting and he shared a TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html) with us regarding Mabe’s morning meeting last week on classical music. The video was really enjoyable and I love the phrase that the speaker says at the end: “don’t say anything that you wouldn’t like to be the last thing that you say”. We never know when we are dying or when other people are going to die. We don’t know when our end will be and so we better take that into account before we speak. Talking about dying I remembered God, and what Lorena shared with us today. She told us that she spent the weekend watching her family build a house for a poor family with Techo. When the house was finished, one member of the family that they build the house for asked Lore if he could pray for her. He did, and Lore walked a kilometer yesterday and today walked to the university. She slept well last night and has not been feeling pain at all. It was sort of a miracle and she shared with us her belief of God. I don’t know how or why this happened but I’m happy that Lorena is not in a wheelchair anymore!

Plato’s Apology: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

Is it better to die or to live? I sort of had an Emerson moment, because every time that someone dies, and if the family of the death believe in God, I wonder why are they sad? Because they do believe that there is another life after this one and that is a better one. So, why do they feel sad when someone dies? I don’t know what happens when people die, but i really think that life would be miserable if we die and then die. I either prefer to reincarnate or to go to heaven and live forever. It would suck to life for 80 or 90 years and then die and leave everything behind.

Another really cool thing is that we worry too much about things that are not important and worry too little about the things that really matter. We pay too much attention to appearances and don’t really trouble thinking and wondering and searching for the truth. The truth is many times not what we explicitly see and hear. I even dare to say that the truth is not literally out there, we have to find it, we have to seek for this truth. We better not believe that we are the greatest; we shall learn virtue from Socrates and Benjamin Franklin. I think we can do this by comparing ourselves to the universe, instead of comparing with other mortals. Honesty, knowledge and virtue, that’s what we should try to achieve every day.

Is better and honorable to stay truth to oneself and to be honest with others even if you know that by saying the truth you’ll die. That is what Socrates did and that is why he was killed: for saying the truth and for seeking for more of it. I found a lot of connections between Jesus and Socrates and I was reminded of the definition of humility given by Benjamin Franklin: Try to imitate Jesus and Socrates. Both of them said that they knew nothing and focused more on the intangible things in life which end up being the more valuable. Both of them where killed for preaching and acting in the way they considered to be the truth and for expressing it honestly. This is a quote from Socrates that I really liked from our reading: “I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private.” I can totally relate this to what Benjamin Franklin did. Nice.

November 13, 2012

Today Bert directed the morning meeting. He was supposed to show us a video of a conversation between Steven Pinker and another guy whose name I don’t remember right now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMFsXICSqUe I went out for about 15 min and missed part of the agora where people discussed the Thanksgiving lunch party that we are throwing to celebrate with the friends of the MPC. The reason of my going out was visiting Amable Sanchez to give him a rose. Yesterday I left a thank you letter for him giving us the classes on Don Quijote and for the time he has given to us before. Today I gave him a rose and he opened the letter and read it in front of me. First, he cried when I gave him the rose. Then, he cried when he read the letter. He was very happy and eager to see what the letter had to say and he told me multiple times that it was “beautiful”. I was thinking the whole time: “I should have a camera with me right now”. But I think it would also be kind of awkward to have a camera in front of you while you are all excited and joyful, moved to tears. I also wanted to cry because I noticed that he is still wearing his wedding ring, in his little finger, I guess because it doesn’t fit in any other. Amable is seriously the cutest person in the entire planet and he is such a gentleman. I love him!!! I just got the idea of giving him a rose randomly, and then he and Diego told me that roses are something very, very dear to him. He writes a lot about them. I hope that everyone in the MPC can share Amable’s excitement toward The Quixote in order for all of us to enjoy this and in order to honor Cervantes and Sanchez. Amable told me that Don Quijote is the second most translated book after the Bible. I didn’t know that, it’s really cool.

Euclid’s class today was kind of messy and tense at the beginning. The day finally come when were to pick from the sorting hat the names of the people who were to present propositions 4, 5 and 6. Many of us were not prepared, including me, and the first name that got out of the hat was Diego’s. He said that he was not feeling prepared to do this but we all told him to try because it was his turn, and so he did. Then Mabe helped him out and I finally understood this proposition. Is such a joy to watch Mabe present Euclid, she sort of transmits her love for him. Proposition number 2 was also presented by Mabe, this time she took some pauses and time to present her argument but in the end I also got the proposition. Then, it was Kata’s turn to present proposition number 6, i had a hard time following, probably because of how long have I been sitting down and listening. Finally I sort of understand this one but what I had troubles with was with Euclid supposing things when they were not like that, but never mind is just an exemplification.

We discussed the difference between debate and dialogue way too long, so we didn’t have time for words and rules.

I really need to improve my schedule, because I am not posting what a I doing every 15 min. I just have a schedule for every 15 min. Something to point out is that we don’t follow the schedule a lot of the times at the MPC, because we talk more about stuff that we shouldn’t bother with. We learn a lot but this time needs to be replaced for our weekend, which is no longer a “week-end”. This reminds me of Steven Pinker’s “Words and Rules”, chapter 2. Because we often forget the meaning of the composition of compound words like weekend, which should mean: week-end. But the week never ends for me anymore; at least that is how it seems right now. I’ll be documenting last week and trying to document some of our readings. I am now following advice and taking notes, at least on paper, something is something. We also mentioned that we really need to get our levels up with Euclid and prepare ourselves to present anytime.

October 29, 2012

Today Grace directed the morning meeting. She showed us two videos of dance which I enjoyed very much. She showed us this videos to share her passion with us (which is obviously dancing) and today she is directing the performance arts time, the MPCers are finally dancing! The late arrivals were: Ines, Ingrid and Javier Tabush. The “thank you letters” that my group is doing are due on Wednesday, so we need to work on that. Oh, and the costume thing for Wednesday (Halloween) is for real, so all the MPCers are going to dress like a famous character from our readings or a famous author. I want to see what people come up with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoAjE1aioHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT9poLXPIGw

Then, we worked in our groups, brainstorming “what exists at UFM? What is out there on campus that we can use and enjoy?” After brainstorming and sharing our ideas with everyone, we came up with a google docs list (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuazmUwZUI41dERqRjRyNlNCM2hycS1SbngxYmVxdlE). Here is a list of the things I brainstormed with Grace and Pablito:

• Library resources: reading clubs, the library tour, José Cecilio del Valle reserve, movies, maps, multimedia, old books sale, data base.
• New Media: videos.
• Organización para las artes
• Visiting professors
• Clever professors @ UFM
• Casa Popenoe
• Arboretum
• Heuristica
• Centers: Cadep, ix caldún, henry Hazlitt, Capitalism, CEES (centro de estudios economicos), Free Cities Institute, Ethic Center, Centro de Economía Experimental, etc.
• Labs
• Facultades: Psicologia, odontología, medicina, EPRI, educación, derecho, economía, Escuela de Negocios,
• Cuerdas program
• Hospital Esperanza
• Popol Vuh Museum
• Theathers (Juan Bautista Gutierres, Hayek, etc.)
• Cursos libres
• Logos
• Anfitriones
• Exchange and traveling opportunities
• TEDxUFM
• UFM book editorial
• Debate club
• Sporty activities (once in a lifetime)
• Hymn and rules of the University
• First Tuesday
• UFM family
• People you have to meet from UFM (ask Pablito about it)
• UFM map
• UFM board of directors and fiduciaries
• Memoirs of important people: Francisco Marroquin, Hayek, Freud, Mises, etc. around the university.
• UFM gardens
• Akademya.
• UFM allies

Then, we went together to a conference which was supposed to be about free cities, but it was more about making islands and maybe using the free cities ideas on them. It was a part of the architecture faculty and maybe that’s why the conference was boring to me. Besides, the guy giving is wasn’t very good at rhetoric at all and he talked a lot about building and architecture related facts.

During performing arts we had Grace teach us some dancing moves. The whole thing was very cool, I laughed a lot and had a lot of fun, like everyone else. We need to dance more often! Wuhu!
This is how we probably looked to someone outside of MPC, nutsss!

We were supposed to have our math class at 4 pm, but only four people were on the circle at that time. Kyle told us that he was not going to be able to make it until 5 pm, so we had to present the problems left. Kata and Chacho were trying to explain it but very few people were paying attention and trying to solve the problem. I was one of them, but then a little circle emerged around Alejo’s computer with people who wanted to solve this problem. I didn’t join because I thought that they were going to spread sometime, I dint say a thing either, which now I realize was a mistake. Carla arrived and Diego and I had a conversation with her, I forgot the Project Euler program while doing this. During the debrief many commentary and reflection was given to the fact that almost no one was paying attention and being engaged to solving this problem. Many people were pretending to pay attention and were only waiting for this class to end. Maybe we were waiting for some kind of authority to tell us what to do. This is time for us to think of what we are doing. One group needed to be more inclusive and try to engage the rest of the class but at the end it is an individual responsibility and a “self-governance” issue that we need to work on.

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 18, 2012

Today Ines guided the morning meeting; she mentioned that she was always interested in “purpose” matters and “motivation” matters. That’s why she showed us the video linked below, I was waiting for Bert’s commentary on this video, since it mentioned a lot of economy. I truly cant wait to learn some economics, Diego lend me Ayau’s book: “Proceso Economico” which I plan on reading in my house. I probably need to make some time in my schedule to do so. Mabe and I were planning on reading together a book that some guys from Students From Liberty gave us during the Atlas Summint in Washington D.C. It includes multiple essays by Bastiat. OH MY. So much stuff I want to learn and do… Anyway the guy in the video mentions that the money incentive is not the right one, meaning that money doesn’t push people or motivates them to do stuff. We also discussed a business opportunity that we were offered by the university. We are not allowed to randomly sell stuff in the UFM campus, but the university is offering us a space near &Café where we would pay 100 per day and put any kind of business. The maximum amount of time we can have this rented is for 15 days, and we have to change business idea every time we renew the contract. Here, the link to the promised video, and with this, the morning meeting ends (for now, next Monday will be my turn to guide the morning meeting, wish me luck!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Then, we had some individual time, which I used to document my learning. During the morning meeting we agreed on having a session where we would show everyone something cool about our documentation and how we have organized it. I showed them the chart with the Greek pronunciations and my summary of our reading of the “Liberal Arts”. I noticed that my blog doesn’t look good on small computers; I’ll see how I can change that. I noticed that Grace is also using wordpress and that her blog is much more organized than mine, and that she is using some features that I thought I was not able to get on wordpress. I need help from Grace as soon as possible! I also noticed some very cool categories in the organizing of the blogs that I plan on imitating: an MPCers part, where one can click and see everyone’s blog, and my commentary on each person (I’m planning on choosing the MPCer of the week), one part on quotes, one part where I can put the questions that people ask or that come to my mind while reading something. I have to work a lot on my blog organization.

After lunch I spent all of my time reading “How to advance liberty” by the founder of FEE, Leonard E. Read. This reading reminded me a lot of the US Presidential Debate and of what one professor in EPRI used to tell me: “you tell me war a man gets his corn-pone, and I’ll tell you what his pinions is” hahaha, that was a joke. Now, getting real, this professor used to say that people give for granted their freedom and don’t really care about the politics and policies of their countries. Freedom is something that we constantly need to fight for, or we lose it. As Read point out, the way of maintaining our freedom is by becoming educated in economics and then spreading out our knowledge. We should practice these principles and live by them. If we don’t do this, one day people will wake up and find that their country leaders and politicians decided to cut another one of their freedoms, and soddenly their countries become socialist and then, it would be very hard to get their freedom back. Public policies should matter to everyone because what government officials do has an impact on our country, and probably directly to us. Read mentions that very few people care about the economy, politics and freedom, they let other people take the important decisions instead of doing so themselves. The masses just choose from a set of premises and things studied and created by philosophers and economist , that’s why the latest mentioned are “more powerful than is generally understood” because even the authorities, get their ideas from the understanding of other philosophers and apply them. Read expresses that it is very important for a libertarian to master the ideas of free market, private property, limited government views and to figure ways of spreading these ideas. We shall also behave in a good way, following our principles, we shall practice what we preach: this is the best way to approach and spread liberty, by daily practicing it! Read also talks about having a life purpose, an ideology, something that we truly believe , something that motives us, a major thought, an idea that I can be happy with everyone living by it. The first step in achieving this is to find a premise (basis of argument) that makes us feel passion and that we seek more and more knowledge of. Read mentions that we shall compare ourselves with the universe, and not with fellow human beings if we want to improve as a humanity. We need to look up at something bigger than us, which is the Universe. We shall spend time with people that know more than we do, in order to learn from them and improve. Self-improvement leads to the improvement of others. Read suggest that we develop a culture of inquiry were we ask everything, and question every single thing that interest us. A quote that I liked from this reading is this: “The trouble is, that no one wants to correct himself and everyone meddles at correcting others; thus everything stays as is.” –San Pedro of Alcantara.

I can also relate this reading with “What is Enlightenment?” by Kant and “Corn-Pone” opinions by Mark Twain. The three of them believe that only a few get to quit the nonage and, very, very few get to really understand by themselves. Read ads to Mark and Twain that the ones that are enlightened shall set an example for the ones around them and so, other will try to imitate them and be like them. They (the ones not enlightened) will start to question themselves by looking at the enlightened ones and the way in which they act.

During our dialogue with Alexander McCobin (founder of Students For Liberty), Pablito asked what the difference between teaching and selling is. I think that they are not mutually exclusive. First, we have to sell the idea of learning (talking about what teachers should do), sell what is it to learn (tools), and try to engage the students in it. It is very important to mention that we were talking about the traditional educational system. At the end it was an individual responsibility to learn and to want to learn. Teacher can give students the tools and in fact, they have to do so, that is their job. But a student who wants to learn will not only use this tools, but even look out for more. I liked this statement that Bert made throughout the dialogue: -When one encounters a human being, one encounters a miracle. And that is how we should make people feel when we talk to them, as if they were all miracles, because they are.-

Here, the link to the reading: “How to advance liberty”
http://ia600309.us.archive.org/1/items/howtoadvancelibe00leonguat/howtoadvancelibe00leonguat.pdf

BTW: The reading of the trivium is becoming very difficult; it includes a lot of definitions.

October 17, 2012

Today we started the day in a wonderful way, with Mabe directing the morning meeting. She brought a Canvas, paint, and a set of rules. She told us to pick up a color that we liked, we did, and then she showed us the rules for this painting we were about to create. We also picked up a theme for our drawing, being this: a man with joy.
– Only one at a time
– Each will have 30 seconds to paint
– We must all have a common goal
– It’s not an urgency so do not simply jump straight forward and do anything without thinking
– Stick to what we decided to paint
– Keep things clean
– One can mix colors as long as they are in the canvass, freshly put
– No talking allowed
-Follow on what the last person painted.

We ended up with a beautiful painting that I will be posting here tomorrow. During the activity Alejo drew a mouth that looked like a beard and so Isa drew a mouth on top of it. While debriefing this activity we compared this misunderstanding with the ones we often have in our dialogues. It is very important that we all read “How to Read a Book” chapter 8 on “getting to terms with an author”.  It also relates with the fact that if we don’t understand what one person just said, then we cannot follow on this idea, we can’t discuss something that we don’t understand. Another rule that related to our dialogue was the “only one person at a time”, we only speak one person at a time during the dialogue, and we pay attention on what the last person is saying or in this case, drawing. We also had to hold back, as we do in dialogues sometimes in order to let them flow easier. We also had to draw something following what the last person just drew, and that is the same with our dialogues. Javier P mentioned that he also compared this to history, because we cannot control what has been done already, or even change it, but we can add our part to history. We never really had to agree on something, but we differed, and that’s the same with dialogues, is not about consensus, but about variety, critic, and difference in order to be constantly learning and improving. Alejo pointed out that he felt the need to draw a line in the entire canvas, on top of the man we were all drawing. We all thought that this wouldn’t be fair, because it is about evolution, not revolution, as Bert pointed out. We agreed on the fact that even if someone had done that, we would have been able to put it back together. We need to improve in thinking what our contribution to the canvas is going to be, and if we don’t have something good to say or do, we better hold back. The rule that stated that we had to stick to one color was not followed, and this one reminded me of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he says that we need to work with what we have, make it ours, and make improvements out of using it. I was born myself, as I am, and I cannot change that, but I can work with myself in order to improve and become a better person each day.

We had time for individual time, which I am currently using to document. I still have to work with the documentation of the readings (Benjamin Franklin, Taming the Infinite, Getting Real and The Well Educated Mind). Then we continued reading Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson together. From the third paragraph I got that we need to accept ourselves, accept where we are, who we are and working with it. We also should remain unconquered from society, time and other people thoughts. Like children, we shall have no prejudices and be open, not care about others, the status quo, etc, and by not letting this things conquer us. We also discussed that when you are a child you have your own perception because no one tells you how things are, so you just see them your way. Emerson is saying that we should trust ourselves in a childlike manner, like the great men, this is genius.

We then had lunch and came back to take a look at this video of the wistful Donald Duck haha.

Is amazing how much we can learn from this, I had already watched in middle school, but I just thought it was a fun and nice video at the time. Now, I found more profound things in it, and was able to understand much more. Is just amazing that everything can be related to everything, and that’s why everything can be related to math.