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.

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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 24, 2012

Today Diego held the morning meeting, Isa Moino and Mabe showed a video that we discussed very little afterwards. Then, we had individual time which I used to read some of the “Getting Real” book by Susan Campbell, which I like but find a little tedious because of the repetitiveness of the author. I also took a little nap because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDmt_t6umoY

Moris came and we had our greek lesson in a much more better way that our first greek class. This lesson was much more interactive and my thoughts got clearer with his explanations. Btw, I feel better now that we stated that we are going to learn the modern pronunciation of greek with the old grammar. Some notes on the pronunciation of the modern greek are this:

We had time for our individual work, here I am documenting and then I am going to work on my pending readings and homework. After lunch we were supposed to discuss Susan Campbell’s book “Getting Real”, but actually the only thing we did was putting this book to practice. Dr. Susan, gives some activities that can be done in groups in order to become aware of our feelings, become more honest with the world and in order to just becoming real! We started by practicing the “what is vs. what you imagine” game. We paired each other with someone else and we told them what we know or notice they are doing and then why we think they are doing it. We finished this activity and it was quite fun, but the real fun started when Javier Tabush suggested that we played this game together, all of us. But we just started expressing how we felt about other people’s attitude without withholding feelings or thoughts. We did this for more than an hour, we even turned off the lights and closed our eyes in order to be more comfortable with each other. It was a though activity because we are not used to get feedback like this most of the time. I guess it was hard for some people who were attacked with “personal stuff”, but still the activity point was for everyone to express thy feelings without thinking about how other people would react. I didn’t received hard comments, but other people did. Then, we worked in our debrief of this activity and we argued with Gabbi about her attitude towards Moris, our greek teacher, which is basically rude and we told her that we want her to change that. If we as MPCers have problems with someone, we shall tell them in the eye and not by brag at them or by being rude, we are different! We are creating a different culture were we value respect, honesty and learning. I recorded our dialogue in my kindle but im having trouble to listen to the audio, I’ll see what I can do and if I make it I will be posting it in here.

Kyle came and we had our math class, he showed us some programmers and geek pages and social network like GitHub and ProjectEuler.net. He showed us a program he developed using GitHub for the stones problem we’ve been working with. He told us that most software’s are about either procedure or structure. I learned that in programming, one “=” symbol means an instruction and is called assignment which means telling the computer “Put something here” or “do this”. On the other hand, using two “==” together means a test and is called Equality operator, it asks “are this the same?” or “did we got to the answer we were hoping for?” Then, we worked with a Fibonacci problem that is inn project euler. Is about finding the even numbers the list of the Fibonacci numbers which are formed by adding the two last numbers together, for example: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…

When Kyle left we continued to watch the movie “la educacion prohibida”. I really liked a quote that says if you are a “teacher” and you are not enjoying it, then, you are not teaching. Which I find like such a beautiful and truthful quote because if you are good teacher you are going to love to learn how the kids mind work, you’ll love to learn from them and work with them. I think teaching is a journey of learning where people learn something every day. During the debrief we discussed how a generation can kill or ruin a population, which is true! Only one generation, few people, or even only one person can ruin the entire world, and can even finish with the human race or disgrace it.

Sept 17, 2012

Today we were supposed to have a Greek session, but Moris didn’t come, so instead we just worked on our “to do” list. I decided to work on the comparison between Kant and Twain for the essay due tomorrow. I also discussed the matter with Gaby, Majo and Inés, and these are some of the things that “enlighten” me:
-To be “enlightened” you need to get out of your comfort zone.
-What if God really exists and when we are babies we know it, but then at a certain age we forget everything about it and star the journey of finding him again?
-We can’t afford to think different than other “powerful” people or people we need from because if now we are not going to get our “bread and butter”. Even if you have your own land and food harvested in there you still can’t solemnly rely on yourself, because the world is full of people and if one has a piece of land in Guatemala or in any other country in the world (because it has to be somewhere in the world, right?) we are always exposed to the government or any other person to take the land away from us by force. This is not legitimate, but it can happen. This relates to the topic of affording your own understanding and having your very own believes because what if your land is inside a very Muslim region and you state that you are atheist and you don’t go to church and all that stuff. Some violent person can get the idea to get into you house and try to kill you or to tell you to get away from that land (your land) and that country. If they are telling you that they’d kill you, then you’d have to do it, leave your land and go somewhere else. Then, in that “somewhere else” you will have to start all over, you won’t have your own land so you will need to work for other people other people in order to get money and food. Then, if that person who you are working for is an extreme catholic and you, again, state that you are atheist and deny to go to church, then you would never get the work or you would get fired. Then, the only way to afford views of your own is in your own head, and that means not being able to express them out loud, and therefore not being able to enlighten the whole world. So I don’t want to say that it is impossible for the entire world to be enlightened but is something that seems very accurate with this reasoning that I just shared with you. Truth is, who knows?
-The last fact also relates to the whole idea of Christianity, because we need god’s approval to get to heaven.
-Another thing that I got from the “Corn Pone Opinions” is that we always seek for approval of others and that it’s in our nature because since we are in our mother’s belly, we needed the approval of her in order to be reading this today. We are all here because our mothers made the decision to give birth to us. If she didn’t approved of us we couldn’t be here.
Today, “art performance” was really cool and fun too. Mabe, played the cello for us and sang a song that she wrote herself. Then Javier T. showed us an activity which is sort of an ice breaker but is extremely fun. We were doing mimics and crazy and funny stuff, so we laughed a lot!
I also read chapter 2 on “How to read a book” where the author explains the three levels of reading.
Kyle showed us two weird but fun math stories today. One was of a guy who liked to suck rocks and wanted to suck every rock just once and to keep using the same cycle every time he sucked them. We also discussed other ways in which we could have get that work done. The other story was about another guy who was extremely smart, like Gaus, but had problems with his teachers and other authorities. I enjoyed the second story more, it was more funny but we didn’t really discuss is because of time issues.
We practiced our math skills in Khan Academy. We also looked at how was our math level, and I sucked. Some things took me time to remember, but in the end I did, and some other things I couldn’t remember. Some others I just couldn’t understand. I know that I have a lot to improve and to learn in this field.
Some of our classmates brought in some greek food. So we had lunch together with the things everyone brought. It was cool. We were trying to have a conversation in greek, and we couldn’t, so everyone was saying words that they remembered from their greek book, so we were just talking nonsense. At least we were talking in greek!
Daniel Herbruger came to share his story with us. He was studying journalism here in the university and dropped out of college when he was a semester away from getting his journalism diploma. He always had a dream to travel in bicycle and he loved bikes so he went to the US to take a bike trip with some other people that he met online. He has three blogs where he documents every book he reads and about the important experiences in his life. He is educating himself with podcasts, books and is currently teaching through the Socratic method at Acton Academy, here in Guatemala. He told us to not wait for the perfect opportunity or for the perfect time to make your dreams happen, but besides to do what you like at this age. Not having to wait until you are retired to pursue your dreams, one can do it now! Today!

Greek (first session)

We prepared ourselves for the Greek lesson by practicing the alphabet and how to write each letter and its name. Then Moris Polanco, our Greek teacher arrived. He told us he was a neurotic person, and I believe he kind of really was. He obviously loved control and order and that was the first difficulty we found in our relationship. The class was cool but at end it was a mess because everyone was feeling tired of being “greeking” the entire morning without a break. Moris thought we were very slow workers and that we were behind. I am hoping to learn both ancient and modern Greek! Greek rocks! We are using the book Greek in 30 minutes a day, and other book of some Foulkes guy that Moris has.

Καρμεν Ροδριγυεζ

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