Galilemma, Newton, Apriorism, Vlog and Life in Silicon Valley

Most of the Euclidean/Galileo/Newtonian days I struggle to keep focused on the proposition, I don´t know if it was because of the coffee I had previously drank or just because, but I was very aware of everything, very focused, and on task. While Isa was presenting Lemma 2, I wondered why was Galileo multiplying the rectangles and squares by four, and it wasn´t until the last step that we finally figured out why. Las week Kata presented proposition unequal parts, the rectangle composed of the unequal parts and the square made out of the half line or of the square made out of the line cut into equal parts, Here, Galileo uses this just unequal ones, he multiplies everything by 4 so that he can use the entire line, without to break and so, a beautiful butterfly came out. We were able to watch the entire process and we have had that butterfly since it was a worm. It was very representative of our beautiful moment of understanding and learning. We named her Galilemma in honor to Galileo and Lemma 2.

 

 

 

Hey, I´m the square on the half
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this we talked about the differences between Euclid and Galileo: in the enunciations of Galileo, he uses things that happen in the real world and he uses Euclidian geometry to prove it. But the things that he enunciates you can see happen in the real world. Euclid is much more philosophical in this sense and may I say more abstract. It is something that works perfectly in the mind and not necessarily in the real world. We also mentioned that we are logical beings, yeah, right, everyone knows that. But what this means is mucho more than what we usually think. Our knowledge is not only based on experience, but it also relies on logic. We don´t need to see some things or to prove them in order to believe that they are true. Euclid´s common notion 1 is a perfect example of this: “things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another” without doing an experiment or having a proof, we know this to be true. We know this by pure deduction. When we use a lot of examples that show the same result, we are inducting. The problem with this is that there is no way in which we can prove that the things which we have seen in the past will also hold truth for the future. There is no proof of them, the only thing we know about them is that until now we know this things to happen. This is what is called the problem of induction. I remember that I talked about this in an HIS seminar with a Norwegian guy who was reading Gödel, Escher, and Bach. He taught me about the problem of induction with the classical “white swan-grey swan” example that Andrew used today. This was a moment of serendipity. All of this talk took us into Stuart Mill and his claims of inductive generalization and into Kant´s hardwire logic system. Before this dialogue I would have said that we can only know what Mill says and that is the only method in which we achieve truth. After having this conversation I would say that I sympathize more with Kant´s theory. We are trapped in this sphere of human reasoning and knowledge, as Mises would say: it is our one and only truth. It doesn´t matter if there is anything outside of our sphere, because we can´t reach it or understand it. We are trapped in this human bodies and minds, it is what it is. Just like with the “self evident” propositions, there is no proof to many things that we think true, but still our logic permits us and makes us believe that it is.

 

Ways in which we learn and know

1)   Self-evident, axiomatic, common notions, certainty.

2)   Deductive inference from known facts.

3)   Empirical knowledge: experience: induction (generalization from particulars).

 

After we had a dialogue on Human Action followed by a storm of acknowledgments I felt really good. We had such a productive day, full of learning and team work. Sadly we didn’t have such a long debrief because four of us were heading to the Business School for a conference called “Life in Silicon Valley”. Five young entreprenerus, with ages ranging from 16 to 25 came to the university and were to give what seemed a very interesting conference.

 

Followed by a run of about four minutes to get to the business school on time, Carla de Hess presented each of the speakers and the first hing that caught my attention was that the yonger girl mentioned that she had sent at least 200 mails to start her journey and that less than 20 got replied. The guy who opened the conversation was David (davidad.net) by saying that in Silicon Valley, people are more supportive of doing projects in general. Since he got a Phd from MIT at age 14, he mentioned that in Boston people would always ask him, after he told them about an idea that he had or a project: “why do you want to do this?” and in Silicon Valley the most popular response would be: “why are you not doing it yet?” or “how can I help you?”. David said that we should always be doing whatever we are excited about. These people were very excited about what they were saying. It is a shame that I am terrible at remembering names, I do remember that one of them is a Thiel Fellow working on making scientific knowledge more accessible to people. I could see that all of tem were extremely passionate human beings and they even offered to help us with anything that they could.

 

Pros of being in Silicon Valley (and their connections to our ideals at the MPC):

  • Empowering environment
  • Makes people happier
  • Community of like-minded people
  • Easy of failure
  • Jumping at things you have never seen before and learning something out of them.
  • Fast feedback
  • Meritocracy: your degree doesn’t really matter, your past doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you are doing at the moment.
  • Supportiveness
  • Forgive and forget
  • Environment of learning and curiosity
  • Tolerance for risk
  • Willingness to learn and listen
  • Supportiveness of creation
  • Peers intellectually engaged and interested in what you do.
  • Incentive to produce as much as you can because other people are doing the same.
  • Testing ideas
  • Culture of innovation
  • Group of people that genuinely believe that they can change the world, and they are doing so!
  • Writing is important: not everyone can see you, but in nowadays everyone can read you.
  • The general question is not why, but, “why not?”
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Awesomeness

First of all I want to warn you reader, today was an amazing day and a lot of things are written on my notebook. Get ready, here I go… Diego guided the morning meeting and in his activity we shared small things that changed us during the summer. He said he got inspired by watching Mark Twain’s documentary. After this we continued our conversation with Christopher Phillips, we talked about writing, what “voice” is and I learned a lot from this. The biggest obstacle that keep humans away from writing is themselves. The only thing that is need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, or even a computer, cellphone or Tablet. Small writings would be beneficial to do while people acquire the habit of writing. Writing personally helps me to organize my thoughts and to place them in a way that sounds more beautiful, still my “voice” is still in every form of expression that I may use. Christopher told us that he likes to write in a simple way, yet not simplistic. He writes for his mom who doesn’t have a huge educational background because he wants his books to be understood by everyone. He tries to avoid using technical words without first explaining what they mean. Now, I will post the activities and questions that Christopher assigned us to do, after writing the answers we shared them with the rest of the class.

Describe yourself in three adjectives

  • Free-minded
  • Fun-Happy
  • Aware-emphatic

Is this how I talk? Ask and answer this question…

I have not been expressing myself and “getting real” as much as I used to some time ago. I have not been expressing a lot of feelings and thoughts that I used to express impulsively.

Imagine and describe your ideal reader. Write to this ideal reader and only to him.

Description of my ideal reader:

  • Curious
  • Wants to know the foundations of as many things as she/he can (the bases that support every theory)
  • Joyful
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Wants to know the truth
  • Is a complex being
  • Is a people lover

Hello ideal reader, I think that I have been influenced on the greatest Greeks lately. First came old Socrates and then surely came Aristotle. I never thought I would like Aristotle as much as I like Socrates. The latter though, occupies a greater space in my heart. A lot of questions have popped into my mind lately. Questions about myself, about the world, about people, about systems and about institutions. I have been observing a lot of things lately. I wonder why the world is so complex.

*Get with another person and share with one another what you think each other “voice” is like* My partner was Javier Tabush and here is what he said about me:

  • Is sometimes whiny
  • When it is not whiny it is intellectual and formal
  • Says the truth with jokes

I am going to quote Grace Becker on the importance of writing: “Writing I an exploration of thought”. This is truth for me because a lot of times I think that I already understand something, or that I have already made the connection of the dots I was trying to connect and writing actually helps me to organize my brain.

 

Christopher Phillips:

Email: Christopher_phillips@mac.com

Twitter: @ChristopherCafe

Book recommendations:

  1. “On Writing Well” by William Zinssen
  2. “Elements of Style” by Struak and White

After this I started to brainstorm for the speech I’m giving on Friday. I felt like writing about yesterday (sunday) because I learned a lot of things about myself and I felt a of powerful emotions. I started to write about this and it connected to my experience in the first year of the MPC. So here it goes…

  • “A lesson of humility”
  • The many things that we can learn from listening to ourselves and to others, being quiet.
  • Suspending and Proprioception… learning about it and practing it
  • Friendships, support, and feedback
  • Beauty and variety of humanity
  • The power of making life as beautiful as we can.

-Freedom

-Taking the leads of our life and of our education

-A new way of learning.

 

During our individual time I visited Amable Sanchez because I wanted to ask him a couple of questions and truly because as my weekend was so intense, I just needed to talk with someone about it and ask for some advice. As always Amable was very kind and amiable, I wish the world had more Kinds, with a capital letter.

Alejo came to visit us, and then Mabe appeared too. It was an amazing thing to have both of them together again at the MPC. They are part of our big family. Daniel Cuervo gave us a presentation on passions, dreams, fears, performance and potential. Fear has a purpose of survival, we fear the things that threaten us and when we are presented with such an scenario, we can choose to either a) attack, b) retreat or escape, or c) freeze. What makes us perceive something as a threat? An underlying belief. The first time that something doesn’t come out right, we stop doing it and so we loose something that could become our passion. Based on our first time performing we may thing that we are not good enough. I plan to celebrate effort a lot more than the results. “It takes time for potential to flourish”-Dweck. Change isn’t like a surgery were you remove what you don’t like and change it for something that you like more. It is a learning process and becoming good at something requires effort, practice, perseverance and patience.

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.

Dr. Armando de La Torre

Historia: primera ciencia social

Padre de la ciencia moderna: Galileo: hay que explicar el cambio y como se da, no el movimiento en sí. Dilthey dice que las ciencias sociales deben de explicar también el cambio, no el movimiento.

Se fueron incorporando: sociología, psicología, antropología y la economía.—

Hasta 1850 la física era la ciencia por excelencia. La ciencia se creía exacta.

Hombre que legitimo las ciencias sociales: Wilhelm Dilthey 1850 (revolución al concepto de ciencia: las ciencias sociales son ciencia, con diferente método): la historia no usa matemáticas.  No es tan importante predecir, por lo tanto no es tan importante medir. Las ciencias sociales se veían probabilísticas mientras que las físicas, químicas y biológicas se veían exactas. Todas las ciencias sociales se reducen a historia, porque no se puede experimentar. Muchas veces por causas éticas. No podemos matar a alguien para ver que pasa como experimento.

Ciencia física/química según Dilthey: solo reconoce causas eficientes que se pueden medir, pesar y calcular.

Ciencias sociales (blandas): predicciones, probabilidades, no hay exactitud. Aquí no basta la causa eficiente, también importa la causa final: porque la gente tiene un fin. Telos: fin. Teleológicas.

Mises, las únicas ciencias: lógica, física, praxeologia. Cree en el conocimiento a priori.

Max Planck: no hay ciencias exactas. Las matemáticas son probabilísticas.

Hasta 1900 la física era la ciencia exacta. Pero luego se dan cuenta que no es ni tan exacta.

Kemeny: No hay leyes de la naturaleza, son descripciones aproximadas. Popper completó esto: ninguna ciencia, ni física ni química, ni psicológica, etc., nos da certeza. Solo más aproximación. No existe una ciencia infalible. Las ciencias son conjeturas que no han sido falseadas, mientras no son falseadas se toman como verdaderas. Post-modernismo: no existe la certeza, solo aproximaciones, niegan la verdad absoluta. Relativismo total.

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Igualdad de oportunidades: es falsa. Hay personas más inteligentes como también hay personas discapacitadas.

Masas: creen que por el numero tienen derecho a imponerse, a matar.

Mujer y hombre selecto: se exige más a si mismo de lo que exige a los demás. Se adelanta aunque los demás no le sigan. Son líderes, enamorados de sí mismos. El líder por ser líder es el hombre más solo que hay, la masa siempre tiene compañía. Todo el mundo le aplaude pero nadie le entiende.

Hombre masa: voy a ser puntual cuando los demás lo sean.

Thuchman: the proud tower

*Consciencia = consciousness = caer en la cuenta de lo que yo hago

*Conciencia= se refiere a la vida ética y moral. Viene de la consciencia.

Consciencia es lo más difícil de explicar

Valores: no se puede explicar ni física ni matemáticamente.

Tres tipos de proposiciones/ frases/ sentencias:

  1. Indicativas: Afirmación de un hecho: fact, matters of fact (David Hume). “La taza de café está sobre la mesita” (V o F)
  2. De comando, autoritativas: las preguntas son comandos porque es una demanda de algo. Ordenes, no son ni V ni F.
  3. 3.       Proposiciones expresivas o de belleza: expresan algo que yo siento. No es ni V ni F. De gustibus non est disputandum.

 

Por qué los colores se ven más brillantes y bonitos cuando llueve?

Verdad de hecho: dos manzanas y dos manzanas si es cierto pero dos y dos son cuatro no es nada. Es solo una relación entre la idea de 2 y el signo +. Relaciones tautológicas.

Donde están los valores? Son verdades de hecho o relaciones de ideas (igualdad de un concepto con otro, por ejemplo 2 es un concepto) o mandatos?

Principio de inerterminacion: el hombre nunca va a agotar el conocimiento.

Nunca podemos tomar una decisión sin un previo juicio de valor pero la ciencia no acepta juicios de valor. Hacemos lo que no tiene juicio de valor en base a un juicio de valor.

¿La ciencia puede hacer juicios de valor? La ciencia trata de hechos y el lenguaje de la ciencia es relaciones de ideas, no de valores.

Todas las ciencias: o relaciones de ideas o verdades de hecho.

Belleza: juicio de valor. Subjetiva.

Sin belleza, sin bondad, sin verdad: no podemos vivir. Arco del triunfo Munich: a lo bueno, a lo verdadero y a lo bello.

La vida humana gira alrededor de juicios de valor.

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).

October 26, 2012

Today Alejo guided the morning meeting. He showed us a clip from one of his favorite movies, where Natalie Portman is making crazy things in order to do something original that no one else has ever done or will do. Then, we had to do something crazy, I was the first, I did some crazy moves, and people laughed. My favorite one though was Bert’s, he made a Ludwig Von Mises move, he touched his nose with one finger and said Ludwig, then with the other finger in his nose he said von, and then he said Mises. Oh, you fun libertarian jokes. Oh, and Ingrid made dancing that made me laugh a lot too. Then Alejo showed us a video where Steve Jobs mentions that once you realize that everything that we are able to see was created by a human, who was just like us, everything changes. Here are the links to the videos that Alejo shared with us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU4o4kHq9kg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvEiSa6_EPA

Then, during my individual time I used Kyle’s suggested app to work for 25 min and rest for 5. Pomadora is the name of this app. I was also trying to work standing up, like Kyle. I did this for two cycles, but then I stopped because I was not concentrated anymore in the reading and it was almost time for our visitor of the day to come, Dylan Evans. Dylan is a really cool and famous man, who is currently teaching for free at the university. He is also a Dj, a PhDj. The cast of the Matrix movie had to read one of his books. I really tried to use my individual time of today wisely in order to Finish with The Trivium for Wednesday, and to document the things that I needed to document.
Oh, and here is the schedule I have for today:
• Reading The Trivium on periods of 25 min, with 5 minute breaks in between.
• Dylan PhDj
• Document yesterday’s afternoon and today

Dylan Evans came and we had a discussion basically about himself, his life, and a book that we will be reading with him: “Thinking, fast and slow”. He told us that he understood that our program was basically learning how to learn. We agreed. He majored in philosophy but told us that the best philosophers of all history did not have any degrees, he put Plato as an example. I never thought of that before, but it is true. After getting his diploma, he went to Argentina to teach English, there he discovered psychology, which is his main field of work. He mentioned that in Buenos Aires people are just big fans of Freud and Lacan and of psychoanalysts. There, he started reading Lacan and took some notes on it, then he put them in his computer and he realized that he had a book there, so he called someone to publish it, he did, and that is a very famous book in psychology. Dylan is very fun, but many times I thought that he was making a joke, even though he was telling the truth. His life reminds me of Forest Gump, he told us that he even started a cult in Scotland, I can see that he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. He told us that when people ask him: “what do you do for a living?” or “what do you do?” he answers: “I think”. So he thinks for a living. He told us that he is never able to attach to one topic, he is always changing topics and research topics, he writes books about different things. He is in the University because he is writing a book on Free Cities right now. He also mentioned some things about the market, and about how people make decisions and buy things. He said that people are not always rational in the market; I will like to know more about this. Oh, and he advised us to stop worrying so much, and to work less haha.

I had a feedback session with Bert and Ingrid. I really liked how the things went down for this session. First, I had 10 minutes to tell both of them how was I feeling as an MPC pioneer and how did I think the program and the rest of the stuff was going in here. I told them that I felt like there is so much I could learn from the MPC if I use my time wisely, and if I really put effort into it. There is just so much things that I could learn in here, but it is my choice, I need to choose it daily in order to make it. I need to choose to be an organized and responsible learner everyday that I come to the MPC. I need to commit to this program, I need to read in my house, I need to work my class off during the individual time, etc. I also told them that sometimes I get the feeling that we are building an awesome culture in here, and some other times I feel the exact opposite. When nobody reads, like what happened with The Trivium and when nobody is doing their individual work, I get this feeling that we are going backwards. Then, Bert and Ingrid talked for about 8 minutes about me, and I couldn’t intervene, and they were not talking to me. It was just a conversation between both of them, I was just a spectator. The advice that Bert gave me with my reading documentation, which is what I need to work on, is: I could document what I read every 30 min or so, for about 5 min in order to not leave the entire book to document for the last minute.

Here is what Bert and Ingrid mentioned about me:
1. It’s great that I’m calling other people for quality, like I did with the MPC handbook.
2. The handbook thing made them think that I care a lot about the MPC
3. I have courage to confront people when I have to do so, I should do this more often.
4. In the bus on our way back from Atitlan, Bert saw Carmen, being Carmen.
5. I shall pioneer the program and become a great model.
6. I have a performing ability, and I have a great sense of humor. I have to use my qualities to relate to others and to get into people.
7. I have a great potential, and when I understand and acknowledge all this that I can do I am going to do great things.
8. People listen to me when I speak.
9. I am not aware of how much my example and what I say has an effect on people and changes things.
10. I need to accept the role of being a pioneer and to accept and make a great use of this power.
11. I need to discover my inner strength.
12. I am thoughtful to express my feelings.
13. I am polite, honest, respectful, observer (very observer), aware of what is going on.
14. I need to do something about the things that I see and know that I don’t like or are not right.
15. I love to be surrounded by people who are great learners.
16. I am going to be so much better now that I am finally using a schedule and trying to organize myself.
17. Using my MPC individual time will help me feel successful.
18. I need to celebrate what’s right with the MPC in order to fix what’s wrong with it.
19. I can’t be defeated because of the wrong stuff.
20. I have to acknowledge myself because I have been a great model.
21. Using the right body language could make everyone notice how present I am.
22. I shall always express myself.
23. I don’t have to feel defeated.
24. I need to realize that I have a lot of values and that I am resilient. This is a time for self-reflection.
25. I have all this power inside me: moral, intellectual, humorous, creativity and playfulness.

I felt very good after this feedback session, it was mainly positive stuff and congratulating time. It really shocked me though, because throughout my life, people have always told me that I have a lot of potential inside me and that I don’t explode it. People often say that I don’t believe in myself and in the great things that I could do because of how great I am. I didn’t believe this, but now I do. Because Bert and Ingrid have known me for about two months and they are telling me the same stuff that people have always told me. I do believe that I have great qualities that I could rock just if I want to!

Lucia, Mabe and Alejo showed us the videos of themselves teaching how to prove the first 3 postulates of Euclid’s Elements. They were really good for them doing it the first time, but there is a lot of things for us to improve yet.

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 3, 2012

Today I missed the morning meeting because my car’s horn wasn’t working, or was working more than what it had to work really, it was connecting itself and wouldn’t shush. That’s why I called Mabe so she could pick me up and then Gabi called her too, to pick her up. So we turned back and went to take Gabi. We missed this video which I watched in the night. It is really cool, is about how bad we need to want something in order to get it, especially to succeed.

We had a little quiz on our speed reading in order to calculate how much time we need to read 430 pages of The Well Educated Mind book. Then, we made a schedule to follow this week in order to finish this which needs to be read by Monday. Here I’ll attach my schedule. Then, I just read the book. One of my notes, from chapter 3 is that I shall continue reading a book, even if I don’t understand it. That’s the way to understand stuff, reading it many times! Keep on reading, at the end you can take notes!

the well educated mind (reading schedule)

An extremely cool visitor came here today: Sam Bonis. He is a famous geologist and as I would say in my Spanish slang he is a “crack”. He was very fun too, he said that he enjoyed to talk bullshit, because of all of the amazing things he can say about, earth, soil and volcanoes! He grew up in NY, then came to Guatemala and was a pioneer in geologic research in the country. Sam mentioned that Guatemala’s geology is one of the most amazing in the world because of its complexity and variety. And that he thought that the future of Guatemala’s economy relied on tourism (if it were not for political issues “Guatemala is cool but Guatemalans ruin it”- Sam). He said that Guatemala needs more anthropologist instead of lawyers and politicians. He told us that once he went to a volcano eruption with all his team (including his wife), and that he took very valuable rock/ashes samples that have been used for more than 50 academic papers in the entire world! Bonis mentioned a place in Las Americas where we can take a look of maps of GT. Sam mentioned that 8,000 years ago, Atitlan volcano made an eruption that reached Florida and Coban (OMG!). Later, he mentioned that there is a Caldera under both Atitlan and Amatitlan, and that it could explode anytime. Bert told us that the level waters of Atitlan Lake are constantly changing, apparently with no reason, but Sam told us that is because of the caldera that is underneath the lake. They could blow off anytime, and the caldera underneath Amatitlan is extremely huge that the explosion could travel all the way down to Florida, again. He also mentioned not to trust Nat Geo so much as a scientific source. We all loved when Mabe asked him a question and he answered that he didn’t know, and that he wasn’t ashamed to tell us that he didn’t know. That demonstrateS how cool, authentic, humble and smart he is! He told Pablito that he would love to teach the MPCers for free!

Kyle surprised us today, he told us to pair up with our groups and to choose a problem from Project Euler to solve. Grace, Pablito and myself were going to choose problem number one, but since we did the Fibonacci problem in class (which was number 2), number one seemed to easy. That’s why we picked up problem number 20:               Find the sum of digits in 100!

We almost found the solution to the problem but we’ve got a problem with our problem haha. I’ll email my problem to Kyle because we didn’t have more time to work on in in class, and Ill update this post with a link where you can see the code in Ruby.

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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.

Sept 27

Today Chacho directed the morning meeting. He showed us some really cool magic tricks. It was pretty awesome to see Chacho as the main center of attention because most of the time he is very quiet and he seem timid, maybe when he gets more conformable around us, like today, he will speak out more and show us more of himself. His tricks are awesome!!!!


We had two cool visitors today, Scott Lee and Richard Kamber, which are Moris Polanco’s (our Greek teacher) friends that he met in a Greek convention in the States. We were supposed to talk with this two teachers about the importance of Greek and Latin in our day, but we ended up discussing more about the MPC program and the “How to Read a Book” book. This professors were very curious and interested on our program here at UFM so that’s mainly what we talked about. We discussed some of the book, but not too much since we have only read chapters one, two and three. I can’t remember who of our visitors asked this, but one of them asked if we had any book that we read and would want to read again.