Saturday, April 7, 2018

Philosophy Club: Alan Watts

Philosophy Topic: Time

It has taken four weeks to do our Paper Plate Tree Weavings in Philosophy for the topic of Time.

Week 1 we painted the ground color and the clouds in the sky.

Week 2 we read Thomas Locker's Sky Tree and decided on our time of year, then added additional seasonal details to the background.

Week 3 we cut the notches around the edge of the paper plate and warped the loom (adding the tree trunks and branches) and chose our tree colors.

Week 4 we wove the tree's colorful leaves (or snow, if you're Becca).

During this time, of course, we've also been learning about our philosophers. We started with Augustine. Last session, when we were weaving our colors, we discussed Alan Watts and the Buddhist concept of real time...

Who can resist debating questions like:

    "What would it be like to have a watch that was always set on now?"

    "Do you think it is possible that only the present moment really and truly exists, and if so how would you explain it?"

    "Do you think that if you were always living in the present moment you would become selfish?"

    "How long can you concentrate on any one thing without becoming distracted? Is it hard to keep your mind focused on what is right before you? Why?"

    "What are some things that time does not change?"

    "In as few words as possible, describe forever."

    "What does it mean to waste time? What does it mean to use time well?"

    "If you take good care of the present, the future will take care of itself. What does this mean to you? Do you believe it?"

We started our final session of Time with one of Marietta McCarty's suggestions on page 116:

    Sit with the children as each of you looks at one thing, and one thing only, for ten minutes. Concentrate on a blade of grass, a leaf, or a bird's nest. Listen to the sound of crickets. Savor the fragrance of hyacinths. Touch the bark of a tree. Slowly taste an apple one small bite at a time. Afterward, ask the children if they can describe what those ten minutes were like. Have them tell you whether they prefer to talk about this experience or not and why. Do they have any idea how much time went by as they were sitting? Did it seem like a long or short period of concentration?

I'll take a picture of the bulletin board display once I've put it together. Our next, and final, Philosophy topic of the year will be Humanity.

UPDATE: Wednesday, April 11

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