Monday, October 11, 2010

Word power

Great day this weekend spent at Wordstock. Very comforting hanging out with a crowdful of book/word/idea/story nerds.

I was there manning the Wheel of Cogitation, a table that the studio designed and built for Oregon Humanities to take to events. Its purpose is to create conversation around ideas.

It was a great experience. All sorts of people participated, including lots of kids. The wheel seemed to create space for meaningful and meaty conversations, but in a fun way.

Here's something that happened: A woman walked up with her son, a mysterious mop-topped boy with auburn hair and big brown eyes. He reached out and spun the wheel and stared at the clicker and smiled. "He's autistic," the mom said of the four-year-old. The wheel stopped on a question.

I couldn't tell if he could read the words or understood them. He paused for a short moment, then reached down and touched a bare spot in the leather of a red antique steamer trunk that sat next to the table. "Healing," he said.


drcarala said...

wow. pretty magical stuff there.

Anonymous said...

Facebook, Twitter, Blog.....all to connect us. Yet, do you know anyone on the street where you live? Really know anyone? Our nation was built by people who once knew each other; they talked as friends, neighbors, a part of a local community. Now, its all about tweets, blogs, media face time and the separation from the place you live. Can you say "sense of place" not! Lets give all our kids an I Pad, I Phone, Mac and lets all connect in the ether and not ever meet face to face......Oh, and buy stock in Apple.

I'm principal of a said...

Whoa! Not sure what about the Wordstock post attracted this comment, but you're pitching into my wheelhouse, Anonymous. You should've read some of my early blorg posts. My ambivalence on technology is well-documented.

Can't wait to see how we figure out ways to reconnect as neighbors, communities, cities, countries, as a planet. We seem so fragmented right now, on many levels. It's hard to imagine it happening tomorrow, but it will happen. We inevitablly progress on the path towards wholeness.

The technologies are not the answer I agree big time, but they are a piece of it.

Last night my sons and I were talking about the greatest invention of all time. My 7-year-old said, "Oh I know what the greatest invention is! Wikipedia. You type whatever you want to know about and press one button and you get it."

Yes. Incredible. And I didn't tell him, WE made that thing, simply for the sake of collecting all knowledge and sharing it. (No stock to buy.)

Keep beatin that drum, Anonymous. Facebook friends are not friends and tweets are, well, tweets. But technology can help create some pretty human and meaningful things. It's a piece. But in order to get anywhere with it, we will have to reconnect around shared purpose.

Thanks for the comment -


Anonymous said...

If you knew your neighbors...StepChange founder lives just a hundred yards from you. This is a social media company. He doesn't know you either cause you've never met, face to face. He's your neighbor. Trying to bring some like minded folks together.

I'm principal of a said...

Maybe the fellow from Step Change will come introduce himself sometime.

Marilyn said...

I loved the post...and I have to agree with you regarding the disconnect of technology versus the real world. A smile says a lot more than a text message.

Lloyd Winter said...

What a great story about the Wheel! The Wheel. It's magic. It creates connections, even during it's own creation.