For better and worse, this Fb page and the BOFAW Website have been like the proverbial cat; there have literally been several times when both could have died. Clearly, the only reason both are alive is because of the wisdom, guidance and inspiration that Fb friends have provided. Some of these have been public, but many have been private messages. When someone posts, or sends me an idea, it often sends me off on a wonderful treasure hunt.
I received the headline quote from a soul-friend and it provided an experience of intense joy and sorrow.
Plato’s quote took me back to The Biodesign Classroom where we began with biology and searched for truth, beauty and goodness. At the beginning of each class, students entered the room with some genre of music playing. I usually tried to play one John Phillip Sousa march each year. Typically, the students entered the room not knowing what to expect. Sousa did not disappoint. Regardless of individual moods, the energy level of the room soared. Faces radiated broad smiles and some picked up the rhythm and playfully “marched” to their place in the circle. Plato was spot on, describing music as a soulful experience.
After reading the private post, in a splendid synchronicity, I was guided to a Sousa Youtube video. It noted that he composed 136 marches, with “Stars and Stripes Forever,” being his favorite. Watching the video was profoundly moving—even tear-inducing. My six-year-old grandson was visiting and I called him up to my office to view the video. He was enthralled, excited, and wanted me to point out the trumpets because he wants to learn how to play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-7XWhyvIpE
After he got off of my lap, however, a pall of sadness washed over me. Our society has changed drastically in the last 50 years. Fewer and fewer people remember the unfathomable sacrifices that “The Greatest Generation” of men and women made to protect our freedom. From the highest elected Washington DC officials down to small-town mayors, being patriotic has become politically inconvenient. An overwhelming number of high school and college educators are politically “left” and during my 50 years associated with education, I have seen the incremental removal of the word “patriotism” from public schools. Students with traditional values of God, Country and Apple Pie are frequently mocked, belittled or judged as “quaint” for expressing patriotic opinions or perspectives. Many so-called, “Liberal Universities” offer curricula and professors who are neither liberal nor universal in their thinking. They are certainly not dedicated to the platonic quest of exercising “the illimitable freedom of the human mind.”
Many high schools no longer have marching bands therefore students are missing out on the thrill of marching to a JP Sousa tune. Instead, many youth, especially inner-city kids, walk around listening to “ear buds” spewing rap lyrics laden with violence, pornography and smut.
In a bitter irony, in his “Republic” Plato warned:
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Pretty scary stuff.
Maybe readers of this page can better appreciate the awesome privilege I was blessed with to have 700+ students touch my soul and essentially write Biodesign Out For A Walk.