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Learning From the Student

While watching Convicts 4, a biographical movie from 1962 about the life of John Resko, I came across some very interesting reasoning. This movie is about a convict, as implied, who finds himself with an opportunity to be free after having once been on death row. This freedom comes through means of participating in a rehabilitation system proposed by one of the guards. Through this system, he would be creating art and presenting it to the outside world as a means to show his humanity and his progress in rehabilitation by expression of art. While almost overwhelmingly neck deep in the early century culture of psychoanalysis, the concept itself is interesting, particularly in that I love the idea of creating a rehabilitation and learning system through the means of crafts. What struck me the most though was a series of lines from the guard to the warden in a conversation.  That conversation goes as follows

Warden: “You want to rehabilitate this dog meat with painting, writing, and carpentry. You’re spitting in the face of the penal system that’s worked for 200 years.”
Guard: “Has it worked? This prison, every prison, is overcrowded.”
Warden: “Sing-Sing has a certain solution for that problem.”
Guard: “There are certain problems which you can’t solve by an electric chair.”
Warden: “Oh, but you can solve my with your artsy-craftsy?”
Guard: “If we understand what makes a man commit a crime; when a man paints a picture or tells a story, he’s revealing something about himself he doesn’t know he’s revealing. Interpreted by an expert, he might become aware of his problems and change.”
Warden: “College boy, you got yourself a fat vocabulary. You think you can change Resko?”
Guard: “I might. Why don’t you let me work on him?”
Warden: “I might just do that.”
Guard: “It’s gonna make my job a lot easier.”
Warden: “But you fail I’m gonna put you on the report, you and your artsy-craftsy.”
Guard: “I’d still like to try.”
Warden: “I admire your guts. I really do. But I got a feeling you don’t give a damn about Resko. And one more thing — I’m getting a little old, and you’re a little long on ambition.

It made me think a lot about what it takes to change systems especially systems that are long established and archaic. Institutionalized mistakes punish the next generation as penance for sins of the father. It takes a special type of ambition to look into the face of something so large and so and believe that you have the ability to create initiative to change it. In the end I was inspired by lines, and hope that I can fill a similar spirit in my own efforts.

What about you? What systems do you work with or do you interact with that you know needs to be changed, or at least shifted in its direction? What would you do? How would you do it? And probably most importantly, who would you appeal to to allow yourself to initiate such a change?

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I suppose the Greeks were right about Atlas, because it seems that the whole world is up in arms.
And in this titanic embrace we’re all being strong-armed, but everyone of us shoulders this,
It is the burden of the entire world, one that we cannot ignore because it is where we live.
We all have to stand hand-in-hand and band together to make any reasonable change in this world.

Worldwide, we are facing transitions and revolutions for which there may be no solutions.
The public outcry out-reaching, they’re beseeching their salvation but there are no resolutions.
Regardless of the cause you cannot deny the affect, and I strongly suspect
The faults lie in the hands of the elected and also of those who elect.

These are the figurative hands of the Titan, and so we all stand on the shoulders of giants.
Now we must walk a thin strand that stands between alliance and defiance.
Whether you judge by intuition or simple science you can’t deny it. This is not the time to remain quiet.
We know that would fail because we already tried it. I guess this means the last option is to fight it.

It’s time that we choose a side and make sure it’s decided.
There may never be any way to know the one where right is.
When the times are tense, the senses all become quite heightened.
This is normal when we find ourselves backed up and frightened.

We’ve always paid our dues but we have never yet earned our stipend.
Out of sight and mind, our eyes are clutched and tightened.
Might makes right, but wisdom only lies with the enlightened.
Perhaps that’s why the gods had tried to end the reign of Titans.

With arms enslaved, upraised we try to hold balance.
But in leadership it seems only corrupt ones take the challenge.
We try our best to outlast this wild disaster.
It’s sad the fact is in inaction that it comes ever faster.

Alas, the fact is that the hands of Atlas lose at last their stronghold grasp. Fast to clasp they’ll fail to catch the Earth before its final crash.
We lacked alarms to warn the harm that will befall us near the ground.
All charmed as docile as the beasts on farms, we won’t make a sound.

And much like this melody, the malady is that societies will break.
That is why everything is at stake.
In times of true discontent remember that you have the right of assembly and the right to bear arms,
Granting you the right to occupy like octopi
And if things become serious and you’ve got to try.
It’s not about the arms you bear, it’s more about just being prepared, or at least being aware, at the very least being a little bit scared!

Don’t be caught off-guard if you find there is truly something that we needed fear.
If things get dramatic and we find trauma like Andromeda, we must clash with the Titans like Perseus,
And like the helmet and shield and sword and shoes of Perseus we need to use all of this with a higher power in mind,
so that in the face of injustice we can fight and win a moral battle.

This is a quest so we do not get swept away by the powers that be.

We need to defend our minds and leave ourselves invisible to protect ourselves from unjust scrutiny.
We need to be able to shield ourselves from inevitable attacks and internal mutiny.
We need to defend ourselves with any weapon we can, be it educational, explosive, airborne.
We need to prepare ourselves for forms of transportation so we can fly fast if perchance we need to escape.

You have been charged. Now get Kraken.