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A Reconsideration Of The Sciences

Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.

Caleb Gattegno

Newsletter

vol. XIV no. 4

April 1985


First published in 1985. Reprinted in 2009. Copyright Š 1985-2009 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. Author: Caleb Gattegno All rights reserved ISBN 978-0-87825-323-4 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. 2nd Floor 99 University Place, New York, N.Y. 10003-4555 www.EducationalSolutions.com


Facts, in any case, are a matter of awareness. Sciences are systematic searches for answers to questions posed by one mind to oneself after becoming aware of what has struck one. Therefore, it is legitimate to look at all the sciences existing today in terms of which awareness or awarenesses make their foundations. Sciences are human concerns, which begin with one person taking seriously an awareness that something which now exists for oneself, has not been given the attention it ought to receive. The histories of all the sciences could be rewritten in terms of the awarenesses of the people who become the scientists of each science. To say that something exists, is equivalent to saying someone has become aware of it. For instance, to say that a classification of the sciences according to awareness is possible, is itself an awareness. This issue is not dedicated to the classification itself, but to an introduction to it. Together, this writing and the classification (already attempted in 1952, and published in Conscience de la Conscience in Paris, in 1954) were conceived as the proper introductive chapter of the treatise The Science of Education, itself the explicitation of the facts forming a special awareness: that of awareness of awarenesses themselves. Many of the requests for Chapter I of the treatise will not be fully met by this publication of some of its first part. The second part being too technical and rather lengthy must be reserved for the book. Placing the science of education among the other sciences, was a prerequisite of the thinking that such a science is now ready to be attended to, by whomever is struck by its facts, and so, Chapter I was composed to satisfy this requirement. As a by-product, a new classification of the sciences emerged, which, by itself deserves attention. This issue contains that plea for attention. One of the news items is about the Ojibwe language.


Table of Contents

1 A Few Instances................................................................. 1 1 Can One See Beyond What Meets The Eye? .................................. 1 2 Can A Magnet And A Friction Machine Have Anything In Common? ...................................................................................... 2 3 Can Human Relations Be Described With Precision?................... 4 2 The Instrument Of The Four Realms ................................. 7 3 Energy And Energies ....................................................... 13 News Items ......................................................................... 25 1 The Ojibwe Language Project ....................................................... 25 2 Microcomputer Projects, Progress Report ..................................28 3 .......................................................................................................29


1 A Few Instances

1 Can One See Beyond What Meets The Eye? Such a question can come one’s way in a number of fashions, and it did. A piece of glass which is not flat, affects the rays of the sun which fall on it. A necessary condition for the study of this phenomenon is that someone not only sees it, but is moved to want to know both how and why. To devote oneself to this search does not guarantee that anything will be found out, but, being a necessary condition, no one would find answers who does not consider the question. Affectivity is required to remain devoted to the search and to spend one’s time and one’s mental energy to seek the answers. Glassmakers or people with access to them, in order to refine their questioning of the effect of light on glass, may have produced lensshaped pieces of glass which affected light differently. In some shapes they became magnifying glasses or served as eyeglasses to correct some sight defects. Two men, the Dutch Leeuwenhoek and the Italian Galileo, used pairs of such lenses to create, the first, the “microscope” — which could reach that which was invisible because the eye could not see it due to its smallness — and, the second, the “telescope” — which could reach that which was invisible because it was too far. Two sciences followed these two inventions, microscopy and astronomy, both still developing vigorously. In them, the invisible is 1


A Reconsideration Of The Sciences

made visible, extending the range of our sight far beyond what nature attempted, and succeeding in doing so. Acting on microscopes and on telescopes, new instruments were made which not only extended the original proposals, but branched in areas never contemplated initially. Many years later, the light received included X-rays and radio frequencies, to which sight is totally insensitive. The electronic microscope and the radio dishes are so different from the original instruments as to have almost nothing in common with them except focusing. Seeing is used ultimately since results are printed to ensure their preservation for the scientists to look at and reflect upon later. But the process of obtaining those images seem to have occurred to people to the extent they abandoned their original entry into the field of seeing, for the infinitely small or the infinitely large situated very far, which were beyond them.

2 Can A Magnet And A Friction Machine Have Anything In Common? Such a question would have been answered negatively and abandoned at once, had there not been a whole sequence of curious minds who replaced it by many experiments in order to know. The friction machines, during the second half of the XVIII Century, produced sparks which were made bigger and lasting longer, while magnets affected mostly iron filings to create patterns on a screen. Both universes were studied as if they were totally independent until Oersted in Denmark, Ampère in France, and Faraday in England proposed experiments which linked the two areas. Faraday, a lone thinker, unable to use mathematics like the brilliant Ampère, was the most creative of all. He generated his own approach to reality to suit his ignorance of the powerful mathematics without which people believed there could be no physics. Faraday’s concept of the field unified magnetism and electricity but seemed mystical and metaphysical at the time. Nevertheless he could generate new entities and enrich physics to the point that no one can think today without all the time using his contributions. Induction is the phenomenon by which the same electricity (which friction machine made apparent) could be generated in a coil simply by 2


1 A Few Instances

either moving it in a constant magnetic field, or by varying that field, for instance, by rotating it in certain planes or around a certain axis. A Belgian engineer, Gramme, using induction, created at the same time, the first electric motor and the first dynamo. Both had momentous consequences in Western technologies and are responsible for so much of our material comfort. In Faraday’s mind, the overall entity which blended electricity and magnetism was a new one, called “the electromagnetic field.” If its magnetic component was negligible, then it manifested itself as an electrostatic field. If this was negligible, it was the magnetic field which was perceivable. Normally, it is both. When Clerk Maxwell found the mathematics needed to express what Faraday had suggested, the world changed again, but in two or three new directions. Foremost, was the interpretation of light, that eyes can see, as an electromagnetic field, a mere octave of the vaster one which soon widened to include the infra-red and the ultra violet and soon after X-rays (or Roentgen rays) at one end and radio waves (or Hertzian vibrations) at the other. Such unification expanded sight differently from what was done by the workers mentioned in A above. The nature of one of the most important instruments of knowing had been discovered, and through this our sight itself was expanded to the whole electromagnetic range transcending the anatomy, and the physiology of our sense organs (the eyes), and linking the whole cosmos to Man through the means of radiation rather than light. But, the entry into our world of radio and TV, is another of the consequences of Faraday’s intuitions. As soon as Hertz (1887) proved experimentally that there truly were electromagnetic fields which could travel at the speed of light, it dawned in some people’s minds, that the era of global communications without material support, such as wires, had opened and could be investigated and exploited. Faraday’s work affected mankind in two other ways. By his study of electro-chemistry, and his need for ions as intellectual tools for understanding what he was bringing forth in his experiments on 3


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electrolysis, he paved the way for the discovery of electrons as the smallest unit of electric charge in our universe. Independently of chemistry, his work on electric discharges paved the way for Crookes who invented his cathode-ray tube, and for J.J. Thomson, who made that tube into an instrument for giving an independent existence to electrons which started to take their place in the concept of matter. In less than a century, our present electronic world could be created bit by bit, by cohorts of scientists and engineers. In a way, it was fortunate for the western world that Faraday could not make heads or tails of differential equations, and understood himself well enough to trust his own unique ways of thinking. ***

3 Can Human Relations Be Described With Precision? This question which preoccupied very few people during the XVII and XVIII Centuries — among whom we must count Hobbes in England, and Kant and Hegel in Germany — started to have an answer when an obscure professor at the College de France in Paris, Auguste Comte, let himself be struck by the fact that he was sensitive to that which (much later) was proclaimed to be “social facts.” He invented sociology as the domain of such an awareness. He proposed to use an offshoot of probability (a sub-discipline of mathematics) called statistics as his intellectual instrument to express these facts. The precision that could be reached in the field he entered — alone and unaided — was that of statistics. One could not say, “So and so will commit suicide,” but someone could say, “Of all young people who will read or have read Goethe’s novel “Werther,” such a percentage will take their lives or will have committed suicide.” Satisfied that statements of this kind had their place in the study of society, A. Comte, asked himself other questions connected with his awareness that Man had always been a social being. He soon found that one way humans solved concretely some of their problems was by

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1 A Few Instances

forming wider units than the individual: families, clans and tribes, and other institutions which transcended the individuals and could do much more than these could. So, sociology was to be the disciplined study of all human institutions; whose concerns were the gathering of data in numerical forms, and then see if there were any hidden correlations between them, behind them, which could be considered as an improved grasp of the reality contemplated. So many studies never before attempted were now possible. And as the numbers of people sensitized by A. Comte grew, so grew the possibility of linking phenomena such as human migrations and natural or political conditions at home; the settlement of people here or there according to their proximity to water sources for their survival or for their displacements; the connection of the creation of new cities and the installation of railroads; the relation of the quality of life and one’s occupation; the increase of individual strength by union with others for all sorts of purposes; the role of slavery and its abolition; and so many other challenges never formulated previously in a manner permitting a grip on them. As for Auguste Comte, sociology, his brainchild, was the most important quest of all for him and for others. He tried a classification of the sciences existing at his time (around 1850) and gave the crown to sociology, the queen of sciences usurping the top spot from mathematics and/or theology. By doing that, he proposed that in human evolution men passed from the mythological level, to the theological level, and finally, in his day, to the positive, when the sciences were created to exercise this faculty now clearly imposing itself, at last. When positive minds dwelt upon the human condition and its expression in the happenings of history, the only approach to it, which was serious and concerned with truth, was his science: sociology. Its findings were in his eyes much more important than those made in mathematics which could remain speculations forever — or in physics and chemistry or biology or the natural sciences of geology, botany and zoology — which then were not yet clearly seen as essential for affecting the environment in favor of men’s comforts. Sociology in contrast would yield knowledge of what Man does for himself and with himself.

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Sociology did gain that loyalty and devotion of growing numbers of people, and statistics became every day more refined instruments of research in the case of groups of all kinds when Galton and Pearson formalized them. They showed, on selected examples, that they could serve well in predicting behaviors within groups. In genetics and human intelligence they produced workable models soon grabbed by all sorts of workers. Education which had recently been made universal (free and compulsory in some countries) provided the large numbers needed by the methods of statistics. Statistical statements became so common that they could create new social awarenesses such as: people with higher intelligence quotients were more important for social progress than the aristocracy of old or those who became wealthy through commerce and industry, and they should become the new ruling class, the best paid civil servants and the elite of tomorrow. The search for precision indeed added insights into human conditions, and created a new absolute: the social one, which swallowed more and more of mankind. Only now some people are beginning to feel uneasy in front of its extended powers. *** These three instances could be multiplied to give more substance to the statement that humans only study the contents of their awareness, and by so doing, create the sciences which spring out from time to time, and make themselves into social entities with their own problems, and their own methods of research. Not all sciences are equally attractive. Some handle challenges which are too difficult and require too much of their devotees. The more popular ones are those which can be taught easily enough to take people quickly to the frontiers of knowledge. Institutions have been created (in the social absolute) precisely for that purpose of getting more and more workers in the established fields. They are called universities.

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2 The Instrument Of The Four Realms

Man has studied four realms of manifestations of himself, and created four groups of sciences in so doing. First, Man discovered that he was matter. Today, this means that Man is made of the same stuff as the rest of the cosmos. He might say at one stage that he is made of atoms, later correcting it by saying that he is made of atoms and molecules, and mainly of molecules. This means something precise to him because he pursued his examination of the contents of the earth, of the stars and the planets with the most appropiate instruments he could give himself. Second, he discovered that he was made of cells like all living creatures from the smallest bacteria and protozoa to the largest sequoias and elephants. At that stage of his examination, he links the cosmos to the cells by looking at the millions and millions of molecules constituting each cell, and tries to understand what goes on in cells in terms of chemical phenomena he studied outside them. At the same time, he watches that he does not forget that cells constitute another realm, that of the living, where things happen beyond the chemistry of the cosmos where no cells exist. Molecular biology is first and foremost biology, the science of the living; and second, chemistry, the science of the dynamics of the mutual reactions of molecules (and also of atoms) one upon the other.

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Third, he discovers that like all animals, he has sets of behaviors which can be photographed and studied from outside. So, he links himself to the animal kingdom and the more he knows of what they are doing with themselves and for themselves, the more he sees what matters most for him. This is how he differs from that third realm from which Man separated at a remote time, to try his chance at a fourth realm. This realm he constructed over a few million years so far. The other three realms had billions of years to find out what can be attempted that can also last. Sometimes, last over thousands of millions of years. The earth and the living earth are the outcome of men’s awarenesses because he alone can be aware of himself and of his dynamics of being. When he does this, it makes him of the fourth realm. But to become aware of oneself is not equivalent to knowing all there is to know, nor all of it at once. In fact, this very recent understanding of Man, on earth and in the cosmos, has put to him so many questions which he will not be able to consider unless he becomes more and more aware of his awareness. And that too, takes time. The content of the fourth realm is of many kinds. There are atoms and molecules, created this century in nuclear labs and in factories, which nature did not know. There are atoms beyond the 92 found on earth, and all of them are so unstable that they break down almost as soon as they are generated. There are molecules made to measure (such as plastics) which can be as lasting as those in the cosmos, but have properties selected a priori by Man for his convenience. There are plants made by Man and which have shapes, colors and properties not yet selected by nature. Nature produced so much over the long stretch of time it had available, to try combinations and permutations so remarkable that Man can only marvel at such fertility and recognize that by doing what nature does, but differently, new living creatures can be generated. Some of them are beneficial and others are monsters, which Man hopes will not be viable.

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Some of Man’s creations, like seedless fruit, are contradictions in terms, since fruit is the name of the phase of unfolding in the life of a plant which produces the carriers of seeds called fruits. In the case of animals, Man has taken away the natural state of wilderness and produced a number of domestic animals whose present state serves only man’s purposes on farms or in homes. By managing these interventions on nature, Man has shown himself capable of generating his own world on top of that spontaneously produced around him; by itself so to say. He has proved himself capable of reaching the ways of working of nature and transforming them to suit his own projections and projects. From the start, Man has taken advantage of his awareness of awareness, and thus left behind further and further the third realm where he belonged a few million years ago. He has at the same time acknowledged his links with the ancient three realms and not let these claim him as one of their own. Except when he was dead (and his dust joined the dust) or when he had lost his cerebral hemispheres (and could only vegetate) or when he allowed a fixed set of behaviors to become his only expression of himself (as in extreme cases of schizophrenia and paranoia). In the fourth realm, Man could slowly become aware of his own evolution and thus discover the work of evolution in all four realms. He came to the point, quite recently, where the whole of his work on awareness over those millions of years would be unified and Man saw distinctly the forest and the trees at the same time. But, that too, took time and moved towards the light because of the temporal hierarchies he had to discover, uncover or invent. *** The immensity of the variety of things around us, first strike our awareness, and may overwhelm us as it did to theologians who only saw in it the omnipotence of the Creator. To be able to see a design in all this variety, requires on the one hand, that we are no longer

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overwhelmed and incapacitated, and on the other, that we come close to having an intellectual instrument akin to the accepted challenge. This happened less than 150 years ago when both energy and evolution became current components of the mind. Used separately they are already very powerful and have affected our outer and inner lives considerably. But thought out together they can lead us not only to a better understanding of everything per se, but of the grand design which opens up the future of Man in his new phase as telluric or cosmic being and opening up a fifth realm in which every item in the overall universe has its deserved and undisputed place. *** Before we move to this new task, let us recall that the sciences we are looking at which have been historically started and are now established, may have kept their original names while the scientists in them changed their occupations entirely. From inside, every one of the existing sciences reflects the movements of awareness in the scientists who are responsible for their maintenance and fertility. An obvious principle at work in every science is that, what is done is done, and belongs to the past; the job of scientists, in their chosen disciplines, is to find something new, something which belongs to the field and had not been noticed thus far. The study of one’s science at the level of apprenticeship, is to gain as quickly as possible, and as well as possible, what was held as being of value from the past researches, and to get on with the job of making new discoveries. So long as the past did not stand as an obstacle in one’s way, the name of the science could be kept, and people were known as being geologists or botanists, even when their preoccupations and ways of working had little to do with those of their predecessors of even a few years ago. Sciences evolve because scientists evolve. Without it, we may write compendia of each of the quests and cite the names of those engaged in them, and describe what they did, but we would not understand what happened to their spirit from the moment they entered such a quest, and what they acquired by being in it as their main reason to live this life. 10


2 The Instrument Of The Four Realms

It will be through the evolution of their evolutions that we shall catch the essence of the sciences. If everything evolves, why not evolution itself? To the extent the sciences are the expression of awarenesses and that awareness can become aware of evolution within its own working, there is room for an evolution of the awareness of “awareness of awareness” (said three times). This is what we would be doing when we “complete” our present re-consideration of all the sciences in terms of awareness, with Man’s awareness of the whole at its center, and with it, all through. The instrument of the four realms is needed to allow us to see evolution in the past. To go beyond and see a possiblity for a fifth realm being installed on our planet, we need to let the evolution of evolutions become the next instrument. The next article will attempt to do just that, but on a restricted awareness, that of energy.

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3 Energy And Energies

This is not the first time we present our readers with some of the thoughts in this section. For many, it is still a theoretical, remote notion, entertainable as an abstraction, but not yet as an essential aspect of their own being engaged in the thick of everyday life. When it does become that, one can tell oneself, “I passed the threshold of the fifth realm.� Energy is widely acknowledged as the most fundamental notion of some sciences, although it is a very recent awareness, not quite a hundred plus years old. There are ministries of energy in some modern governments, and one of their main duties is to see that their country does not run out of it and fall back on bad times economically. The energy which keeps factories, transportation, homes going, is evident in all minds. Modern man can only consider himself modern because he has had access to adequate amounts of energy to fuel all his machines (including his own physical one by growing enough food). But, for those reflecting upon energy, what is striking is, that it escaped our notice for so long because we could only perceive one or other of its forms at any one time. This kept these forms separated from each other. We knew both muscular energy and heat because we are endowed with them already from the third realm. But when muscular energy became mechanical energy, two of its forms were distinguished — the kinetic and the potential. It became clear that these could be interchanged, when a hammer pushes a nail into a plank, or a boulder

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rolls down a slope and moves an obstacle on its way. Many years later, steam or heat energy was converted into mechanical energy. And almost at the same time chemical energy was discovered when it was seen that it produced heat by the reactions of combustion, which in turn could make a steam engine do some of man’s work. Some decades later, large amounts of electric and magnetic energy could be produced from either mechanical energy (like that of waterfalls) or from steam engines making dynamos rotate. Conversely magnetic energy was used to lift steel plates countering their weight (gravitational energy) and more, and electric motors produced mechanical energy. Batteries had already and for some time, changed chemical energy into electricity, while electrical induction was shown to be able to produce magnetism in circuits. When radiation was added, solar energy appeared as one of Man’s free sources; if he could only capture it and inexpensively transform it into storable forms. The mechanical energy of the winds had been used for some time to move boats and ships on oceans and in windmills. Both of these applications could accommodate themselves with the capricious irregularity of the winds. Recent progress in their expansion to other uses in selected places is promising. No one doubts that that energy, met in the world at large and in social instances, can have several forms. Since they are interchangeable, a ready concept can take care of it all: there is only one energy — that studied by physicists — and it has not quite a dozen forms: potential, kinetic, heat, chemical, electrostatic, magnetic, electrodynamic and electromagnetic, radiation, gravitational. But cosmologists, nuclear physicists, and perhaps philosophers among them, see four energies in their worlds: the gravitational, the electromagnetic, and the weak and strong forces of atomic physics. These are not the same distinctions as those of the above paragraphs. They are looked at as quantitatively interchangeable like those, but they are examined both for their qualitative differences, and for the fact that scientists are unable to unify them. Scientists cannot quite believe that there may be essential differences which might force us to admit

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that a number of energies exist, and they continue trying to unify the four. They are aware of their belief, but not yet that it is a belief. *** Everyone is allowed to try his hand at an alternate theory. Looking (from the earth) at the cosmos as a whole, it is clear that we have reached an understanding of the universe as a large number of laboratories where matter (as we have come to know it on earth) is being manufactured from an energy we can call “cosmic.” The manufacturing plants for matter are the stars. What this cosmic energy is, we are not saying. But it is the same one all cosmologists are so sure (as we are) exists in that place called the cosmos. Matter generates the conditions in space which are known as gravity, and is one of the forms cosmic energy can take. The transformations of cosmic energy into matter have produce the 92 elements discovered on earth, many of which have been detected on some stars. This justifies the calling of stars nuclear laboratories in which a variety of nuclei are generated and utilized to serve as bases for the manufacture of some nuclei. What we want to stress here, is that the experiment of making nuclei on those numerous cosmic labs, have reached an impasse. Nature has done all it could to make more and more complex nuclei, but could not produce more than 92 (and their isotopes). Even among these 92, a number of them display already an instability met on earth and dubbed “radioactivity,” or the degeneration of matter or nuclei. Nuclei (and atoms when they capture a few electrons) are of two kinds: the stable ones, which can last in the cosmos forever as they are; and the unstable ones inviting nature to try something else. All the work done over billions of years by cosmic energy, we shall call a horizontal evolution. It is that evolution which reached an impasse, and the cosmos can only count on 92 successful transformations of its own energy into different specimens of matter — these specimens can

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be in any number of individuals, which are exactly identical one to the other. *** Cosmic energy did take up the next challenge of trying something entirely different. But it had to do it in places which existed, but were not the hot spots the stars are. In these places (the cooled earth qualified to be one of them) many of the existing nuclei, moving by gravitational energy coupled with their own momenta, caught electrons — which thrived in the far-off atmospheres of the stars — and became “atoms.” Atoms gave themselves, thus the capacity of meeting their likes which were electrically attracted to each other. Thus, they formed new entities, different from nuclei in that at least they had two separate nuclei in their edifice. We call them “molecules.” The nuclei in those molecules could be recuperated at a certain price. A new horizontal evolution, also lasting billions of years, started and produced a huge number of new molecules. Not so many, in some cosmic regions, but very many in places like our earth; so long as the affinities between atoms having different numbers of electrons on their outer layers were allowed to form molecules on the cooling earth (a location where many chemical reactions take place). When studied, these reactions form part of “mineral chemistry.” In that field, the architecture of the molecules produced is not too complex, and all of them are either found in solutions in the oceans or on land as rocks or on rocks. Most of these molecules are stable, i.e. their breaking down would require amounts of energy not commonly met in ordinary circumstances. The inside of the earth is still very hot, and since at high temperatures atoms do not stick to each other as firmly, in some circumstances, like those in the explosions of volcanoes, a considerable activity can take place at the molecular level, on land or in the waters of the oceans. Carbon compounds like methane or cyanides are part of mineral chemistry, and can begin a line of molecules which have the property of becoming larger and larger. This is so because of the ease with which carbon (with its 4

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outer electrons) can take or give its electrons and does it to other carbon atoms, as well as with H or O, or N. Carbon chains can increase the architectural problems of the molecules which solve them in forming numerous and varied edifices using the mechanical forces available at their scale locally, because of gravity and of the electromagnetic fields. In mineral chemistry, some atoms or molecules, which do not form a stable molecule with some sets of chemicals, assist these in entering into reactions. They have the power of easing reactions which do not take place without them. They are called “catalysts.” There are many of them, and they account for the existence of a variety of end-products when, beginning with the same sets of atoms, the catalysts are changed. The conjunction of — 1

heat energy from the inside of the earth, radiation from the sun, and

2 a number of atoms of carbon and some others capable to be attracted to each other, produce a large number of compounds which could be formed and come into contact with each other and in the presence of some catalysts. When the catalysts are carbon compounds, they can aid in the formation of still larger molecules which in turn can link with others. So long as the architectural problems are solved by the existing forces working on molecules, stable large molecules can be generated by this second form of cosmic energy, which we call “molecular.” But it happens that, here too, complexity can only reach a certain level, very great but not infinitely great, and a breakdown takes place. The large molecules become two or more, smaller, but stable molecules. The second experiment with cosmic energy reaches an impasse. The horizontal evolution has done all it can do and the molecular universe reaches the dynamic equilibrium between all the molecules which are

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stable and continue to be made, and to last, and those which break down. These renew their efforts to reconstitute themselves. Viruses and ultra-viruses are such large molecules keeping themselves around by breaking down and reconstituting themselves in order to break down again. *** On the matter which makes the earth, molecules are on top of each other, either reacting with each other, or in a state of dynamic equilibrium. It is conceivable that a very large number of them — because of their co-presence in some space, could generate a magnetic field which pairs up with the gravitational forces present in the circumstances — hold the molecules in that space in close contact with each other within an abstract shell (like the surface tension of a drop of water holds in its inside countless molecules of water) to form a cell separated from the rest around it. This “molecular cell,” if it can be formed, can be formed any number of times with different contents and these find themselves in cosmic circumstances favoring reactions among their contents. This molecular cell can now offer cosmic energy opportunities which molecules isolated or separated did not, and thus did not experiment with. Cosmic energy is available on earth in the form of radiation from the sun; heat from the inside of the earth; catalytic exothermic or endothermic chemical reactions; gravity from the matter the cell contains and some electromagnetic or magnetic, resulting from the atoms and the electrons they contain, these freed by the collisions of atoms. So, such cells are cosmically pulsating and the movements of the molecules in them will create one or more fields, which can have various effects. One of them can be that the large molecules in a cell orient themselves with respect to each other to produce a new kind of architecture no longer inside molecules but among them. Such an architecture may be necessary to hold the population of these specific molecules in dynamics equilibrium within the cell, when the

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input of outside cosmic energy on the surface of the cell varies, diurnally or because of events in the environment around that cell. Only those molecular cells which can hold their contents as separately from the environment and whose contents can be adaptable to the vagaries of the inputs of the environmental cosmic energy, will continue to be cells and will offer new opportunities to experiment with another form of cosmic energy. The one which, while still being able to do all it could do before, can now play on the intermolecular dynamic which produce forms with these cells because of the arrangements of the molecules in them which are compatible with all the forces copresent. The dynamics within, translate themselves into the forms of the cells. If there are repeats of the dynamics the whole system can undergo repeats of forms and a new unit is at work on the cosmos, on earth. Forms of molecular cells have millions of years to find their place in the cosmos on earth. Those which last are matter plus something else, and what happens to them by a play of circumstances may have a chance to happen again, proving that those cells provide a new dynamics in the cosmos, on earth. For example, two of them may find it possible to merge, generating a new cell-wall holding all that matter in it and letting molecules find their own dynamic equilibrium. Or, one of those cells may be split into two, like a drop of water cut in half forms two smaller drops. The contents of the cell may not be systematically distributed and the two subcells may or may not be able to remain as cells. If they do, the subcells prove that the fields that hold the contents together are variables which operate over a certain range. If they don’t, the dissolution of one or both of the subcells into the environment, retells a story operating before the first cell was ever generated. *** On earth, what is called “life� appeared at a certain stage of the formation of molecular cells. In terms of a new start for cosmic energy, to avoid only repeating what it had achieved in the atomic and 19


A Reconsideration Of The Sciences

molecular horizontal evolutions, the generation of forms is available. Forms apply to the intermolecular dynamics which covers a whole range of possibilities not tried out before then. For example, energy can be used to allow molecules to slide upon each other and distort the “membrane” or wall of the cell, without tearing it. The surface tension of molecular cells operates like surface tensions on drops of liquids placed on surfaces which can be tilted and retilted back and forth. While holding their content, they can get distorted, or while they get distorted, they still hold their content. Because life is a quantum jump from molecular cells to organic cells which can reproduce themselves, the dynamics of cosmic energy will not suffice. It is necessary to give energy, properties sui generis to take care of the unique phenomenon of reproduction. But there is another phenomenon we could not account for through cosmic energy alone in the case of live cells, and that is, their ability to get their substance from the environment. “Plants” are those live single cells or orgaizations of live cells, which find directly in the soil what they need in order to make their own new molecules, and “animals” are those (single or multiple cells) which, for that which they integrate, take existing organisms, vegetable or animal. Plants connect with the cosmic energies of the earth, animals connect with those energies employed by living cells to remain alive. This energy at work in both plants and animals is called “vital” energy. It does new things with the forms already accessible in the molecular cell. Although we cannot yet describe the passage from a molecular cell to a “vital” cell and account for how their differences were produced, we shall consider this new energy as concerned with two new horizontal evolutions and contemplate the wider entities of plants and animals as the domains of what the vital can do, for the first, through the processing of what is found in the cosmic environment, while for the second, what can be done when integrating the results of those processings. The study of plants, as that of vital energy at work on the cosmic energies objectified as atoms and molecules, as gravity and as radiation, in the local circumstances, can be called “modern botany.”

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3 Energy And Energies

The study of animals, as that of vital energy at work on both the cosmic and the vital energies, as they are active in living organisms but must be integrated anew, can be called “modern zoology.” The word “modern” is used here to distinguish the classificatory approaches of the past which made available the inventories of the earth’s flora and fauna, from the study of what life does to individual members and to their groupings in terms of variation and heredity. This in order to understand the working of life as it takes place. Since these sciences are still thriving, changing, evolving, they are much more difficult to summarize than those of cosmic energy (nuclear and molecular). We shall therefore have simply to say that their contents offer beautiful challenges to our minds in order to make sense of what happens in these realms, and therefore offer opportunities to become aware of subclasses of problems forming specialties or subsciences requiring specialization from their students. Nevertheless, both botany and zoology led to impasses. From bacteria to sequoia, plants seem to have explored all the various forms available for viability on grounds as different as deserts and rain forests, respectively always dry or always wet; in climates as diverse as the polar regions and the tropical ones and found answers which we can call adequate. They even tried to make their substance out of organisms rather than the cosmos, but not with much future for this way. From protozoa to great apes, animals tried out forms submitted to instincts which permitted as many combinations of behaviors as is mathematically conceivable and found out which were viable. This says that in the vegetable kingdom, it is form that evolved until it could no longer pursue the exploration, for, many new forms were not viable. In the animal kingdom it is instinct that evolved, combining even contradictory behaviors to try out for viability. Ultimately finding that, when all had been tried out, the dynamic equilibrium which

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permits that all of them survive while they use some of them as their own sources of energy, and serving others as sources. One final attempt was left and that was to experiment life without instinct, i.e. that one animal would leave animaldom and energize behaviors according to its perception of circumstances rather than always interpret circumstances within a given instinct. That is when the fourth realm started, and we named it “mankind.” What evolves in man is the substitute to instinct, i.e., awareness. Men do not form species. Or, if they do, each species has only one member. Each human explores his or her life and produces a unique response to what strikes his or her awareness. Awareness offers a new field of exploration which comprises all that the previous three realms contain and how they manage to continue to last so long. Humans have transcended survival by learning to use energy beyond what plants and animals know how, and over a relatively short time (3 million years say, against one or two billion) has found time to explore and master as much (if not more) as the other two living realms together, found out to be possible. For consciousness to evolve, not only the possible is attempted, what seems impossible can also be explored. Hence, humans invent cultures to replace species and families of groups of species in order to cope with the shortness of human lives and give themselves time to advance in their explorations. Humans reach the molding forces and the corresponding uses of energy or energies and project lives before trying to live them. In particular, they reached the mechanism of economy in the uses of energy to the point that now they knowingly handle “nothings.” Humans have understood in that short time, what is more than what all plants and all animals together found in their lives which do not cumulate beyond what can be stored in their DNAs. Humans discovered experience and its collectivization. And the sciences are the processes of heredity which use education to transmit the valid known which is viable, while entering the unknown.

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3 Energy And Energies

This is done through questions, which cost nothing, and therefore can be multiplied indefinitely. This is why Man is the knower and especially the scientist. *** In its own evolution, energy has covered the spectrum from the uses of enormous amounts in the creation of matter, to the “nothings” now being used by humans to create the global civilization and its many cultures of which the sciences are some forms. When this is acknowledged by all humans we shall be beyond the threshold of the fifth realm. Horizontal evolutions made explicit the promises contained first in one way of working of energy, cosmic first (nuclear and molecular); then at the life levels (forms in the vegetable kingdom, instincts in the animal) and now beyond these, at the human level, moving towards a total awareness of awareness as it manifests itself in the sciences (through Homo Sapiens) and the technologies (through Homo Faber) and now in doing everything at a minimal price in energy (through Homo Economicus); whenever possible for “nothing.” *** In the three sketches forming these three articles, the main preoccupations has been a reconsideration of the sciences. To give us a chance to gain new insights, it was necessary to create new instruments of study. The four realms and the evolution of energy — from the cosmos, to the earth, to the mind of Man — are two of them. By definition Man cannot be defined since he is the creator of what does not yet exist, in his environment and mainly in himself. He can always create new sciences and give his time to making explicit the new content of his new awarenesses. One of these new sciences is THE SCIENCE OF EDUCATION which makes explicit the awareness of awareness. Its chapters, problems,

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applications, today appear as having great importance for together they represent the instruments of Man’s own conscious evolution.

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News Items

1 The Ojibwe Language Project Readers already know that Educational Solutions has made a contract with a group in Ontario (Canada) to produce the Silent Way materials for the teaching of the Ojibwe language to students in their schools and to the non-native Americans who need it to work in their midst. Three months after starting on the language, and working on the contents of the various charts, Dr. Gattegno was invited to meet somewhere on that vast Reserve with a group of “elders” (all younger than him), and of teachers of Ojibwe and administrators. The work was presented to the group (who had no idea of what they had agreed to embark upon) on the strong recommendation of the Reverend Jim Green (connected to the Lakota language project of 1982-’83) to Father Murray, director of the Anishnabe Spiritual Center, a friend of the members of the group — during a twelve-hour day seminar on March 6th. The Sound/Color Fidel and the Ojibwe Fidel were prepared in color as was the numeration on Chart 12. The four charts for conjugation (#s 6a & 6b, 7a & 7b) were taken to the stage just before photographing and coloring while Charts 1-5 and 8-11 were only shown as typed sheets containing the functional vocabulary selected (1-5) and the usual words for a first extension of this vocabulary to involve useful verbs (8); family relations and time (9-10) and, in this case, quantifiers (11) (as exist in Chinese).

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A Reconsideration Of The Sciences

Of course, it was the first time these natives saw their own language displayed in space in such a compact and complete manner. Yet, they saw that it was capable of being reconstructed from so little by any knowledgeable teacher made to know how to use the charts in color. The prototypes had to be explained and were readily understood. Changes were contemplated on what was proposed on the basis of the literature supplied by contract to Dr. Gattegno. Not all writers agreed on phonetics, phonology and spelling, but they had been of great help on many parts of grammar which made the selection of material much easier. Once the group understood that all the phonetics of Ojibwe could be made plain through the Sound/Color Chart and that pronunciation could be taught to anyone once the correspondence color/sound had been secured, the question of spelling became less controversial. Different codes used by the four main writers on Ojibwe since the middle of the XIX Century to 1978, did allow a fifth to be suggested through the one sheet Fidel. While writers feared the use of one sign for several sounds, they never objected to it being the case in English, taught to them in their schools (10 sounds used for the letter a, 11 for the letter u, 12 for the letter o . . . .). Everyone in the group agreed that if the amount of information contained on the Fidel — and practiced orally on the Sound/Color Chart and in writing through the word charts — is available to the students, much of the present confusion can be eliminated. Hence now a is allowed to trigger five sounds (as in “father,” as in “was,” as in “another,” as in the note “la” and a nasal one as in the French “an”) i is allowed four sounds (as in “machine” and as “pin” as in “possible” and a nasal one as in “sing” carried only by the vowel) e is allowed five sounds (as in “pet” as in “there” as in “the” and two nasal ones) o is allowed four sounds (as in “gone,” as in “for,” as in “woman” and as in the French “on”). Ojibwe will not be more phonetic than English, French or even Spanish. And that should be most acceptable since so many people learn these languages in spite of their spelling. At least in that Reserve, Ojibwe and English will be treated as equals. Once this principle is accepted, it will be acquaintance with the language which will help in

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News Items

the reading and writing of its words as is done in all languages adopting the Latin alphabet. On that basis agreement was unanimous. Ojibwe, even more than Arabic, is a “verb language.” That is at least the perception of the writers who present the study of verbs and their numerous transformations as the stumbling block for most learners. If the treatment of the language is such that it displays the objective criteria which affect babies and make it easy for them to learn any language on earth, the chances are that all those who wish to acquire Ojibwe will be able to do so. Although there are in this case twice as many conjugation charts as in other languages, it was possible to get into them an amount of information which takes a hundred pages of the grammar to be covered. This very complex and precise system of relating to time, to people, to moods and circumstances is produced by specific particles connected to each of the above to generate the very specific meaning one has in mind and wishes to convey to others. Because of this precision, babies can learn to express themselves in that language and this is what people want to see teachers manage with all their students. The teachers’ mastery of how to select the particles which join together to provide the suffix corresponding to the complete word, is necessary in order to use these wall charts so as to give instructions which are unambiguous and intelligible. Through exercises of this kind, comprehension, rather than memorization, will trigger the proper endings required, influenced by the uniqueness of the components merging in those circumstances. Of course, what the Silent Way has managed to bring to language learning and teaching through the manipulation of rods and the situations involving them and the students, will, here too, help the retention of words and of their transformations. The one-day seminar brought participants to volunteer their feedback colored by joy and a great relief to have at last heard of and seen something which makes sense to them. In particular, one of the “elders” said: “I am not a teacher, but I feel that with this I can meet my grandchildren and let them enjoy learning their forefather’s heritage.” A secondary school teacher of Ojibwe said that so many confusions can be eliminated through the new instruments brought to her notice, that

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A Reconsideration Of The Sciences

her task and those of her students will be eased considerably. Everyone acknowledged some satisfaction from the strict discipline and the swift step displayed during the day. A friendliness also resulted from a total absence of negative judgments of the previous contributors who in the past left so much to be put right in their works biased either by their origins or by their social functions. All of the participants believed, like most people in the world, that vocabulary is the essence of language, that drill & repetition is required, that without translation there is no understanding, and a thorough grammatical foundation is indispensable. That something so radically different from all that existed, was a delightful and delighting, experience.

2 Microcomputer Projects, Progress Report Since last Fall, the project of Visible and Tangible Math, beyond addition and subtraction, has been advancing as swiftly as possible. The scenari for the rest of elementary school mathematics once written, one of the programmers of the first series agreed to try his hand. A certain amount of money was found to code as much as could be done with it. The coding has proved very lengthy and after a few months only one scenario is on the way to completion: that of multiplication. When people see it, they will ask for more. This, because the mathematical treatment of that area, as suggested in the diskettes is novel, interesting and very promising so young students can work on it for hours and not tire. What they learn is required by elementary school curricula but there is also much more, left to be included in the present high school curriculum. In this sequel of Visible and Tangible Math (already written about in the 1982, Vol. XI, Issue 5 of this Newsletter) much is taken for granted, precisely because of the ten disks of what is now Part I, of the whole project. Cumulatively, the old and the new disks will offer a solid epistemological and methodological foundation for mathematics no

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News Items

one dared to hope find use for by students before they are 10 or 11. The era of the computer in education will have advanced considerably because of the existence of these coursewares. What is on the disks requires the computer, and only the computer can provide this kind of education and make it available to all youngsters worldwide. Indeed, conceived as to transcend the barriers of languages and to make use of a universal notation, these programs will serve anybody who owns an Apple II (for the moment) and is prepared to spend a hundred hours or so to go through the successive modules. At the end of that time, that person will know a great deal of math functionally, as part of his/her flesh, even if he or she does not know that they know. They will not be able to state what they know or rather remember, except perhaps their multiplication tables gleaned in passing. The complete notes accompanying this courseware will be good reading for all math teachers and maybe even be an illuminating and useful study of how something old and stale can become an exciting set of engrossing games.

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Some of our readers are among the two hundred recipients of a circular letter sent out to invite people to consider becoming part of a new corporation which will own The Silent Way and the literacy approach — based on the same connection between sounds and colors — for marketing on a global scale. This move seems to be the most sensible at this moment, when Dr. Gattegno, the owner of Educational Solutions Inc., is fast approaching 75; when existing publishing corporations are still deeply dedicated to approaches based on conditioning, and a dedicated team of good judges of what Educational Solutions has to offer in those two fields can do much more and much better from now on.

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About Caleb Gattegno Caleb Gattegno is the teacher every student dreams of; he doesn’t require his students to memorize anything, he doesn’t shout or at times even say a word, and his students learn at an accelerated rate because they are truly interested. In a world where memorization, recitation, and standardized tests are still the norm, Gattegno was truly ahead of his time. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911, Gattegno was a scholar of many fields. He held a doctorate of mathematics, a doctorate of arts in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. He held a scientific view of education, and believed illiteracy was a problem that could be solved. He questioned the role of time and algebra in the process of learning to read, and, most importantly, questioned the role of the teacher. The focus in all subjects, he insisted, should always be placed on learning, not on teaching. He called this principle the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. Gattegno travelled around the world 10 times conducting seminars on his teaching methods, and had himself learned about 40 languages. He wrote more than 120 books during his career, and from 1971 until his death in 1988 he published the Educational Solutions newsletter five times a year. He was survived by his second wife Shakti Gattegno and his four children.

www.EducationalSolutions.com

A Reconsideration of the Sciences  
A Reconsideration of the Sciences  

A Reconsideration of the Sciences

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