Index - Books
- Spirituality is survival ("Unspeakable: The Truth About Grief" by Herb Orrell) (November 19, 2011)
November 19, 2011
I'm surprised it's taken me this long to add a "Books" category to this blog. Welcome to the first entry!
I stumbled upon "Unspeakable: The Truth About Grief." by Herb Orrell. 2003. Bayou Publishing, USA.
I bought it, perhaps on a whim, I think because I crossed some line of grief when I heard about the death of the child Yueyue. Just Google her and you will find her story. Warning: There is a YouTube video from a security camera, also shown in many news clips, showing the accident that led her to die of her injuries, and I do NOT recommend viewing it. Reading the description alone was enough to cause me to have a cry. .... Anyway, so I bought this book about grief; I guess Yueyue's story was "the last straw" for me after hearing about so many other people being hurt all around the world. So I bought this book, and I found a really, really good teaching about spirituality.
The author discusses rage at God. If God is all powerful and all loving, why do bad things happen? Even if you suppose that bad things are inevitable (Maybe because of "Fee Will"? I think I learned this in high school), then why are there so many who can't find comfort in God after the fact? i.e. if God can't prevent, why can't so many people find the path to healing through God?
The author describes how major organized religions and New Age religions all "Blame the victim". If you can't find comfort, then it's because you don't have enough faith, or you didn't meditate hard enough. You didn't follow the right steps, you didn't talk to the right people. etc.
This author turns that attitude around and lays some groundwork to help you heal yourself.
He says that the structure of religion shouldn't be abandoned altogether and uses the analogy of music. By structure, I mean like the rituals in organized religion, or teachings by spiritual leaders. If a person wants to learn music, you don't just give them an instrument and expect that to be enough for them to play their own. You teach them scales and you give them access to other pieces performed by other people. The author says that it's the same for spirituality. You don't just leave a person on their own: teachings, ritual and other models are important to give people something to build up from. The individual experience and creativity of spirituality is vital, but structure is needed, too.
The author says that spirituality is built-in for each person. There are some cases where biological reaction "fight or flight" won't cut it. (examples: terrorism, rape) After a point you simply can't escape or battle these things. So, spirituality is like an extension to flight or flight to help us find meaning so as to cope with the damage left afterward. (I'm sure there are some who could argue that spirituality has biological foundations, too, just like fight or flight.)
The book concludes with a story. This gives you room to make your own interpretation about the book's conclusion. That said, the book still ends with a sense of wrapping up, and that you are being given a meaningful answer. This book will not take your grief away, but it does - at least for me - help you to look at spirituality in a different way, and offers something to grapple on to take matters into your own hands.
My take-away from the book, and how to deal with great sadness as I read about tragedies in the news, like the dear child Yueyue, is that the world still sucks. There isn't really anything good about tragic events. They are horrible. But you just have to keep going. And ask you keep going, you might as well try and direct effort to minimize the pain of others.
On the "not so good" side, there are some parts of the book that didn't relate to me at all, and there were a couple times where I thought "Um, did I read this part already?" In fact the same sentence appears 2 times within the same couple of pages. I don't know if that was deliberate or if it was a case of missed editing. But, put all that aside and the real spiritual treasures remain in this book
Even though the book is geared toward dealing with grief, I think that many of the ideas are applicable more generally.
|This entry was written under the moon phase that looks like this:|
Index to Steph's NotesFeb. 24th 2007 - Weee! This new part of my website is not an entry, but rather a permanent fixture whose purpose is to "Look Down on All Those Notes With Some Grand Vision of Organization". Wish me luck. LOL
- Representing meta-data (fuel) & the different kinds of "hooks" that intelligent systems can use (how fuel is injected into the motor of the engine)
- Motivation: Semantic net / Rationalizable to a machine
- Semantic network
- Genetic graph
- Prerequisite AND/OR graph
- Constraint Satisfaction Problems
- Bayesian networks / causal graphs
- Technology & Philosophy: RDF, modus ponens,
- Predicates, Logic & situation calculus
- What kinds of data? - What kinds of meta-data would an AIEd system possibly need, and how is it represented?
- task domain knowledge
- "is-prerequisite-to"-type knowledge
- interactions with learning objects & other learners - (location, composition is-a/part-of, sequencing by restricting navigation, personalization, ontologies for LO context)
- lesson plans, curriculum plans, practicing sessions (What is stored, what is generated on the fly? What is remembered?)
- How to organize it - When is it stored in a database? Meta-data? Agent memory banks? Protocols? Repositories? XML files? Home-servers? WSDL services? Frameworks? Portable banks? P2P access?
- Database of object-agent interactions
- Concept of "Home" on a P2P network -- maybe the bulk of a learning object's usage data is on its home server and can be queried using WSDL or something ? Similar homes for each student's usage history, etc. Baggage problem.
- Links to the ontologies
- referring to a concept/relationship - ex. AgentOwl?
- Generation of this data
- Rationalization: For use by other AIEd systems
- What is generated - discuss items under part I.C.
- When it's generated - describe procedural model, which parts of the engine generate what (isa-part-of data, XML feeds, web services, meta data bout groups and collaboration, protocols, examples Friend of A Friend FOAF project)
- Technical notes of HOW it's generated: JENA, issues of implementation demo, my Hermione & Ron agent examples, lol
- Usage of this generated data - see part IV. A.
- Given the engine, who uses it?
- Students / Learners / "Me"
- instructional planning, student model, pre-requisites, tutoring, coaching, collaboration,constructivism
- Teachers / Educators / "Me"
- putting together lessons
- be able to browse through task domain knowledge in an objective / encyclopaedia format, then be able to pick-and-choose what you need for your students
- compose examples, design explanations, pull together diagrams, learning objects, etc. Haystack Relo?
- Administration / Governement / Structure / Crowd Control
- as restrictions/obstacles/sand pit to the robot in agent environment
- can't just have a swarm of students and teachers out there -- need structure of courses, curriculum, objectives, requirements (at least, we do in this day and age!) - Report cards, evaluation, feedback
- government, marks, certificates, requirements, funding, curriclum, attendance, delinquent, non-attending, motivation
- school''s images, goals, strengths, payroll, HR, security, accounts, permissions, privacy
- registration, failed courses
- User Environment -- How does this engine work? What does the user see on the screen?
- Introduction - Given a background in educational psychology, how does the system present itself -- what does the user see, and were does this data come from? Links to thoughts from part I.)
- Task Domain Browsing - Suppose you're you're just idly browsing through the "raw" content. How would it look when it's not wrapped around a learning-context or lesson or tutorial or anything. 'Cross between browsing a raw task domain ontology and browsing a learning object repository.
- Cleaning up the data -- Visualizing the data for humans to pick through the task domain and work on it. Suppose the "Subject Expert" discovers an advancement in science and needs to update the "world's" domain knowledge. (I used the "Subject Expert" terminology from Ontologies to Support Learning Design Context - Thanks Chris) How would they make corrections to ontologies and learning objects, or at least point the users of "old" objects towards adopting the newer ones.
- "Modes" - Learning & Lessons / Checklist - Homework, Assignments, Courses being taken / Collaborative mode / Teaching mode / Calendar- email -adminisrative mode -- See also the different kinds of scenarios in the ActiveMath system
- Evolution of this engine
- target some key implementation hooks discussed in part I - design an experiment/demo
- scrape a page - (Note, scraping can only give objective data, not in-context dat)
- LO repository - related to browsing the task domain?
- a learners "To Do" list - where does it come from? Assignments, courses.
- sample group scenario
- sample teacher lesson planning
- sample data "left behind"
- sample use of that data
- Data mining (for what? lol )
- discovery / generation of ontologies - when do you need to hunt for them, and when do you have to have a solidly-known & predictable ontology?
- I/O - where it happens, which languages, protocols, which agents perform i/o and when, precepts, actuators
- Role Assignments
- My Environment Adapts to me
- Displaying feedback from the server on JSP pages (Software engineering considerations)
- Sketching out a design (Content planning vs. Delivery planning)
- agent negotiations / social structures / ummm... Web 2.0 ?
- garbage collection of meta data
- Artificial Intelligence & Evolution
- Memory Culling: Necessary part of intelligence? (artificial or human)
- Applications for the Genetic/Evolutionary algorithm
- open learning environments
- Agents, pets, grouping, Community modelling
- Protocols - finding groups, cyber dollars, state diagrams (?)
- "Community Studies" - graphs & communication hubs, types of communities (free-for-all, hierarchy of authority, etc.)
- implications of joining a community - what do you share, which parts of your student model are relevant
- Walls & sand traps -- deliberate restrictions as problem-solving for learning
- Communication channels - individual-to-individual, individual-to-community, chat channels, agent-only "administrative" communications, ex. requests for related learning objects in a particular community, etc.
- Educational/Pedagogical focus (this part probably shouldn't be its own section but rather incorporated into the whole picture, but it's separate for me right now because I'm still only just starting to learn about it.)
- Semantics - what there is to talk about in Education
- ex. Merril's First Principles of Instruction, linking educational terms to AI terms
- Pedagogical skills for tutors -- supporting human *and* artifical tutors
- Student modelling - what the machine needs to know about the student, pedagogically-speaking, about learning history/preferences
- Roles - Simulated students, Coaches, Tutors, Teachers,