Thursday, April 25, 2013

Living Math

A provocative little piece of wisdom crossed my Facebook path this morning:

 “Happiness multiplies itself when shared, grief divides itself.”

And that’s why we have weddings and funerals.

I’m a big fan of community exultation to celebrate our joys and collective rituals to share the load of grief. A bunch of bodies in a room with earphones all plugged into their little private happiness or people walking the streets eyes down carrying the full burden of sorrows alone is healthy for exactly no one. And so while the big buzz in education is the i-Pad revolution, I continue to sit barefoot on the floor in a circle with the ancient technologies of body, voice and mind to teach the living math of how to generate joy and heal sorrow through music. A song and dance for every occasion sung and danced in a living community. It is so terribly old-fashioned and so wondrously powerful.

The gift of the instant access of images on screens is the chance to see people living authentic lives, to view the Sasa dance from Samoa or Kecak from Bali, to watch happy kids in an inspired Orff class or see the old movie clips of Bill Robinson dancing on the stairs. But the one thing you don’t often see on screens is people sitting alone spending all their time looking at screens.

Let’s remember to teach kids the art of living our happiness in full view and together with our neighbors, of sharing the weight of our personal and collective suffering through a powerful sung wailing rather than a solitary whimpy whining. A living, useful and necessary math.

Multiplication and division turn out to be so much important than the right answers on the test sheet.

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