Discovering the power of good questions
I’ve been thinking a lot about blame and fault and forced change.
Blame shares roots with blaspheme, and fault has Latin roots along the lines of deceive. When change is forced on us, we may feel that all we hold dear is being blasphemed (that which we hold sacred is not being respected), and further, that we have been deceived and betrayed. I believe we are seeing this in faculties in universities and colleges across the country. Someone has to be to blamed for what is happening in higher education.
I don’t find blame helpful. It flattens our perspective of other people into one-dimensional caricatures. It flattens our perception of very complicated problems into blacks and whites. Blame isn’t useful, it is toxic and wasteful. The generative, the creative, the emergent is where the juice is.
When I am tempted to look for blame in a complicated system, the Alexander Alexander song, “In the Twilight,” makes me smile, and turns it around with the line, “Is the wind a jerk because it changed?”
Nice, Vicki. Indeed, blame and fault are also related to shame. The temptation to blame is often a deflection of our own sense that we are not enough.
And sometimes there is blame. While I love the metaphor, social trends are not natural phenomena. For instance, to naturalize a turn in higher education from the university as a creative force for social evolution for the better to just a vocational (in the worst sense of that word) enterprise is possibly to ignore other forces at work.
This is just to say that it is complicated, and higher education is not the wind. It is people and their goals and aspirations.
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