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Zen in the Library Classroom


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Presented at The Innovative Library Classroom 2015, May 12, 2015

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Zen in the Library Classroom

  1. 1. To enjoy good taste we only have to decide for ourselves what good sense is. -- Jean de la Bruyere as paraphrased by Donald Richie
  2. 2. The struggle: Do you teach students what they need to know with the foresight that [it] will blossom into a romantic awareness? Or do you teach the romantic viewpoint and hope that a love of the idea of the subject evolves into a fascination with the parts that make it operate? -- S. Johnson
  3. 3. The best [pathways] always connect nowhere with nowhere and have an alternate that gets you there quicker… the main skill is to keep from getting lost. -- R. Pirsig
  4. 4. Searching is often nonlinear and iterative Learners: • exhibit mental flexibility and creativity • are persistent • suspend judgment on value until the larger context is better understood • are adaptable, flexible, and recognize ambiguity is beneficial • synthesize ideas
  5. 5. Instruction is imperfect… Students are imperfect… Assignments are imperfect…
  6. 6. Japanese aesthetics is… a net of associations composed of listings or jottings, connected intuitively, that fills in a background and renders the subject visible. -- D. Richie
  7. 7. We should not strive for logical conclusions. Rather, we ought to define those perceptions and variances… through a style that conveys something of the very uncertainty of their description. -- D. Richie
  8. 8. Follow the brush, allow it to lead. It is the dismissal of linear structure, the neglect of logical method that allows this progression. -- D.Richie
  9. 9. Be more concerned with process than with product… with the actual construction of a self than with self-expression. -- D. Richie
  10. 10. Things as they are, or Nature itself. Nature should be our model, we are to regard it, to learn from it. -- D. Richie
  11. 11. Sabi is an aesthetic term rooted in a given concern – it is concerned with chronology with time and its effects, with product. Wabi is a more philosophical concept, a quality not attached merely to a given object. It is concerned with manner, with process, with direction.
  12. 12. Wabi Sabi (侘寂) finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may best be understood as a feeling, rather than as an idea. -- M. Reibstein
  13. 13. Four Basic Tenets of Wabi Sabi • Everything is in flux • To embody and suggest impermanence • Peaceful contemplation of transience • Appreciation brings holistic perspective – A. Juniper
  14. 14. Yūgen (幽玄) An awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words. – H. Rheingold
  15. 15. An acceptance of the natural order of things. Learners understand: “yeah, it’s not perfect, but it’s useful and this is beautiful in and of itself.”