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A passel of thinkers

Dear Mel,

You, without a doubt are about as abstract thinker as I can perceive.  Your
' Wrinkled Kilt'  was about as abstract as you can get.  We need, now more
than ever, levity.  It allows us to clear our  minds of preconceived notions
and ideas.

People who think in abstract terms though can understand ideas and explore
them using abstract language.

People who are not abstract thinkers are more likely to see wars in terms of
good guys and baddies. They are easily manipulated by governments, who
excite them with simple slogans, emotional speeches about dead warriors and
photos of leaders looking heroic and enemy leaders looking wicked.

People who think in abstractions often have the greatest difficulty getting
on with people who don't. And vice versa. They just don't understand each
other. 'Can't you follow simple logic?' pleads the abstract thinker. 'Why do
you have to make everything so complicated?' groans the other.

The people on this list, by and large are abstract thinkers.  In this time
of heightened emotions we need concrete and abstract thinking.  We need to
debate and think about what we have done to create the terrorist. we need to
be open to ideas.  We need to think and dream of a better world. What will
it serve us if in defeating the many headed ugly monster we loose our

Jeff, Donald (s), Niven, Sally, Susan, Karen, Judy G, Sandy, Neil, Tearlach,
Garry, Roy and Joan, Tim and you are thinking men and women.

I can think of no duty is more urgent than that of thanking all of you. You
have taught me a gread deal.


"THE maxim enjoined upon teachers, " to proceed from the concrete to the
abstract," is perhaps familiar rather than comprehended. Few who read and
hear it gain a clear conception of the starting-point, the concrete; of the
nature of the goal, the abstract; and of the exact nature of the path to be
traversed in going from one to the other. At times the injunction is
positively misunderstood, being taken to mean that education should advance
it from. things to thought -- as if any dealing with things in which
thinking is not involved could possibly be educative. So understood, the
maxim encourages mechanical routine or sensuous excitation at one end of the
educational scale -- the lower and academic and unapplied learning at the
upper end."

John Dewey. "Concrete and Abstract Thinking"  How we think. Lexington, Mass:
D.C. Heath, (1910):

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