with Rich Piscopo
In class today, the review of our last class (1/13/14) sparked such lively dialogue that we never got to our planned lesson! During our review of social compulsion and conformity, the issue of friendship arose. What are the criteria for friendship? With the popularity of social media, has the definition of a friend changed? Can one really have 50 million "friends," as I just learned today that Justin Bieber has on Facebook?
The occurrence of "playing roles" in order to comply with social conformity came up for discussion. A student said, "When I first meet someone, I have this fake persona." Then in response to her, another said, "With every friend I have, I act differently."
This very self-aware and honest exchange led one student to ask, "Who are we, then?"
I suggested that a person is rather like a precious gem that has many facets. We may show a different facet to each different friend, but our core values and belief system remains the same. The gem itself does not change. Our integrity remains intact.
The first student then said, "A true friend is someone who accepts all of our facets."
With these words, we came up with a pretty good criterion for friendship.
Last week, we finally began my lesson originally planned for 2/3/14, which we never got to because of canceled classes due to weather, and regarding the class before this one (see above), the students went on a very productive tangent about friendship.
The lesson plan entailed the concepts of becoming; defining a fact; separating fact from opinion; using evidence to establish facts; and understanding. We only scratched the surface of the concept of becoming, and a very nice dialogue ensued.
The idea of our potential being a part of who we are in the present arose. A student remarked, "If you aspire to be something in the future, that intention defines who you are now." A second student countered that by saying, "If the thinking process is linear, then we do not become. We can only be at a certain point at a certain time."
So, I offered the standard example about potential by asking if the oak tree exists within the acorn. The second student said, "No -- an acorn is an acorn and an oak tree is an oak tree." Another student countered by saying that the situation is an evolving one. She said, "The acorn and the oak tree have the same identity. The oak tree is within the acorn and the acorn is within the oak tree. The acorn is the oak tree's past." [Note: within Buddhist thinking, this concept is referred to as interconcentric connectedness. The center of everything is in the center of everything else.]
Then playing off this idea, the second student replied, "Every acorn is the potential for all future oak trees." Picking up on this statement, another said, "Babies are the same way. The adult has some of the baby within her. You are your parents." Adding to that, another concluded, "You are becoming an adult before you are born."
We will pick up this train of thought when we reconvene on Monday, 2/24/14. Can't wait to see where it all leads!