Wednesday, December 12, 2007


When I was in 4th grade, I met this guy who was really cool. He was very popular in the school among the students and teachers, for he had a very especial drawing skill and also for he held the Guinness record for school detentions, basically because he used to spend most of his time exercising his skill, even in class… in fact, especially during the classes time.

It was not that the teachers did not recognize his talent. On the contrary, he was used to being praised for his deeds by them all of the time. It was rather the school system that did not how to handle with this potential maestro because it didn´t consider him as such in the first place.

That was the early 80´s, though I don´t think the situation would be any different if this young Picasso attended 4th grade today. Basically because despite the major paradigm shift in our understanding of intelligence, owed in part to Harvard professor Howard Gardner´s work and others, the traditional notion of intelligence (understood merely in terms of Logical-Mathematical, Verbal-linguistic or even Spatial reasoning) is still widely upheld.

Some days ago, I happened to meet my school friend again. After greeting him, I asked him what he was doing for a living and he told me he was working as a bartender. I asked him about his interests as a kid (meaning his extraordinary gift) and he said something like: “Arrrgh! Childish stuff!”. In that moment I realized that the problem did not have to do much with the means (this or that concept of intelligence) but rather with the ends: the lack of an appropriate answer to the fundamental question of “what we educate for?" That question where the less fortunate answer is “to teach people how to survive…” because that would be very sad.


Monday, December 10, 2007


I like Psychology very much, especially because it suggests explanations of certain phenomena in the field of human behavior that would be simply irrational otherwise. In watching the Republican presidential debate hosted by the Spanish language television network Univision yesterday afternoon, I kept on thinking about it.

To watch members of the so called “Hispanic community” booing Castro or Chavez´s references during the debate was something kind of expected, as the event was held in Miami (the Cuban element) but, to see them enthusiastically applauding the Republican notion of taking a harder line on illegal immigration or that of maintaining the troops in Iraq (or even escalating them), was something that definitely deserves an explanation more than a simple sensation of astonishment.

I am not a psychologist nor feel I capable of producing such explanation but somehow I feel it has to do with that psychological response sometimes seen in victims of violence who end up showing signs of loyalty to their victimizers or sometimes reproducing their mindset and in some extreme cases, even worshiping it.


Friday, December 07, 2007


Some days ago, Bob Herbert wrote an article for his column in the Times where he reflected on the Iraq-war-cost for the Americans ("Now and Forever", Dec 4): really a good piece! Today, I stumbled over this video which touches the same topic and that is definitely worth watching too.