The Fine and Performing Arts & Education

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. (Paulo Freire)I see too many public service commercials-today-exhorting us to support the Performing and Fine Arts in public education. We, as a nation, have evidently become so low-brow, or unsophisticated, that we can no longer see the need for Art education in our schools. So now, we have our children pleading with us, on television commercials, to keep Art education alive. This is a sad state of affairs for us and our children, because art is what truly separates us from the beasts and allows us to rise above the mundane drudgery of life. As many others, I believe art should be at the center of education and not just because it’s good for us. Art stimulates a child’s cognitive and affective domains, as well as their motor skills, which leads to learning, discovery, creativity and motivation.Academics are very important, of course, but too often they only stimulate a very small portion of the student’s mind and heart. There are three, basic domains of learning: the Cognitive (mind), Affective (emotions or feelings) and Motor-Skills (hands-on). These three domains are key to our thinking/reasoning, learning, problem solving and creating. A healthy mind (Cognitive) is capable of taking in, retaining and processing information, which can then be applied, if retained and used, to the individual’s life. Emotions and feelings (Affective) are closely connected to an individual’s learning, because they aid in retaining and applying information, as well as stimulating the desire to learn more. Seeing, hearing, speaking, the ability to write, walk and run are all part of the individual’s Motor-skills. Without these three domains, learning, needless to say, would be impossible. Reading, writing, math and the sciences stimulate the cognitive and motor skills domains quite effectively, but the affective is too often short changed.If we think back to our school days, then we should be able to remember that the memorization of facts and successfully spitting them back out on tests was our main concern as students. This is very much a part of the learning process, and I’m not denying that, but where does the Affective domain play a significant part in this teaching process? In much of this way of learning the affective is absent, and-therefore-much of the educational material, which has just been learned, has no real application in the individual’s life and is forgotten. I remember very little about higher level math, the periodic table and scientific jargon. Why is that? It didn’t relate to my life nor touch me in a deep way. This is not to say that I, or anyone else, shouldn’t have taken math and science classes, but what I am saying is academics are less effective than they can be, because they tend to ignore the Affective domain.

I contend that the Arts use all three domains effectively, and they can-therefore-stimulate the student to apply, as well as retain, what they’ve learned. Creativity is key in this process. The Performing and Fine Arts have a distinct advantage-educationally-in their ability to allow students to create as they learn. In painting, students are in the process of creating at the same time they’re mixing colors and learning brush techniques. The same applies to sculpting and photography students. Many middle and high school music directors are-now-using computer programs to stimulate their students to compose as they learn to play and sing. Dance and theatre programs are examples, as well, of applying skills as their students learn. This artistic, educational process employs the cognitive and motor skills domains, but it also stimulates the affective. The art student experiences the sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from successfully learning, and then being able to immediately apply this knowledge in a very personal way. The Arts can enhance a student’s ability to express their emotions in a very positive way. These students have ownership of what they have learned and are able to express this ownership through creativity. The Performing or Fine Arts student is motivated-educationally-beyond just memorizing facts and passing tests, because they’re using their newly-acquired knowledge to express what lies deep in their heart and mind.Surprisingly, the arts and sports have much in common, educationally. The basketball or football player, as well as the long-distant runner, learn their skills while applying them. The learning of physical techniques and immediate application reinforces the athlete’s desire to learn and perform even more. In team sports, such as football, baseball and basketball, the student athlete learns to work with others to produce a product, or team. The young athlete learns that the whole, or team, is greater than the sum of its parts, or players, as do dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists. As in performing ensembles, these young athletes experience the joy that comes from accomplishing something special with others. They learn, in a very intimate way, responsibility towards others and that the team is dependent on the very weakest athlete, as well as the strongest and most gifted. There’s really very little difference between a football player and a band member, when it comes to being responsible and understanding that it takes everyone-involved-to be successful. This is such a valuable and wonderful lesson, and it is learned primarily, through the affective domain.Educational collaboration between artistic disciplines is a great way for young artists to learn while they create. The pairing of young instrumentalists with dancers and visual artists, or actors with singers, can open up a whole new world of artistic exploration, discovery and creativity. These collaborations can become a great vehicle for learning and motivation, as any arts teacher who has experienced this process will testify. The educational process becomes more important than the outcome, or testing results, because it is in the process of exploration, discovery and creativity where learning really occurs. The educational outcome is secondary, because it is only used, in this case, to measure curricular goals. The motivation for and enjoying of learning comes through the process of collaboration, exploration, discovery and creating.In academia, the emphasis-today-is placed more on the outcome, or testing and grades, which, in my estimation, is a huge mistake. Academic instructors could learn much from their counterparts in the arts. The government and its politically motivated, educational policies, of course, stands in the way of any successful, corrective change to academic teaching methods. Political agendas, such as, “No child left behind” are meaningless and worthless to students and teachers, because they’re not concerned, as they so hypocritically claim, with the success of the individual learner. Instead, these agendas are merely an attempt to soothe the fevered brows of unsatisfied constituents.I will agree with academic teachers that their process seems to be more set in stone than with the arts, and the only real way they can measure educational outcomes is through testing. There has to be a way-however-to allow a math, science, English or history student to become more involved in the process of learning. English teachers have a distinct advantage, since they could use writing essays and poems to instill a sense of ownership in their students. Their students-then-could use their essays and poems to collaborate with young composers, actors and dancers, as an example. Even though it would be difficult, science, language and math teachers could also seek these same avenues for educational exploration, discovery and creativity, which would-then-hopefully-lead to a student’s retention/application, ownership and motivation. This, of course, will be impossible, as long as we allow our government to force academic teachers to teach-solely-towards the outcome, or “standardized” testing.American students, every year, fall farther behind their counterparts around the world, academically and intellectually, while their parents and teachers continue to buy into the educational propaganda, which is spewed out by the American-political machine in Washington. Every year, Art education becomes less and less important in our schools, because of it’s effectiveness in producing students who can think, reason, question, learn and create. Realistically speaking, Art education may be perceived as a threat to those who run this country and desire a race of middle-class, mindless, unquestioning and unsophisticated robots.

Education is the responsibility of the parents first and foremost, and if parents aren’t capable or willing to fight for their children’s education, then I guess America is doomed. If I were a parent-today-there would be no way I could allow my child to be intellectually molested by our current, public-education system. My child would either be home-schooled, at best, or in a private education system.The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and long lasting nations in the history of the world, and yet, as the Roman government declined, then so did its human values and arts. There is only one piece of music remaining, one mere fragment, after one thousand years of Roman culture. Rome literally disintegrated from within, because of a corrupt government and decaying society. The United States is less than two-hundred and fifty years old, and we’re already starting the lingering slide into governmental corruption, cultural ignorance and decay. Perhaps, it’s too late to save our society, but if it isn’t, then it’s time to start rebuilding what we have allowed to be torn down for the last one-hundred and fifty years. If it isn’t too late, then we must begin to rebuild our values and education system. Our values and education system may not have been perfect, in the past, but they were worthy of being fixed, properly.Most successful, world cultures, throughout history, have been measured by the quality of their philosophers and artists far more than their forms of government and technological advances. If we disappear as a nation, in another century or so, what will we be remembered for? What will be our legacy to the world?Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine. (Magdalena Abakanowicz)In my estimation, art is an integral part of being human and-therefore-is integral to human education. If we die to our affective inclinations, then we cease to be human in any real sense, and the results of this can be seen on MTV and its “Hip-Hop” generation. Money, material objects, self-absorbed egos, low-life affections and brutal power will never make us more human, if anything these extrinsic motivators will simply and affectively dehumanize us. “The one with the most toys in the end,” loses! Art education can help us to see ourselves, the world and-yes-God more clearly. We are more than flesh and blood, and our affective, as well as cognitive, attributes are exhorting us to remember this truth. The arts should be at the center of our children’s education, and our children shouldn’t have to plead with us to give them what they need and desire!

Opting Efficient Computer Repair Services

With the development of internet, world has become a compact place to live in. Computer has become so indispensable for us that the concept of life is now incomplete without it. It is the most sophisticated machine with least reliability as you might never know when it could incur a problem. It has now become necessity almost in fields of life. No matter, you are a teacher, student, business person or an employee, you need to use computer in some respect. Where internet has transformed the world into a global village, on the other hand it has also affected the security of computer systems. The risk of technical faults has drastically increased with the threats of Trojans, worms and spywares. You never know when, with a downloaded file, the Trojan may enter in your computer and destroy the whole system. To cope up with these threats, you need a computer repair service provider that can help you in the hour of need.

Being the third richest state of America, New Jersey has to invest more on computer repair services. Just the diagnostic charges are from minimum $35 to maximum $140. Apart from prices, the computer repair services offer high technology diagnostic and repairing facilities. New Jersey computer repair services offer solutions for the removal of viruses, server repairing, inhibiting file sharing, windows troubleshooting and data recovery. It also offers installing facilities like software installation, DSL modem and router installation, laptop and server installations etc. Moreover, virus prevention, workstation data transfer, network configuration and desktop installations are also offered.New Jersey computer repair services provide facility of both on-site and off-site repairing. In on-site repairing, the service provider sends its workers on site and repairs the computer at your place. This facility is mostly required for wired PCs and workstations. In off-site repairing, they take your PC with them and after repairing bring it back and affix it at its place. Now, the decision depends upon your trust on the service provider. If the repairing requires 5 to 6 hours and the faulty computer belongs to your office then it would be better to send the computer to company but if it isn’t the case then you should prefer on-site repairing.If you know how to maintain your computer, you may not need any repair soon. Firstly, you need to follow some tips in order to save your computer from damage. You should have registered antivirus, must take frequent backups of your data and if you have accidentally lost your data, consult with some professional so that the data can be restored.

Now, the question arises how to find a deft technician in New Jersey who would also charge reasonably. For it, you should consult with your friends and family first. You should also consult Better Business Bureau, read online reviews of people about New Jersey computer repair service providers, call them to ask about their fees and then compare overall costs. Select the best option with fine services in fewer expenses.Some companies in New Jersey also offer additional free services along with the required one such as virus and spyware scan and removal, removal of unnecessary files and folders that slow down your system, and back-up of all data.. Keep these details in mind while looking for a computer repair service in New Jersey in order to get the best service at exorbitant rates.

Five Similarities Between Religion and Spirituality

When we were children we were asked, Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If we based our answer on the creation story in the Bible, we would answer, Chicken. But if we based our answer on our experience in raising chickens, our answer would be, Egg.The same can be said of the answer to the question, Which came first, Religion or Spirituality?In terms of our experience with religious books and discussions, religion came first. It is only now that more and more people are talking about spirituality and writing about it. In terms of the origin of the reality behind those words or in terms of the object of our understanding, spirituality came first. The spirit was there before there was any religion. God was there before there was anybody to worship him.We can even say that spirituality is an offshoot of religion. For many centuries people professed religion. Some of them fiercely opposed religions other their own. Christians for many centuries opposed paganism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and any other religion. This has happened also with paganism, Islam, and the rest with respect to the other religions. They too opposed other religions.

But more and more people discover that mere religion cannot answer their deeper yearning for a better experience of life. So, they turned to something deeper and better than religion. They found this in spirituality.Because spirituality in a sense is an offshoot of religion, there is bound to be some similarity between them, just like the similarity between the egg and the chicken.First, both believe in a higher power of some kind. Religion believes in God the Father or Jesus, or Allah, or Brahman, or Tao. Spirituality believes also in this God or it may conceive of God as a universal or primal energy. Both believe that such being possesses power higher and greater than what we have.Secondly, both religion and spirituality desire to have a relationship with this higher power. Although the nature of the relationship is different in religion than in spirituality, the desire for this relationship is there. Religion connects with this higher power with fear and trembling. Spirituality connects with this higher power with love and affection.Thirdly, both religion and spirituality have rituals and practices which deepen one’s religiosity or spirituality. Religion usually has sacred rites or sacraments. Spirituality has meditation or yoga sessions.

Fourthly, both have respect for the sacred, the other worldly. This is not just respect for God. This is respect for the reality that is beyond our senses and reason. When religion pushes this respect to its extreme, it becomes superstition. When spirituality pushes this respect to its extreme, it becomes religious spirituality.Fifthly, both have fear of failure. In religion this failure is punished by hell fire or repetition of existence or some other worse fate. In spirituality this failure is the inability to realize one’s true worth or value and the destiny of a life of meaninglessness. Hell, repetition of existence, non-existence, meaninglessness are forms of punishment for failure, either in religion or in spirituality.

The Food-Brain Connection

For over 40 years I have been studying the extremely complex connection between food and brain function. Many experts have recognized the connection between highly processed food and various common brain disorders. Their perspective goes something like this: You eat too much highly processed food and at some point you will become insulin resistant and pre-diabetic, a condition that now affects more than 50% of our population. Many will also become obese or develop type II diabetes. We do know that being exposed to these pro-inflammatory diseases for years will have a predictable adverse affect on brain function leading to an increased incidence of dementia, depression, ADHD, anxiety disorders, bipolar II and other common brain disorders. David Perlmutter’s excellent book “Grain Brain” reflects this concept quite well. I agree that this is likely true but I have a different view of how bad food affects brain function. In my opinion when you eat a diet of highly processed food the brain is the first rather than the last organ to be adversely affected.

Connecting the dietary dots

I learned this over many years by measuring the body composition of over 10,000 patients in my primary care practice. Because of my interest in neuroscience I was also paying attention to their brain dysfunction symptoms. I learned a few things along the way:

1. When a healthy person eats bad food like binging on pizza and sugary soda, they likely will feel crummy for a period of time and then they will return to normal. This can happen to anyone and it does not indicate a disease.

2. If a person consumes a diet of highly processed food for years, at some point they will develop specific brain dysfunction symptoms that persist 24/7. We have identified 22 of these symptoms that tend to slowly develop over time.

3. This fits the definition of a disease that we now call Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome.

4. Because the symptoms of CARB syndrome overlap with many traditional medical and psychiatric disorders and because most physicians are unaware of the CARB syndrome concept, they end up labeling these patients with a long list of disorders, a condition that I call “labelitis”. Patients are diagnosed with major depression, bipolar II, ADHD, IBS, anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD and other conditions. They are given multiple drugs that eventually make them worse because they really only have one disease-CARB syndrome.

5. Unlike many psychiatric disorders CARB syndrome is preventable, treatable and reversible and it starts by changing your diet. A low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat (healthy fats) diet is the best way to go. Get your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables rather than grains. I favor a Paleo or ketogenic style diet with some intermittent fasting thrown in for good measure. Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf have great web sites outlining this type of diet. Jimmy Moore’s book “Keto Clarity” is good starting point for a healthy high fat diet. Dr. Mercola has many great tips on healthy eating and is also loaded with other tips for living a healthy life.

6. The lead symptom of CARB syndrome is persistent cravings for sweet and starchy foods. These cravings are so overwhelming that most patients simply cannot follow a healthy diet. I have found that the key to successful treatment is to suppress these cravings with combinations of low dose medications when necessary and targeted supplements for virtually everyone. The amino acid L-glutamine can help suppress these cravings and you really can’t overdose on this amino acid. I also highly recommend taking a precursor supplement containing L-tyrosine and 5-htp in a ratio of about 10-1.

7. When it comes to managing patients, pay attention to the brain dysfunction symptoms, especially the cravings. Anything that reduces the craving for sweet and starchy foods is good and anything that makes the cravings worse suggests that you are doing something wrong. This is a good way to determine whether a drug or dietary changes are working for you.

The wisdom that comes with living with a disease

Over the years I have found that patients with CARB syndrome immediately “get it” when it comes to understanding a rather complex brain disorder because they have been living it. When I go through the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome they often think that I can read their mind. No healthcare provider has likely ever asked them most of these questions before. As a matter of fact I developed the CARB syndrome concept by carefully listening to and observing my patients over many decades.

Physicians in the dark about nutrition

Educating healthcare providers is another story. Most physicians receive little or no nutritional training in medical school so they leave nutritional advice to the dietitians. In my experience often their advice is decades out of date. I have a Psychiatrist friend here in Greece who has shown a great deal of interest in the topic and I am trying to educate him. He has noticed that many of his patients have some of the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome but he never connected this with diet. I noticed that in the hospital where he works they feed their patients a truly horrible diet that is far from a Mediterranean diet. It contains about 85% high glycemic carbohydrates, 10% low quality protein and 5% bad fats. I have tried to convince him that this diet is cancelling out many of the treatments he is giving his patients. He told me today that when he stays at the hospital when he is on call and eats the hospital food, he feels terrible for several hours. I told him that this is normal and is not CARB syndrome. If he eats this food every day and the symptoms persist 24/7 he will then be entering the ugly world of CARB syndrome.

The challenge of educating the educated

He also has a research position at a top Greek university. I find it a bit odd that a simple country doctor could educate a top clinician in psychiatry but true scientists will evaluate new theories from many different sources. Remember that all of today’s experts are simply wrong. How do I know? Leap ahead a few decades and look back and you will see what I mean. Science is evolutionary so it is always changing. When you live on the fringes of the current experts you are either a crackpot (wrong today and wrong tomorrow) or a future expert who has the ability to see where science is heading before others. I try to be a future expert and I am not afraid of being judged by father time.

The wisdom of making a self-diagnosis of CARB syndrome

The key to successful treatment is first making the diagnosis of CARB syndrome. Because this is a new concept most physicians are unaware of the concept, so I try to teach people to make a self-diagnosis. I believe that this is a reasonable and ethical approach because all the treatments that I recommend are very low risk. If the concept proves to be wrong by father time, virtually nobody will be harmed. Eating a healthy whole foods diet certainly will not harm anyone. It might take decades for the medical and scientific communities to accept this concept. If you have CARB syndrome I strongly suggest that you don’t wait decades to do something about it. My mission is to help guide you through this challenging task.