You always find a way to make me reflect David.
Mark Sonnemann

Thanks for sharing your journey—I found it enlightening!

I’m particularly struck by your search for personal and transcendent truth, and how it led you to design internal processes for shining lights on your blind spots. This comes through when you talk about holding up a mirror to learners and holding up a lamp to reveal paths forward.

I recently attended a talk by Alan Kay which I’ve been processing ever since. In the talk, Alan presented several ideas that I’ve had myself—but he placed them in an entirely different frame of reference. Just by looking at these familiar ideas from a slightly different angle, I saw them in a completely new light. It was shocking and exciting at the same time.

He started by saying the vast majority of ideas are bad to mediocre. Ideas only become powerful when we debug them. A powerful idea is insightful and provides new contexts for thinking. In order to arrive at powerful ideas, we need to acknowledge and then shine a light into our blind spots, and we need to develop processes for debugging our ideas.

I uncovered a blind spot that day at his talk. I could have looked away and ignored it, but I didn’t. And I’m really glad I didn’t because, just by looking into it, I’ve learned a lot and improved my own thinking.

What causes some people to look into their blind spots and others to look away? Frankly, it takes a lot of courage to look into one’s blind spots. At this point in your life, you do it reflexively because you know, from past history, that you will not only survive the experience, but grow and thrive from it. How did you arrive at that point? You did it over the course of many, many years grappling with literature.

As educators, I think we need to figure out how to help guide learners to a similar point. I’d love to see how you might bring the practice of shining a light onto our blind spots to the fore in a teacher preparation program and as part of a school culture.

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