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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

What did you do during the Great Occupation of twenty-ought-eleven?

If OWS or other “occupation” movements turn out to be anything other than a minor footnote in someone’s analysis of U.S. society, I fantasize that while I sit under a shade tree years from now whittling my dance pegs, one of my grandsons asks me that question. “Well,” I would answer, “having been strangers occupying an even stranger land for decades by then, some other folks and I were busy ‘de-occupying’ society. Yep. We were a group lousy with graduate degrees and professional training – we, too, were fed up with things.”

Since all of life is a learning experience, I would continue to describe the land we were sitting on, taking note of how we enriched the soils, conserved water, raised livestock and grew food crops, and tapped into sustainable solar, geothermal and wind energies. I would tell him about how we made sure to deliver food to those who needed it, young or old, and took care of one another’s needs as members of a community.

I might go so far as to delve into the history of what lead to the OWS. How individuals worked their entire lives seeking out new “things” to have and to do, and about how unbalanced their lives were as they continued to seek new goals that others set for them. How a few used power and fear to manipulate many. Perhaps I would describe my own complicity in a system that exercised physical ‘police powers’, and my role as a priest in a religion of laws that bound many in its web of fictions.

At some point, he would have enough of my “teaching”. He would ask another question or start looking distracted, and it would be time for him to wander off… I would resume my whittling or get up to do the chores.

Through a simple question, my grandson would have taught me that the both of us “occupy” our lives from moment to moment and that teachable moments arise at all times and under all circumstances.

Occupy education” and occupy life.

About Brent Snavely

A construct of upbringing and society, holder of a BS. JD and an MA, I have practiced law more than 25 years. "The Truth shall set you free", but only if it is a Personal Truth that is based upon facts. Parrhesia may be humankind's only hope (see,


6 thoughts on “What did you do during the Great Occupation of twenty-ought-eleven?

  1. Hi
    My name is Holly Fore and I am a education student at The University of South Alabama in Mobile. I agree with you that all of life is a learning experience. Your right who would have thought through a simple question asked by your grandson would have taught you that both live your lives moment by moment. I also agree that individuals do live their lives seeking out new “things” and also always wanting new ” things”.

    Posted by Holly Fore | October 18, 2011, 9:13 pm
    • Holly,

      Learning is indeed a life-long process that takes place at all times and under all circumstances. One of my greatest concerns is that we may place too much emphasis on classrooms and rather mechanical routines, and not enough on substance.

      Best wishes to you in your studies.


      Posted by Brent Snavely | October 19, 2011, 10:03 am
  2. Thanks so much Brent!

    Keep up the fantastic work! Occupy Education — we are all fed up with the system and its destroying of learning in American Society.

    In Educational Solidarity,
    Casey K. Caronna

    Posted by caseykcaronna | October 28, 2011, 10:37 pm
  3. There is one major reason why Occupy should focus a major portion of its efforts in the area of K-12 Education reform:
    The biggest tragedy we could experience is to lose our children’s’ minds to the enemy and to end up having to fight them for what we know is right;
    But there are other tactical reasons as well: like
    We will be seen as supportive of unions, teacher’s rights, and well-known and respected theories of education;
    There is a lot already going on and even the existing Administration has gone through several changes in position regarding NCLB and RTTT; thus, our actions will be less likely to bring us in immediate direct conflict with authorities.
    There is new legislation (NCLB renewal) and discretionary programs like RTTT and new methods to evaluate teacher-performance (using Standard test scores) that already have been subject to intense scrutiny from the public and experts that we can evidence as proof of the need to change directions;
    The idea that our system is broken and that it is the fault of ‘bad’ teachers has been largely discredited and thus can be readily refuted;
    Instead of asking people to leave their jobs to join demonstrations, we can work through the schools, the parent-teacher organizations, School Board meetings, teachers’ unions and other places
    Such actions would be inherently non-violent and would lessen the chances of our being lead into violence by agent-provocateurs (say, posing as members of ‘black-bloc’ Anarchists) from the government or right-wing elements.

    Posted by Stephen Stollmack | February 20, 2012, 10:54 pm
    • Stephen,

      You propose an interesting tact. Toward what ends, or in what direction would you suggest K-12 Education Occupiers attempt to shift the focus to?


      Posted by Brent Snavely | February 22, 2012, 7:44 am

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