Old Prints of Rhinoceroses

I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads – like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travellers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses. (p54)

It’s tough explaining what a dynamic, complex educational program would look like. It’s not something that describes easily, it’s probably something to understand after long-term contemplation or to realize through experience – because so much of the assumptions made about education, and the language that we use, come from static design and are a basic part of our dialogues.

I consider myself a novice on the subject (this blog series is an exploration) but often find myself trying to explain to others what education in a systematic approach means…especially the smaller details. The Death and Life of Great American Cities is helping me to understand better the process of complexity, and to understand better how to communicate it.

Besides the long-term thought or the realization through experience, key metaphors and comparisons can open doors to understanding. I like this quote because it’s novel, creative and seems so suited. It refers to a static image of something living and moving, and trying to convey the idea of this living thing from one mind to another through this static image. The static, second hand image will pass as a representation of a rhino, but does it achieve levels of accuracy we are now capable of?

Language is often limited when it comes to these things but, language is also living and moving.


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