A Deficit of Joy

Podcasts a part of the read/write Web? You bet they are. But that’s an argument for another post.

Right now I want to share a snippet of an inspiring podcast I found via The University Channel. Dr. David Orr, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College, spoke on “The End of Education” at the University of British Columbia on January 13, 2006, as part of UBC’s “Global Citizenship Seminar Series.” I found Dr. Orr’s remarks both provocative and large-hearted, and I was especially struck by one little anecdote he told in response to a student’s question about how she could help make UBC a better place.

Orr knows about real school, all right, and he just reminded me of something important that I can easily forget in the press of business: we must not run a deficit of joy.


6 thoughts on “A Deficit of Joy

  1. When I returned to my undergraduate college to work 10 years after graduation, I sat down with my advisor to chat and asked him how the place had changed since I left. He said that he thought many faculty had lost ability to be thankful for the opportunities they had. Few people in the world have the chance to work organizations with such noble goals. Even fewer have the opportunity and the freedom to pursue their personal passions.

    More gratitude would be good too….

  2. In Book 4 of Paradise Lost, Satan lands on Mt. Niphates and confesses his own crime to himself. Among many heartrending words (that do not finally change his mind, alas), he says the following:

    … a grateful mind
    By owing owes not, but is at once
    Indebted and discharged.

    In other words, gratitude is a circle of blessings, where what goes around does indeed come around again. What Satan can’t endure is the idea that he must depend on, and depend from, others….

  3. How a propos to have found this. I just recently decided that I’d gotten too bogged down in what I don’t like about my job–only about 5% of it really–and had forgotten what I loved about it!

    I’ve been thinking, though, about emergent systems and their application to organizations and I wonder if higher ed or any particular higher ed institution hasn’t evolved to a certain point. Of course, that theory also dictates that small changes could create an evolution in another direction.

  4. Somewhat along these same lines, I, at one time, found some inspiration or maybe it was consolation in reading Paul Luts’s description of careware.
    ” So here is my deal: stop whining for an hour, a day, a week, your choice, and you will have earned your copy of Arachnophilia. Say encouraging words to young people, make them feel welcome on the planet Earth (many do not). Show by example that we don’t need all we have in order to be happy and productive.”

  5. Powerful stuff–and it pulls at my heartstrings as I think about how close to home it touches. I’m testing waters with ‘focussed playing’ in the coming weeks of my class to see if that can enhance the joys.

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