Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This morning I had a deja vu moment of enlightenment. I was driving to work, and I heard one of my greatest professors, who we'll call Phil. I had Phil for a boat-load of education classes during my first life as an education major. One of Phil's big points he liked to make was that everybody was motivated to do something, and a true teacher's job was to rechannel their motivation.

For example, Johnny is motivated to stare out the window and doodle in class. My job as super teacher would be to rechannel Johnny's motivation back to creative writing. I think of it in terms of work a lot, too -- Johnny is motivated to be worried about his new cancer diagnosis. He uses lots of worry-energy to worry; this super nurse tries to move his worry-energy into survivor-mode energy. I'm reapplying previously learned knowledge, just like they said I would when I grew up.

I had always thought of it as a neat idea, that the world had so much energy (neither created or destroyed) and people just pass it around, doing stuff. Sometimes it's good stuff; sometimes it's bad stuff; sometimes it's stuff that has no impact on the world. But it's all energy. That last part was my addition to his theory. It's world-wide, bigger than one Johnny in one classroom or treatment room.

This morning The Hater and I were having a big conversation about the problems with the prison and jail system. The death penalty is wrong, but so is holding people in cages until they die. We talked about rehab, real rehab. I think it could work. I know it could.

But it'll never work because it would take money. Money people won't want to give rehab to prisioners. A level system where people can earn their way out, later earning their continued "outness". Forgetting the whole 'do your time' then go back to the world scenario and swapping it with a continued rehab. It's not Atlantis, but it might as well be.

And then I thought about rechanneling motivation. People who are currently incarcerated were motivated to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Why couldn't their motivation be rechanneled -- somewhere between Clockwork Orange and Dead Poet's Society. It might sound far-fetched, but that doesn't make it less doable.

I'd be willing to rechannel my blogging motivation to do something real, serve on the committee that makes it happen. So if you know a politician who is ready to stop talking about doing the right thing and actually try to do it, please send them here; I'd be happy to enlighten and rechannel their motivation.

This has been the mistake for over two hundred years; it's time for a change.

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