Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thinking some thinks

At the beginning of Philosophy class today, I told the kids to draw black water, white sky, a boat, and bloogs blowing by.  Noah said, "What blowing by?" and I said, "Bloogs."  Sarah was already drawing.  Noah said, "What? What's a bloog?"  I said, "Well, I guess we'll know after you draw one."  He stared at me for a second, but then he started drawing.  He said the bloog was the black thing at the back of the boat.  He said it was like a plug that you could insert or remove to raise or lower the boat.  He said, "You'd use it in a sentence like this: 'Put the bloog in!  We're taking on water!'"  Sarah said bloogs are mermaidish creatures who are attracted to chocolate cupcakes with green sprinkles (I used this bit of information later in the day during our Bible lesson about temptation). 

After they were finished explaining their drawings, I read Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! and they got to see his idea of bloogs.  Then we had a big discussion about imagination.  I asked them if humans are the only creatures with the capacity to imagine.  Noah said yes, and I asked him if he thought animals ever imagined anything.  There were three lazy cats in the room at the time, who looked like they were half-dozing, but who knows what's really going on in their minds?  Noah said that animals don't imagine, "except maybe the really smart ones, like monkeys and chimps and things like that."  I asked him what makes them smart, and he said they're most human-like.  
Me: What about dolphins?  Are they smart? And there's evidence that crows are smart.  I've even seen Kozmo figure out some pretty ingenious ways to try to escape...
N: Well, those animals might be able to think, but it's more in a survival way, not a creative way.  They don't have feelings or anything.
M: How do you know?
N: I mean, things like bugs don't have feelings.  If one bug gets killed, the rest of them just keep going.
M: Maybe they keep going because they're in danger of being killed too. But maybe they're silently screaming as they keep going.  [And here I paused the serious discussion and pantomimed an ant in agony over his brother getting squashed]
N: Bugs aren't smart enough to have feelings. 
M: How do you know?
N: Have you ever seen a fly trying to get out of a car when the window is wide open?
M: How about plants?  Do they imagine?
Sarah joins in at this point and yells, "Plants don't even have heads!"
M: Is there anything you can't think about?
N: I can't think about eternity and forever and infinity and how God has always just existed.
S: I can't imagine heaven, because it's too great.
M: Yes, there are some things that we can't wrap our brains around, things that blow our minds, but we still think about them.  
N: There's really nothing that we know about that we can't think about.
M: If we think we can't think about it, we've just thought about it.  

We ended by talking about how the Bible says we're supposed to take our thoughts captive, and how difficult that is. 

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