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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Name of new blog - looking for inspiration


Since getting more organised I've had time to start planning my new blog and mulling over what to call it. I was wondering if I could incorporate a Latin expression from a Roman poet that I have on a post-it note above my desk:
Est modus in rebus. (There is measure - a middle way - in all things).
I wonder sometimes why this quote fascinates me. I think it's partly because the story of my life has been someone who didn't measure things, I only ever fully immersed myself. But with age I'm learning the importance of measure.

And I think it talks to me in another way. While I often hear people framing ideas, concepts and solutions as if they had to be either one thing or another, wisdom actually lies in engaging in that grey area in the middle.

This quote is also on a really cool painting called "The Measurers" in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. There are two things I love about this painting, which is a Flemish image of mathematics in the sixteenth century. First, it shows maths as an everyday activity. There is maths in a kid beating out the rhythm, in a woman working with cloth. There's an amorous couple in the background, and I guess there is some maths in what they are doing. But anyway, it's maths as situated cognition, (and the basis for theories of learning in communities of practice).

The other thing I like about the painting is that the central character is a designer of mathematical instruments. This was, apparently, unusual. The instruments (and their maker) were normally taken for granted. I like the focus on the tool maker as a central part of the activities, in amongst - and probably in conversation with - the people about him.

Anyway, the long and the short of my meanderings is that I'm not going to call my blog "Est modus in rebus", much as I like the expression, the poet Horace (65 BC to 8 BC) and this painting! But I do find myself coming back to the Renaissance for inspiration, so perhaps my next blog's name lies somewhere there...

2 Comments:

Blogger Rosanna Tarsiero said...

A wild guess? The quote is frequently used in Italian. It means "there is a right way of doing things", and the right way usually means balanced way. I think it's calling you to challenge your subjectivistic, contextual stand and explore the more objective side... basically moving from Vygotsky to George Lakoff.

The one quote that calls me is "Festina lente", aka "Rush slowly".

8/30/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger bev trayner said...

Hi Rosanna ... thanks.

It's a quote from Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace)

measure, balance and the middle way in the pursuit of virtue.

8/30/2006 06:30:00 PM  

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