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Activity 3

Read the following essay aloud to your group (you may take turns reading or one of you may volunteer to read it all).

After you have read and discussed this section on ALLNESS, print out the four project sheets.  Each member of the group pick one project. Complete the chosen project and then share your completed project with your group. All printed sheets will need to be turned into the teacher.  Make sure the group name and individual name is on each sheet.  Group comments may be added to the end of the sheet.   You have two class periods to complete this assignment.

ALLNESS

Outside our skins there is a "reality" -- a "real" world - which is infinitely complex and ever changing.  Because of this infinite complexity we can never say all about anything; there is always something we do not perceive, something we do not understand. We could not even say all about something so simple as a pencil or a car or a house.  When it comes to human beings and human behavior any attempt to say all is automatically doomed to failure.

Yet, in many instances we act as if we do know and are saying all.  This allness attitude takes a number of different forms. It is seen in our tendency to judge the whole of something, after only seeing a part -- often only a very small part.  We may, for example, judge a course or a teacher after only the first few classes, or judge a whole race of nationality after meeting but a few of its members, or judge a political party or organization after seeing only two or three of its activities.  We then assume, sometimes explicitly, sometimes only implicitly, that what we have said is all that could be said.  We have formulated an evaluation and everything else we see must pass through this evaluation filter.  If the first few classes of a course are dull and if we evaluate the course as a whole as dull, we will expect the remaining classes to be dull.  What happens of course, is that the prophecy is fulfilled. We expect it to be dull and we act towards the course as if it is dull.  In the process we ourselves fulfill the prophecy.

This allness attitude is also seen in the intolerance which some people have for other points of view.  These people have already made up their minds, have said all there is to be said, and no amount of evidence will convince them they might be wrong.

The infinite complexity of the world -- of people, objects, and events -- makes it impossible for us to ever know everything about anything.  The map can never represent all the territory; our words can never say all there is to be said.  There should be a big fat ETC. after each of our statements -- whether actually spoken or only mentally noted -- to remind ourselves that more could be said, that what we have said is not all.  Perhaps then we will be more willing to have an open mind, to listen fairly to other, even opposing, points of view, and to suspend judgment until more is known.

"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step toward knowledge."    - Disraeli