The Bridge 1.9
January 1, 2018
Hello and Happy New Year!
I know it has been a little while since our last issue of The Bridge, I can promise you it was not because we were sitting back on our heels. In fact, the dream of City of Bridges High School is becoming a reality more and more each day. We are on the edge of making some major announcements! Stay tuned.
We want to being this new year firmly grounded in one of the essential elements of City of Bridges High School, an explicit focus on Peace and Justice. There is a great deal of suffering and injustice in the world and if we are going to envision a different future, a future with greater Peace, Justice, Inclusion, Hope, and Joy, then we must create intentional communities to prepare for this different future. City of Bridges High School exists not only to provide young people with skills and knowledge for their lives, but also the wisdom to create a better tomorrow.
I recently had the opportunity to join a group of 8th grade students to see the Prime Stage Theaters production of All Quiet on the Western Front. It was a powerful performance and a sobering reminder of the history of cruelty and senseless suffering that people have brought to each other over time.
After attending the play and talking with the students I returned to the work of Bent Flyvbjerg, a Danish economic geographer, researcher, and scholar. Flyvbjerg discusses Aristotle’s intellectual virtues in his book, Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again. Flyvbjerg explores the three virtues examined in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: episteme, techne, and phronesis. Episteme is the virtue most closely associated with scientific knowing; it is the empirical and verifiable truths that are independent of context (55-56). Techne is the craft of knowing, the production and application of thought with a deep awareness of the relevant context that is required for production (56). Phronesis is the ethical and practical considerations of knowing (56-57). Phronesis is understood by Flyvberg as focusing “on what is variable, on that which cannot be encapsulated by universal rules, on specific cases. Phronesis requires an interaction between the general and the concrete; it requires consideration, judgment and choice”(57). Through this lens Flyvbjerg presents four questions to ask when considering phronesis as a virtue in your work:
- Where are we going?
- Is this desirable?
- What should be done?
- Who gains and who loses by which mechanisms of power? (60)
These are the questions that City of Bridges asks as we create this community, if we can ask these questions, we can provide young people with the opportunity to not only envision but also enact a future with greater peace, justice and joy.
I admit this was a rather philosophical post, but the values that underly a school and a community are essential to its strength and success, and I wanted to share our values with you as we move towards opening our doors.
Thank you and Be Well,
Randy and Paige