Friday, June 11, 2010

Quote of the Summer

First off, I love that Cornel West tweets. Full Stop. Love that a great philosopher and academic of our time tweets nuggets of wisdom. It's like when I wake up to discover His Holiness the Dalai Lama has tweeted. I think Prince Siddhartha would be pleased.

But I digress, my first thought was: 1) wow, Cornel West tweets about Chekhov 2) Hmmmm, I wonder what West and Chekov would say about KAP (Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices) - I have my doubts about KAP methodology 3) this describes my experience this summer and at the Clinton School in general pretty perfectly.

Chekhov, as much as his plays are not exactly my favorite (must EVERYONE in your thousand-person cast be named the same, or virtually the same, thing?? really, Chekhov?), makes a point.
Knowledge is nothing without practice. I am pretty sure that is the attitude we are all discovering this summer, during our public service projects. I, for one, am nearing the end of my project and I only wish I could see where all this knowledge gathering is going to lead my supervisor and PCI - Media Impact. It is difficult to sit in information-gathering meetings, which is helpful and necessary work (see previous post for "the necessary"), but I want to put it into practice! That is what makes these short service projects so difficult. Sometimes, many times, we design or plan without the implementation, but most of us want to see the results of our work.

Which brings me to a major lesson of the summer: do what you can, serve while you can, but know that you can only do so much. Take your knowledge of Year One in the Clinton School and put it into practice, the best you know how. Then take the local knowledge and let it revise, sharpen, and improve your knowledge. In the end, I think of the IPSP (the International Public Service Project) as KAP-PAK - I want to tell Anton all about my Clinton School service work and then say - yes, put the knowledge into practice, then go into the field, talk to the people who live there, and put the practices from the people here back into your knowledge base. It's a cyclical thing, this public service life.

All that theatre I have seen and to think, Chekhov had the answer the whole time.

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