“I ENCOURGE you to cultivate a willing supension of disbelief… and a TOLLERANCE for ambiguity.”
That’s you, on the first day of the new school year in 1984, giving the opening lecture for the Foundations of Human Expression core program…
I remember sitting in book seminars that year being in almost slack-jawed awe at the power of your mind, at the bounty of ideas you had at your disposal and how you were able to weave them together extemporanously and communicate them in a way that challenged us (sometimes hard) to think – yet also encouraged us with a twinkle or a chuckle.
“Jezus!”, I’d think to myself… “How does a person GET a BRAIN like that?”
And then the next year, when you agreed to be the faculty for my far-flung independent study… we sat in your office each week and talked and laughed and worked through problems of thought both portentious and trival… and as we did I began to see little pieces of my own mind begin to take that sort of burnished glow and fine temper. Towards the end of that year, you told me something remarkable - that you were often learning as much from me as I was learning from you – and to this day, that remains the best compliment my mind has every received.
Your teaching is what made me want to be a teacher, Dave. Your encouragement is what made me believe I *could* be a teacher. And only just now typing these words do I recognize that your spirit has been with me all these years - reminding me, encouraging me, challenging me – that a brilliant man with a teacher’s heart can chart a useful, meaningful, and graceful path through this world.
I’m not trying to make you out as saintly or perfect here, and I know I’ve done the heavy lifting to make myself and my life the amazing, fortunate, daily gift it is – but I also know this: you can’t build a house without a foundation. You gave me a hell of an amazing start, Dr. Dave… and for that you’ll always have my fondest and most profound gratitude.
SO… guy walks into a Doctor’s office. Doc says “can I help you?” The guys says “Yeah, Doc, PLEASE, ya gotta do something! Something’s wrong! I can’t PEE!” Doctor looks him up and down and says “How OLD are you?” Guy says “I’m 80, why?” Doctor says: “awh, you’ve peed enough!”
Don’t think there’s a lesson there…
Love and thanks from San Francisco…