This quote came to me via email and it seems to speak so profoundly to those who look at young children, especially those with special needs, and place them in foretold futures (e.g. ”this child will never be able to …” or ”most children with this diagnosis will grow up to….”). I’m working on revising my book The Myth of the ADHD, and I see this so much with mental health professionals who want to put these kids in the Procrustean bed of self-fulfilled prophecies. This wise quote should remind us all that our children are full of possibilities and that we shouldn’t try to predict their futures for them.
“It might seem that it wouldn’t matter very much if we couldn’t predict what comes out of black holes — there aren’t any black holes near us,” he continued. “But it’s a matter of principle. If determinism — the predictability of the universe — breaks down in black holes, it could break down in other situations. Even worse, if determinism breaks down, we can’t be sure of our past history either. The history books and our memories could just be illusions. It is the past that tells us who we are. Without it, we lose our identity.”
For more information about systems of education that preserve children’s integrity, see my book If Einstein Ran the Schools: Revitalizing U.S. Education.
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