The World by Ibid

"Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died of this."

I have just been laughing out loud at this and other funny exam answers by students reprinted at richardpettinger.com, a website maintained by a friend who is also an economics teacher. Being of a liberal disposition I don't hold the latter against the former...

Believe it or not I once also marked exams. Well sort of. My mother is a high school home economics teacher, and once took on national year end exam marking to supplement her income. At the age of twelve I earned myself twenty dollars (a fortune!) going, one at at time, through dreadfully dull questions about baking agents and kitchen safety procedures, and then checking all of the marked totals. It was at this point that I knew that I wouldn't be following professionally in the maternal footsteps.

Remaining with the topic of funny exam answers, I am reminded of a school mate who, during our Year 10 School Certificate English exam (yes we speak the Queen's tongue, and we had to study it at school also), completely unhindered by his lack of actual study or book knowledge gained during a year of non-learning, proceeded to make up a poem ("The World", Ibid), and then wax lyrical about its literary merits.

I thought at the time this was genius, although somewhat more underhand in method than I would personally consider, and the fact that he received top marks further confirmed my at the time bias against poetry as the practise of insincere, irrelevant, arbitrary waffle.

Luckily, my learning continued after I left school, and I have come to appreciate poetry and poets themselves in a way I could never have then imagined. My interest in poetry has emerged directly from my practise of meditation, through which I have learned to see poetry, and in particular spiritual poetry, as a complimentary pathway towards an insight into the inner life, and an understanding of the heart. Poetry in the hands of a seeker of truth is a search for self-knowledge, and when we try to intuit the hidden truths unwritten between the lines of their words, we gain knowledge—not only of them, but of self.

And it is the search for self that initiated my meditation-adventure in the first place.

Homework

Practitioners of "real" economics, as opposed to it's stove-top variety, may wish to attempt to answer a simple equation:

If Food + Person = Person, where Food is not equal to 0.

What is the value of Food?

Related links:

  • RichardPettinger.com: I haven't dared to delve into the economics section of this site yet. Do report back if you do.
  • WriteSpirit.net: An excellent site for writings, poems and speeches with a spiritual focus.
  • PoetSeers.org: The name says it all really—an excellent resource for everything poetry and spirituality related.
  • The History Question: A recent post at Shardul's Blog for the Brighter Side of Life and joke set in a classroom.