One of the most common stock images used by the San Quentin News website is that of a 17 century woodblock print of Fortuna and Sapientia – FATE & WISDOM.
Critical thinking will not emerge on its own. Humans rarely abstract general principles from examples, therefore, we use STORY to help identify and formulate the common strategies and methods that underlie critical thinking.
A significant aid to learning uses a narrative environment rich in retrieval cues, i.e., making use of associations. We call this narrative construct, story. Humans build stories on a series of interlocking causes and effects. We call this plot. By using concepts embedded in story, we can have a host of associations – cues – to learn and deploy the TOOL with clear divisions between types of unknowns.
The narrative STORY enhances the vital ability to differentiate an unmeasured risk from probability or certainty: Certainty is known; uncertainty is unknown; and probability is a fixed range of uncertainty. The goal will be to bring into conscious action these concepts and then, through practice, allow them to settle into semi-conscious habit.
RISK LITERACY: WOODBLOCK PRINT
Two magnificently dressed young women sit upright on their chairs, calmly facing each other. Yet neither takes notice of the other. FORTUNA (Lady Luck), the fickle, wheel-toting goddess of chance, sits blindfolded on the left while human figures desperately climb, cling to, or tumble off the wheel in her hand. SAPIENTIA (Wisdom), as reason personified, the calculating and vain deity of science, gazes into a hand-mirror, lost in admiration of herself.
SAPIENTIA’s most exceptional power and greatest threat is her own capacity for self-recognition and self-admiration – endless capacity for pride – presuming omniscience. That is why she is looking into the mirror.
SAPIENTIA has good reason for self-admiration. With science’s development of Probability Theory, SAPIENTIA has shrunk FORTUNA’s domain.
We seek to use THE KNIFE (TOOL) in the ART OF MEASUREMENT to determine if we are facing FORTUNA or SAPIENTIA.
Wisdom is radiant and unfading,
And she is easily discerned by those who love her,
And is found by those who seek her.
To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding,
And he who is vigilant on her account will
Soon be free from care,
Though she is but one, she can do all things….
Wisdom 7:7-15 excerpts….
Like the moon you are changeable
Ever waxing and waning…
Poverty and power
You melt them like ice
Fate-monstrous and empty
You whirling wheel, you are malevolent
Well-being is vain and always fades (to nothing)
Shadowed and veiled, you plague me too….
Roman marching song adapted in CARMINA BURANA by Carl Orff
Reasoning is our dance with these two ladies, Fortuna/Risk and Sapientia/Wisdom.