At the beginning of 2010, I asked for assistance for this little project that I have started. The following two posts provide some of the details as to the nature of this request, as well as discussing some of the specifics of the project:
chycho is looking for music and animation to help teach mathematics: Did you say you want to help end prohibition? Update for chycho.com and The Language of Mathematics: Introducing “420math” and “Math in Real life”
Since that time, numerous people have contacted me offering their support and assistance. Some, you have already been introduced to in the math videos produced this year. Many more have been patiently awaiting my reply, one of whom has been Andrew David (myspace).
After a few email exchanges, Andrew and I came to an agreement; to use his music, and quotes from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, to create a soundtrack for videos for an Examples Section which will be used to finalize Series IIIb.
Why Carl Sagan? Aside from him being an inspiration to both of us, as well as being one of the greatest teachers that the world has been privy to, Sagan was also a cannabis policy reform advocate. “Under the pseudonym ‘Mr. X’, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered.” The full essay is available at Mr. X by Carl Sagan. Brief excerpts follow:
“I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, unavailable to us without such drugs. Such a remark applies not only to self-awareness and to intellectual pursuits, but also to perceptions of real people, a vastly enhanced sensitivity to facial expression, intonations, and choice of words which sometimes yields a rapport so close it’s as if two people are reading each other’s minds.
“… the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Segment from the documentary: “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High”.
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was produced during a period in which many unrelenting voices were engaged in pounding their war drums, much like today. Countering this insanity, there were also many benevolent voices trying to educate us by showing us the beauty of life and our part in it. One of those working relentlessly towards the betterment of our society was Carl Sagan, and his masterpiece was the Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, “a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter.”
“The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until 1990's… It covered a wide range of scientific subjects including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe.”
I first came across this series when it was finally released on DVD in 2000. I was hooked after watching Part 1 and for the next few days I became a Cosmos addict and a serious Carl Sagan fan.
As my About Page states, this blog is dedicated to teaching mathematics and raising money for organizations that are working towards ending prohibition. Considering Carl Sagan’s objectives, his philosophy on life, and his dedication to education, it’s a safe bet to assume that he would have approved of and given his blessing to this project, hence the decision to use excerpts from his work to teach mathematics and help end prohibition.
Below you will find two videos containing some of Sagan’s teachings that he shared through Cosmos. These videos are my way of communicating with Andrew as to my choices of possible segments that he could use with his music, and since I believe in transparency and sharing, I thought others would appreciate some of Sagan's insights. If you have not, as yet, had the pleasure of watching the complete series, I highly recommend doing so.