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									       The class had become jaded by the same old read-and-regurgitate method of
schooling, which had become the norm. A depressing air of futility escaped as textbooks
were opened around the room. Everyone resigned themselves to interface with the dead
information trapped inside those aforementioned textbooks. A shudder of dread ran down
the spine, as the ensuing hour seemed to stretch into eternity. Thoughts became dismal and
forlorn – and that was only from the teacher! Multiply that by 10 for the students – those
who were awake anyway. The lesson may well have been titled “Pointless teaching –

       A faint gleam of revolt shimmered through a small crack in the veneer of the very
ordinary-looking teacher. “Let’s try something different”, she declared, as a germ of an idea
developed in her mind. “What’s important about humans’ relationship with matter?” she
asked the class. No response. “Okay, try to imagine what life would have been like if you
were a teenager living 500 years ago, pre-chemical-revolution.”

       One intrepid head popped up, “Maybe I’d be working in the fields?”

       “Exactly! What else? Would you have warm clothes? A cell phone?” All of a sudden,
intrepid heads were popping up all over the classroom. “We’d be cold because there would
be no cheap, warm material for clothes! We’d have very little food! No cell phones! No mp3

       “So access to matter makes some aspects of our lives easier. Frankly, the ‘good-old-
days’ are a myth when we consider how desperate the majority of lives were.”

          “Now, if we were in a romantic relationship with matter, how would matter feel
about us? Would matter complain that we ‘just don’t understand it’? Do we treat matter as
if it is the only ‘stuff’ in the world? Are we careful with it? Do we use it responsibly?”

       And with that subtle change of context the class was off and running, excited about
the prospect of renewing our relationship with matter, so that it would not break up with
us and move to Mars!

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