On taking a survey.

My favourite Warramiri (?) story from Arnhem Land is of a maths teacher out on a river one time teaching kids to measure distances – how far to from the canoe to the river edge, how far to that mountain etc. It was hot, he asked them if they like swimming and were there any crocodiles in the river (this was long before Paul Hogan etc). They said “yes, this big” and gestured with their hands about a foot apart. “Oh, they are babies, we’ll be alright” said the teacher, and started to strip off his shirt. The kids freaked out insisting that the crocs were “this big” – two hands emphatically a foot or more apart. They were measuring the relevant size – the width of the croc’s mouth, not its length. Ha!. Habermas’s “Knowledge and Human Interests” had nothing on these kids. The maths teacher has retold this ‘lesson’ many times in the decades since.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: