In Patient Pursuit of the Possible

I have a new favorite Bruner line. I first came across this and dropped it in my outliner months ago, but rediscovered it as I wrote tonight. (And I’m happy to report six pages of draft completed tonight). From my outliner:

“The political process… is slow, perhaps, but is committed to the patient pursuit of the possible.” (Bruner, 1966, p. 23)

I’m often less than thrilled by the political process, especially with respect to education, but I am sympathetic to Bruner’s perspective. It does, after all, sound quite a bit like Bono’s perspective. (With respect to his two careers, the rock star turned political advocate has said that U2 is about the impossible, while politics is about the possible.)

Primarily, though, I fell in love with the sentiment of being in patient pursuit of the possible… a feeling that I think often gets educators (and educational technologists) through many of the rough spots. It’s also not a half bad philosophy for someone pursuing a dissertation. I was even tempted (for a moment) to change the tag line of this blog. :)

It would even make a good title for a blog… or a book. Hm.

In the meantime, perhaps it will make a good way to sign off at the end of a post or an email.

In patient pursuit of the possible,



Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, Ma: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

One Reply to “In Patient Pursuit of the Possible”

  1. I’m ramping up the non-profit. Rocket is on the pad, ignition is still just out of reach. Creating the biz cards, stationery, and web site. I have been looking for a tag line and it literally took every fiber of my being not to swipe your Bruner quote.
    I have had a draft of an e-mail needing to be finished and sent for two weeks. Belated thanks for your time, hopefully I’ll finish and forward this week.
    I love the site-really helping to shape, support,and challenge my efforts. I almost feel like I’m getting the Cliff Notes of a doctoral program.
    I was never too good at the “patient” thing anyway…but I really hope we begin to aggressively embrace the incoming tide of the possible.

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