Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Poetics of Relation, Pt. 1

Now, more than ever, the graduates of our schools and colleges will live in worlds different from those in which they were born and went to school. A discipline called English must help them prepare for unknown conditions. The best preparation we can give our students will be the highest level of competence as readers and writers, producers and consumers of the various texts they will encounter. (154)

Scholes, Robert. The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1998.

The disease of modern culture is specialization. (19)

Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. NY: Avon Books, 1977.

We must … reject the concept of specialization. We need the contrary, a diversified economy, for only such an economy will allow for populations to participate fully in our society. Specialization inevitably leads to chronic unemployment and to lower wages. (179)

Goldsmith, James. “The Winners and the Losers.” The Case Against the Global Economy. eds. J. Mander and E. Goldsmith. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1996.

… for some years now the activity of the artist in our society has been trending more toward the function of the ecologist: one who deals with environmental relationships. Ecology is defined as the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment. Thus the act of creation for the new artist is not so much the invention of new objects as the revelation of previously unrecognized relationships between existing phenomena, both physical and metaphysical. So we find that ecology is art in the most fundamental and pragmatic sense, expanding our apprehension of reality. (346)

Youngblood, Eugene. Expanded Cinema. NY: Dutton, 1970.

The great ecological issues of our time have to do in one way or another with our failure to see things in their entirety. That failure occurs when minds are taught to think in boxes and not taught how to transcend those boxes or to question overly much how they fit with other boxes. We educate lots of in-the-box thinkers who perform within their various specialties rather like a dog kept in the yard by an electronic barrier. And there is a connection between knowledge organized in boxes, minds that stay in those boxes, and degraded ecologies and global imbalances. (94-95)

Orr, David. Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect. Washington D.C.: Island, 1994.


memsamechnun said...

Thanks Michael!

Things are so bad now in america that managers and bureauocracies are even more fearful of thinking out of the boxes if even only as a means to get more "production."

Organisational thinkers were tinkering with this before the post-capitalist breezes got stiff.

I have seen a bizzare counterforce growing in cubicle dwellers to actually try to batten down and stabilise their cubes, before they float overseas emptied of their emptied cargo.

post-capitalist art needs to be more than post-capitalist, post-consumer or post-cubicle.

Religion was supposed to "gather" but even that (read the latest Harper's Magazine) has become cubical/consumerised to the point of mass "harvesting."

I for one am totally stumped about any shared transcendant experiences or values people might be willing to recognise as shared. It is as though these have already become *unreal*estate.

I almost feel we can't leave it to the university to represent liberal/interdisciplinary values. Ironically, i think the corpse of these "studies" may be the only fitting course of study left to universities that would even think about such a curriculum.

A poetics of alienation may be all that is left for now.

Also, another must read is the review of the latest ee cummings biography in Harper's. Nice reflections on the failure of moderism, which after all is part of the reason why we have come to this point.

It is not the fault of post-modernism that the patient is still languishing "etherised upon a table." The evening, the afternoon and the dawn are still spread out against the sky albeit sped up for cinematographic purposes and acompanied to the music of Philip Glass; but the world still whirls out of balance as the suburbanites return home exhilarated and disturbed from the pilgrimage to "the real."

- mason (sighing and depressed)

Thivai Abhor said...

Thanks Mason, for your poetic response.

As an academic insider I would hope that it doesn't become the sole defender of interdisciplinary/liberal values as the university/colleges are fully corporate and just as "fearful of thinking outside of boxes"--maximizing profit at every stage of the development of our nation's youth (Although there are those that still operate in the belly of the beast).

Its interesting that you mention Harper's and suburbia in the same breath. I read the new Harper's this week and frankly the trio of articles on the new right's war on (heathen) America scared me... we need to get more people to be aware of these people and their agenda. They fear those that are different and their only method of security/faith is to destroy any difference ... for these people questions are threatening and open relations of acceptance are to be condemned. Nothing like insecure fanatics, they doubt and must destroy to deny that doubt...

Also this week I watched the 1983 movie Suburbia about disaffected Punks trying to survive in a decaying suburbia.

I wonder if we are producing new generations of destroyed possibilities... everytime I see the picture of you and your daughter, or think of my good friends who just had a son... children with strong, intelligent parents who will teach them to be open and to ask questions without fear--our best hope!

Peace friend!