Monday, February 4, 2008

DD: First Post!

You have to start somewhere, right? Well, not really, you could not start at all, but then what would become of the planet?

Great. two questions, no answers. Off to a great start.

I'll begin by copying pages at random out of my Globalism and Visual Culture seminar's notebook. I don't understand the readings much, but I sure get a lot out of them and they set me off on all sorts of interesting tangents.

The Sublime
Is it a concept only for the coddled, for those who haven't suffered the terror of the object evoking such emotion? Or does genuine experience simply deepen the emotion? For who is the experience more sublime, the student gazing out at the tempestuous sea with loss in his eyes or a sailor with a shipwreck in his past? Basically my worry is this: that in creating art or soul with a link to the sublime moments of life we are tourists, partaking in things deep and real with and relating them only metaphorically to our own struggle. IS this the processing of real trauma, or does it cheapen the processing of real trauma?

The US as unsustainable
I suppose I should back up. The basic claim of this idea is that in academia there has been a progressive slide towards the corporatized or compartmentalized intellectual, those who are too busy fundraising and skating political lines to really push new radical ideas, or those who are so disconnected from the real world that their ideas have no weight or play in non-academic society.

If we find it as true that an informed democracy stems from an educated populous, who use the very act of reading as a mode of learning which forces reflection (takes time, doesn't it, to absorb the written word?), then the growing disconnect between a writing academia and the educated masses is just one more symptom of the way our democracy is becoming less informed. In other words, our education system is intellectually unsustainable because, simply put, people aren't taking time to think deeply about relevant things. If you follow the train of logic supported by these humanist writers (Rey Chow, Jeffery Harpham, Henry Giroux, Carol Becker), then the democracy created from education is unsustainable as well.

I live in an age of a sort of utility/nihilism, where I'm uninterested in a career and more interested in base survival. The idea of working from an uprooted reality is more appealing than working within the political system, I'd rather strap boots on and fend for myself than network and research. This allure is simply apathy taking another form, the apathy of the sensitive individual vs. the global. You need to either believe in a sentient, benevolent god or be really good with large numbers, I have neither trait.

Deus Ex Machina? will the blog save us? because if academia can be non-academized, thrown out into the unsheltered realm of public speech, than perhaps it can maintain its link to reality. Perhaps then we can have a new conversation that includes both the starry-eyed student and the shipwreck survivor.

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