Monday, September 2, 2013

I Wish You The Privilege of Struggling

Darkness Becomes a Reservoir (M.A. Reilly, 2011)
I. The Copy

I have been thinking a lot the last few weeks about the business of schooling.  The mad rush to show results.  The belief now situated as truth that value is how students perform on a handful of state-sanctioned tests.   Against such beliefs, schools are being made.  

Yet, schools are not populated by students and educators--but rather they temporarily house individuals with sovereignty.  Failure to see self and other in this manner, leaves us as composites, apt consumers of myth, and it is this that is replicated in factory schools. 

Think simulacrum.  Thus, those toiling at school are not individuals with sovereignty but rather specimens or abstractions--ones that can be duplicated with great ease.

II. The Creature

At the conclusion of Walker Percy's fascinating essay, "The Loss of Creature" he observes:

the student should know what a fight he has on his hands to rescue the specimen from the educational package. The educator is only partly to blame. For there is nothing the educator can do to provide this need of the student. Everything the educator does only succeeds in becoming, for the student, part of the educational package.  The highest role of the educator is the maieutic role of Socrates: to help the student come to himself not as a consumer of experience but as a sovereign individual.
Percy though does not limit his discussion of sovereignty to that of a tourist or a student.  He tells us that we are all,
special cases of a predicament in which everyone finds himself in a modern technical society--a society, that is, in which there is a division between expert and layman, planner and consumer, in which experts and planners take special measures to teach and edify the consumer. The measures taken are measures appropriate to the consumer: The expert and the planner know and, but the consumer needs and experiences.
Giving name need not be understood as knowing or unknowing. There is room here to get lost.

III. The Manifold

In Toward a Philosophy of the Act, Bakhtin warned that we should not mistake the theoretical world for the lived one. He told us that 

…this world is fundamentally and essentially indeterminable either in theoretical categories or in categories of historical cognition or through aesthetic intuition...Only love is capable of being aesthetically productive, only in correlation with the loved is the manifold possible...  
Manifold.   Yes.  

Think of Adorno tonight who penned: "Because art is what it has become, its concept refer to what it does not contain" (2004, p.3).  There's an idea there, along with Percy and Bakhtin we need to heed.  


Adorno, T.W. (2004). Aesthetic Theory. Trans. by Robert Hullot-Kentor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Bakhtin, M.M. (1993). Toward a Philosophy of the Act. Translated by Vadim Liapunov. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 


  1. grazie dear..

    only in correlation with the loved is the manifold possible...
    there is room here to get lost.


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