Thursday, October 03, 2013

Hi. It's Thursday evening. Today it rained heavily around one o'clock, right as I was getting on my bike to ride back from the pool to a workshop about teaching pod casts. My pants got soaked in the front and when I walked down the hallway my comrades said either "awww" and frowned, or laughed. My shoes were also untied,which probably didn't help the cause of dignity. This weekend is the Fall Break, which means two days off, Monday and Tuesday. The break is not going to be much of a break as I have eight things that I need to work on. Eight. I counted them. I won't list them off here, because that's boring. Like a grocery list or a list of parts that somebody might need to fix a ceiling fan. Despite all that, I'm still looking forward to the break, sleeping in a little, playing some music, and watching Breaking Bad at the end of my work days. 

Fall is here and the leaves are beginning to turn. It might go without saying, but school has been busy. Lots of storms passing through my mind these last two or three weeks, but everything seems to still be here, and the surface is calm at the moment. I have about two hundred pages that I need to read by 11 AM tomorrow, and there's no possible way that that will happen. Not because I'm lazy but because my mind just doesn't have that kind of endurance, and at some point it stops being able to intake words. As my friend Aric said, "you're going to be really really really really really really smart when you finish." Yeah. In the last twenty four hours I've read a good chunk of David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748). A highlight, to illustrate what I'm up against, completely out of context:
"A picture naturally leads our thoughts to the original. The mention of one apartment in a building naturally introduces an enquiry of discourse concerning the others, and if we think of  a wound, we can scarcely forbear reflecting on the pain which follows it." (Section 3, Paragraph 3)
I read this out loud to my office mate, and she said, wow, so now that you've discovered the meaning of life, what else are you going to do? I guess I'll keep reading. But it is quite interesting stuff that we're looking at in the Modern Rhetoric class, starting at the beginning of the enlightenment, the printing press and the religious wars that contributed to a cultural and institutional shift away from god given truths to the systematic development of analytical knowledge. The roots of science as well as our modern education system all beginning during this period, and for the most part, not too much has changed as far what counts as truth as Hume and others talked about it back then. But that's a long story, and one that I only have a vague grasp on. We're reading not books about this time, but writing by Bacon, Locke, Hume and others. Primary texts. Old books that have been scanned and put on the internet, where the letter 's' looks like 'f' and every book begins with a dedication to the noble sponsor who published it. I'm surprised by how contemporary their ideas are, and that I truly learn "new" things as I read.

On an entirely different note, here's an old poem that I wrote almost ten years ago that for some reason the Hume has made me think of. Back to work:

Because everything is right here an ending is right here. I snap my fingers and listen to the aftershock. I pick my head up to hear the sounds of traffic. I don’t mean to be obvious but I stop for a second to think, and air goes out the window. And I hear somebody driving by. There was an idea to work through, to not stop until something happens.