Friday, February 28, 2014
B&L 2.0 on the road in Chicago, day two, the reading of PPM16 that includes a cameo appearance by Sam Rocha during the commentary segment. Rocha is called on to offer some thoughts on his folk phenomenology vis-a-vis what I call the break from tradition with the Leap into the unforeseen. Most of the focus in PPM16 is on the arrival of the unforeseen in the form of the other (autre). The turning of the self is a turning from the self. Being's presencing arrives as a force that turns us away from introspection, towards perception. This is the phenomenological turn, where the 'certainty' of judgment is dropped or put aside with the 'uncertainty' of reception or what we might call 'welcoming the strange.' Emphasis is placed in the meditation of the necessity of a 'break' or Destruktion of the 'certainty' of of juridical subject, and why the encounter with the alterity of autre achieves this dismantling.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The reading of PPM15 happens on the mezzanine of the lobby of the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, Chicago, which is the first road trip recording; this in keeping with the spirit of the original meditations, which were written each day from wherever I happen to be. In terms of substance, this meditation returns to the original question, How are we turned around to Learning, i.e., to our encounter with Being's presencing? The jam on this question includes terminology that has been developed thus far in the experiment, and I write, "The turning around, the adjustment (tuning) toward attunement, toward the condition of Learning, constitutes a relocation, or repositioning. Our repose is the result of our being re-posed...to be 're-posed' is to be 'posed again'...as in making us questions." To be made a question is to be placed into the modality that constitutes the heart of the relationship between Being and learning. In other words, when we 'become' questions we are ready for learning. And what makes us ready for learning is the evocative speech that convey the "tidings of the thoughtful word." Fundamental words, or first words, such as 'Nothing' or 'wu-i-wu' or even 'freedom,' when heard evocatively have the effect of re-posing us into learning. This is why the reading of first philosophers is so important. They prompt us to toward thinking.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In PPM14 I continue to explore [nb: from now on the term for my phenomenological 'exploration' should be 'jam,' in order to best describe the improvisational style of the writing] evocative speech as dramatic, and write of "the drama of evocative speech [that] opens up the play of possibility." Drama, play, playing, free playing, all different ways of describing improvisational philosophical musings. The new idea that appears in PPM14 says that the 'turning,' or 'turning around' [towards Being's presencing] is a "turning around of one's place in relation to what has been, i.e., tradition. Learning is the possibility of 'leaping beyond' tradition, beyond the fixity of the social script's narration that assigns us 'roles.'" This 'post-traditional' move, which is still very significant for me today in my work, sets up the claim that thinking is an-archic, or beyond the authority or weight of the past; it is a break. In turn, I conclude the meditation with the quotation from Heidegger: "Hermeneutics is Destruction!"
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This is a presentation of a google-point slide presentation that was made for the discussion of Kant's essay, "What is Enlightenment?" and Foucault's essay of the same name and inspired by Kant. The emphasis is placed on the first paragraph of Kant's essay, specifically the motto of the Enlightenment he articulates therein: "Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own reasoning." With this motto we find a challenge, the challenge of exercising our moral authority, our responsibility to Stop and Think! As educators, it is important (necessary) but not sufficient to make what Foucault calls an 'inventory' of the limits placed upon our profession by managerialism. Indeed, taking up the 'critical attitude' entails being autonomous, which I call, in the spirit of Foucault, being experimental in one's work. The critical attitude of experimentalism is synonymous with originary thinking, which is my ongoing philosophical project
PPM13 is an example of a meditation that happens in 'the zone,' which, as I say in the commentary I make after reading the meditation, is the very 'place' I was hoping to go each and every time I sat down to write a daily meditation. This is the essence of the philosophical experiment: to inhabit the place of thinking, which Arendt reminds us is called (by Medieval philosophy) the 'nunc stans,' the standing now. As I said to my students two weeks ago, this moment of learning, what Baudelaire called the 'heroic present,' is always there, waiting for us, so to speak. The challenge for us who are interested in such things is to be ready or to make ready when it appears to us. Is the writing of poetic phenomenological mediation, then, a preparation for this moment, or it is an experience of this moment? It is always first and foremost the former, and, on occasion, the latter, and after reading today's meditation it strikes me that it was written in the opening offered by the heroic present.
Monday, February 24, 2014
In PPM12 I build a bit upon the musical terms of 'mood' and 'mode,' which were introduced in the previous day's meditation . They serve a slightly bigger purpose, which is the introduction of Zen Buddhist terminology, specifically, the word wu-i-wu which is translated as 'nothingness' and is analogous to the 'nothing' that is referred to in the question, How is it with the Nothing? Wu-i-wu is described as a 'keynote' that relates all other notes, and thereby attunes us to Being's presencing. [note: at this point 'the Nothing' is signifying the excess of Being's presencing, or what is always 'remaining,' and, from the perspective of temporality, stands for the 'not yet' or 'time that remains'] Finally, as I say in my commentary, it was important for me to make this move with the 'inclusion' of Zen Buddhist terminology as part of my growing lexicon. There was and continues to be a strong need and desire to be multicultural in my approach. I also emphasize in commentary the methodology of articulating and exploring 'first' or 'fundamental' philosophical terms. In this regard, I recognize my debt to Reiner Schurmann, who was one of my professors at the New School when I was graduate student.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
In this meditation, I introduce the musical metaphor of 'mood' to play with Heidegger's category of 'mood of attunement' (der Stimmung). I write: "if mood if understood to be the capacity of flexibility, then it relates to the term as it used in the lexicon of musical performance. Here temperament refers to the adjustment of tone of an instrument to fit the scale in any key, especially with those instruments that have fixed intonation, like a piano....The key here is that mood, as mode and temperament, is a way of describing the result of an adjustment or, to push the point a-tuning." In the beginning of the video, I note the connections between this writing and the most recent writing I have completed on music-making philosophy.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
The reading of PPM10 offers further exploration of what Heidegger calls "heeding the claim arising out of the thoughtful word." Any 'word' that is evocative, or offered through a provocative question is 'thoughtful,' but the example I continue to work with is the word 'Nothing,' which is heard in the question, How is it with the Nothing? PPM10 discloses that the heeding of 'Nothing,' in silencing our juridical voice (cf PPM9) empties us. I write, "Evocative speech is a calling (vocare) which enjoins us emptiness, the condition of learning where were are addressed in our steadfast openness. In heeding the saying of 'Nothing' we are made vacant (vacare). It claims us in our relationship with the 'Nothing'."
Friday, February 21, 2014
The reading of PPM9 offers further exploration of the claim made upon us by the tidings of the Tide, expressed in the question, How is it with the Nothing? This meditation offers a description of the emotional response to this question, which is 'irritating,' and 'confounding' because it disrupts our acculturated habit of anticipating and expecting forward 'progress'. (In making my description I am recalling the anxiety expressed by students in my courses, many of whom are school teachers. Provocative questioning interrupts the expectations they have about philosophy of education.) Another important aspect of this meditation is the first mention of 'silence,' as an implication of the relationship between Being and learning. What is silenced, first and foremost, is what I call the 'juridical voice,' and the "incessant chapter of adjudication and measure." Here I am imagining the 'voices' of the policy makers, accreditation organizations, etc., and even the 'voices' of the laws and policies themselves that have an obsession with measurable 'outcomes,' and have fetishized the algorithm. In turn, the 'chatter' and 'noise' generated by those voices dissipates into the vast openness of an 'empty' concept like 'the Nothing.' The noise of the "educator's" voice dissipates in the emptiness of the Nothing. Silence reigns.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The reading of PPM8 offers up a hermeneutical response to the fragment from Heidegger that was highlighted in PPM7, "the relation is called hermeneutical because it brings the tidings of that message." In PPM8 I make a play on 'tidings' and thereby introduce a trope that becomes a central symbol throughout the experiment: the Tide of Being. I write "the tidings of Being draw us into the Tide. 'Tide' means Time, season, hour, a regular period of time. But is also designates the rise and fall of the sea due to the attraction of the sun and moon....Tide also means 'the course of tendency of events.' All these signify the condition we find ourselves in...Regularity coupled with unpredictably powerful surges which exceed our expectations and make strange what we have anticipated." The Tide signifies our encounter with Being's presencing, specifically what I call the 'excess' of Being, which gives or offers us thinking, i.e., the 'tidings' bring us into a hermeneutical relation; a phenomenology of interpretation, which I will much later in the experiment denote as the enactment of freedom.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
In reading of Poetic Phenomenological Mediation 7, the figure of the scientist is contrasted with the persona of the philosopher as a way of underling the unique activity of thinking that defines the work of the latter. Moreover, in order to sharpen this contrast I recall that the thinking activity of the philosopher is best described as 'contemplation.' Several citations from Heidegger appear in this meditation, including one that completes the following sentence that offers further musing on the question, How is it with the Nothing?: "The question delivers a message to us and in doing so places us in a relation, "and the relation is called hermeneutical because it brings the tidings of that message."
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
On this, the 50th anniversary of Hannah Arendt visiting Hofstra (where I teach), I offer a kind of commemoration by reading the notes she prepared for the occasion. I found the one page notes for discussion when I was doing research in the online archives database at the New School library. (The document is numbered 024842) She enumerated 5 points for discussion, which she entitled simply EICHMANN (all bold): 1. Report of the Trial, 2. Question of Conscience, 3. Question of Judgment, 4. Banality of Evil, 5. Jewish Resistance.
In PPM6 I read what is one of the shorter phenomenological meditations. Continuing on with the an exploration of the question, "How is it with the Nothing?", this meditation identifies a new categorical description, namely, 'provocation,' and is a development of an idea I had written about two years earlier: the estrangement effect. In turn, I suggest that evocative speech is expressed as a provocative kind of estranging questioning, the kind that instigates by irritating, disturbing and exciting. In this sense it 'turns on' learning.
Monday, February 17, 2014
In PPM5 I explore further how Heidegger's question, "How is it with the Nothing?" is an exemplar of 'evocative speech,' or the form of language that propels the relation between Being and learning. Further exploration takes me into the processural character of Being's unfolding. I write "the 'new' task of philosophy, if it is to overcome its tradition, metaphysics, is to think this process." I conclude with a set of questions about the evocative question 'How is it with the Nothing?' These questions, which are intended to motivate the next meditation, include: What does this question intended/attempt to 'say'?
Sunday, February 16, 2014
In this session, PPM4, I make some preliminary remarks offering some wider context for the project, as well as comments that link it to the most current writing I am doing, which, not coincidentally, continues to work out the concepts that propelled the project of 'Being and Learning.' Specifically, there is an ongoing attempt to understand the relationship between Being and learning as an event happening in 'the open' or 'the clearing.'
Saturday, February 15, 2014
What is the sound of Being? This is a central question explored after the reading of the meditation originally written Feb 15,2004. This is PPM3, which continues the exploration of evocative speech. It claims that evocative speech gathers us together and in dialogue we mutually draw our attention to what 'is not/not yet'. In turn, this dialogic relationship that is gathered by evocative speech is described as hermeneutic.
Friday, February 14, 2014
This is a reading of the second poetic phenomenological meditation (PPM), originally written on 2.14.2004. In this PPM I introduce the category 'is not/not yet,' (the 'excess' of Being) and phenomenology as hermeneutics. I write of teaching as turning toward this excess, or existential possibility. I also situate the project within Heidegger's question "How is it with the nothing?" from his essay 'What is Metaphysics?'
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
In this, the third and final of the preliminary videos that I recorded in anticipation of Being and Learning 2.0, I revisit and read the paper that was the point of departure for the philosophical experiment I undertook between February 2004 and February 2005. I wrote the paper and presented it at the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, New College Oxford. The paper was written in the autumn of 2003 and presented in April 2004, but by the time I presented it at PESGB the experiment was already running for two months!
Friday, February 7, 2014
In this video, the second of two that are intended to offer some context for the project (daily writing experiment) that I first undertook in 2004, and returned to in 2014. The original project produced the book Being and Learning (Sense: 2012). Between Feb 2014 - Feb 2015 I will return each day to the original poetic phenomenological meditations, taking up what I am calling Being & Learning 2.0.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
In this video I talk about 'self-disclosure,' which is a category that was first used by my colleague Sam Rocha to describe the philosophical methodology expressed in my book Being and Learning. In describing 'self-disclosure' I turn to Hannah Arendt, who offers some important context for my understanding of this category and how it correctly describes what is happening, philosophically, in Being and Learning.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Recorded February 1, 2014 on the 7th floor of the Glickman library at the University of Southern Maine, this video offers an introduction to Arendt's essay for students enrolled in my course 'Ethics for Educators.' While the comments I make here have some 'universal' resonance, they are intended first and foremost for a particular audience (i.e., the students in my grad seminar).