Yeah, I haven't posted in a while. It's bad. I know. Things got busy and I decided to spend my time elsewhere. Anyway, since I last posted, I've still got no idea what to do with Foer, there's a bunch of cool poems we read that were, honestly, pretty shallow in terms of philosophic content, except in the broader sociological context they are from. ("America," "The Solution," etc.) And now we're reading Maxine Hong Kingston's The Fifth Book of Peace. The first 'chapter' "Fire" is a stream of consciousness experiental account of the massive fire wherein she loses her manuscript for the Fourth Book of Peace she had been writing (in addition to her home and most other worldly possessions). The second chapter, "Paper," describes in detail how the notion of the books of peace, particularly the "three lost books of peace" came to be a form of personal mythos for her. Other than annoyance at what appear to be grammatical (perhaps typographic) mistakes in the text (and which I am sure are intended to be that way) the book doesn't engage me the way Foer's did, though I must admit neither would be a book I'd choose to read on my own. (Knowing what I know now, I would say I'd read Foer.) I feel beaten up by the workload from the past few days, and the discussion in class seems to have mellowed in the same way. Nobody wants to deal with Stuhr because he's hard to understand and difficult to peice together without a lot of philosophical background, which he seems to want to throw out anway. We read, and we speculate, but the discussion just grow broader and broader, different people are starting to monopolize the talking because they have outside knowledge or experience that seems to be given more relevence in the literary sense than in the philosophical, particularly with respect to cultural identifications with Chinese-American culture and Zen Buddhism (as practised in the West or as in China). Everyone seems to really be focusing on their projects (in this class and elsewhere) rather than spending their time working through the readings. I hesitate to consider the longest of the readings "Water" from Kingston's book, I wonder if the discussion will turn into summary and barely touch on the literary or philosophical things said on more than a surface level. There are some good things to say about peace and war, but it seems like most of the rest of the class discussion has been focused on education and learning, and we don't, collectively, have the tools to really dig into the theory of peace, war, and mind --- especially from the Chinese/Eastern traditions. I know I'd rather be spending the time digging into some of our earlier themes in the class: education and experience, in order to more fully round out our discussions of the literature we've read, and become a bit reflective towards the end of the class, up until the presentations, where there will be the products of our shared labour fed back into the 'collective.' (An interesting educational notion in and of itself which might deserve a day or two of exploration.)
Note: This entry imported via Facebook's Note feature from my old website, much is expected to be broken.