Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Citizen Pain

What does it MEAN to be a Citizen of
Warren Wilson?

A member.
Part of a whole.

This question has been gnawing at me since Paula
raised it a week ago—in preparation for today’s
Faculty Retreat.

The word “Community” in the previous century here
at WWC (“We Work Constantly”) was what the
word "Sustainable" is now. Our collective buzz
word and shibboleth.

During the years prior to the 80’s, all staff lived on
campus. Faculty worked on the work program 5
weeks a year. Bill Mosher was in charge of Service
as well as his courses. I was secretary to the Athletic
Committee, and coached the tennis team, Dean Kahl
coached Cross Country, Ernst Laursen, the farmer,
doubled as work director and the work program
itself was administered by students. Hugh Himan,
our Economist, took over the farm for a summer
month--while the Laursens went on vacation.
Tom Showalter was the Fire Chief & looked
after the fire engines and hoses.

We all felt we owned the place,
and considered ownership
“psychic income”—a term
coined by economist Himan
and included the views.

So we were working for our SELF:
members of our Self: the whole of
which we were also part, parts, &
parcels. We were a container that
contained our self —so to speak:
"economical" in the fullest sense,
if not quite self reliant. .
“Citizenship”: a sub-category of "community"?
The 2 words don’t sound as compatible as “member”
and “community” maybe, and I'd say the word “Citizenship”
goes better with the notion: “STATE.” Welfare and Health
Insurance, Legal Immigration, the Economy, Pursuit of
Happy: caucuses and primaries and stuff like that.

Just Vote, damnit.
Be a Citizen.

I’m fooling with words, as usual.
I consider it my job. My goodwife Ann
tells me a lot: “That’s not what they pay
you for, Sam.”
So I rationalize a lot. A lot.

I consider myself the Best Citizen of Warren Wilson.

I consider myself the Worst Citizen of Warren Wilson.

I turn these 2 profound truths UP—put them in
PLAY & try & sustain the action between them
without letting either win. .

I know this:

A citizen is not the City.
A Class is not a member of itself.
A part is not the Whole. A person is not a
community & vice versa. Understanding the
relationship between these incommensurate
levels of logical hierarchy is problematic and
might could be called the liberal art &
life-long sport. X-treme.

Or ignored altogether.

I was telling our Chemistry Professor Kahl (el Supremo)
about a student sitting at lunch watching me & David
Balzer (our resident student fundamentalist & street
preacher) arguing about Creationism and Evolution.
She finally leaned in to ask us both: “Well, do
you boys give gifts?
Do you buy presents
for your families at

xzxooo, Citizen Pain.

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