Thinking About Thinking.
Thinking about Thinking about Thinking
Today's economic uncertainties challenge all
of us to be creative in meeting our commitments
to students. These uncertainties also make even
more urgent the need for us to prepare all students
to thrive in a turbulent and fluid world...
AAC&U Call for Proposals
According to Albert Einstein, the kind of thinking
that generates the “pickle” can not be the kind of
thinking that absolves it.
For thinkers thinking about thinking: what
kind of thinking might it take to characterize
thethinking that generates the pickle so as not
to collapse, conflate, & confuse it with the
thinking that might resolve it?
What academic discipline or department
might be able, willing, and even anxious to
address this thinking about thinking about
thinking, marching, as it were, to a
The Department of Sustainability
and Emergent Values & Phenomena?
On the One Hand: Progress
Help me do justice to the man in the doorway:
his concern with progress, a practical concern,
a Sarah Palin concern (she, who would “progress”
self-study reports: say what I am doing to make
my courses better and better, how I plan to
meet the objections of students in my last
encounters —topping previous successes &
failures with new successes & failure so that
things are getting better, they’re getting better
all of the time.
Now: may we also celebrate Sisyphus—
pushing his rock BUT with the knowledge that
he makes no progress—other then always
more of the same: up the hill, over the hill,
down the hill, up the hill again,& may we
presume that his no-progress-report knowledge
liberates—a liberal art. Seemingly meaningless
& repetitious, sure: but a struggle nevertheless
& no surprises.
Now: may we do justice to both the man in
the doorway and the man rolling the rock.
And let neither be ridiculed nor idolized:
neither suit nor loincloth, clipboard nor
rock-of-ages, savvy post- modernist with
bic-pen and primitive fundamentalist with
a commitment to stay the course, rolling stone.
2 Economies, as Gary Hawkins might say.
May we polarize and turn them way up—
the opposition, this appropriate clash of
values? Taking care of Business on the
one hand—nitty-gritty devils in details.
Cultivating an Over All steadfast frame
of Mind in the face of seeming absurdity
on the other.
And wonder how well they would get
along if Sisyphus weren’t so clearly
subordinate — bound to come up with
something to satisfy the Annual Report.
Show Progress where there is none so
as to comply: making virtue out of a
revolving wheel to satisfy a need for
a credit nation. Complicit.
Look: I’m rolling this rock, see.
Although a lying, cheating, bastard
who saw himself smarter than Zeus:
this rock & roller embraced the
punishment of the gods. And
"one must imagine Sisyphus happy,"
says Albert Camus: "The struggle
itself towards the heights is enough
to fill a man's heart."