Sunday, August 9, 2009

Only Connect: Sustainability & Liberal Art

Dear Colleagues,

The Network vs Individual Printing
is like the Collaborative vs.
Individual Genius

2 quite different (incommensurate?)
sets here, like Big Gov and States
Rights: appropriately "hostile" and
oppositional, like "hot" and "cold,"
like "noise," and "news."

It's LIKE a whole lot.

Turn it up: the opposition--polarize
and characterize. Don't let either side
win or lose. Anticipate revelation. A
synthesis like "Temperature" or
"Information" that reveals the
complementarity without
annihilating or diminishing
the opposition.

Sustainability vs. Meta-Sustainability.

Maybe I can keep the clunker and have
to the Network also. Cake & eat it, too?
Driving a 1990 Ford Taurus 6 cyl. & do you
think it qualifies for cash? NO. But that’s a
different issue I guess maybe.

Sustainability: the New Liberal Art?
Whose version?

I say the arguing, the back & forth, on the one
hand and on the other, thesis and anti,
and antagonism, yes it is, no it isn’t,
art right there.

We don’t do it often: parking spaces, video
games, hard copy vs electric evaluations,
shrimp—to eat or not to eat; network vs

personal printing: but when we do—that’s
liberal art going on, don’t matter, the tokens
in play. It’s the process that counts--
sustaining sustaining-argument sustainably

Sustain and Be Sustained.

What’s Liberal ART?

Sampling our Homework Specimens: “Only Connect”
and Sustainability as the Liberal Art.

“This is not an easy question. Maybe that is why—
in the spirit of E. D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy
and a thousand college course catalogs—our answers
to it often take the form of lists:
lists of mandatory courses,
lists of required readings,
lists of essential facts,
lists of the hundred best novels written in
English in the twentieth century,
and so on
and on.

This impulse toward list making has in fact been
part of liberal education for a very long time.

And yet when we try to figure out what this
education for human freedom might look like,
we still make lists.

However complex the curricular tables and credit
formulas may become—and they can get pretty
baroque!—more often than not they include a
certain number of total credit hours;
a basic composition course;
at least pre-calculus mathematics;
some credits in a foreign language;
some credits in the humanities;
some credits in the social sciences;
some credits in the natural sciences;
and concentrated study in at least
one major discipline.

Here, for instance, is what one institution I know
well states as the “Objects of a Liberal Education”:

(1) competency in communication;
(2) competency in using the modes of thought
characteristic of the major areas of knowledge;
(3) a knowledge of our basic cultural heritage;
(4) a thorough under standing of at l east one subject area.”

This is the kind of language one expects from an
academic committee, I guess, but it is
hardly a statement
that stirs the heart or
inspires the soul.

One problem, I think, is that it is much easier to
itemize the requirements of a curriculum
than to
describe the qualities of the human
beings we
would like that curriculum to produce.

All the required courses in the world will fail
give us a liberal education if, in the act of
them, we forget that their purpose is
to nurture
human freedom and growth

A liberal education is not something any of us
achieve; it is not a state. Rather, it is a way
of living in the face of our
own ignorance, a way
of groping toward wisdom in full
recognition of
our own folly , a way of educating ourselves
without any illusion that our educations will ever
be complete”


“yeah, yeah” I want to say. “yeah, yeah….”
Nice words & I like it & vote for “Only Connect,”
if only we knew how. But How? Don’t it mean a
lot of talk? Talking about how we might be talking
about how we talk: our ways of talking & not just

Here’s a connection:

“CONVERSATION” used to be the word for life-style,
behavior: Converse-Action, I like to call it—

It IS action: the action necessary for the emergence
emergent phenomena and values: resurgence,
dead-raising revelations and apocalyptics now
and then. Emergency epistemology.


Is Sustainability the New Liberal Art? asks Frank Rhodes
(Cornell President Emeritus). in the Chronicle Of
Higher Education.

He says, yes.
I say no.
May we argue?

If so: THAT (the arguing, converse-action, our cerebral/affective
environmental behavior) would be the Liberal Art. Arguing IT out.
Keeping IT in play. Sustaining sustainability. .

Ok: now I’ve just contradicted myself.Sustain-ability IS
the liberal art.
In tune. In accord with overall Meta-
Sustainability as opposed to status
security systems sustaining the kinds of thinking that

got us into this pickle in the first place.

This pickle, I said. Do I have to spell this pickle out?

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