Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Dear American Literati, Readers in the Humanities,
Dialogue and Dialecticians, and Colleagues Across
the Curriculum.  (Courses w/o Boundaries Series)

Redundantly (Nature loves redundancy even if
Eng and Creative Wrtg Teachers do noi')
In life we make progress by conflict and in  mental 
life by argument and disputation.... There must be  
confrontation  and opposition,
  in order that sparks  
must be kindled.

Only an open conflict of ideas and principles  can
produce any clarity.  Argument is essential   for its
own sake. (Karl Popper)   
Even if all were agreed on an essential   proposition,
it would  be essential to
give an ear to the one  person
who does not.  J.S. Mill
                         Prelude II
Not physical environmentalism: steep slope
construction issues, mountain top coal removal
concerns, clean air and streams,  global  warming,
golf carts and Leeds certification, recycling, bottle
water, second hand smoke, public safety on trails
and parking lots: all  the secondary symptomatic
problems any environmental studies program
attends to and gives degrees in... ..
Nor psychological environmentalism: body-dys-
morphic, binge & purging, bi-polar ADD/ADHD,
restless legs, cutting, borderline anxiety-to-panic
jogging & exercise addiction, self-anesthetizing,
control-issues, balance & stress wellness concerns
that characterize “the normal” environed mentality
called Student Body—if not the larger population
called the Body Politic: the masses, the populace
—all these are also secondary symptomatic environed
mental problems but not usually part of an
Environmental Studies Agenda.
No, it's primary or the meta-physical epi-environ-
mentalism, say  (the environment of environments
and environed mentalists) which seems the  proper
domain of Liberal Art (not to be collapsed,  conflated
or confused with liberal arts:  those disciplines you
major and  minor in, accumulate credit &  experience
& a resume in  order to get a job or grad-schooling
& then maybe life-time work-program  in that area
of specialization.)
                   FRAME of MINDING
the collective and subsequently individual shared
attitude, outlook, zeitgeist, weltanschuang; the
culture, customs, morals, habits, routines, rites, rituals,
conventions, fashions, --the environmental amniotic
fluid in  which we all swim, as it were and so to speak,
as unaware of  our saturation as Joe Fish is of WET—
inconceivable to him as it is to us—having no DRY
(literally: ab-solute—out of the solution) for contrast.
       The Warren Wilson Environment, say:
               (go ahead characterize it.)
Might as well take a flashlight into your closet in order
 to study the dark. What you see so clearly actually
occludes what IT is you aim to clarify: the larger
environment.   The more lucid your characterization,
the more it eclipses  the whole—the way an increasing
circumference of some hegemonic-effort to control
your life expands the out-law border boundary land of
Beyond Control.  More control generates more Out-of-
Control, a nuisance noggin notion but true, never the less.
Need we argue?
The same can be said for a family, marriage,  classroom. 
My self-serving characterizations eclipse the whole, always:
a reduction and rip-off—a violation to the larger weave,
fabric, net, rhizomatic system, say, of dependent, independent,
interdependent hiararchical ratios and relationships that
(blessed-be) bind us together. Ligaments.
Knowledge  & Understanding of The Whole 
(the Meta- Environment, say, & its Environmental
Influence and Impact)  is blocked and filtered by
the partial agenda and conscious ego-purpose, 
sustainable aims, intents, measurable goals and
“environmentalism ” of the parts, the parties, the
participants, the members and the polite policed
policies of our body politic-ing..
It's a JOKE (a good one, not a bad one.). 
The Environmentalism we can see and study and take
degrees in, get jobs in obscures, eclipses, occuldes,
reduces and filters the ENVIRONMENT that “counts.”
--the Frame of Minding (culture, customs, conventions,
closets, bubbles, boxes)  that structures and shapes and
rules and governs the body politic, say—the daily grind,
For example: I think I want to get a tattoo—or pierce
something maybe. (It’s possible.) I debate myself,
consider pain-to-pleasure ratios, expense, peer-group
reaction etc.  BUT, here's my point, this ego-conscious
lucid scheming free-willy/nilly analysis (to tattoo or
not tattoo ) wouldn't even have presented itself back in
my Leave It to Beaver days. 
See what I’m saying?  It’s an Environmental Issue. OR
rather Epi-Environmental.  Meta-physical (not to be
collapsed, conflated, or confused with the physical
and the psycho-logical.)
Need we argue? It’s possible.  You might wonder what
all this has to do with readings in the humanities or
American literature or practicing dialogue & dialogues.
If so, fell free to hit reply—or better:  reply to all. 
Best Sam 

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