Monday, July 15, 2013

The Struggle Itself Towards the Heights

  On the One Hand: Progress

Dear Colleagues   Help me do justice to the Man in
the Doorway: his concern with progress, a practical
concern,   a self-study reports concern: 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 &  failures 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 & primitive fundamentalist
witha commitment to stay the course, rolling stone. 
2 Economies, as Gary Hawkins might say.
May we polarize and turn them way up—
the opposition, the clash of values?
Taking care of Business on the
one hand—nitty-gritty devils
in the 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
to be accredited..  Complicit.  
Look: I’m rolling this rock, see.
Although a lying, cheating, bastard who saw
himself smarter than Zeus: this rock & roller
accepted 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."

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