Friday, September 13, 2013

Power of Juxtaposition

The Power of Juxtaposition.

From  John Coleman Wood (late 70’s  Warren Wilson
 grad,  UNCA Anthropology professor:  interviewed
re his novel
The Names of  Things)

 “I’m interested both as an ethnographer and as a
teacher  in the power of juxtaposition, of one thing
being set up next to another thing, and the meaning
that bleeds across the space between them. . . .

You can tell people an idea. But as a teacher and
as a student,  I often think  it’s better to let people,
including myself, figure it out, to see for myself. 
Especially when two very unlike things are juxtaposed,
it almost compels the human brain to resolve the gap,
to make sense of  what  doesn’t make sense.”

            A couple of names of things:

Caesarean Short Cut:

Go ahead. Tell them.
Pontificate.  Draw the bridge.
Show the link.   Eliminate the mess & guess, 
pain & confusion oops oh  my sonovagun it takes
to work IT out.       Say what you are going to say,
Say it. Say what you said.

Full Labor Delivery
Splish Splash.
Forget about it.
Can’t say if it’ll emerge
or not, conform  with my
aims,  objectives,  measurable
outcomes. Or not.
Or not.


  1. Juxtaposition, spelled out or not. What do you think?

  2. I just lost my comment. What he says is obvious. Christianity is more offensive to many than the whole range of secular humanism (which Carl would call worldly crap) I'm offended by many of it's adherents. Nothing attractive about it. Profane. What's proper to the "temple" becomes a street scene and market. If one hasn't been raised in the tradition, and not struck by the holy spirit: much is seen as voodoo. Do I need to quote Carl's loving diagnosis again? Who is going to find that attitude compelling and attractive?

  3. Isn't offense the thing you love and cultivate and try to provoke at every turn?

  4. Absolutely it is.I try to make an environment where it is seen and felt as crucial . Dialectic can't even begin without it. But it needs to be framed as a good thing--generative, productive. That's the hard part. An environmental issue.

  5. I just finished analyzing a debate that people sent me to. Pernicious? Or wholesome?

  6. I don't have the theological chops to weigh in on this, Brigitte. Bror would for sure. Carl?

  7. You were baptized. What did they tell you it meant? And how did they know? And did it matter then or now? Why?

    If you have found me at all incisive over time, it is because I have cared about questions like these.

  8. They? My parents? I was an infant. Didn't tell me anything. Didn't matter then or now (to me--I'm sure it did to my parents.)

  9. It could / should mean everything to you. That quest everyone is on, which you mention, to be "loved". Love me, love me, love me. It means just that: you are loved. Lutherans have some happy songs about this. I wonder what Presbyter would say. I know one, he told me it was heresy. But he is wrong. It is not heresy to believe in God's free gifts and promises. Counter-intuitive, maybe.

  10. Crazy egos, hungry for love, says Sherwood Anderson. And so many ways we think we can find it. Who is the Presbyter that said it (what?) was heresy? Counter intuitive, yes. The more ways of taking about it the better, if not always the merrier. I have xtians, atheists, fundamentalists, liberals, islams, hindoos, gays of all sort, transcendentalists, Quakers, Buddhists, and Lutherans my classes. We talk.

  11. We have every kind of student at Concordia, also. We don't compromise our confession because of it. We talk, too.

  12. "Good for you:" to quote you commending me sometime ago. I think described coming out of class--somewhat stoked. I Did I say I compromise my confession? Warren Wilson was once a Presbyterian college, supported by the Presbyterian Board of Missions. Not even close now. Concordia is a Lutheran college? (I hear "Concordia" here and there--always related to Lutheranism.

  13. PS --The "we" in your last post: do you teach at Concordia now? I

  14. No, just involved with the board by association and some committees for conferences. That's the "we".

  15. Also, I attended as a mature student and took all sorts of religion courses, getting my New Testament sitting next to a Muslim man having good chats, for example.

  16. We have many Muslim students, especially women, because of the perceived kinder, gentler climate on campus and respect for faith, even in the philosophy department. Because of the latter we also have Catholic young men preparing for the priesthood taking philosophy. You would think the take the Greek and Hebrew, but they take the philosophy.


    I remember the "good for you". I had said that one thing I wonder about people is if they bother to pray. And you said that sometimes you and your students sit quiety for a whole hour. And I said "Good for you." It was slightly ironic in meaning. Sitting quiet is good. But actually sitting quiet vs. praying to God for others or yourself or on the other hand meditating on a text, is a different matter. Perhaps the inspiring thought at the end could be similar, but then on the other hand it could possibly be the opposite. As Luther always said, in mysticism you don't know whether angels or devils spoke to you.

  18. I sensed the irony, of course. You make me want to be a worser man, Brigitte. (You and Carl) Don't know if that's the angel or the devil talking to me. (Did you know "diabolical" is the literal opposites of "symbolical"? Throwing across, apart as opposed to throwing together. )

  19. It must have struck deeply, it is still stuck.

    It must also be my fault that I make you want to be a worser man; sounds like blaming the victim. Or else approaching apology, which will never happen, of course, because "unnecessary".

  20. Like a gnat, mosquito--constant "goodie" buzz buzzing--not even the status of thorn in flesh. Like a school-marm with a ruler telling us all to sit still and quit figiting--just makes me want to figit Just describing here. No victim, no victimizing. No apology needed. I know you're a Lutheran True Believer and so I expect your consistency and ongoing defense of the faith. Re Use and No Use: Our bias toward Use and Usefulness tends to throw a negative stigma on uselessness--poetry, art, writing, sport, mountain climbing, swimming to Florida. --liberal art: for the love of if . Slam poetry as become popular--and rap. But poetry has never been a popular delight or occupation. Makes sense.

  21. You get to be the "devil" and I get to be the "schoolmarm", makes equally annoying? Except you are chosing all the stigmatizing terms, not actually describing any behavior; accusing or describing, or just not liking what hearing?

    You get to sit still and come up with what you like, angel or devil speaking, who cares. Someone speaks "sense" to you or deals with a text sensibly (not just reacting individually) it is Verboten. Either way, you get to say what you like and call it "creative". Ultimate personal bias. (Call the oppostion schoolmarm. Yea, another point for you!)


  22. I never "get" your --you get to's--and sometimes your --not allowed--as if some higher power is allowing me and preventing you. I know it's just your way of speaking--but it's interesting because it frames our converse action in ways differently than I do. I get to sit still? I get to choose all the stigmatizing terms? I am forbidding? I get to say what I like and call it creative?

    Elenchus is a deconstructive practice (early Greek) where the shred aim is to undercut bias and belief and assumption and controlling metaphors in hopes of achieving a kind of bottoming out or aporia--which then was seen to be prerequisite to the beginning of the practice of philosophy.

  23. Aporia - no pores, no doors, no exit.