“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Being Ecological 3

Okay, it's week 2, and I've got the flavor. I've got it by Jove. I'm not going to give it away here--bit of a secret recipe kind of a deal right now. But there is a recipe. The thing is, who are you making the meal for and what kind of food will work for them? It's like Aristotle's Rhetoric part 2. There he gives a really wonderful exhaustive account of loads of different emotions, because writing and speaking and sentences in general are really grounded in listening. They are modes of listening. Who is feeling what, how do you tune to that with your sentence?

I'll say this much: the world tends to come in three basic flavors, with loads of subdivisions of course, but for me, there are three basic emotional flavors: passion, aggression and indifference.

When you start out teaching, you're working with being liked. Passion.

When you continue for a bit, you find yourself working with hostility. Yours and your students' Aggression.

Then you carry on some more, and you find that you're working with indifference, which is the hardest energy to work with. Advanced stuff.

It's the same with writing. First you want to be liked--maybe you want to pass as a kosher scholar, let's say. Then you want to argue the toss and defend and attack and so on, shape opinions or whatever. Aggression. And then, you need to go really wide and work with the ignorance energy. Why care? At all? Being all clever and “please like me” or going “Person x has no clue what they're talking about” doesn't cut it any more. You're pretty much preaching to the choir that way. What happens if you want to talk to non-choir people?

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