Friday, June 25, 2010

Physical and Mental Recovery: In Preparation for More More More

So this week I have been taking it easy, physically and mentally. I was sick most of this week so I have been relaxing to try and get over that. First I was throwing up a bit, then it moved into my chest and I have been coughing a bit. Soar throat. But I feel like within the next few days I should be on the up and up.

I have also been taking it easily mentally a little bit. I started reading Foucault's Discipline & Punish about a month ago, and I finished it yesterday. So in the last month I have only read one book. It is a very challenging book, without a doubt. I suppose I have read parts of other books, or certain essays online or out of volumes I own. I also spent a good amount of time rereading parts of Collingwood and other things. So its not like I am not reading, just not plowing through lots of new stuff.

I also have been really occupied by my writing. It took up a large amount of time for the first two weeks of this month. Especially my essay of 6/13, The Everyday A Priori Imagination. That essay is about 70 pages and took a lot of time. Took a lot out of me. Was really satisfying. And has prompted tons of new questions.

Needless to say though, it was hard, and it prevented me from reading a ton, and kept me from writing other stuff. But that is fine. It was a very worthwhile thing to have done.

Right after posting that big one I wrote a few fast reflective posts. And then I managed to put out an 11 page essay that really augments and explains my previous thinking really well. It helps me articulate some things more clearly, helps me think more clearly about some things. The inhibition of the self as the enrichment of the self. It is the title, and it is what it helps me think about.

I was also nailed with a few heavy ideas immediately after finishing that post. One is about social progress and personal progress, and how we can conceptualize them with John Searle's notion of the 'content of action.' I have 5 pages of that written, and I plan on writing a bit more. That will probably be my next piece of writing that approaches 20 pages or so.

I also have to write my post on Discipline & Punish. In particular, I am going to be focusing on the notion of an 'implicit war' within society. Foucault spends a bit of time talking about the idea of the social contract, and whether there are other, or better, ways of conceptualizing society's relationship with disciplinary and punitive power. Why do we except the state's monopoly on violence? Is it the social contract? Or is it something else? Is it more coercive than that?

I think because of my background in military history I am very sensitive to the centrality of violence. But DnP is absolutely running along these lines. There is no denying that war, violence, battle, that those are the most important things in bringing about a 'disciplinary society,' as Foucault describes it. Foucault even said that after his work on sexuality he was going to explore the military aspects of society in greater depth. So, I think war and military should be pretty central to DnP. And I think he makes that clear in the text as well. I will show this in my post.

But this is not the time or place to hash these ideas out. I am simply writing to reflect on what has been happening to me this last week, and to prepare for what I am about to work on.

I'm not sure when I'll devote my time to these two pieces: progress and the content of action, and my analysis of Foucault's Discipline & Punish. I think I have some pretty heavy ideas in the works with both of them. On top of that I have about 8 other blogs that I could write. Which are def worthwhile ideas. Those two, however, feel most pressing in my mind. So be it. I will tackle them.

I am also reading a new set of essays that I find pretty exciting. The volume is The Architecture of the Imagination: New Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction. Shaun Nichols is the editor, a philosopher of mind that I now from Alvin Goldman's work. Goldman actually contributes an article to this volume. It is from Oxford U press, published in 2006, and seems like it has some pretty strong contributors. So I am expecting it to offer me some pretty substantial insights into the imagination that will help me.

It feels so funny for me to be writing so much. Because I feel myself making substantial connections between things I know, things I think about, things I read. I feel like I'm not crazy, I think I am talking sense about some things (like the imagination, intuition, and simulation). But I still see how far I have to go. How much literature there is left for me to read.

At this point I wish I had the confidence to say that I could master this literature. I would love to say, 'oh yeah, I'm gonna read all those books and then I'm gonna tell everyone what I think.'

I'd like to think I am capable of blowing everyone's minds. Or at least of making a very significant contribution to an ongoing conversation. Hopefully one that could help some people.

But sure, I'm afraid I won't be able to. But so far I feel like I am doing a good job making hay out of the things I read. I can make sense of books. But it is hard and daunting to think about the future. All those books, all those people, all those minds, all those ideas.

Sift through them, sort them out in a new way, tell everyone that your way of sorting is supreme.

I'm hungry for so many other things though. Academics and all, good stuff. But I'm gonna have to start doing lots of other things too. Lots of other things. Lots of action. I can do it all. Lol, I can't. But I love hyperbole. I love exaggerating. I love saying extreme and insane things.

Despite all my writing I am so far from having a unified statement of what I am after.

This is most apparent to me in thinking about the similarities and differences between my post of 4/30 and my post of 6/13. Now I remember, I was in the shower and had an idea about how to articulate their connection more clearly, but now I can't remember. But I'll try to do it later.

That is it for now.

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