Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Return

So I feel like I'm ready to start writing again.

The last three or four weeks have been very strange for me.

My birthday happened, my mom visited me from Farmville.

I finished In Defense Of Lost Causes and it fried my brain. I just got a little frazzled.

I was busy. I decided to take a break.

I read Foucault On Freedom and Delillo's White Noise.

The novel was okay. It made me think about death. So I bought John Gray's The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death. Death is such an interesting issue.

I've now started reading Guy Claxton's What's The Point Of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education. I've read two of Claxton's books and an article by him before this, and I really like him. He is a very smart psychologist/cognitive scientist who takes mindfulness and education very seriously. Good stuff.

The book has prompted me to write an essay that will step outside of the world of AZI for a little bit. I can't really address the issues he raises within the remaining framework of AZI.

Interestingly, however, I'll be picking up on the work that I was doing in Part III.3 of AZI. In that section I tried to understand how it is that the aesthetic existence might be tied to the purposeful creation of habits. In particular, I tried to claim that habits could be created by engaging in simulative forms of thought that could create a synthetic experience. Habits come from unreflective experience. So could we create habits by creating certain types of experiences? That was my claim.

Furthermore, the issue of habit has occupied me heavily since then. That was around February. So for the last three or four months habit has been a more and more important theme for me.

This new essay, therefore, will be titled something like 'Education and Habit: Simulation and Synthetic Experience in Schools'. I don't even have an outline yet. Just ideas that are floating around. Notes in books. Notes in my journal.

But I think that I'll be able to pull something together. I will hopefully be able to tie in mindfulness, nihilism, historical thinking, idealism, etc.

I'm pleased to have an idea for a writing project that will move me outside of AZI for a little while.

I'll hopefully return to AZI this spring/summer. But not quite yet.

I need to reckon with habit a little bit.

In many ways I am thinking of this essay as a way to approach the issue of habit that I raised in Part III.3 of AZI. I don't know how to parse habit.

It seems like a very important philosophical and pedagogical issue. So I need to start parsing it somehow. And I will, hopefully, in this new essay.

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