I understand the point to be that existence is higher or fuller when things are acting through us rather than action arising from us, reflecting an involvement in our situation rather than a detachment from it. To reclaim the Homeric gods doesn’t necessitate polytheism but it does mean cultivating a sensitivity to the range of potentials inherent in each situation, overcoming what has gradually lost in modernity.
In his account of socialisation in Democracy and Education, Dewey places a great stress on habit formation. There’s an inevitability to habit as “excessive stimulation and excessive and ill-adapted response” necessitate that “certain stimuli are selected because of their relevancy, and others are degraded”.
I found this extremely interesting from Dewey’s Democracy and Education loc 562-575. He argues that the concept of ‘imitation’ tends to mistake an outcome for cause, imputing to a generic tendency to copy each other what is better explained by commonly constituted agents finding themselves in similar situations which tend to produce similar responses.
Following from this afternoon’s post about John Dewey, I wanted to share this extract from later in Democracy and Education about the socialising role played by communities. He explains how the groups to which an individual belongs inevitably exercises an influence over them, by virtue of that belonging. I understanding him to be saying these are educative in the sense that they provide an environment which solicits certain responses by virtue of collaborating as part of a more or less shared existence.
I found this really helpful for revisiting my PhD, seven years on, in order to finally publish from it. I’m broadly sympathetic with the project expressed in this lecture but the point of departure is his claim that higher education increases the capacity for reflexivity. This just isn’t true as […]
How would John Dewey have understood the influence of social platforms on adolescents? I found myself wondering this because of the central role which transmission plays in his understanding of socialisation.
I wrote this almost 15 years in my first year as a sociology student, having abandoned a planned political philosophy PhD to take a social research MA instead because of a sudden fascination with empirical research.
Even if we didn’t manage to solve it this time, we can defer things forward so that next time we assume it’s going to be possible. Perhaps when I’ve changed in some way? Improved myself? Made myself stronger? Or more resilient?
If our desires are imbricated in the circuits of capital, if we feel and dream in terms of commodities and within the horizon of the existing system, what does this mean for the possibility of moving beyond it?
This phrase used by Damon Young has stuck with me in the years since I read the book which contained this acknowledgement in its preface. It immediately resonated yet I’ve only come to understand what it means with time, as well as what it entails for partnership. I thought back to it when reading this wonderful short piece by Simone de Beauvoir, It’s About Time Women Put A New Face On Love, recommended by Jana Bacevic. I realise that Young’s phrase hinted at a horizon of being-with-another that Beauvoir explicated in beautiful and precise prose.
Behold him now, in utter solitude,
Welcomed by naught save fearful, deathlike silence,—
A silence which the echo of his steps
Alone disturbs, as through the vaults he paces.
There are lots of criticisms which can be made about Modern Family, as a distinctly old fashioned show dressed up in a superficial liberal progressivism. It’s nonetheless been a guilty pleasure of mine and I’ve been rewatching it during this grim coronic winter. There’s one aspect which stood out to […]
Theorising socio-cultural change: a note on the casual contemptuousness of John Milbank and Adrian Pabst
I just stumbled across this extract I recorded from John Milbank and Adrian Pabst’s The Politics of Virtue. There’s a confident contemptuousness to this passage which unsettled me at the time, expressing a belief that they can read back the spiritual condition of people they encounter through a brief glance […]
This passage from Keri Facer’s superb Learning Futures (pg 21) captures why I’m so interested in education. I wrote a PhD on what I called personal morphogenesis: how we become who we are and how personal changes are bound up in social changes. The reason I’ve moved into education is because […]
“A life. A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It’s the shit that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come”
This section from Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement reminded me of my favourite line from Lester Freeman in The Wire. The substance of the lives we lead is mundane, reproducing who we are in circumstances which remain roughly the same. However we are culturally surrounded with representations of life which […]
On Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me pg 96 there’s a lovely description of the mundane reality of reflexivity, as well as our tendency to assume other people could not possibly notice it: My days sometimes began with an unspoken soliloquy. A matter of seconds, usually after shaving. I dried my […]
I thought this advice from loc 814-829 of Pandemic! was helpful as well as charmingly earnest. It verbalises my own instinct about how to respond to this, at least after a week of drunken despair after I grasped that ‘normal life’ as I knew it simply wasn’t going to return. […]
From Zizek’s Pandemic! loc 439: What this contrast tells us is that panic is not a proper way to confront a real threat. When we react in panic, we do not take the threat seriously—we, on the contrary, trivialize it. Just think how ridiculous is the notion that having enough […]
This extract from Zizek’s The Ticklish Subject pg 451 left me reflecting on the edginess which pervades public spaces at the moment, with practical co-existence in a situation of implicit (invisible) threat clearly taking a psychological toll on many of us: This disintegration of paternal authority has two facets. On […]
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how breaks, ruptures and transitions are conceived of an ontological level. They are evidenced through factors across a range of domains which are presented as indicators of change but the underlying rupture must exceed these particular trends in order to be regarded as […]