We’re doing a pretty good job of surfacing differences now. 😉 We haven’t necessarily come to any agreements over issues of moral difference, but more possibilities are on the table (methinks). As I drove home (to work) and half the class went out (to party), I was thinking about trickery and provocation.
That was about an hour ago, though….can I reconstruct…..it had to do with David’s claim that because we were all in academia seeking graduate degrees we already “agree” on most things….on the one hand, I was thinking my response didn’t “join” his – I took an interpretation of his statement that minimized our presence in the classroom has merely a means to an end. Yet, the goal of the performance (for both of us, it seems) was to elicit disagreement and thus engage more ‘democratically’….but then, if I had “joined” him as Stephen and I advocated (specifically to Donna in the situation with the Young Republicans), consensus and agreement that muted difference would have been the goal. Anti-democratic? However, having sought to emerge disagreement, did my response to David transmit respect? And back to the notion of “violence” ~ if his original statement was meant to provoke, was it inauthentic? Can one provoke from a place of authenticity/integrity or must provocation be necessarily “a lie”? There is some paradoxical thing going on in here….at the very end of class I had two strains of thought: one about quantum physics and matter/energy duality and another about risk.
The whole duality bit is simply that both matter & energy are always present and what one “gets” is what one “looks for.” Part of the balancing act under discussion (being a leftist; being a democrat) seems to me to involve the ability to hold these options in a state of flux for as long as possible, until circumstances or contingencies force action along one vein or the other. I’d argue that integrity comes from the way one manages the choice(s) to be “this way” or “that way” in given moments.
The risk part had to do with the notion of “winning” and then yielding power. I kept thinking of a definition of “listening” that one of my students posted ~ that it’s “dangerous” because it “might change your mind.” I was noticing the resistance to letting go of our own beliefs, ideologies, convictions…..or even being willing to let them be on the table. The radical move is, I’m thinking, a poststructuralist one that de-couples identity from these deeply held political beliefs….such that …. questions of violence don’t become confused with questions of trickery?
Meanwhile, before I lose coherence completely, I wanted to make two plugs:
1) a field trip to the conference in NY where Stephen will present, so we can watch the psycho-rhetorician ~ “democracy is a wild emotion” ~ at work. 🙂
2) a plug for using the blog instead of email *because* of its utility (all the comments are easily accessible, in one place, sequenced) and because of it’s democratic impulse – I was particularly struck by the realization that the deliberative forms of democracy that some of us have witnessed or know about occur in private. The publicity of the blog counters the privileged privacy of the class email list.
Along that vein, I’m more than willing to add a few of you as authors in your own right, so that comment threads/categories etc don’t have to be initiated only by me. Raz is already an author (he’s been on vacation), but I’m willing and interested to open this up to anyone who will seriously contribute to it. Just let me know.