Category Archives: Uncategorized

Distraction and Dromocracy in Learning

Debates about media in academic institutions are as old as academic institutions themselves. Is handwriting better than typing for learning? This article indicates that the answer is yes, specifically in terms of classroom learning. I would disagree. Part of the argument is that handwriting is better because it makes you slow down. I like the point about slowing down. The current obsession with speed—Paul Virilio’s dromocratic society—is very much a problem that should be addressed, and presumably it should be addressed very quickly. Slow down now! However, taking typing out of the classroom is not the solution. Continue reading


another burning man

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a noticeable increase in views of a post I wrote last year on Burning Man, probably because it’s been Burning Man season for a little while.  I didn’t go this year.  Why?  I couldn’t afford my ticket to the gift economy.  No, that’s just a joke poking fun at the inherent hypocrisy of the event, which, to be fair, isn’t a very funny joke to make: it’s hacky.  My real reason for not being there?  As a person deeply concerned with lowering carbon emissions, I simply cannot participate in an event with that kind of carbon footprint (not to mention other resource issues, like water use, including virtual water).  Okay, that’s not the real reason either.  I just like making fun of the blatant hypocrisy of the Leave No Trace ethic espoused by event organizers and participants.  But again, that’s a pretty hacky joke to make.  My real reason for not going?  It’s not that I don’t like individualist orgies or group narcissism.  I just had classes to teach.  I’d hate to cancel class this early in the semester, when we are just starting to do the delicate work of co-constituting an intimate space for learning.  On that note, I should get back to work.


Sensitive People are Taking Over

It’s true!  In case you haven’t heard, a new world is at hand, a world run by people who feel things that you can’t.

Sensitive people. 
We’re taking over.

Listen to the good news HERE.


Psychology Joke

Charles Tart defines the field of academic psychology as “the study of college sophomores by former college sophomores for the benefit of future college sophomores” (The End of Materialism, p. 133n1)


What’s funny about puns?

I just got back from a week in Malibu, and along with that, I’m recovering from a pretty severe case of olympic fever.  What have I learned?  Simply this: some puns are funnier than others, and only partially because some work better orally than they do in writing.  For instance, consider the following three observations.

Meddling:
If I was going to compete in the Olympics, I would medal in other people’s business.

Schelling:
When some people visit the beach, they go shelling.  I’m more open than that.  When I visit the beach, I go Heidegger.

Booooo:
I think the name “Malibu” comes from a Chumash word for the aural intensity of the surf there (i.e., loud waves), but “Malibu” sounds too negative to signify that sacred sound.  A more positive name would be Malihooray, or better yet, Benihooray.

What can we conclude from this?  At the very least, we can probably agree that a lot of puns feel like bad jokes, but maybe the point of puns is less about being funny and more about performing some kind of phonosemantic alchemy, like Jesus using the “Peter is a rock (petros)” pun to enact the institution of his Church.


Misleading Titles: Foxes, Ecstasy, Laundry

“I have been watching Fox News for hours now, and I have not seen one story about foxes.”
–Russell Brand

That’s an astute observation from Russell Brand.  “Fox News” is definitely a misleading name.  What about the foxes themselves? 

Similarly, I was disappointed to read Jack Kornfield’s After the Ecstasy the Laundry.  That book is not about laundry at all, and it’s only about ecstasy in a very limited sense: the ecstasy occasioned by meditative states within the horizon of contemporary spirituality.  It’s a fine book, I was just hoping for something that would describe the wonders of doing laundry after an experience with a psychoactive medicine called “ecstasy” (i.e., MDMA). 

I can imagine something like a narrative of a young man whose empathogenic experience helps him finally learn how to appreciate and execute the complex work of folding his girlfriend’s delicate underwear.  This new knowledge grants the young man opportunities to take up his own responsibilities more authentically, opportunities to grow closer to his girlfriend, and strangest of all, opportunities to fall in love with the weird objects that assemble in the phenomenon of laundry: a washing machine, a dryer, the quarters that operate those machines, the nickels that look like those quarters, a lint trap, some detergent, some fabric softener, a hamper, socks, shirts, towels, pants, shorts, underwear, sweaters, hangers, closets, drawers, stains, stain remover, the inordinately drafty laundry room in the apartment complex, the timer that beeps when the washing and drying cycles are done, the unusually large key to the laundry room, and the alchemical process of becoming clean.


The Integral Kosmopolitan: CFP

Another Integral Theory Confeference is coming up next year.  ITC 2013 will be July 18-21 in San Francisco.  The theme will be “Connecting the Integral Kosmopolitan.”  The call for papers was recently issued.  A pdf of the cfp can be found HERE.  The deadline for proposals (workshops or paper presentations) is August 15, 2012 (the deadline for poster presentation is November 15).

I went to the 2008 and 2010 Integral Theory Conferences, and I enjoyed them a lot more than I enjoy the usual academic conference.  Although the conferences are generally oriented around Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, they are very open to alternative approaches to integral.  The workshops, papers, and posters at these conference explicate, apply, and criticize Wilberian work while also engaging other “integral” thinkers (Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser), critical realists (Roy Bhaskar), complexity theorists (Edgar Morin), poststructuralists (Gilles Deleuze), process philosophers (Whitehead, Teilhard, Bergson), transpersonal/spiritual psychologists (Roger Walsh), and so much more.  

The keynotes for ITC 2013 include Roy Bhaskar and Edgar Morin.  Those two alone make the event worth attending.  I’m definitely going, and I’m also planning on proposing a presentation.  Since the theme is Kosmopolitanism (spelled with a K because that’s how Integral theorists spell “Kosmos”), I might present something on Morin’s planetary realism.  I’m also attempted to do a history of cosmopolitanism, particularly focusing on its post-Kantian and posthumanist mutations in Derrida, Stengers, Latour, and Haraway.  Hmmmm……scratching my head.