Week Thirteen (Thurs, Apr. 21): Final Small Group Discussion

 

I. coursekeeping
--introducing Barbara (giving advice on teaching??)
--two sign up sheets:
for your performances on Tues/Thurs

for final writing conferences week AFTER next
--I've responded to all the papers that came in on time;
if yours was late, I won't get to it now til next weekend;
if it's not up yet, you should speak to me and let me
know what's going on; I don't have trouble w/ late
papers; I do have lots of trouble w/ silence
(hannah, tangerines, themword....?)

--reviewing all requirements for completing the course
--we'll save the last 20 minutes for the course evaluations

II.
using this time to "process" what was said/not said on Tuesday:
where do you want to begin?


I spoke about
* the wide applicability of "evolutionary thinking" (spread of languages) 
* a new more collaborative fiction, beyond the individual 
* a new literary criticism, that doesn't separate the "how" from the "why"
*
the de-construction of disciplinary boundaries, and
* student exploration of alternative forms of story-construction.

I shared Freeman Dyson's vision of a
succession of 3 phases of development: the
geosphere (inanimate matter), the biosphere (biological life), the Noosphere (human thought).


As well as my thoughts about the central role that bodily disease, decay and death play in evolution:
the
need to eliminate possibilities in order to make space for the creation of new ones; and
my questions about the usefulness (or obstructions) of consciousness is in this process.

I followed Organized Khaos in calling "teachers dangerous if your goal is to do something new,"
reminded us all that writing, teaching, learning aren't algorithmic processes (formulaic/predictable),
but also that something is "constructed" doesn't mean that it is "not real."

Paul spoke
about many of the same ideas, more abstractly:
design and purpose,
"
vacilando" and "serendipity,"
"evolutionary exuberance," for better and
for worse (many orchids AND plane accidents),
with natural selection as the "how," and
randomness as the "why" (foundational!) of this story;
the problems
and solutions of this way of thinking:
make your own meanings,
learn to appreciate not only the hazards but also the "beneficence" of chance,
find immortality in the persistence of thought ("I will not die").