In Professor Dalke’s Thursday discussion section, we explored the idea of solidarity in times of struggle and talked about a lot of different scenarios in which we, like Rambert, might be tempted to leave a difficult situation. The difficulty of being separated from one’s homeland because of a difficult situation, however, seems to be a problem even for the people who remain in Oran, for the place they are staying is not like the one that they knew before The Plague descended upon the city. They are transformed and develop a different relationship to the space they inhabit; the disease fundamentally transforms their relationship to their city.
In Anne Dalke’s discussion section, we talked about the last paragraph of The Plague in relation to what we’ve read so far. Many people in the class saw the last sentence as challenging our agency. People seemed troubled by the idea that, no matter what we do, the rats will rise up again – randomly, unpredictably, and inevitably. So what do we do? How do we create things and feel good if we think that no matter what we do, bad things are going to keep happening?
In continuing to explore other folks’ papers for The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories, I stumbled across bee27’s webpaper, which (much like my paper) talks about how Darwin’s model of evolution can apply to education. bee27 writes:
“Freire complements Darwin's ideas of breaking free of the educational mold, suggesting a shifted focus to viewing our children as students, and as participants in their own education, and not merely inactive vessels for other people's knowledge. Through On the Origin of the Species, Darwin's radical and therefore extremely significant ideas are like a call to action for science education.”
Today in Anne Dalke’s section of discussion, we were talking about religion and how to reconcile foundational, non-narrative stories (like the Book of Genesis) with non-foundational, narrative stories (like perhaps that of evolution). I identify as agnostic and became less and less religious as I grew up, but my mother is a reborn Christian. Whenever anyone in the family was sick or something was wrong, she would tell me to pray before I went to bed. As I got older and questioned God, you would think I would have stopped praying; but I also didn’t want to stop hoping for people’s well-being even though I wasn’t sure there was a god.
I found this first week of discussion very interesting. As we continued the discussion on evolution as a way of being, I found many questions forming in my head. I understand the importance the role of history plays in explanations for why things are here, but I find more comfort in the idea that history cannot explain everything and that chance, opportunity and maybe even destiny are explanations for some occurrences. One example, we talked about was how we as individuals got here. Though there is a story or "history" that may explain how my parents met, got married, etc. The first answer off the top of my head was "by chance".
“The truth about stories is that that's all we are ... The Nigerian storyteller Ben Okri says that .... 'if we change the stories we live by, quite possibly we change our lives.’ ....”
—Thomas King, The Truth About Stories