I was talking with a guy in this dream. We found many points in common, an interest in poetry in Spanish, French, and English. A taste for jazz. I asked him how old he was; he said 58, even though he looked younger than that. So I commented that we were in the same age range. "Surely you don't like Thelonious Monk!" I exclaimed. Of course he did.
Monday, October 24, 2022
I was in the airport. I realized I didn't have my suitcase, only my backpack, and tried to backtrack to where the baggage claim was, but the entire place had become a giant consumer mall and I couldn't find the part that looked like an airport. I keep asking people, and nobody could tell me, or gave my bogus directions. The shops looked very vivid and exciting, but since I was focused on getting my luggage, I cannot remember any details. When I woke up I realized I was in my own bed and had my suitcase from my recent trip.
I was inspired by even some not-so-hot presentations about pedagogy I witnessed at a recent conference. In other words, the people presenting seemed to have a limited awareness of the potential of the materials they were using. They somehow invited that it would foster creativity among their students, but they were very uncreative in looking at this. For example, a presentation on the libro-objeto (artist book) had very little consciousness about what this tradition actually was.
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Imagine, then, somebody getting most things wrong, but insisting on overthinking everything that is more or less simple, and yet sticking to dogmatic positions for more complex, nuanced matters.
For example: insisting that something has single cause, when there are many causes, some stronger than others. It has to be either / or, all nature or all nurture, or whatever.
For something that does have a simple, overwhelming cause, like the cause of a war being one nation invading the other, then trying to muddy the waters with all the other, supposedly nuanced reasons.
Now, we could say that this is difficult. We don't know when to use our nuance, and when to stick to the simplest solution. It would be like the song says: "He knows when to hold them, knows when to fold them." A bad poker player would do the opposite of what is required in any given situation. Or, say, following a rule or principle. Generally, you would follow a rule (if it is good rule), but also know the appropriate time to bend or break the rule. Breaking the rule always would mean that the rule itself has no utility.
I sometimes find myself on opposite sides of people who basically have the same politics as I do, because I want to nuance when they want to be dogmatic, and vice-versa.
Friday, October 7, 2022
[Yes, I know you don't use nuance as a verb in that way. Apparently it is only passive.]
On the one hand, there are things that seem clear-cut and are really not. We need a more nuanced view of them. On the other hand, you can take something relatively simple and then over-think it, or try to weasel yourself into a position where you are upside down from where you should really be. The prime minister of Finland said that the solution to the Ukraine war was for Russia to withdraw. It's not a nuanced position, but it is the terse and correct one. Once you try to say, "but NATO expansion," "but Russia's sphere of influence," then you are losing focus.
Everyone has something about which they will not take a nuanced position, and rightly so. There are also conundrums that nobody has figured out, and taking a cut-and-dried approach to those will also fail. The trick is knowing the difference. For me, nuance can either enrich our understanding, but allowing us to consider more factors, or it can cloud the issue that is really not that difficult to understand.
You know when the issue is being clouded [remember that nuance come from a French word meaning cloud] when the verbiage starts piling up, when it gets more difficult to understand the points being made. Ideally, then, nuance should be used only to clarify, to make things easier to understand, not to muddy the waters. It should bring to light things that are essential, not minor things or mere clutter.
Thursday, October 6, 2022
There was an article in the New York Times, an interview with a conservative Christian therapist. The comments were
*Didn't read the article, but therapists shouldn't be conservative.
*Politics shouldn't enter into therapy the first place (and therapists shouldn't be conservative).
*Healthy eating is a classist concept. Same with "resilience."
*Conservatives have no empathy, therefore shouldn't be therapists.
*But Trump! January 6! White privilege! Conservatives want a therapist to tell them their world view is correct. Reality has a liberal bias.
*We liberals are nuanced and complex, not like those simple minded people who think in terms of us and them.
A few people had a different take, and thought the woman in question had something of value to offer. The number of people, though, who seemed to lack all self-awareness, was astounding. The willingness to say that basic human concepts, like making good use of one's time, do not apply to poor people, is absolutely condescending. Some of my friends understand that we cannot be so smug.
Sunday, October 2, 2022
I was going to a prostitute, but without much enthusiasm. I had no desire for her, and was unsure what would happen, since I had heard that prostitutes did not kiss on the mouth. We lay down together very briefly, and it turned out that it was some way of getting information about me. There was a small square at the corner of the box we we lying in that was associated with eccentric local artist WP. It was felt that this square contaminated our local group of meditators. Then it turned out that W had joined our group, and that his presence was accepted, not a contaminating element at all. [We define karma as kind of the rough edges of individuality that get evened out in the group, so someone who does not fit in as well is actually good for the health of the overall group.]. The dream went on from there, very vaguely...