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Monday, August 27, 2012

Gradually

"Gradually I learned to become indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection."

Coming across these words of Bertrand Russell in a book I'm reading has me re-considering several ideas I'd had for future blog posts. I'm ready to begin focusing more attention on the three areas Russell calls "external objects" although each area presents clear challenges. Guidance anyone cares to offer is welcome.

1. How best maintain the apolitical tone I've established while still focusing on "the state of the world"?
2. How best avoid pseudo-intellectualism when exploring "various branches of knowledge"?
3. How best ensure focusing on "individuals for whom I feel affection" doesn't become cringeworthy?

I'm going to give each of the three a shot in some near-future posts; I'll depend on you to keep me tuned up. In the meanwhile, I'm grateful for that word "gradually" in the part about becoming indifferent to myself and my deficiencies. I'm starting that piece right this moment.     

4 comments:

  1. Pat, Despite Russell using the word "I" three times in this wonderful quote, I feel as if his implication is to take some of the "I" out of "I". Speaking for myself, it always seems that the more times I'm hearing "I" in my speach, the less I'm absorbing everything I'm hearing,seeing,etc.
    Peter

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    1. Peter; Great insight. Will be paying more attention to taking the "I" out of my speech, thanks to you. Thanks (as always) for reading and your comments.

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  2. No, no, no! Leave "I" in! Stan Brakhage, a non-narrative film maker, was a guest lecturer in a film course I attended. He spoke about his movie making process and then asked for questions from the class. One after another, students stood up and began each question with the phrase, "we have seen many examples of your work today...", or "we have been taught...". Each time the student began speaking Stan would just reply, "We." After the third time, everyone began to laugh nervously. Stan then explained in a most courteous but firm manner how none of us could express an opinion without the shielding insulation of "we" rather than assert that an opinion began with an individual "I". And it was interesting that most every student in that lecture hall seemed to get the point. But the very next student who got up to ask a question immediately reverted to "we" before catching himself or herself. It just brought home in the most graphic way how conditioned "we" are to speak in a collective voice instead of the voice of an individual "I". The year was 1973. Has anything changed in the collective or individual consciousness of our world? Just tune in to any televised discourse on news, opinions and entertainment and count the number of times "we" trumps "I". Sometimes it is appropriate to state "we" but I would argue that "I" is more honest when I speak for myself and not a group.

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    1. Steve; Thanks for the well thought out comment. "I" guess what "I'm" aiming for is to be a little less inward focused and concentrate a bit more on those 3 components Russell suggests. "I" rarely speak in the royal "we" voice but "I" sometimes do feel as though "I" navel-gaze a bit too much. Balance, balance, balance.

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