Language is the domain wherein we learn our way in the cosmos. Without ignoring that preference for listening that sometimes makes me reticent to speak, I nevertheless feel moved to affirm here that by discoursing with others, we evolve our reality. It is in this spirit that, kicked up into dialogue by the music video for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” I land upon one of performer Donald Glover’s other recent accomplishments, the TV show Atlanta. Graced by an ability to improvise without worry using the Entirety of Being, one becomes if not quite a god, then at least a medicine. Or, in a further act of diminution, an interesting thought experiment, as the experience is akin to discovering “Thou Art That.” Especially if by “That” we mean a dialectically-evolving ensemble of objects. Because of the persistence of injustice, however, the revolutionary in me deems the new worlds I wake to each morning insufficiently distinct from the worlds of yore. Marxism remains for me the discourse I call home, in the sense that it rarely any longer challenges me to revise myself, it rarely any longer situates me as subject within an actionable project of individual and collective self-betterment. Yet along its trail of thought I still thread the sentences of my days.
3 thoughts on “Thursday May 10, 2018”
Is the revising of self the only indicator of movement? Are there others?
Difficult to say, in the sense that with revision of self comes revision of perception. Once that happens, one can no longer draw a hard and fast line between changes in the perceiver and changes in the perceived. Part of what I’ve noticed by keeping this blog is that each time I attend to my experience, I’m guaranteed to encounter an object-world revising itself, reforming itself, re-presenting itself from moment to moment in a process of constant but uneven transformation. Part of the joy of each day lies in discovering the new things (as well as the old things we’ve never noticed before) that lie hidden from us everywhere in plain sight. Sometimes those new things, those indicators of movement, appear in the form of headlines, bits of information, modest changes in the behavior of friends, acquaintances, students, coworkers — but most especially, changes felt at the level of language. If we can register changes of consciousness in language, then those changes become more than just revisions of self; they become available as part of an intersubjective reality shared with others.
As you say, these small indicators are often everyday. They do accumulate, though, don’t they? Until I thought about disgust as an evolutionary tool to guide humans away from something that may be bad for us to ingest or even get close to, I never noticed that this is what has been happening to my when I see DT on the news. The new appreciation of the feeling and the language provided a new perspective on my responses. One unfortunate result is that (given that the evening news occurs during dinner time) I am forced to change channels or risk an substantial dip in my pleasure in the meal.
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