ffs

So I get home this morning and I can’t get into my flat. The deadbolt unlocks but the door handle lock won’t budge. Three hours later the locksmith arrives. Opens door to find the safety key chain in place.

Out of all my stuff only my bike and spare car key were taken. Nothing else is even disturbed much. I have disabled my car so it won’t start. However, if I am home and someone does try to start it, then I will hear it.

(My diss is going awesome. Cop that, cosmic forces of fate.)

weeeeeee!

So yet another dissertation structure. Fourth iteration. Here is how my writing has progressed:

1) writing up to understand stuff, and all my work here wasn’t that good;
2) writing up my empirical work basically organised into historical eras;
3) extract the argument from the mass of empirical work.
And now it seems that I need to enter a fourth stage of the process
4) organising the argument in a suitable form for examination.

I have chopped up and reorganised my epic 18-20,000 word chapters of the current third version into 9 smaller chapters assembled from different sections of the third version.

I am beginning at the beginning again and starting with the first chapter: Enthusiasm and Events.

I begin end with the Kantian conception of enthusiasm. I have decided I need to engage with Kant’s concept of enthusiasm in much more detail as it allows me to introduce a Deleuzian conception of enthusiasm. Over the fold is a rough ‘blog’ draft.

Continue reading “weeeeeee!”

talking with teachers

I had an interesting discussion with two senior English teachers last night. They may have simply been taking advantage of the situation to vent their anecdotal frustrations over a few drinks, but it seems as if there is a trend and serious cultural problem in education. Basically, there is a problem in the capacity of teaching. I am choosing my words carefully, because the capacity to teach may be located from a common sense view with the teacher; however, the event of teaching (of being taught) is distributed across all related dimensions of the school governmental apparatus.

Here are the main points of this problematic that I can remember:

1) Learning is understood in terms of being the product of a service. Teaching is a service industry. Teachers and schools are service providers. One dimension of this can be located in the shift towards a privatised educational industry.
First problem: The service industry operates through various apparatuses of capturing the attention of consumers. As part of the service industry, the teaching industry needs to compete with other sources of attention. Durable architectures of captured attention are the holy grail of the service and entertainment industries. Of course, teaching cannot compete with Hollywood, Big Brother, and the weekend football. The medicalisation of this political economy of attention is now more than a decade old with drugs provided to ‘sufferers’ of ADHD and ADD.
Second problem: The teacher-student relation is modeled on a service provider-consumer relation. Students need to be convinced of why they should learn. The problem of motivation (different to, but also an extension of the problem of attention) can be indexed in terms of an instrumental imagination deficit. The flip side of this, from the point of view of the education service industry, is the test of relevance. Teach only what is relevant, do not teach to inspire imagination. Headmasters become mere administrators of a service measured in terms of a relatively declining quantitative parity.

2) The exceptionally poor quality of new teaching graduates. The education service industry teacher-student relation is doubled as the teacher-(student)teacher relation when gaps in the capacity of teachers (resources and practical abilities) become apparent.
First problem: The general resources of popular and specialist knowledges is lacking. This is a basic problem of a lack of exposure to various traditional and newer texts and other forms of teaching content.
Second problem: New teachers are now a product of the educational service industry. They lack the necessary courage, honesty and intellectual curiousity to engage in the space of the classroom interface with students. The new teachers (and new practices of teaching for old teachers) suffer from a profound fear of getting the service delivery of ‘education’ wrong, so they opt for secure and intellectually neutured forms of interaction. This makes me think of a friend’s honours project within medicine on medical error. Medical error is not understood as an unwanted, but inevitable resource that can be used to learn how to make the practice of medicine better. Instead it is understood solely within a governmental frame of inept service provision that needs to be covered up or at best expelled. This is a problem of the honesty required to assess one’s capabilities and pursue a course of development that addresses one’s deficiencies not simply a course of action whereby one seeks to maximise personal job security in a volatile and personally corrosive service industry.

3) The culture of education in the NSW education service industry has suffered from the absolute intellectual poverty of reactionary commentators from the government through to media pundits.
First problem: Teachers need to be encouraged and supported, not denounced so they are policed in line with the absolute stupidity of conservatives. In fact, traditional conservatives, those who speak out against so-called postmodernism and so on in support of ‘classical’ texts, probably do not realise that they make the situation worse when teachers are the intellectually crippled products of the education service industry. The new teachers simply have not read or experienced these ‘classic’ texts and they do not have the intellectual courage, curiousity and honesty to go learn them.
Second problem: The profound ignorance of most of the commentariat (and for that matter most of the teaching staff) of the development of intellectual tools. I do not mean tools of a ‘good’ ideological basis, I mean tools that actually allow students to have the capability for living in the contemporary post-industrial and media saturated world. The ‘postmodernist’ module in senior English suffers from an older teaching staff too scared and uncomfortable with having to learn it so as to teach it, and a younger teaching staff too stupid to understand it or even have the capacity to understand that they should try to understand it.

As the education service industry is a service industry it will be up to parents to put pressure on the industry to change.

One way to incorporate the dynamic, constantly changing terrain of the syllabus and the practicalities of having to modify its delivery is to institutionalise continual university-level retraining (for which teachers must be paid). A simply ‘information day’ is not enough. Teachers should be given substantial time to retrain over a set time frame. So, for example, switching to part time teaching loads for a term every two years to go back to uni. Having intellectually stimulated teachers should be understood as an important goal for any contemporary society.

A structural and institutional solution is the only way to solve this problem.

canon

One of the funny lines from the new Transformers movie (which I have now seen three times) is when Ironhide whips out two large weapon-looking things from his wrists and ‘aims’ them at the human teenager helping the Autobots and says: I just wanted to show him my canons.

There is an element of mechano-homosocial desire that triangulates the elderly Ironhide with the young male human and Ironhide’s ‘canons’. What will mecha get excited about when anime worlds one day become reality? Probably their canons.

Here are some canons from the internets to enjoy while drinking your morning coffee. First, a dude on two guitars all laid back and relaxed.

Second, when it is time to get excited, what was once the most watched youtube video of all time:

Via Inmanencia, EGS have posted some more video lectures on youtube. Check out DeLanda on Deleuze. DeLanda’s work would be part of the current Deleuzian canon…
Watching and listening to DeLanda speak about the geology of morals makes me question the nature of Deleuzian discourse that does not take seriously the invocation to stutter in one’s own language. DeLanda: “And then I shot the bird.”

My anecdotal assessment of literal stuttering derived from my own experience as a stutterer bolstered with some brief reading about stuttering is that it is an affective short-circuit. Most researchers of so-called speech disorders seek to locate the problem of stuttering in the stuttering subject. There is something wrong with the way the stuttering speaker enunciates and expresses words. Stuttering is therefore a problem of expression. This is a juridico-medical discourse of stuttering. There is something wrong (a judgement) and it is located in the neuro-physiological composition of the subject (medical). The affective disposition of the subject (habitus) is broken as it betrays a manifest inability to properly modulate the contours of affective activation that course through everyday expression. What if instead of this assessment of stuttering organised around a transcendental speaking subject as an author producing sense through manipulation of the human physiology of verbal expression, stuttering was located within the event of sense.

Words have an affective timbre, but concepts inculcate affects as weapons. Weaponised affects are concepts arrayed by the operative outside of the multiplicities across which the concepts move. As the speaking subjects also moves within concepts expressed the verbal enunciation there is a relay or correspondence between at least two series of sense: one belonging to the sense extracted from language and the other extracted from the multiplicity of the concept. The affective short circuit of stuttering then would not be located within the subject, but within the event of sense distributed across the body of the speaking subject, but also the ‘body’ of language, the ‘body’ of words, and the bodies of the various other elements within the event of the copncept.

The non-human affects of the concept interact with the human affects mobilised (or immanently ‘in-acted’ to use a neologism from my diss) through expression. The interaction within groups is therefore across the signifying assemblages of language (human affects) and the asignifying assemblages of the concept (non-human affects). Stuttering in one’s own language is not simply reproducing a model of enunciation deprived of the assumed slick correlation between the sense of language and its realisation in a state of affairs, but of a painful attentiveness in the non-correlation between the multiplcities of the asignifying assemblages of the concept and the signifying assemblages of language. There is always a gap or fall into language between the two, but instead of jumping off the cliff, stuttering means the excruiating task of mountain climbing down the face of sense.

Academics are supposed to speak well. Sometimes they speak too well. I wonder if they properly comprehend the play of non-human and human affects in expression and the prduction of sense if these affects are weaponised…