The Adjacent Schools have arranged for continuing education and academic credit for participants in the approach presented here.  The approach taken is based upon the Bologna Process, which sets uniform standards for European schools, as well as schools elsewhere in the world that elect to share in that process.

The assumption is that students spend 30 hours a week in strictly academic undertakings.  We have opted to consider 20 hours of serious reflection and analysis as sufficient for a full-time student and 10 as enough for a half-time student.  We regard a weekly session face-to-face or in a virtual setting as part of that time and on the order of  an hour a day as credit sufficient for the balance.  We are happy to give continuing education credit for just face-to-face or virtual meeting time plus reasonable preparation and follow up. 

Looking at this week in those terms do you regard your work as worthy of either continuing education or academic credit?  Please e-mail your responses to the four contexts as they appear  three times in the piece.  In other words, trace your thinking from “consciousness” to “conscience” to “character”, or your involvement in your cultural, political and economic roles seen in light of your understanding of the arts and sciences, mediated by your philosophy.

You will protest that this is rocket science or like the calculus or declining French verbs.

Hopefully not.

In late 2009, we are following Sandel’s lectures on justice.  This is a reminder of what we mean by conscience.  Max Weber, the German sociologist put it clearly enough--”it is an immensely moving thing when a person, no matter how young or old in years, assumes the responsibility for his (or her) own actions”.

If you now add aspects of your ordinary knowledge, your extraordinary knowledge and your expert-
Mediated knowledge to the mix of your considerations, you have a woven agenda.
.A Woven Agenda
October 26, 2009  Volume 41, Number 22

Intent Sources Action Knowledge
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You are invited to join this discussion
11:00 Friday, 540 Clement Street
12:30 Friday, Cup and Cake
Geary at Jordan (opposite 76 station)

Intent Sources Action Knowledge

Monday and Tuesday--Constructing consciousness

This is a tool to aid in configuring a woven agenda for use Halloween weekend.  The working assumption is that this task is complex enough to warrant our helping each other, rather on the order of the instructions in a box for a new appliance or toy from a thoughtful manufacturer.

The assumption of complexity is due to the three roles it is proposed we are playing each week:
1) citizen journalist or media specialist
2) independent scholar
3) activist

Citizen journalist
The idea that we all can report on developments where we are, turns out to be quite new.  Well over a million people have their blogs examined each night and summarized as part of a global analysis.  You can join this group.

Independent scholar
We all can also be scholars in our own right.  “Border Studies” is a way of saying we all can be informed, knowledgeable and conversant in as many as 20 areas, as long as we do not confuse limited inquiry with expertise.

Finally, we all can act according to our intentions on the basis of what we know.  Maybe we follow the advice of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland and “just stand there”, but just standing can be quite effective.

To configure a woven agenda, taking into account the optimal relevant factors, requires this sort of series of steps.:

1) Reexamine how your sources provide the material you use to construct your knowledge.
    You are constructing your own consciousness made up of  your ordinary knowledge, your   
    extraordinary knowledge and your expert-mediated, evidence based knowledge

2) Reexamine how your knowledge then becomes the basis of your intentions.
    You are constructing your own conscience made up of your philosophical approach, including
    your  aesthetic and ethic and your scope of role and position and your de and reconstruction

3) Reexamine how this juxtaposing or positioning back and forth, results in your acting according to        your knowledge and its ensuing intentions.  Maybe the time is coming to call this character.

For example, at Halloween of 2009

South Pacific
The national touring company of South Pacific reminds us that the pressure to accept diversity has been around for a long time.  Maybe the real reason for the continuing popularity of the musical has to do with our recovering from the war with Japan.  On the other hand, it does make its own case for celebrating diversity.

We house many key values in musicals and other popular art forms.

Late ‘09 Prime Time
There could never have been another culture that created so much metaphor and narrative to live by.
We have plugged every hole that might be a story worth telling about what life means to us.  Even reality TV that does not come alive, like the balloon boy in Colorado, catches our attention.  We seem desperate for clues as to what we are here for.

I Love You, New York
The exceptional movie made up of segments that reflect many lives in New York and what gives them meaning, compels one to accept the wide range of options open to us.

Series of movies about women
The movies of Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Winnie Mandela and Georgia O’Keefe all speak to our current issues around marginalization, as does Gail Collin’s book.

Four Sunday New York Times stories spark the connection between our sources and knowledge.    2

1) For those of us who had some forebears who crossed from the East Coast into the MidWest, the detailed account of a bicycle ride from Pennsylvania to Maryland over the abandoned route of a coal train of long ago, recaptures that sense of rootage that can be so hard to come by in the hecticness of everyday life.
2) Editorial audit of The State of Financial Reform
3) The challenge to perceive on a larger scale by reviewing architectural developments..
4) And to see the two new young East and West Coast conductors, Dudamel and Gilbert symbolize
the exciting complexity of the richness of American culture at the end of decade.

Intent Sources Action Knowledge
Wednesday and Thursday--Constructing conscience

Standel’s 7th and 8th lectures that introduce John Locke and his approach to property, provide a good clue as to how the plot will end.  As was indicated last week, Standel feels strongly that neither the utilitarian nor the libertarian approaches are sufficient.

He strongly supports Kant’s view that we must each act as if that pattern would work if everyone did the same thing.  This categorical imperative is the opposite from the consequential approach of the utilitarians and libertarians.

Intent Sources Actions Knowledge

Halloween Weekend 2009

We are proposing that you go  from mustering your knowledge to deriving your intention from your knowledge.  From this emerges a pattern for action.
In thinking of concentrating attention on Monday and Tuesday on collecting from our sources the data that will enliven our ordinary knowledge, that will provide the bits and pieces for developing the weave of meaning of our lives, housed in our metaphor and narrative, and working through the complexities of dealing with experts and their evidential basis for their knowledge; we focus on constructing our      consciousness. 

Issues like the response of the world wide community to instability in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, remind us that everything changes continually in the 21s Century.  Hilliary Clinton was reminiscing with her press group as her plane came into Pakistan, on the difference between this week’s trip and her trip 15 years ago as First Lady.

Wednesday and Thursday we arbitrarily focused on constructing our conscience.  Sandel’s Justice
and the lectures and apparatus developed by Harvard and the TV station in Boston illustrate how this process can be helped along.  The current 7th and 8th  lectures and the work on Chapter 5 bring alive the 17th and 18th century worlds that were the caldron out of which the US Constitution came. 
Whether Homo sapiens  can make it just on that model is the question.

The US Health Care debate illustrate how matters of conscience enter the public dialogue.  We really go clear back through Hebrew stories to Cain and Abel to reask “Am I my brothers keeper?”  The fact that other industrialized nations asked this question 50 years ago forces us examine how the selection of
persons who made up the American immigrant stock were so  preoccupied with themselves and their survival on a raw frontier.

So we come to Halloween Weekend.

Not so incidentally, we have exemplified one of the biologists most basic hypotheses:

“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.”

This is a shorthand way of saying that the development of each organism repeats the evolutionary sequence of  the species--

Embryos are like fish  >  then they are like amphibians > then they are terrestrials

The reason it is proposed and is important is that experiencing this process brings alive the processes that brought us to this moment.  The vast mix of variables shaping our moment are not immediately graspable.  Attempts like literal theistic religion or various offshoots in the new age culture can easily confuse matters.

Each week is a classic case of perceiving everyday life as simply as possible and as complexly as    necessary.

Several patterns of metaphor and narrative need to be critically examined as to whether aspects of them can confuse more than they help. In addition to literal theistic religion, the sports metaphor and the market metaphor can be quite misleading.

For example, the winner take all notion can lead to profound mischief.  Locke may have been useful in his time, when exploitation of the resources and persons on the planet seemed worth the price.  Two hundred years later we need to rethink our rationales and our priorities.

The real issue is the Long Now of  the next 10,000 years.

Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 06:30 PM