On Events in the Life of...........
So today is the first time I've visited academia in a hot minute and it tastes pretty much the same as it did five months ago. Bickering about the lack of course offerings, complaints and gossip about professors and students, and some mild interpersonal exchanges regarding Hegel/Nietzsche/Kant, etc. etc. But still, it feels good to be getting back into the swing of things...
(or does it?)
...being back at school means being inundated with forms and counterforms, post-forms and pre-forms, meta-forms and anti-forms. Generally speaking, forms. But, in general, I don't mind waiting in lines anymore. There is nothing I can (or at least nothing I will) do about it, so I prepare myself in advance for the long dark of the 'first week of school line up'. Today in line, ironically enough, I read some incredibly depressing bits in The Gulag Archipelago about Soviet bureaucracy (that's how I 'prepare': by bringing a book!). Thankfully I don't have nearly as much form-filling or line-waiting to do as most people, but it still took up 3 hours of my day already, and it shows no signs of abating any time soon: four forms on the horizon for tomorrow! And probably more!
And just what are you doing with your time?
Well up until now, not very much. And still from now on probably not very much. (I don't really belong (and probably never will) to the school of thought that holds "Fill every day" as an irrefutable maxim). But now I have two classes to attend(instead of the ONE class I originally had scheduled), a job to saunter to (only ten hours a week mind you), and a thesis to write (lazily and with...devotion?). We'll see how this 'hectic' schedule advances...
So I'm currently enrolled in a class devoted to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. I'm quite excited about this class, as I've been really 'into' Kant lately and the professor is a remarkable source of Kantiana (I've already taken a class on the Critique of Judgment with him). An intensive reading of the first Critique will give my somewhat slanted view of Kant a little more foundation and, hopefully, help me with a closer reading of the interesting bits in some other short pieces by Kant (An answer to the question: 'What is Enlightenment?'", "Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent" etc.) which will hopefully find their way into or ont he edges of my thesis.
The other class I'll probably be taking (auditing) is a political reading of Nietzsche's Zarathustra which should provide a more light-hearted counterpart to the dryness of Kant's critical philosophy. I'm just now trying to wade through the bureaucracy to see how possible it will be for me to sit in on this class without paying anything extra. It seems probable but the light at the end of the paperwork tunnel remains dim. Wish me all haste!
Busted knees and broken knuckles: Memoirs of a hoodlum
I don't injure myself very often, so when I do it's almost amusing. I'm beginning to think I'm slightly auto-masochist (insofar as it usually isn't amusing if someone else punches me in the face, for example). The other night whilst escaping the impending claws of the law, I smashed up my knee but good on a huge concrete block. I also promptly cut the knuckles on my left hand pretty deeply trying not to smash my beautiful face on the aforementioned concrete block. So, limping home at 3 in the morning with blood oozing out of my body at several points, I couldn't do much else but laugh. It's pretty funny to run into something at top speed without even seeing it.
Now that school is beginning the law-breaking activities will probably have to be curtailed. But it was a good summer for the hoodlum in me. A steady stream of out-of-town friends staying at the new 'crib' made it seem like an actual vacation instead of just criminal unemployment... Having a dedicated group of like-minded individuals about also increased my motivation to do the things that we do, and do them well; this being one of the best and most productive summers crime-wise in recent memory.
....but nothing lasts and I ain't mad at that.
So I realized three days ago why I've come to like Kant so much (and why I used to dislike Kant so much). And Johnny Cash brought me to it. I used to hate Johnny Cash and over the past few weeks I've come to really quite like him. Why is that? Well, I actually have changed, and there are some things I never was quite ready for until now. It usually seems to me that there is no change, no unfolding, no development in my life (and there probably is less than there should be). But maybe I should chock it up to bad memory and inattention. Because I like Johnny Cash. And now I get Kant's (and, in a different way Wittgenstein's) point about striving for some sort of maturity in our thinking. Of course there are things we won't like or won't understand (or won't see) until we reach a certain point. That's terrifying in its own way: there's so much I'll never be able to see or understand! And there's Kant again: what real maturity amounts to is accepting where we have to stop.
....and who knows if we can do that?