Tag Archives: thinking

The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

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Becoming Commoner

Let’s give Henry a prefatory statement to center our thinking before we dither about in the malleabilities the minded self: The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. And I am sure that I never read any memorable […]

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What is Learning?

Question: Define the purpose of guttering on a house. Answer: Choose the response that represents your thinking. a. to catch rain water coming off the roof b. to catch and direct rain water deflected by a roof out away from a vulnerable foundation c. to correct an imposition d. to protect a preconception We have […]

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Listening to Literature, or Hearing Hard Words

I believe I’ve said somewhere else that I really only discovered a “fecundity” of thinking in myself* when I started listening to audiobooks while walking.  You know how you need to justify reading to yourself as an activity that isn’t just “wasting time” (stupid American “values”)?  Maybe you don’t, but something in me, still, even […]

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Where Be Your Tygers?

Let this serve as a kind of literary addendum to yesterday’s post. And let us first mark out some territory.  Perhaps there are two ways that humans MEAN as beings. 1. The animal that may become a god. 2. Animate matter that will decay. That’s broad, sure, and I know there are other ways to […]

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Melville On Mind

…it has the savor of analogical probability.  Chapter 73: STUBB AND FLASK KILL A RIGHT WHALE; AND THEN HAVE OVER HIM The boats were here hailed, to tow the whale on the larboard side, where fluke chains and other necessaries were already prepared for securing him. “Didn’t I tell you so?” said Flask; “yes, you’ll […]

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The Clarity of Thinking in Motion

The Clarity of Thinking in Motion

I’ve been pondering trying to offer something more thorough on walking and thinking (and talking and thinking, but that for another time) and had imagined we have yet to improve on Aristotle’s method of philosophizing and walking–termed the Peripatetic School (teaching by talking about stuff while walking).  This is not necessarily an historically factual idea […]

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How We Learn: How We Don’t Learn

It’s possible that if I even hint at the name “Melville” to begin a piece anyone who sojourns here will click the “close” button and be well on their merry way.  (Though surely there are intrepid adventurers among us willing always to hear more of the greatest American writer–yes, I said that.) But, all I’m […]

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Think On’t

Here’s an issue for the mind awash in the digital image and it corresponding “emotional” content: As the mind receives this content it is acted upon by it and it responds in kind. There is no deliberation. We have no time to think but instead we are thought. In the time before writing and speech […]

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This is a Test

1)  “A road map that helps us easily find our way from one side of the continent to the other owes its great utility to its exceptional existential poverty.”* Please describe what you think is meant by “utility” and “existential poverty.” 2)  Can you apply your elucidation to current social practices and systems of learning? […]

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Building the Insanity In: Ex Machina

This is not a movie review. This is me thinking about empathy. Last night, lonely little ol’ me sat in […]

Dislodged Giant: Can We Use Stevens to Interpret Dickinson?

You tell me. “I thought that nature was enough” by Emily Dickinson I thought that nature was enough Till Human […]

By Metaphor Alone

Motivation matters. If the scientific method (which we make into the massive all-encompassing abstraction of SCIENCE to compete with the […]

By Force of Law

Nothing new under the sun. Why do you suppose a “Sanders” presidency would change what is described below in Chapter […]

Now You Know What A Horse Is: Views On Education in the 19th Century

Schools are scenes of extreme manipulation and coercion. Our national and state interest in them is less than benign, or […]

A Rule of Storytelling and Unhappiness

As my friend began reading William Morris’s News From Nowhere, or, An Epic of Rest, I thought I might take […]