Showing posts with label ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ideas. Show all posts

5.4.20

Quotation: Mr. Keating from Dead Poets' Society on Writing

In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays the role of private school teacher Mr. Keating — a man who believes words can be bullets. Words matter. Maybe more so now than ever.
Even unintelligible text scribbled on a wall can be an idea.
Even unintelligible text scribbled on a wall can be an idea.
"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world"
— Mr. Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)

11.1.11

Quotation: Alfred North Whitehead on Great Ideas

A great idea, says Whitehead, "is like a phantom ocean beating upon the shores of human life in successive waves of specializing."
 Alfred North Whitehead
Source: Whitehead, Alfred North. Adventures of Ideas. United Kingdom, Free Press, 1967.

21.5.10

“A Mere Labyrinth of Letters”: Preoccupations of Librarianship and Epistemological Conjecturing in Borges’ “The Library of Babel”

An illustration of the Library of Babel by Erik Desmazieres 
Librarians share two major philosophical preoccupations:

  1. The idea of a total library
  2. The futility of such a library.

Librarians are “total” in their desire for a perfect, or a complete library, but, unfortunately, the totalitarian nature of librarians has fossilized the notion that if it isn’t in the library then it doesn’t exist. The "if it is not in the records it does not exist" idea is as old as recorded history. The promise of complete, total, accessible knowledge (the first preoccupation) is shadowed by the librarian's futile wading through miles and miles of totality (the hell) to search and find that one piece of totality that one is looking. The total nature of the catalog is supposed to mirror precisely what is on the shelf. But the maddening job of the cataloger is to constantly check the catalog against what is on the shelf and fix any errors; this process has the hope of finish but is bound to be endlessly nonfinished. Librarians spend hours cleaning records, assigning call numbers, shelving books in an endless cycle of return. This nature of librarianship is actually not only the preoccupations of Library Science but of Western Philosophy in general.  Ever since the philosopher Thales posited that there must be something material that underlies all existence — we will forgive him for positing water — philosophers have searched for a univocity, or an absolute to explain that which undergirds reality. Of course, the philosophical search comes short. There is a futility in this search (think of Adam futile search to name all animals or Aristotle's futile search to give names to everything) although it does not cancel out the desire to search. That, my dear, is the paradox of the quest.

24.3.10

Is this the End of Publishing?

I  thought this video was thought-provoking. I presented the video to my classroom with mixed results.




Some comments from ninth grade students:


  • "I get distracted when I read. It's not ideas I don't like, it's reading."


  • "I think it's ironic they posted it on Youtube."

  • I get it but it's hard to explain." 


  • "Well, I don't read but I'm still smart."


  • "I read in magazines what Lady Gaga's wearing, does that count?"


  • "Oh, it reverses!"

  • "They say 'Lady Gaga" with an "R" sound."