Enhancing life

When a person dies, they leave behind, for those who knew them, an emptiness, a space: the space has contours and is different for each person mourned. This space with its contours is the person’s likeness and is what the artist searches for when making a living portrait. A likeness is something left behind invisibly. John Berger,  ‘Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Visible’ It’s been hard to write, evidently. It’s March. This morning I was over on Plashing Vole’s…

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Lenses

There’s a lot of things that we have to look at critically that might have been useful at one time that are no longer useful. Myles Horton What is the space between the orchid and the wasp? Jacques Abelman 1 In the third chapter, “Ideas”, of Myles Horton and Paolo Freire’s We Make The Road by Walking (1990), there’s a moment where the conversation suddenly looks right at us. The [electoral] system that we have in the United States was set up at…

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The roads we make

We all agreed we had to start learning from the people we were working with, and that we had to learn from each other. Myles Horton, #HortonFreire , We Make the Road by Walking So I’m in a pop-up book club, which is probably the only kind of book club I can manage, as I’m a terrible reader. I have a vision of book clubs that is part Oprah, and part my friend David the philosopher who tells me stories of Melbourne book…

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Listening

Everything about a particular voter, you have to predict how that voter is going to act. Reince Priebus, MSNBC Be patient for the wolf is always with you. Malcolm Lowry,  ‘Be Patient for the Wolf‘ 1 It’s morning in Brooklyn. Below us the street is going about its business. Little ones are being walked to school, stores are rattling open, buses at ground level and planes in the sky. Yesterday, voting day, I walked the High Line listening and marvelling at the…

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Tenet

The Latin word is from PIE root *ten- “to stretch” (source also of Sanskrit tantram “loom,” tanoti “stretches, lasts;” Persian tar “string;” Lithuanian tankus“compact,” i.e. “tightened;” Greek teinein “to stretch,” tasis “a stretching, tension,” tenos “sinew,” tetanos “stiff, rigid,” tonos “string,” hence “sound, pitch;” Latin tendere “to stretch,” tenuis “thin, rare, fine;” Old Church Slavonic tento “cord;” Old English þynne “thin”). Connecting notion between “stretch” and “hold” is “cause to maintain.” 1 What are the things that we hold to be true? What are the tenets of our time that arouse conviction, that we stretch towards, that we grab hold of and hold dear? Sometimes we hardly know what we…

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For now, our own

In open online spaces, opening doors is not enough. Maha Bali, ‘Reproducing marginality,’ September 2016 We so easily forget our bodies. Mary Freer, ‘This body goes to work,’ August 2016 Over the last week I’ve been skirting a significant conversation begun by Maha Bali (“I don’t own my domain, I rent it“) and continued by Audrey Watters (“A domain of ones own in a post-ownership society“). Never far away is Andrew Rikard’s Edsurge post “Do I own my domain if you…

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US/not us

We need to have more conversations with people who are not us. Chris Gilliard, #DigPed, August 2016 1 It’s 5am. It’s dark outside, and cold inside. My daughter’s in the kitchen banging cupboard doors and making coffee. She’s up to watch the Olympics, and she wants company. Blearily we straggle out to join her and slump on the couch under blankets, trying to figure out what’s happening. Skeet shooting, what is that? Divers fall from the sky in apparently perfect synchronisation. They enter…

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Sit down

An update on being white in Australia, racist cartooning, and whether we can stop it, and step in. Update: #IndigenousDads Because things go on happening. So our leading national newspaper publishes a cartoon that makes absolutely no sense without being overtly and purposefully racist, because that’s the core of the point that it’s making: that delinquent parenting is a racial predisposition. There is no other interpretation of it because that is what the cartoon itself is intending to say. That is its whole punchline. Across…

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Stop it, step in

If you are white, you can make sure where you work, doesn’t do this, look around you and if you see something happening stop it or step in. Colleen Lavelle, Subversive Racism, Aug 2016 1 I’m sitting in the rain in my car listening to the radio, waiting for my daughter. There’s a senior corrections officer from the Northern Territory on the phone to the radio station explaining why restraints are used on “challenging prisoners”. He’s talking about Malcolm Morton,…

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Chorus of voices

The chorus not only results in a more complete understanding, but properly conceived and executed encourages more participation as well. Mike Caulfield, Choral Explanations, May 2016 This flashmob can catch you a little off guard. The song is sung with such heart. Amazing Flashmob (Library Singing) Back in May I read Mike Caulfield’s long post about the social architecture of participatory thinking. I can’t do justice to it in a snapshot, so just make a pot of tea and go read it. It’s really…

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