josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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11 Sep '12 06:04:18 PM

Level of comment-box discourse provoked by the Chicago teacher's union strike:

'Too bad, so sad'

10 Sep '12 02:15:49 PM

'I can help you with that! My view is…'

9 Sep '12 04:42:30 AM

'Crusoe / We say was / "Rescued".'

8 Sep '12 06:59:44 PM

'The sun shines to-day also.'

8 Sep '12 06:32:38 PM

'Convince me that you have a seed there…'

7 Sep '12 11:28:59 PM

Emerson, 'Self-Reliance': 'Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state…'

7 Sep '12 11:27:03 PM

In Walden ii, 1-6, Thoreau makes his attitude toward settlement, toward settling, clear: 'I would say to my fellows, once for all, As long as possible live free and uncommitted' (ii, 5).

ii, 8: 'When first I took up my abode in the woods…'

Abode, per OED, 'apparently an alteration of BODE n by association with ABIDE v'; bode, 'biding, tarrying, waiting, delay; but bode: without delay'; abide runs through senses involving waiting, expecting, remaining ready, staying, remaining, residing, dwelling, staying habitually in a place, continuing, persisting.

ii, 1: 'The future inhabitants of this region, wherever they may place their houses, may be sure that they have been anticipated'.

7 Sep '12 08:01:58 PM

A teacher who feels called to a vocation will feel all the more unhappy at inviting any student freely to leave what education is to be had rather than take it; like a priest who says, sorry, my child, if you can be saved, it's not by me.

7 Sep '12 04:44:14 PM

One of my teachers from graduate school likes to use, on her syllabi, the definition of liberal education as one 'appropriate for a free person': 'The word "liberal" indicates what is appropriate for a person who has power over the direction of his own life, as opposed to what is appropriate for a person who does not'. When Kelly cites Laing when talking about his frustration with credential-focused students, I think he has in mind something to do with 'education' that's in tension with the 'liberal', per above, in 'liberal education'. We imagine full liberality in our relations to others as sometimes entailing a take-it-or-leave-it attitude, a willingness to say that it will not, right now, be with these particular people that I can get what I'm looking for, do what I want to do, give what I want to give; if I ever can, it will be elsewhere, with others, or later on, with who knows who. But a modern teacher is nearly always an officeholder; he is liable to feel that if he turns anyone away—perhaps by frankly expressing a take-it-or-leave-it attitude which leads a prospective student to leave—there may not be anyone else to discharge his sort of responsibilities. He may feel that he's supposed to be able to teach anyone. Compare: coach anyone, help anyone, lead anyone, befriend anyone, love anyone, raise anyone, advise anyone. If a bureaucrat can't help you, they may send you to another bureaucrat; good bureaucrats know who else they can send you to, or know if no bureaucrat can help you. Perhaps teachers who send students away can feel like bad bureaucrats: I'm sorry, you're gonna have to ask in some other office, we just can't help you here.