Do you feel it, too?
From the inside
Andante con moto
Recovering the pain
Regarding, “what is it to teach,” from Søren Kierkegaard. . .
If you can do it, if you can very accurately find the place where the other person is and begin there, then you can perhaps have the good fortune of leading him to the place where you are. To be a teacher is not to say: this is the way it is, nor is it to assign lessons and the like. No, to be a teacher is truly to be the learner. Instruction begins with this, that you, the teacher, learn from the learner, place yourself in what he has understood and how he has understood it, if you yourself have not understood it previously, or that you, if you have understood it, then let him examine you, as it were, so that he can be sure that you know your lesson. This is the introduction; then the beginning can be made in another sense.
- In fragments: the difficulty of reality, UC-Berkeley
What does it mean—that is, feel like—to be alive? What does it feel like to be exposed, internally, to reality? Wherein lies the essential difficulty of reality? Why would we necessarily have to confront such a difficulty in a course about the rigor of reading and writing?
In our attendance to the subtle, hidden contours of our lives, we shall consider: the pain of thinking, reading, and writing; holding, silence, waiting; significance and weight; value and worth; gravity and grief; agony and passion; necessity and intimacy; and the inmost, the innermost, the sensus numinis (the "sense" of the ineffable). Together, we will attend to the texture of the word, the grain of the voice, and the beat of the body, considering the tempo at which we feel and move, what it means to be alive, and physically, the effort that it takes.
- Reading and Writing as a Body, UC-Berkeley
What does it mean to read? What does it mean to write? How, and why, do we read and write? How do these questions relate to, and directly address, what does it mean to move and what does it mean to live? As we work to refine and expand our skills in reading, writing, and thinking, these words difficulty, depth, slowness, strain, effort, (dis)comfort, (re)pair, (re)cover, and rest, will concern us as we reflect on the living experience of analysis as an interminable (at times ecstatic, at others sober) work in the “tentative mode”: in other words, as dynamic, living modes of thinking and being in a world shared with others. We will pay attention to the ways in which language and ideas are constructed, how they (dys)function as meaning, and how these meanings are (or might be) experienced, mobilized, changed, and/or distorted. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing an attentiveness toward intimacy, gesture, tone, texture, historical contingency, and the figure and concept of “the human” implicit within various structures and modes of meaning. In conceiving meaning as a living, breathing ecosystem, this course privileges an engagement with the body and invites an investigation into the essentially physical difficulty of analysis as a process of slow exposure and discovery.
- Affection, intimation, expression, NYI Global Institute of Cultural, Cognitive, and Linguistic Studies
We are, most of us, removed from the intimacy of our own breath; removed from the perilous urgency of touch; removed from the fact that voice is deeply connected to pain inside the body. What is it to have an intimate knowing that we are alive? A knowledge of struggle, there where our being exposes itself? What does it mean to give the physical enigmata of living the preponderance they are due? This seminar will not pretend to take experience as an object for analysis, nor will it practice a descriptive analytic of reality; rather it will take an inward turn into some "thing," fatal, echoic, that is incomparable except by the experience itself. Together, we will attempt an exactness about this feeling, attending to the grain of the voice, the beat of the body, an exposure that is essentially constitutive. In this physical advance into the unknown, we will remain close to the sincerity of affection. We will discover how difficult it is to speak about the physical. We will attend to indicators that there is life is inside, encountering not the explicit, but the subtle implied. For what is essential, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote, is invisible to the eye. . .
- How we are with one another, UC-Berkeley
"Love," writes Iris Murdoch, "is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real." There is no self without an other. Only by being touched by another as someone vital, does the self begin to exist. This is a meaning between two beings to which all other meaning is secondary.
This longing echoes an archaic need, an urgent need to be seen. Yet how rare such recognition. And rarer yet that such fire lasts. The prodigious emotional effort involved in an interaction worthy of its name, the lover's discourse, demands attention. One cannot prepare for its arrival, yet when it does arrive, the apparition bears a magic that would derail, that does, in fact, set fire.
What, this course shall ask, does it take to be with one another? And what did Clarice Lispector mean when she suggested, “We are what needs to happen.”
-Each one of us has his own rhythm of suffering, NYI Global Institute of Cultural, Cognitive, and Linguistic Studies
. . .writes Roland Barthes.
Rarely is this anguish manifest. When it is, we hear it in the voice, we see it in the gait, the eyes which reveal the depth with which you've lived.
This is the eros of pain, the subtle gesture by which life makes itself known. It is also the basis for any real connection with one another, originating in an archaic need, the longing to be seen.
So let us interpret how a person in pain walks and speaks, the tragically untold depth. And how it becomes told.
-The fermata, guest lecturer, University of St. Thomas in seminar on “Time”