Refined Understanding (A Poem)

Okay, back to business. This is a poem, not so much proposing my ideas about Social Constructionism, but assuming them and describing their ultimate effects. If you don’t see it at first, by all means ask. I’d love to discuss this one. I think of it as one of my most fun poems.

Refined Understanding
They say the trick to making something beautiful—
To making an elephant from a block of ivory—
Is just to carve away whatever
look like an elephant.

Take away the corners, sharpened edges
Until you’re left with just the thing
staring back at critical eyes.

It works, you see. It can’t help but work.
You take away what doesn’t match, and everything that’s left
must necessarily serve its purpose.
So if function is your only goal, you’re guaranteed success.

The catch, though—there is a catch—
is that it may always be a little more like an elephant.
There’s always more to carve, to peel away,
and your little figurine gets better…and littler.

The thing is—in all your accuracy—
The thing is—with every little bit you peel away—
The thing is, as you progress and shrink
You seem to forget what got your attention in the first place:
Elephants are big.

Greatness: Opening Shots

I’ll say up front that most of my thoughts on Human Greatness are nothing more than a wholehearted adoption of Post Modernism. If you’re familiar with Post Modern thought, and Social Constructionism in particular, you’re already aware of most everything I have to say. That said, I haven’t read the canon of the philosophy nearly as extensively as I should have, so I would still invite you to read my comments and question or correct me where appropriate.

As a matter of fact, very little of the radical philosophy I’m espousing here is, in fact, new material. Ehh, I’ll take Solomon’s word for it and just say “none.” I’m very much aware of that — most of what I’m trying to do is revive old ideas that have been forgotten, primarily (in my opinion) because of the unique success of the United States model. Something absurd happened here, and because of that the whole world has begun to define what it is to be human, based on what it is to be American.

Yeah, that sounds arrogantly American, and it is, but not in the way you’re first reading it. Perhaps I could say more clearly, that we now define what it is to be human based on what it is to live in a world dominated by the unique American culture. Perhaps you’ll at least give me that?

Anyway, I’m blogging here, not debating. If you pressed me on it, I’d probably surrender that point, apologize for offending you, and word it differently. As it is, I’ll just say things the way I mean them, philosophically, and leave the literal politics out of it.

So. We have this: Human beings construct their own realities. It is the divine spark within, it’s the breath of God. Personally, I think it’s in the blood (thus Vampires, but I’ll get to that later, here or there). This particular concept will cross back and forth with my talks on religion, because I think it’s clearly the message of the Bible. But, as I say, I’ll get to that later.

People construct their own realities. Complete, whole, real realities. Not that you construct a fantasy within a naturalistically true and real environment — not in the LEAST. Naturalism is, itself, constructed. That’s why Science works, and why it’s so comprehensible to us — we made it that way. But I’ll get to that later.

People construct their own realities, and merge these individual realities by way of Language. The spoken word is the means by which we enforce our conception of reality on others. I hold that there IS a true reality, but our individual realities need not overlap it in any way, ever (not that it is a defining baseline for our experiences). Also, there’s no concrete way of distinguishing the real from the constructed, although I like to hope that people have an invisible instinct for it.

This…will probably be my least coherent conversation. But it’s my favorite, and provides a starting point for all the rest of my philosophy. It also gets a lot less argument, because it’s hard to argue, so I haven’t gotten much chance to refine my opinions. I generally get either, “That’s absurd. Shut up. You couldn’t possibly prove that,” or, “How interesting. Really, I’m interested. Hmm….” which, in either case, lends little to the development of a clear curriculum.