philosophy, passion and thresholds

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

… says good old d.h. lawrence.

i have a passion for philosophy. the word “passion” is quite useful here, and it’s the type of passion that makes me think of the covers of harlequin romances. rakish, charcoal-eyed pirate with roving hands on bosomy, full-lipped ueber-blonde. it’s a very heady passion but one for which i may have as much mediocre talent as the creator of that front cover has for painting.

but that doesn’t prevent me from indulging. for example, in the philosopher’s cafe last monday at the vancouver art gallery, claudia ruitenberg, inspired by jacques derrida, waxed and waned philosophically on issues of identity, hospitality and thresholds.

here’s a few tidbits of these topics:

on identity:

Be the person the chatroom thinks you are.” This was the text of an advertisement I saw posted on a wall in New York several years ago. The line suggests that one can reinvent oneself, come up with a new, desirable identity, and purchase the goods” ” a car in this case ” to back it up. It is the epitome, the most direct and unapologetic example of a public curriculum that says, “You are what you buy.”

on hospitality in education:

How hospitable is education? What does it mean to be a good host … consider the positions of both host and guest … learn as well as teach how to be good hosts and guests in the “home” of education.

on thresholds

this ties the two together, in a way. i approach a house and ring the bell. the door opens, and in the moment of door opening and greeting, the possibility opens that we might become guest and host. an interesting question is, what happens when the host and i agree that i will stay at that threshold or, say, become a regular at the bench right by his entrance but never enter the house? the threshold widens. i become a not-this-but-also-not-that, and at the same token, the host will not be a, how should we say, “full” host. he may bring me coffee and cookies but i may never use his bathroom.

funny, writing this last paragraph brought exactly that excited feeling of romance to me … just thinking about the possibilities of thresholds, as concepts as well as imaginary places (… there’s the door, and that little space between outside and inside … there’s the bench, like the benches by the farm houses where i grew up … aaahh … and there’s this feeling of being suspended between possibilities …)

hmm … interesting. this reminds me of bell hooks’ fascinating article on the place of eros in education. there needs to be passion and excitement in learning, the stuff that gets you going and makes you forget about everything else for a moment. is that what a “hospitable” teacher does?

what do you think?

isabella mori
moritherapy
counselling in vancouver
www.moritherapy.com

4 thoughts on “philosophy, passion and thresholds

  1. Nurse Mia

    Very interesting post. I like the way your thoughts move. I have to say, I like the line, “Be the person the chatroom thinks you are.” Not in the commercial sense of that ad nor in the reinvention necessarily. But I do wonder about what is revealed when one’s inhibitions are dropped and wonder if there are good things perhaps that can be transferred over and cultivated in our real lives. It is a question, though. I have two blogs, one of which I have closed shop on because I did not like the side of myself that was blossoming there. I didn’t want to be the person that webspace thought I was. 🙂 I am interested in this idea of thresholds as well. I am definitely sitting comfortably in one and as of yet have absolutely no intention of walking through that door. 😉

  2. Nurse Mia

    Very interesting post. I like the way your thoughts move. I have to say, I like the line, “Be the person the chatroom thinks you are.” Not in the commercial sense of that ad nor in the reinvention necessarily. But I do wonder about what is revealed when one’s inhibitions are dropped and wonder if there are good things perhaps that can be transferred over and cultivated in our real lives. It is a question, though. I have two blogs, one of which I have closed shop on because I did not like the side of myself that was blossoming there. I didn’t want to be the person that webspace thought I was. 🙂 I am interested in this idea of thresholds as well. I am definitely sitting comfortably in one and as of yet have absolutely no intention of walking through that door. 😉

  3. isabella mori

    hmmm … yes … what your words about the blog that you ended up closing made me think of is that there are quite a few philosophers who think of identity almost exclusively created by the environment in which the person finds herself. identity exclusively in terms of roles: mother, nurse, philosopher, writer, blogger … that’s really quite paradox, when you think of it, no? let’s take blogging, again: it’s thought to be so much about who one is, and yet the space that you found yourself in took over your “is-ness”. it’s particularly crazy to think about considering that it was you who created at least part of that space in the first place!

  4. isabella mori

    hmmm … yes … what your words about the blog that you ended up closing made me think of is that there are quite a few philosophers who think of identity almost exclusively created by the environment in which the person finds herself. identity exclusively in terms of roles: mother, nurse, philosopher, writer, blogger … that’s really quite paradox, when you think of it, no? let’s take blogging, again: it’s thought to be so much about who one is, and yet the space that you found yourself in took over your “is-ness”. it’s particularly crazy to think about considering that it was you who created at least part of that space in the first place!

  5. Nurse Mia

    Without a doubt, I created that space (the blog I closed) and it was me who made that blog what it was. But it was a part of me that I’m not wanting to encourage at this point in my life. Though admittedly, what finally led me to closing up that blog space was a particular reader whose comments I found disturbing. But in some sense, my blog seemed to be encouraging disturbing comments or minimally creating a space where those comments could enter (hey, perhaps a threshold to go back to that word here).

  6. Nurse Mia

    Without a doubt, I created that space (the blog I closed) and it was me who made that blog what it was. But it was a part of me that I’m not wanting to encourage at this point in my life. Though admittedly, what finally led me to closing up that blog space was a particular reader whose comments I found disturbing. But in some sense, my blog seemed to be encouraging disturbing comments or minimally creating a space where those comments could enter (hey, perhaps a threshold to go back to that word here).

  7. Evan

    Hi Isabella,

    The appropriate unit of analysis is the organism-environment field (basic gestalt – I prefer to say the person in their situation).

    Our lives are our response to and shaping of our situation(s).

    As to education: any education that doesn’t have eros isn’t worth the name (ie. most schooling and so on).

    I’ve often thought of the job of ‘teacher’ as an introduction agency: helping the student to get acquainted with the subject so they can get to know it for themselves. I like the idea of host and hospitality much more – more rounded and with more feeling.

    Evan’s last blog post..Living Authentically Brings You Lasting Satisfaction

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