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
counselling in vancouver

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