Do I Get to Choose?

Here we are with another post. I’m happy to reveal that there was some progress made. It’s not much but I’m just glad that the week was not simply wasted.

Sadly, the two books that I mentioned in my previous post ended up being somewhat inconvenient for me. At least, one of them lacks the amount of contribution that I had expected while the other one has the potential but it may take a long time to decipher. The book, The Disordered Mind, apparently consists of issues relating to Autism or Schizophrenia. You might say, “Well, duh! That’s the title…” but I recall reading on the back of the book that it also touches on the consciousness of the mind, which directly relates to my thesis. Although it is true that the book indeed touches on that aspect, it is only the very last chapter of the book. So, it’s not much to go with. As for the other book, The Soul of an Octopus, it seems to be more in line with what I’m working on but the way the book is written, which is admittedly quite fascinating, makes it seem time consuming for me. The author, Sy Montgomery, seems to be using the octopus as a… what do you really call it? Like, a MacGuffin in a movie script. If you don’t know what that means, it’s simply “an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself” —thank you wikipedia. Of course, no offense to the poor octopus, but it’s only there to serve the study that is presented. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find the time to go over it at some point. Will it be before the semester ends? No promises there.

Interestingly, there was an article that got lost on me. I mentioned it in one of my previous blog posts but for some reason I’ve completely forgotten about it. Determining One’s Fate – A Delineation of Nietzsche’s Conception of Free Will by Nel Grillaert is the article in question. I say “in question” because I’m not convinced that the entirety of that article is necessarily useful for the thesis. I know it’s pretty much pick-and-choose when it comes to the research aspect of the thesis at this point; little bit of this, little bit of that… basically whatever works, but the literature review is something that I need to eventually complete and this “method” seems to be working for now. The mentioned article examines the difference between two distinct perspectives on the concept of fate: free will versus determinism. The author asks the question —which is clearly the thesis of the article— that goes: “Are humans endowed with a free will, which enables them to act according to their own choices and purposes, independently of any external factor, and are they therefore fully responsible for the acts they commit? Or are humans rather determined, implying that they do not bear ultimate responsibility for their actions?” It definitely sounds… deep —I don’t know what else to call it. The interesting factor that I’d like to highlight here is the responsibility of an individual. I do not believe that I have ever considered that particular aspect until now. I had always been too occupied with the versus of the two perspectives that the responsibility factor was almost nonexistent in my mind. It does make sense though. If you believe in an external intervention in one’s destiny, then the responsibility, or rather the consequence, of that person’s actions becomes forfeit. Of course, I’m not a philosopher. And, I do not intent on examining this “issue” from that point of view, but rather from a literary one. What makes it a more compelling story for the reader? If I were to create a story in which the characters are being “played” by a divine force or being, would that make those characters less impactful or relatable since they are free of the responsibility? Or, is it better to show that their choices, with free will, not only affect others but themselves with consequences to follow? My utterly “professional” response to that is simply: “Hmmm…”

Since we’re on the story, I’ve decided to ignore the Acts, and simply keep track of it with the chapter count instead. We’re in November now, and the deadline is fast approaching. The Acts were simply there for me to keep up with some semblance of a schedule so I wouldn’t feel lost but I figured that setting up an Act goal could unnecessarily prolong the progress at this point. If I can finish writing the story up to Chapter 30 by next weekend, then my final goal would be to reach Chapter 40 by mid-December. I think I’d be content with that, and it’s easy to follow. I do not know if I’m necessarily going to have time to do a thorough revision on some parts of the story, but at least I should have it “complete” in a presentable form by the due date. The end of the semester is really closing in on us. Is it time to panic yet? Perhaps later. Then again, a little bit of pressure could be the key ingredient that I need to force myself even more and get everything done on time.

Also, speaking of forgotten things for the lit review, I don’t know why but I’ve completely missed the book The Astrology of Fate by Liz Greene. I guess, I was focusing too much on one theme and unintentionally ignoring the other(s). Writing a chapter in the story that specifically inherits that theme probably brought me back to this one. I should also mention that I seem to be unlucky when it comes to getting books to read for research. They either end up being inconvenient, sold out (the case with The Soul of an Octopus), or discontinued for me to get my hands on. Perhaps “some external powers that be” do not wish me to have them? *wink wink* So, it’s not my responsibility, right? That’s actually a good way to end this blog post right here. I’ll do my best to look into that book by Liz Greene with hopes that a useful book will be there for me to study. And of course, I’ll continue to write my story —which I guess goes without saying… or typing?

Until next time.

Reference:

Grillaert, N. (2006). Determining one’s fate: A delineation of Nietzsche’s conception of free will. Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 31, 42–60.

 

[nine] i was so hyped to get this up that it doesn’t have a title, oops

It’s already one of Those Days.

Late for work. Forgot office key. Police had to use the master key to get me in.

That’s such an adventure game term, master key. Makes me wanna play Zelda. Any Zelda. God I wanna play Breath of the Wild, but I’m bROKE.

She says but she bought seven games last week. [tO BE FAIR THEY WERE ON SALE]

Which terribly, bumpily allows me to segue into fandom stuff that was my Task this week.

>>Here<< we have a list of the platforms and fandoms I was a part of (in whatever capacity) as I was growing up. Along with, unfortunately, some old accounts of mine I was able to find. [eeugh]

It was so fun looking back… and relatively easy, since I’ve kind of mentally organized my ‘fandom eras’ before just for fun because I’m a weird kid idk. I think it was more in retaliation (and subsequent validation) of my friends’ claim that I “obsess” over something for a while–a year or so–before moving on. And I was made to believe that was a weird thing. That I shouldn’t have a sole, nigh unhealthy focus on something because blah blah blah distracts from school blah.

Oh yeah. I was so distracted. Wow. Don’t let the National Honor Society status fool you. Ignore those straight A’s. Summa Cum Laude? Irrelevant. Four-Point-Oh, who? I’m clearly a delinquent for Liking things. G O D someone send help before my future gets ruined.

Was that too bitter? That seems a little too bitter. My b.

I often think back to one of our classes, when it was said that my project is coming from a place of needing that validation. That fandom kids are wasting their lives on nonsense and fantasies. I just snorted out loud as I write this, it’s such a stupid claim. So yes, that’s what I’m doing. Showcasing my own history and my friends’ perspectives and possibly histories in fandom, and pointing to–with a bigass neon flashing sign–where we’re taking what we’ve learned, both from the content itself, our interactions and experiences in the community, and our participation in the community.

I mean. I’m building a whole thesis on it. Never thought that could/would ever happen.

Waaaahhh okay venting over.

I mentioned my friends’ perspectives. >>Here<< is a very rough script draft for the interview questions. BOOM terrible segue.

I’m afraid there’s a lot of repetition at the moment. Bleh. Hopefully I can get those ironed out and do a trial interview with one (IDEALLY TWO) of my friends in the next week.

(Oh and as for reading theory, I’m woRKING ON IT, I PROMISE. I’ve been behind on readings for other classes and that’s a bad excuse but. That’s it. I’m catching up this week.)

hhhhhhhhhhh oKAY. That’s where I’m at right now.

See y’all later!

–CM

Week 9: Grateful for the Bread Crumbs/ Infuriated by the Findings



Our meeting last week was so helpful. Thank you, Dr. Zamora for reading and reflecting back. Your clarity about the points of theory that were crystalizing gave me some real momentum.

Last week I inadvertently began to create a theory around intuition in terms of LS. Dr. Zamora mentioned the feminizing of language and we discussed how feminization thrusts language into the world of emotion, silently and relentlessly rendering the language of women powerless, childish and without rigor. (See feminist theory of Judith? Literature is political) This week I continued the task of articulating a theory of intuition that restores the rigor to a word that has woven its way through generations, across lineages and historically embraced both feminine and masculine power. My job this week is to go back and bolster with citings and clean up/ condense pedagogy work. Below is a link for a small part that I refined. Continuing on with that process. More to read next week.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xWBj729SJdbS9EmhiCiNkGtcXQh4oxTdY-5mCThNDIQ/edit?usp=sharing

I ended our session together reflecting back to my original intention to work on a thesis that integrated the work of Aristotle on crafting an argument using three-pronged approach of ethos, pathos and logos. I had been working on a theory that social media has thrust this generation, and when I say generation I mean more the multigenerational group of people that communicate and receive their news through social media simply liking the sentiments they agree with and thumbs down for those they disagree with. Occasionally engaging in a partisan political cock fight, one “friend” is unfriended and the battle for the biggest, baddest emotional firestorm is back on. While this is a rapid-fire way to share information and connect people globally, as a political science undergrad I was drawn repeatedly to the work of Aristotle and the importance of crafting an argument that integrated logos, logic. Not an argument lacking in emotion, but emotion as a vehicle for logos that provides the appropriate accentuation of the argument’s finer points and connection with those the aerator is trying to reach. In other words, the balance embodied by a “whole person.”

I think I will try to find a way to ground each section of the book in a different “school of rigor.”
For example, Religions of the East. And document how these thoughts were filing into the performing arts through downtown Manhattan in the 1970s. Particularly through world music, dance and yoga. Highlight when Iyengar came to NYC and Papa Ladji of West African drumming and dance. Grounding the “world” sentiments of intuition in the Performance study landscape. (see article #3). Bolster my performance theory roots: (McKenzie)
Next example: Psychology: Jung and his influence on the performing arts. "perception via the unconscious": using sense-perception only as a starting point, to bring forth ideas, images, possibilities, ways out of a blocked situation, by a process that is mostly unconscious.

Philosophers: In his book Meditations on First PhilosophyDescartes refers to an intuition as a pre-existing knowledge gained through rational reasoning or discovering truth through contemplation. This definition is commonly referred to as rational intuition.[22
·      L. Mursell, James. "The Function of Intuition in Descartes' Philosophy of Science". The Philosophical Review. 4. 28. USA: Duke University Press. pp. 391–401.

Education theory: educating the whole child


I was contemplating that the feminization of words empties out the logos secretly and silently through the bottom and leaves it rooted in emotion or pathos. I think the article I worked on this week for Dr. Nelson gets to the heart of the matter and it the key to putting it all together. I feel obligated to report that this reading has just left me loaded with rage. A rage that renders me inarticulate and speechless. I am working through it by just writing whatever comes to mind and am pushing through what feels like a very emotional and childish first draft. Big emotions=little words. Words of a child. Small in comparison to the emotion. This is the dynamic that oppression supports.

Questions to be addressed though my thesis and an examination of the life of LS:
So, what is it in the language of men that has been altered by feminized language? Do women need to change their language? Do we speak in a passive voice and have to engage in more active language? Or do we need to just say it louder have more help from one another amplifying it? Or do we just have to bring focus to what has already been there rendered silent and invisible?
This week’s reading was an example of bringing focus to that which has been there all along.
What are the words that Lynn uses that render her “feminine.”

All of these reflections unexpectedly dovetailed with an article I am working on for Dr. Nelson entitled, The Women in Jazz. The Ladies Step Out. At Last! A Look at the Female Side of Jazz Dance Development, written in July of 1992 by, Judy Austin, for the magazine Dance Teacher Now. The article is one of those bread crumbs you mentioned in class. Thank you, Judy Austin, you will be cited for your work. You left a stash of nourishment for generations to come. And grateful that the Performing Arts Library in NYC had scans of your article.


After introducing two amazing female pioneers in the dance world whom set the foundation for jazz dance to unfold, Austin highlights that in the 1940s it was virtually impossible for a woman to land the role of choreographer/ director for Broadway. Why? Because she wasn’t capable? No because she wasn’t allowed. Passive language for the hard, cold sexist truth. And women had no choice but to accept this truth and forge forward anyway. Women were not given the opportunity to choreograph on Broadway because they were not seen as equals. Agnes DeMille was an exception. She broke through the invisible wall and made it to Broadway choreographing Oklahoma in 1942 and Carousel in 1945.

Austin’s work brought to mind feminist scholar Judith Fetterley who examines the phenomenon of the invisible female through the lens of literature. In her book, The resisting reader: A feminist approach to American fiction, Fetterley claims that sexist ideology in literature is political, yet postures as apolitical. Fetterley believes that sexual politics are obscured behind a haze of “universals” which render the female invisible when only the male half of the story is told. She addresses the ways in which female readers have been trained to approach literature through a male lens in a way that maintains the patriarchal status quo[1]. Fetterley uses the concept of “immasculation,” to describe the idea that women have been forced to identify against themselves and instead identify with male characters or narrators. As a result, women have a dissociative experience as they are taught to identify against themselves.

Austin immediately sets things right beginning with life before Jack Cole and the women that made his revolution possible. She presents a fabulous historic lineage of the mothers of jazz dance. However, the implications of Austin’s work penetrate far beyond the presentation of female facts.  She establishes the female lineage as legitimate individuals not just instruments of the men. She quietly corrects the sequence of events, before the fathers there were the mothers.

The direction I am heading for next week:
I think I need an overarching performance studies theory in relationship to the Simonson Technique/ Dance Space and its impact on the downtown dance world. Integrating what I wrote about downtown, performance theory and filling out the dance space piece of the history. This is why I need to write about DSI.

Judith Fetterley’s work also applies and should be integrated into my overarching theory.

For next week:
This week I started to synthesize and filter some of the theory I have been creating into three phases of development within the life of LS. I have started three documents but I am not yet ready to share. Will get these together hopefully for next week. Also in these documents I am beginning to feed in chronological information from the interviews I have summarized:
·      Early Years
·      Woodshedding: Adult beginners in Amsterdam, BAC (will explain & expand) begins to develop the festival circuit.
·      Golden years/ Dance Space: Becomes fully formed





[1]Fetterley, J. (1978). The resisting reader: A feminist approach to American fiction. London. Indiana University Press.