Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Meta-Reflection in a time of jest politics

Can't help dwelling on David Foster Wallace and how much he contributed to my understanding of how seldom we experience deep reflection. Hit and run thought is the currency of the constant, tuned in & digital moment. Reflection was DFW's way of being in the world, brought on perhaps by sadness and worry, making meaning through thought rethought annotation and explanation.

He could make me crazy, wishing for an easier read. And he could make me revel in the wonder and humor and depth and 'smartness' and dogged pursuit of theme. And I am so much the less for our loss of him.

So, I'm driven to stop the course of my day and think about thinking about thought on a topic of meta-reflection. Here's where it leads me:
- I'm out of step and a woman not of this time. Evidence: I took one of those inane work-smart personality tests recently. What did I learn? I should work on assertiveness, participation in social activities, and less waffling and subjectivity in my decision making. Bleccchhhh. If I had wanted to be Caribou Barbie, I'd maneuver a place on some rigid, assertive, only-our-way platform. My quiet, perhaps obsessive reflections and desire to get it right - even if it looks like waffling/revising/annotating/allowing multiple views has served me well in technology and so I guess this is here (somewhere) that I'll stay. If I had DFW's talent, I'd be writing 1000+ page tomes on the nature of it all explored in small moments and large themes, but instead...I'll think about designing perfect online courses where every voice is heard and every mind constructs their own understanding at their own pace in their own way. I think DFW would approve.

And I'll ignore workplace profiling that suggests women like Sarah Palin are the new role model: uncompromising, non-collaborative, "won't blink" (don't her eyes hurt??), no time or interest in her children (I know, none of my business...consequences be damned), mean-spirited, take-no-prisoners, & small. Not small-town for I've been there and done that...prefer it to city life...just small & small-minded. And I don't care how successful it makes one, man or woman, I want a quieter, more reflective mind and a kinder, bigger, more doubtful life.

I want to take the time to read writers like DFW, but sadly, (and here's my point IF I have one) there is no other writer like DFW and there is now no DFW. And as interesting as this current election is turning out to be in examination of presence over ideas, it hurts to think about it. We need tools to do it. Here's one from the Bamboo Project Blog: Debriefing Yourself.

A gift to all the hard, fast, mean-spirited folk that didn't have time or interest in the meta-thought and ideas of David Foster Wallace. Be careful when reading. You may wind up changing your mind. But, the good news is that, unlike your present state, you may also change the minds and lives of others.