Last month I considered how a condition of inter-subjectivity might be responsible for whether and how our surroundings influence who we are and what we create. Picking up where I left off, this morning I’m turning over the question of how the lived-world draw us forth and how it is drawn into our creative process. It seems to me that the world infuses us with its own being and we, who are being given the world, interpret and draw out its edge through our own lifework before we deliver it back into community as self-expression. A tripartite process of what is given, literally what is submitted, what » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack has recently been enlivened by a series substantive of conversations around land use in the Adirondacks. I invite anyone interested in continuing those conversations to participate in the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics 2nd Annual Symposium May 17–19, 2013 at the Newcomb campus. On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.”
With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.” This project provides us with an opportunity » Continue Reading.
Over the past few months I’ve been considering what it means to be subjects in and subject to place. I’ve wondered if this condition of inter-subjectivity is responsible for whether and how our surroundings influence who we are and what we create.
On the one hand, influence is explicit when we make representative art as in landscape painting or poetry and prose whose subject is Emerson’s lake water whipped
My mind is full of questions and my heart follows, seeking in its own way. Fortunately, the consolation of philosophy lies in the convergence of heart and mind deep within this process of inquiry born of struggle. Coffee in hand to fortify me in the process and with a July mountain morning on the rise, my gaze wandered in the direction of a painting that my mother made many years ago.
Despite being obscured by the turned angle of his body and the quietly bent head, the subject of the painting would likely be known to anyone familiar enough to be in my home to see it. The figure’s posture gives him away, more than » Continue Reading.
I wouldn’t call myself a “morning person” but I do like the way the day has a kind of endless feel when I get up with the sun. This time of year the world around this little house is alive with the spring song of rushing brook water, birds, and that subtle sound of bloom rubbing against bloom that is quieted in winter. So, I follow my cat’s lead and stretch into the day in response to the sounds of the outside waking up. Click on NCPR, draw a dark roast, pour some granola, gather pen and paper, settle into a soft chair and begin.
It was on such a morning recently when a report » Continue Reading.
We understand who we are and we imagine who we want to become by telling stories through the interrelated mediums of art, prose, music and spirituality. The shapes that these narratives take are influenced by the places where they, and we, are rooted. Influence is a subtle and often implicit force. It is the stuff beyond mere representation, or the explicit reference to particular geographies (this mountain or that stream). Influence is ephemeral and as the poet Rilke wrote, it falls on me like moonlight on a window seat.
My friend and I walked down a trail at the end of the afternoon, mindful that this day soon would slip from the present into memory. We had spent the last several hours on the side of a hill looking more often out at the Adirondacks in the distance, than at the near landscape where we whiled away.
In retrospect this was fitting since most of our recollections, all of our shared stories at least, had settled years ago between the rise of those mountains and the fall of their valleys. And here we were, older and perhaps better though » Continue Reading.
What happens to philosophy when we liberate it from the Ivory Tower and from the confines of coursework, academic publications and specializations that can feel like falling head-long down the rabbit hole? What does a philosopher become when she isn’t simply a teacher of curriculum, evaluated and validated by measurable outcomes? What is to be done when the hand-wringing and concerned looks of parents and friends turn into real questions like how in the name of all the esoteric nonsense will the rent get paid? Or more to the point: what are you going to do with this training? Not to worry. When all else » Continue Reading.
Something has had men heading for the interior, long before Henry David Thoreau publicly declared “I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness.” And as men of a certain tradition in 19th century America began to make their private pilgrimages public through written and artistic records, their excursions and revelations became canonized.
These meditations contributed to a change in national ideas about the value and fragility of nature and “man’s” place within it.
I understand the importance of reaching back into our histories to understand the cultural touchstones like these that have come to signify certain ideas and ideals, certain » Continue Reading.
It’s funny the questions people ask me these days. Earlier this week some colleagues were talking about whether or not to restore a dilapidated lean-to that sits on private land somewhat accessible from a new recreation corridor. The issue was debated around whether the lean-to would become an “attractive nuisance” encouraging travelers to camp at the site. If so, perhaps it should be left to go back to nature, as it were. As the conversation wore on someone turned to me and asked “why do people travel distances and sometimes even risk trespassing on private property just to stay in a lean-to, when they could » Continue Reading.