Wednesday, October 5, 2022

ENG 101/102 Resources: October 5, 2022

 Benton, Michael D. "A Guide for Developing Critical Skills for Thinking About the World." Dialogic Cinephilia (original 2019, last revised September 30, 2022) ["These are focused on what we can do immediately and what we can cultivate in ourselves in order to realize a better society. The focus is on how we think and being critical about what we feed our brains. Of course, there are huge systemic issues that must be addressed, but I believe this is an initial step for preparing ourselves to think through these problems.) For those that want to think about changing their community/society/world for the better. Develop this in yourself and cultivate it in others."]

---. "Ideological Becoming." Dialogic Cinephilia (September 30, 2022) ["I have named this Ideological Becoming in recognition of the lifelong process of learning and thinking about the world. I do not view the self as static, as that is a form of intellectual death, instead the critical thinker is constantly becoming ideological through engaged-respectful dialogue with others and thoughtful revision of our foundational beliefs as we learn more about the world."]

---. "Navigating the New World." North of Center (December 4, 2019) ["As citizens of a globalized world it is imperative that we develop a broader awareness of key issues in the American public sphere. There are many pathways to take; sometimes we can become overwhelmed by the many options available to us, or the immensity of understanding the full context of current social trends, viral cultural phenomenons, or contentious political events. It is like staring at a newly opened puzzle: we see pieces scattered across a table, random parts detached and disconnected from the larger coherent picture. It can seem overwhelming and impossible at first, even when you have a reproduction telling you what the larger picture looks like. But slowly you pick up a piece, get a sense of its configuration, and imagine how it connects to another piece. Some pieces don’t immediately work and you set them aside for a moment to take a look at newer pieces. Sets or groupings eventually emerge, and you match those together until you have larger sections. Suddenly, surprisingly, the pieces take shape as a whole image." In that moment when we can glance at the picture (theory) of life/world that has formed in our consciousness, we can feel certain in the moment about what we know, but we must remain open to the partial nature of all human knowledge and how our understanding (if we are open to change/development) is always evolving.]

Campbell, Joseph. "Creativity Within Myth." Pathways #17 (October 1, 2022) ["Listened to this while running Denis this morning, and was struck by the discussion of Indian, Chinese, and Japanese art; but even more so, by the unique philosophies of life he outlines from these traditions (play, listening, non-action, openness)."]

Graeber, David. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. Simon & Schuster, 2018. ["Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After one million online views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. There are hordes of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. “Clever and charismatic” (The New Yorker), Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation and “a thought-provoking examination of our working lives” (Financial Times)."]

 Herrmann, Nick. "The enduring atmosphere of Road to Perdition." Little White Lies (September 20, 2022) ["Two decades on from its release, Sam Mendes' mob thriller exudes a powerful sense of dread."]

Huberman, Andrew. "The Effects of Cannabis (Marijuana) on the Brain & Body." The Huberman Lab (October 2, 2022) ["I discuss cannabis (aka marijuana), including the biological mechanisms underlying its effects on the mind and body, its known medical applications, its impact on libido, creativity, hunger, hormones and more. I also cover the known adverse health consequences of chronic and even acute (one-time) use and the factors that determine if cannabis is helpful or harmful. Additionally, I detail how the various strains of cannabis: sativa, indica and hybrid strains, can produce such divergent effects depending on the strain type, THC-to-CBD ratio, total dosage, and frequency of use. I review why cannabis can impact speech patterns and one’s propensity to develop anxiety/depression during and after use and, in some individuals, paranoia. As the legal landscape for cannabis is rapidly evolving, this episode should interest a wide audience, including former/current cannabis users, those in the medical, sports, law enforcement, and educational communities and, of course, children, teenagers, and parents."]

Ring, Annie. The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen). BFI Film Classics, 2022. ["This study offers a fresh approach to the remarkable German film The Lives of Others (2006), known for its compelling representation of a Stasi surveillance officer and the moral and ethical turmoil that results when he begins spying on a playwright and his actress lover. Annie Ring analyses the film's cinematography, mise-en-scène and editing, tracing connections with Hollywood movies such as Casablanca and Hitchcock's Torn Curtain in the film's portrayal of an individual rebelling against a brutal dehumanising regime. Drawing on archival sources, including primary research from the Stasi files themselves, as well as Enlightenment philosophies of art and Brecht's theories on theatre dating from his GDR years, she explores the film's strong but much-disputed claims to historical authenticity. She examines the way the film tracks the world-changing political shift that took place at the end of the Cold War – away from the collective dreams of socialism and towards the dreams of the private individual, arguing that this is what makes it at once widely appealing and fascinatingly problematic. In doing so, she highlights why The Lives of Others is a crucial film for thinking at the horizon between film and recent world history."]

Robichaud, Paul. "Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return (Reaktion Books, 2021)." New Books in History (August 19, 2022) ["From ancient myth to contemporary art and literature, a beguiling look at the many incarnations of the mischievous—and culturally immortal—god Pan. Pan—he of the cloven hoof and lustful grin, beckoning through the trees. From classical myth to modern literature, film, and music, the god Pan has long fascinated and terrified the western imagination. “Panic” is the name given to the peculiar feeling we experience in his presence. Still, the ways in which Pan has been imagined have varied wildly—fitting for a god whose very name the ancients confused with the Greek word meaning “all.” Part-goat, part-man, Pan bridges the divide between the human and animal worlds. In exquisite prose, Paul Robichaud explores how Pan has been imagined in mythology, art, literature, music, spirituality, and popular culture through the centuries. At times, Pan is a dangerous, destabilizing force; sometimes, a source of fertility and renewal. His portrayals reveal shifting anxieties about our own animal impulses and our relationship to nature. Always the outsider, he has been the god of choice for gay writers, occult practitioners, and New Age mystics. And although ancient sources announced his death, he has lived on through the work of Arthur Machen, Gustav Mahler, Kenneth Grahame, D. H. Lawrence, and countless others. Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return (Reaktion Books, 2021) traces his intoxicating dance."]

Scott, James C. Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. Princeton University Press, 2012. ["James Scott taught us what’s wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing—one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions. Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself. Beginning with what Scott calls “the law of anarchist calisthenics,” an argument for law-breaking inspired by an East German pedestrian crossing, each chapter opens with a story that captures an essential anarchist truth. In the course of telling these stories, Scott touches on a wide variety of subjects: public disorder and riots, desertion, poaching, vernacular knowledge, assembly-line production, globalization, the petty bourgeoisie, school testing, playgrounds, and the practice of historical explanation. Far from a dogmatic manifesto, Two Cheers for Anarchism celebrates the anarchist confidence in the inventiveness and judgment of people who are free to exercise their creative and moral capacities."]

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