73) On Academia (part 2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-djmm7-bf61e2

…Although academia remains for me what death was for the Ophelia of Bob Dylan’s song “Desolation Row”: “quite romantic,” in hindsight, it occurs to me that treating academia as a field of holy and religious “Ivory Towers” first of all, in its dogma and myopia contradicts the truly “academic” spirit…

…When I failed to both receive funding from an MFA program and employment from a nearby university after graduating with my bachelor’s degree… I panicked, raced away from my dream, and grew convinced that academia would inevitably fizzle out from the global economy in the midst of such a rich world of cheaper information exchange across the internet’s digital media platforms…

…one beautiful, early September day, about two weeks ago now I think it was, I was walking in the development where my wife and I live, enjoying the refreshingly cool and breezy air. I thought about how much energy Ashley and I put into figuring out where we wanted to live (about 8 years!) We had a long list of potential places in and out of state and we researched the job and real estate markets in virtually every area of interest to us: places in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, South Jersey, North Jersey, the Jersey Shore, et cetera…

72) On Academia (part 1)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-au2hc-bf61bf

I call the university my temple, holy place, sanctuary, haven, oasis, paradise, Shangri-La, et cetera…

…It seeks (seeks!) an honesty whose nude body radiates bluntly with fitness, and beauty, exploring its sexuality, or dressing in clothes with a style of elegance that offends only offenders…

…Knowledge and critical thinking, in theory, preserved and advanced…

62) On how I try way too hard

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jzqzu-bcb1d8

*In pursuit of economic success, intellectual/artistic recognition, and mentoring, I have tried too hard which has been the cause of mistakes and failed relationships*

Do I want to be rich and famous with that house on the beach?  For most of my life I desired as much. That is perhaps not so unique. Though maybe people would sooner enjoy riches than fame per se. A lot of attention for awhile might seem attractive but long enduring fame? Misleading speculations about you in the media? I think Bob Dylan described it interestingly in his song “Idiot Wind“:…

…I do suppose one of the most embarrassing thoughts I lock inside myself is that I want to be a genius. Not the “know it all” kind. Nor the showy kind. Just as I cannot stand the flaunting of wealth, so I likewise cannot stand the flaunting of knowledge or intelligence. Flaunting in general I consider to be counter-productive, subjective, like very bad music–…

…In the last year I perhaps overdid it with three professors who I wanted to get closer to intellectually, who I wanted to be my mentors, who I wanted to “take me on”– they, my Jean-Luc Picards, and me their William Riker. They, my Schopenhauers. Me, their Nietzsches. They, my Verlaines. Me, their Rimbauds. (Without the sex and romance.) Have you ever seen the movie The Paper Chase? Ever fall in love intellectually, so to speak, with a professor, to a point that he or she is on such a pedestal that his or her approval is the mark of your intellectual success or failure, your brilliance or your incompetence?…

…From an immediate emotional point of view I wanted to call Dr. X a bitch. Just once…

Now with respect to my intellectual vanity of sorts, the fact is, my ego was crushed by these three professors and William Paterson University’s decision not to award me with a graduate assistantship despite my 3.98 gpa and I guess explicitly and blatantly expressed freakish obsession with the brilliance of some of their professors. 

(I am not ashamed of being freakishly obsessed with the brilliant work of brilliant people. These days I think there is not enough of this kind of appreciation going around…)

 

…There is a typo in the email I sent to the editor of the New York Times’ op/ed page, James Bennet. I sent him the email because…well…I envisioned two attractive scenarios: 1) his feedback on my essays (maybe he might even like them and share them with someone and maybe so would begin the tale of my increased readership and enough of my podcasts downloaded that advertisers would start paying me and I could finally convert this second gig into my full-time occupation; 2) Mr. Bennet thinks I could contribute something of value to the New York Times and puts my name forward for a writing job there.

Alas, I learned when applying for the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of New Hampshire that espousing one’s attraction to an apparent ethos is not to be confused with ultimately defeating the competition for this or that role within their community and demonstrating how you align as specifically as possible with what they are looking for.] 

how much does someone want to be unraveled by a person who is self marketing to them? Part of me worries that taking the time to try and establish some kind of connection might be viewed as a flamboyant act of bullshit. I imagine the recipient of the email wanting to say “you know and I know you just want something from me. So what do you want and let me see to what degree it seems like it may or may not accord with my values, interests et cetera…”

 

 

 

 

61) Striving to create diplomatic art and media in a dog-eat-dog world

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wixvf-bbcd50

*What am I forgetting to think about, distracted and preoccupied with that damn blockade of financial concerns and anxiety? How many of us ask ourselves this question or… how many others could we ask this question for as they too are bogged down by things which compassionate folks would like to see them not bogged down by

*…And beyond the economic anxiety and poverty there are other things which hijack the mind’s potential or rob a life…  the emotions of serious illness, being damned by some kind of “bad luck”– medical malpractice, just a bad reaction to a medication at the wrong time (such as was the cause of my father’s own untimely death), getting struck by lightning, figuratively or literally…shot by a bigot, victim of a space shuttle explosion or terrorist attack…. Things which haunt me to consider…when I was younger I felt morally obligated to envision tragedies of all kinds befalling me if only to “hold the hands” of the less fortunate in my own way and share the misery with them. 

But to fixate on this dogmatically is masochistic and raises no one up…brings no wisdom or improvement or real hope to anyone.    

So I seek understanding for knowledge’s sake…

*…I find myself more attracted to “the media” industry now than academia but it is strange. Like a divorce.

*…Although the trouble of people feeling they must kiss ass is just a social problem in general, not industry specific. That is one thing believe it or not I refuse to do. I find it degrading. I find ass-kissing and being told what to say or think without any invitation for discussion to be utterly degrading.

*…All of this can be VERY expensive business, I realize. You know…independent media…starting up your own business, living on your own terms, making art, saying what you really think (some people experience hurt feelings very easily. I feel bad about it but it’s also not fair for their hurt feelings to get priority over honesty. I believe the right course of action is thus diplomacy, which I give my all to as a writer and activist though I sometimes fail. I remember when I applied for a political organization and asked questions about their policy positions. I didn’t mean to poke holes in their lifework or disrespect their souls but if they will not be open to discussion then they too are poking holes…to some degree it actually is a “dog eat dog” world.

*….how many people do you know who are or seem or say they are tired or busy? 

I haven’t taken a tally but I have heard people describe themselves as tired and /or busy almost, I think, as often I’ve heard people ask the question “how are you?” which, if not followed by “tired” or “busy” is followed by that word “good” which…maybe you are a little suspicious of or maybe you know full well you are telling a so called “white lie” as to not tell the story of all that’s frustrating you. (In fact, this is all so common place that it is brought up in friendlier conversation often itself!)

*… About these somewhat and “sort of” seemingly chaotic thoughts (to borrow Dylan’s description “sort of”  once more! And perhaps not for the last time!)…the sense of chaos and confusion is not…so far as I can tell…fundamentally epistemological. (Epistemology tends towards the cut and dry for me: if you’re acquainted with me you know my mantra of objectivity, empiricism, non-contradiction, law of identity, pragmatic clarification…) Rather, it’s a struggle to accept a degree of imperfection…

*...What exactly is the definition of media? 

And why (emphasis here on the WHY) can I be confident that this definition, more so than all others, is THE definition? 

Can that which we call “art,” just to give you an example of what happens in my mind as I contemplate definitions, count as part of that broader notion of “media?”

FOR MORE FROM PUBLIC COMMENT, VISIT https://publiccommentpodcast.com/

 

 

On cynicism, meaning and purpose

LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC COMMENT PODCAST

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A successful individual said I might want to consider quitting in my podcast endeavor because nobody will care unless I make up lies to get your attention. A student tells me a professor insisted that this student write an essay arguing that art is pointless because artists don’t tend to make money and because art doesn’t cure diseases. These kinds of things perhaps make it tempting to feel cynical about human nature and life. But should one really surrender to cynicism and nihilism or is there more to this world than obsession with money and power? 

Hi! Thank you for visiting Public Comment and welcome!

I’m Sean O’Connor, a political activist, philosopher, writer, vlogger and podcaster. My goal here on Public Comment is to contribute to a universal dialogue of critical, creative, and introspective thought on politics and philosophy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my contribution to the public discussion on politics and the occasional tangent. I am extremely grateful and flattered and hope you are able to find some of the information on this blog valuable.

Please feel free to share with me any feedback you want to give, positive or negative. I do not shy away from criticism. I want to be a good writer and to do that I will always need your help to keep me accountable, clear, reasonable, and diplomatic. Speaking of diplomacy, that’s my only caveat when it comes to criticism. I don’t have patience for insults or anti-intellectual attacks on character, et cetera. I like to foster a polite and diplomatic civil discourse.

Thank you again.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-y2555-b80fef

On moving some place better (part 11- the role of my hippie phase)

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OR WATCH THE VIDEO

The so-called “hippie movement” or “counter-culture revolution” of the 1960’s utterly fascinated me back in 2004 as I began my Freshmen year of college. The poets and artists of this rebellious generation– I thought of them as the ones the universities should be teaching but weren’t and were thus depriving their students. Among these artists were: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Paul Simon, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Arthur Rimbaud. Unlike my parents, other close family members, religious leaders, or people I was close to, these seemingly revolutionary artists and a certain ethos they seemed to share became my sense of guidance. Through them I sought metaphysical, aesthetic development and self identity. One could not properly understand who and why I ended up in South Beach without first understanding the influences who shaped the mind which led me to be there. 

Hi! Thank you for visiting Public Comment and welcome!

I’m Sean O’Connor, a political activist, philosopher, writer, vlogger and podcaster. My goal here on Public Comment is to contribute to a universal dialogue of critical, creative, and introspective thought on politics and philosophy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to consider my contribution to the public discussion on politics and the occasional tangent. I am extremely grateful and flattered and hope you are able to find some of the information on this blog valuable.

Please feel free to share with me any feedback you want to give, positive or negative. I do not shy away from criticism. I want to be a good writer and to do that I will always need your help to keep me accountable, clear, reasonable, and diplomatic. Speaking of diplomacy, that’s my only caveat when it comes to criticism. I don’t have patience for insults or anti-intellectual attacks on character, et cetera. I like to foster a polite and diplomatic civil discourse.

Thank you again.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5d674-b7beab

On verbal communication

While I still love to write and to read great writing I believe that the art of writing and the variety of mediums in which one can write make up pieces of the wider concept of verbal communication in general. And central to verbal communication, I believe, is clarity of thought and not necessarily revised thought so much as honest thought which is why, as I develop my sense of self a verbal communicator, I identify as much with Michel de Montaigne as I do with Howard Stern as they are both honest and free flowing in their verbal communications. That aesthetic principle of honest free-flow is one I strive to practice. 

Also in this episode I explain why I might have been wrong to claim Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY is the best candidate for president thus far.

****Special thanks to 

Bernard Foyeth,

Matthew Snopenhauer

@monkeymarv 

and 

CabinLoon

@cabinloon for inspiring some of my thoughts 

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ijthz-b78a0b