Autopoiesis in Action

I had one of the most amazing experiences in class today. It was the first truly “Thurtle” lecture, and towards the end of the class we started talking about what happens to our body when we go on the internet, where do “we” exist, and so forth. If you’re not taking the class or part of the Thurtle ducklings, it’s understandable if you just scratch your head and say “bwuh?”

Anyhow, I offered to the class that the internet itself is a body that we inscribe meaning upon, just as meaning it inscribed upon us – by other people, and by the internet. That it is an organized body as much as we are. And as I started saying this (admittedly more elegantly than this), Phillip’s lips twitched up and he got this most amazingly satisfied smile – you see, this was one of the first arguments he and I had, only I was very firmly arguing against the idea of the internet as a body. Lo, what difference two years makes.

About 10 minutes later, the discussion about the body has continued…and Phillip mentions a beautiful passage from Shantideva, asking where “I” resides – does “I” reside in the fingers, the hand, the arm?

It was my turn to light up, smiling and containing my glee just barely. You see, I gave Phillip that article on Shantideva over a year ago.

CHID 270 – Take 2, PF-style

Today, I finally came up with a good description for what a PF is. “A PF is sort of like… a TA meets Big Sister!” Muaahahaha – it’s like, all the fun of being an instructor AND a big sister, all in one!

Hello, darling students in my section, should you be reading. ;) You can search on CHID 270 specific classes by using the “Filed under” function, clicking on the CHID 270-PF link, or by choosing it in the side bar. You’d find it under Academics -> Spring 06 -> CHID 270 PF. Hollar my way if it’s not intuitive.

The Materiality of Just Breathing Fluidity

Oh, today was one of those glorious days where everything just… clicks. Right. The world is a puzzle and all the pieces are locked together, making a beautiful image. I’ve had the perfect music on today, a mix of songs from Grey’s Anatomy and Bones, the weather was delightfully crisp and sunny, the late cold snap delayed the cherry blossoms so that I was able to stand in the Quad in full glory, and the first day of class was just…perfect. Right. Working. Phillip and I fell into banter in the hallway, and it continued through to the end of class. It was lovely to see Giorgia again, and I’m so much more confident in myself a year later I know I will get so much more out of working with her. And Garrin, the other PF, just cracks me up. He’s a great mix of serious and silly, and I know we’re going to have fun.

There was simply a fluidity to the day, a movement of right. It wasn’t just a matter of having perfect music, but of having perfect words. Of being able to stand in front of a class without any preparation and talk about the roll of the PF, to talk about my interests, to see that I was indeed charming the students. To have people come up and ask how to insure they get in my Friday section.

I spent the late afternoon, early sunset in the Quad. Perhaps you could even say I was there during the gloaming. I took pictures, and I spun in circles under the just beginning to fall cherry blossom petals, inhaling the sweet scent, photographing and being photographed. (I’ll post the photos soon.)

Life feels fluid, but it looks sharp. Everything is crisply outlined – and while I’m sure some of it is a considerate lack of sleep last night, I think some of it is simply the knowledge of lasts. This is my last class PFing for CHID. This is my last cherry bloom in the Quad. This is my last, my last, my last.

…you see, I formally accepted UAlbany today. And the back of my brain has a continual song, I’m going to graduate school. I’m going to graduate school. I’m actually achieving the things I set out for. I’m actually doing it.

Lasts. Lasts and firsts.