What Selena Gomez Got Right

“Modern poetry aims at creating a semantics that is seemingly without syntax, which is to say a semantics in which the opposition between word and thing — between the two articulations of language or between the opposition of linguistic and motor activity — pushes toward the ‘rediscovered truth’ of a simple rather than a double articulation.” ~ Ronald Schleifer

Have you ever heard that one Selena Gomez song, “Love You Like A Love Song”? You know, the one that goes, “I, I love you like a love song, baby / I, I love you like a love song, baby / I, I love you like a love song, baby / And I keep it in re-pe-pe-peat.” Linguistically and musically, it’s not the most stylized, polished, or sophisticated (or necessarily likable) song, but, jinkies, can it get a point across.  The repetition throughout the chorus forces the song into your (or, at least, my) mind and keeps it there for eons. As nostalgic as I am (not) for my early teenage years, this song does not come to me unprompted; rather, I was reminded of it when thinking over the relevance of repetition in the context of art and communication. Continue reading “What Selena Gomez Got Right”

Mince My Words

“The accuracy of accurate letters is an accuracy with respect to the structure of reality.”  ~ Wallace Stevens

I mince my words, chopping them up until they are fine and small, until they are digestible, able to be used as an ingredient in a larger recipe.  When I apologize to a friend, write an email to a professor, edit a paper, I find myself cutting into the words I use turning them over and looking inside of them, picking their meaning and their implications apart until they are dissected on a little cutting board in my mind.  Perhaps this plays into some of the anxiety I have over writing, the constant questioning: What if a word is wrong or misplaced? What if I have not been careful enough? What if a word (or phrase, or paragraph, or essay, or blog) is not the right word (or etc.) for what I’m attempting to say? And while some of this anxiety over the implications of the words I choose may be misplaced, I feel that it is endlessly important to pay attention to the implications of the words and phrasing we use in both our writing and in everyday life. Continue reading “Mince My Words”

Step 1: Know Nothing

“I know that I know nothing”

I love that I’m rejoined with knowing that I don’t know. That I know I’m wrong more than I’m right.

I know that I know a whole lot about math, and that I know almost nothing about art. Where should I begin making connections? How should I even begin looking at art?

As a math nerd with an epsilon’s worth of knowledge about culture, and everything that fills the spirit with a harmonic vibrations connecting ourselves to the world we really live in, I have no idea.

The one thing that I do know that I know is that listening to others is important. Even if a lot of sewage flows from their mouth, it’s worth the listen. You get a glimpse into that person’s mind. Familiarizing yourself with the many different possibilities of a personality is just the beginning.

The exchange of ideas between groups without judgement allows perceptions to be transmorphed and enlightened. Thought processes are altered. Understanding that we all really don’t understand what it’s like to be embraced with insight of what life is like for most people should be more of a common thought. It’s a mountainous endeavor to consider; so many nations, cultures, languages, colloquialisms. Each person is so distinctly unique. For one scary second, consider who we are on the cosmological scale. Unravel on your trip back down how many possibilities there are. For everything. Confining oneself in a set mind seems like a silly punishment in comparison.

None of us really have a full grasp on the human condition. If I haven’t convinced you yet, then maybe Du Bois can. Even he, a renowned intellectual, acknowledged, internally processed, admitted, and corrected himself when he was wrong. Bornstein gave us insight on Du Bois’ intellectual humility when his opinion on Jews changed with time. He saw the similarities in suppression between the Black and Jewish communities and had sympathy for them. He knew he made a mistake having the echo of Antisemitism ring throughout his lyrical liberation of “The Souls of Black Folk.” He showed that “the willingness to openly change his mind shines through with similar sanity.” We should all be on some type of sanity hunt (but aren’t all college students anyways?) within ourselves. Do we know that we are probably wrong? Do we even accept that we could be wrong? Or that our knowledge is fairly limited due to sticking inside one discipline?

I want to allow others to understand where they may have communication mishaps with, say, mathematicians or those in affiliated work due to different points of view.  This already stands in theory as a very daunting idea because personally I feel spiritually inferior to those who hold the knowledge of history, literature, art, and culture, and I generally don’t tend to vibe with people who do. I see processes, underlying structures and foundations, and organized groups before I see groups of people with emotions and complicated personal experiences. I tend to think of engraved neurological pathways when I think about another’s personality, and I’m not noticing their ability to thoughtlessly just be kind, conscientious, or empathetic. I may be quite stubborn given a set of equations, but in terms of living life with flamboyancy, I admit the lacking nature of it with humility. My math brain is hardwired in, but I’m currently searching for an expansion pack to add full of art, diversity, and free-flowing thought.

My brain works as follows:

  • The Kinetic Gallery.
  • The Gallery of Movement.
  • The Movement of: our artist; the charcoal on the walls; the trio; thoughts and ideas; the students, professors, and professionals filling the room.
  • The Movement of crossing the room from one side to the other. From uprooted to uplifted.
  • Thought movement from being hidden, to a current issue, to resolved, and then gone. As we ascend and rise spiritually and consciously, so did the thought.

I’m sure this is not what any other person would think of upon hearing “The Kinetic Gallery.” That’s okay. Every single person’s impression is contrasting. That’s what makes this interesting.

Listening to everyone discuss the lines during class struck me the most thus far. I was astounded at the amount of people that could not accept that a line goes on indefinitely. This was my immediate thought, even before class glancing over (and halfway smirking at) the definition of a line. My mind exploded into pictures of different lines, shapes, dimensions, number universes, and line equations. If I were asked for a secondary definition of a line, I’d suggest the checkout line, something I consider to be finite.

We broke down our thoughts about the line, but did we really take that tool we were given, or was it left with the lines? Can we, as a cohesive whole, break down and truly think about each thing that really sparks joy (!) in us as we learn more about Steve? or even something that sparks a deep interest in us as we learn more about the past and current socio-economical/ political/ cultural/ etc world that we will explore? An immense amount of thought was put into Steve’s work, thus it’s worth pondering.

I want to understand how others see the world. This was merely a glimpse at how something so simple is conceived so differently by others compared to myself. My goal for this semester, and forever, is to be open and listening to other’s ideas about anything, and develop a better understanding of how different perceptions overlap or never cross and the reason why.

But this is just the beginning. We all get to choose which line of thought we stay on (or in, if you prefer).

Notice What You Don’t Notice

“Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition.” – David Dunning

“I wanted to learn, but I needed help… we can’t learn anything without one another’s help.” – Mary Rutigliano

In the midst of our first day of class, while we contemplated our initial introduction to Steve Prince’s work, Professor McCoy urged us to “Notice what you don’t notice.” This suggestion, especially in relation to its seeming paradoxicality, caught my attention (I noticed haha); how am I supposed to notice what I don’t notice if I haven’t noticed it in the first place?   Continue reading “Notice What You Don’t Notice”