[iDC] Are we changing?

Keith Hart keith at thememorybank.co.uk
Wed Aug 24 18:35:15 UTC 2011

Hi Mike,

I found your first two posts in this thread so moving and profound that I
passed them on to all the people I am working with. These days they are in
South Africa and so am I (for now). I admire your concentration on teaching
in contemporary society so much and have learned immensely from it.

I hesitate to ask this, but, given where I am now, who are "we"? That's a
problem when I try to interest people in what you say who are not Americans
super-saturated in digital media or the intended audience of Lasch, Giddens,
Taylor etc . Paradoxically your brief account of PNG did nothing to bridge
the gap between your metaphysical assumptions and the populations of the
BRICS (half of humanity). The locals distinguish between people who address
the problems of development that concern them and Western academics who are
mainly interested in discourses involving their home audiences.

I agree that questions are better than answers, but it is not always easy to
start with the questions. The process of question and answer is not linear.
R.G. Collingwood's methodological principle was to ask "What question could
this possibly be the answer to?" Quite often we lose sight of what our
researches are for and then it is worth stepping back to address
metaphysical questions. But to ask young people to start with "the big
questions", I don't see how that works. Finding the right question is
inseparable from being immersed in studying something.

Newspapers once addressed audiences who had questions they needed answers
to. Nowadays the only newspapers who address their readers in this way are
the FT and WSJ and the questions concern how to make money or avoid losing
it. Even so I find that attitude refreshing when compared with the
uselessness of the stuff propagated by the rest of the media or the
education system. there is no point in having questions if you don't expect
to be able to do anything about them.


On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 5:12 PM, Michael Wesch <mike.wesch at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks, Pam.  These observations are definitely in line with what I am
> thinking about these days ... which leads me to the very big question
> at the core of all of this which I cannot answer just yet.  The simple
> version is "Have we changed?" or "Are we changing?" but I mean to ask
> this question at a very deep fundamental level.
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