Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interruptions :: An Ounce of Action...

Source: dribbble.com via Katie on Pinterest

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."
Friedrich Engels*

I was going to write last night, but I have a theory-heavy class on Monday nights and it sometimes renders me unable to do anything intelligent whatsoever because my brain is spinning inside my head.  This line resonated with me today because sometimes I sit in classrooms thinking about how we talk about so much but how much do we ever do?  We talk constantly in one of my classes about social problems as embodied in the texts we're reading, the way this narrative reveals this truth, that narrative talks about that one, this author (if we even accept authorial intent as relevant to meaning), but do we ever actually do anything about it?  Do we ever do anything to right the wrongs that we see recorded over and over again in literature?

Sometimes the academy gets a little too far from the experience of daily living, I think.  Maybe it's different outside the humanities.  Days like today, I want to skip class to go do something with a directly visible purpose, to go matter to someone in some small way, to take this indignation with the historical injustices we're reading about and use it to help someone else in the here and now.  Ultimately, we cannot change the past, but we can make the present a little better and maybe help another person with the future.

*Yes, that Friedrich Engels.  No, I'm not a Marxist, socialist, communist, or anything like it.  I debated using the quote because of all the connotations of its author.  Interestingly, it's occasionally attributed to Emerson.  I don't really know what to make of that.  Also, I'm usually one to overthink things, but I guess I do sometimes reach my limit.  

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