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Monday, February 9, 2015

Wednesday Questions

Post your questions by noon on Wednesday. Remember to include some context with your question to connect it directly to Rebellion and The Human Spirit, the video suggested to us by Steve Pavey. 

17 comments:

  1. Courtney Martin uses a story of her own life to illustrate how people get so caught up in living that they either forget to pause or just do not know how to make time for it. She mentions how a lot of the most powerful people make no time to pause, how many of the new technologies that allow us to quickly scale disruptions to a massive scale also make it harder for us to build pauses into our lives. In many ways she is advocating for moments of reflection and interestingly she extends this into an idea of learning in public. How can we, as a community and a culture, grow to appreciate the people who are visibly learning in public, who have clear shifts of mind over periods of time? Are there—as she suggests—known models for what it looks like to learn in public?

    [The previous two sentences are my question. What follows is a rationale for asking these questions] Because it seems that embracing people who are comfortable learning in public (rather than calling them hypocrites or flip-floppers) would allow entire communities to learn and to adapt more quickly, I believe this is something we must do. This would also invite people to create the kinds of life pauses that Martin advocates for.

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  2. Early in the interview, Courtney Martin brings up her parents’ joke that their lives of rebellion resulted in their becoming rich. Though Martin doesn’t elaborate this point, I was struck by the ways in which our social context defines us. White upper-middle class U.S. Americans are supposed to succeed. Indeed, the advantages they inherit and grow up with set them up for success more often than not. In a society where success is understood within a white patriarchal capitalist ideology success does seem antithetical to rebellion. And so I wonder what the successful rebel in our society should look lie. Can one be rich and rebellious? Or is that a contradiction in terms? Are there social circumstances whose very espousal bars one from the space of rebellion?

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  3. In her definition of "rebellion," Courtney mentions that she feels it is important to "trust your own outrage," to let your anger push you to invest in those things which feel most important - as opposed to the "scripts" we always hear regarding what we should be concerned with. She goes on to discuss how investing in social justice is not simply feeling this way, but also being willing to embrace the complexity within the systems that need changing, to understand them and place yourself into them modestly and reasonably. With this pressure comes the responsibility to perform accurately in a measured role, which she notes can be concerning because you may feel as though you are not eligible to do this and may as well "stay home", or you may actually end up wasting many resources on a task which does not acknowledge this systemic complexity and the people within it.

    What are your experiences with the latter occurences? How much of the "rebellion" in Lexington would you say is well-intentioned but still ultimately harmful and unaware? Is it better than nothing, or perpetuating the problems here even more?

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  4. Courtney talked about how she had inherited her "script" and need to rebel from the world and her parents. What would you say (if you would say anything) to those who don't feel obligated to rebel like Courtney does? Do you think that they should rebel?

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  5. Both Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin speak to the power of acknowledging the inherent complexity of being and the power of finding one's vocation. So often it seems to me that the people I interact with most during these days are content to parcel themselves out -- to reduce their personality and passions to what they can easily sum up as explanation to anyone who asks to know what they're "about." Part of me longs for that type of definition, for the clarity that comes with the party line introduction of yourself, but there has never been any confusion on my part -- a partial life is an unhappy one.

    How do we begin to share our whole selves with a world that increasingly asks us to package ourselves for distribution on social media/job applications etc, and how do we help to create space for others to do the same?

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  7. I like the idea that rebellion could be just investing time in learning in a public way, rebellion could be constantly learning new ways to invest your individuality and learn about yourself. I was reminded specifically of artists and musicians as rebellious individuals, they make money and live off of expressing their emotions and thoughts, they shifts in artistic styles as their rebellious nature changes. I know I find merit in that.

    This week Kendrick Lamar a popular American rapper came out with a song called "The Blacker The Berry," reacting towards his critics that called him a hypocrite that didn't understand the systematic strife’s of his own people. He responded with lyrics "My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide You hate me don't you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture You're fuckin' evil I want you to recognize that I'm a proud monkey," I've always recognized his genius but he absolutely slammed all those who doubted his intelligence as a social justice rapper while also internalizing his own peoples stereotypes not to bring him down but rather make him stronger. There is so much strength in going against society in a nature similar to his, pretty much saying I'm proud of what I am, proud of what I do and that he is still learning and changing as an individual.

    I know this is going way off of what the intended purpose of the video may be. But hearing that song two days ago right when it came out seemed like a rebellion to the mainstream culture of music. You saw a man brought down by what people said about him and his people to only accept that and say pretty much, I see these systematic struggles and it kills me. I think that is rebellious as it gets to accept issues and admit that they destroy you, while also reacting towards your critics while being miles ahead of them channeling your own energy.
    Kendrick Lamar had no need to rebel; he's already a millionaire poet. I wonder if we should all try to rebel in some way if we feel like we don't really need to? Because rebelling in some nature has sure helped a lot of people.

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    1. I loved your question and the thought on how rebelling has helped people. So many people think living a rebellious-free life is when you have succeeded, but that isn't true. Minimal rebellion in my life has sure been a good think for me.

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    2. Wow, good question, Franklin!

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  8. Parker Palmer was explaining how he thought asking open and honest questions and genuinely listening to the answers is one of the most important things to do and skills to have. This relates a lot to what we have been hearing from members of the community, about how we need to be open and listen. Why is this so difficult to do? It is uncomfortable sometimes, to just sit and listen, and it doesn’t seem as though it should be.

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  9. Preliminary note: with the phrases "disruption, innovation ,rebellion, and creation" I am questioning if this is a subtle advertisement for Kurt and Kremena's other class, Creative disruption!

    Thinking of other buzzwords, my ears perked up when the Palmer and Martin mentioned Kentuckian Thomas Merton and how 'being whole' or 'going upstream' is a meaningful way of creative rebellion. I have honestly never watched a full episode of the show Seinfield but I recall an episode where George Costanza did the opposite instead of doing what he usually does (i.e: Instead of putting a front, he admits to a woman that he is what society considers a 'chump' and they have a great conversation).

    With these two ideas in mind, would you consider breaking of social norms an optimal way of creativity? What social norms are good to keep and what are not?

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    1. Excellent questions, Devin. And, yes, we invited Steve as a speaker so he can advertise our other classes. AND you should take Creative Disruption in May 2016!

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  10. When you ask yourself, "What do I need to do right now?" Are they generally tasks or changes in mindset? Do you give yourself a deadline?

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  11. When parker palmer was talking about being awakened to experiences that his teachers had taught him, not on a test, he mentioned faithfulness. He asked himself if he was being faithful to his own gifts, and during his last breathe, has he showed up in this world as fully as himself as he knows given his limitations, fallibility and cutting himself slack. Did he use his limited lifetime to show up fully as he knew how? I absolutely loved this statement right before the question period because I wonder how this idea of living fully with what you're given fits into the socially constructed idea of "living fully." People have such expectations on how you are to live in this world and if people step out of those lines, are they not living fully? How does the background of an individual fit into the judgment of them living fully with what they are given?

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  12. Early in the conversation the participants discussed the need for inter-generational cooperation in rebellion for social justice. In what ways is this being practiced in Lexington? Furthermore, what can we as college students in general and Transylvania University students in particular do now to participate in inter-generational rebellion?

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  13. How are we supposed to educate individuals as well as communities (or I guess, help people find more self awareness?) in regards to the discomfort of the world and it's brokenness while also having them stand tall with humility, courage and comfort in being their whole self?

    I really, really appreciated and valued this interview. And I felt very connected to many of the things that were shared, especially by Courtney. But do people need to explore these concepts alone? They both mentioned many teachers and mentors that helped influence them, but how do we encourage more of this so development towards a better world becomes stronger?

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