Monday, August 24, 2009


I was listening to the way two deans were discussing on how to present the state of their discipline. They will collect from the past ten years of academic works from journals, dissertations, books, among others from four or five leading organizations or institutions on the field. One of them said, "there must be some sort of tradition that emerged such as Marxist, structuralist, etc." The other contended that the emerging trend now was more of interdisciplinary: a discipline informing other disciplines. Their discussions diverged a little bit to the local state of the discipline. One of them was very proud to announce that in his area the approach nowadays was to focus on an object and from that object map out the different aspects of life: culture, technology, livelihood, etc. He identified that "sago" (similar to tapioka) can feed the whole area and yet it was not tapped or accepted by the community. The other remarked that this is the point where culture work can come in. I replied "that was the same approach we did with our day care curriculum". From an object like a frog, the whole curriculum was designed: frog as an animal for biology; frog meat for food or nutrition, frog sound for music, etc. I hesitated to add that perhaps, there might be some sort of 'taste saturation' among the locals when they have been eating that stuff since the time they were born and grew up in the place.

Another debate was over what approach or perspective to take in making a better discipline: is it 'objectifying the object' or 'subjectifying the subject'. I was lost at this point because I was thinking of how a suicide bomber, having lived as both an object and subject of her/his culture, can come to that point in his/her life when he/she will 'sacrifice' his own life or be reduced to a point of nothingness or annihilation of the self. How can they eliminate the very subject/object which they have created throughout her/his one's life...That for me was a very interesting subject. But I did not bring it up because I knew the two deans were at the plane of 'materialism' and I'm lingering at the spiritual realm of life...

1 comment:

liway_1999 said...

The environment shapes one's culture but it is the people who primarily decide on what kind of culture they will have - unconsciously - through the years.
While it is true that the material becomes the factor in choosing what food to eat, or what clothes to wear or what identity one decides to have, the unseen self called the spirit that assumes passion, humility, benevolence and other virtues - remains to be force that makes life what one charts it to be.