…that I prefer bananas to bandanas and baklava to balaclavas.
I try to kick a dent in that Arctic Circle
and when that doesn’t work I try to put a spell on it.
Double, double toil and trouble —
but no luck. So off I go,
I make sure to take my cauldron with me,
lest I pollute the polar regions even more.
I have been secretly plotting to launch a new blog for quite some time now. I even had a title („Remarks on Bookmarks“) and a self-designed header image ready. And unlike my alienaid blog, the second one even has a concept:
My bookmark toolbar is a bloody mess. Sounds familiar? Well, in the spirit of Marie Kondo I finally decided to tidy it up. How? By writing blogposts that loosely relate to the topic of one or more bookmarks, and then deleting the latter. Spark joy!
If you’d like to pay it a visit, go ahead: https://remarksonbookmarks.wordpress.com/
First off: the following is not to be taken as a tale of woe. I am grateful for whatever life has had on offer for me so far, and I am indebted to my teachers – from primary school to university and beyond – in many ways. But I felt that, given that Martin invited me to do so, I should probably provide some context to my comment on his recent post on meritocracy, in which I claimed that my being a first-generation student has had a “profound influence on how I conceive of academia”. So here goes.
I am a first-generation student from a lower-middle-class family. My grandparents on the maternal side owned and operated a small farm, my grandfather on the paternal side worked in a foundry, and his wife – my father’s mother – did off-the-books work as a cleaning woman in order to make ends meet.
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I tell myself that I stumbled deliberately, that I chose to scrape my knees, my palms, that I did nothing to prevent my fall, that everything resulted from a split-second decision to remain where I am.
there’s not much around but the static of night,
and some things make others seem easy, or light,
and nothing on earth merits anger, or fright,
and, say, did you know that swifts sleep in full flight?
Muss man etwas aus seinen Talenten machen? Sicher nicht in demselben Sinn von „müssen“, in dem wir sterben müssen oder schlafen. Etwas aus seinen Talenten zu machen ist weder unausweichlich noch lebensnotwendig. Vielmehr könnte man denken, dass die Entwicklung oder Vervollkommnung der eigenen Talente – neben moralischer Integrität und bereichernden Beziehungen zu anderen Menschen – etwas ist, das unser Leben zu einem gelingenden Leben macht. Vielleicht sollte die Frage deshalb lauten: Ist es mit Blick auf das „große Ganze“ eines gelingenden Lebens ratsam, die eigenen Talente zu entwickeln?
F. war eines Morgens ohne Erinnerung an die ihm eigene Kategorienzugehörigkeit aufgewacht. Nicht nur seine differentia specifica war ihm entfallen, auch sein genus proximum war ihm ein Rätsel. Seine Familie verbrachte ihn deshalb für einen mehrwöchigen Aufenthalt in eine ontologische Rehabilitationsklinik. Die dort ansässigen Fachärzte für Ontologie konnten F. glücklicherweise weiterhelfen. F. geht heute wieder einem geregelten Leben nach.
I am, generally speaking, a very sloppy philosopher. By which I mean that, for example, I tend to think things like „Yeah right, but do you really need this further distinction here?“ or „Well, I’m not in the mood for reading another paper on this topic, so I’ll just go with what I have read so far“ or „Fuck it, I’ll just send this paper off to this or that journal now, I can’t stand looking at it anymore“ or even, most disturbingly, „Who cares?“
I am, on the other hand, and also generally speaking, a very passionate writer. By which I mean that, for example, I tend to think things like „Is zum Schweigen bringen really the best choice for a translation of silencing, or might not mundtot machen be a better one?“ or „I should avoid the gerund in this sentence“ or „Let’s have a look at this or that thesaurus and find out whether there is a more fitting word for what you are trying to say“ or even, most disturbingly, „Why not read this sentence/paragraph aloud and see how it sounds?“
These characteristics of mine, taken in combination, make for interesting reviews of my papers. Because, again, generally speaking, the reviewers tend to acknowledge that my papers are very well written, while urging me to firm up my arguments.
Happens to the best of us.