• Interesting story in the NY Times this morning about wireless access points going up in nyc parks by the end of August. This is particularly appealing to me, given that the only thing keeping me in the office this summer is the need for Internet access. Now, what to do about screen glare?
• I recently read bell hooks‘ Teaching to Transgress as part of a summer reading group, and I have to say that the passages about the mind/body split in academia spoke to me more than anything I’ve read in the recent past. It’s something that I felt almost as soon as I entered grad school, that many students and professors neglect their physical and mental health as they shoulder heavy burdens of classes, research, jobs, write, write, write, and maybe have a little social life. Indeed, some of my colleagues wear this as a badge of honor. I’ve been struggling to listen to my own needs and maintain a better balance, and it’s not been easy… which brings me back to bell hooks:
"I was certain that the task for those of us who chose this vocation was to be holistically questing for self-actualization. …I learned that far from being self-actualized, the university was seen more as a haven for those who are smart in book knowledge but who otherwise might be unfit for social interaction. …It was difficult to maintain fidelity to the idea of the intellectual as someone who sought to be whole – well-grounded in a context where there was little emphasis on spiritual well-being, on care of the soul." (p. 16)
Now, I do find that most of my colleagues are fit for social interaction, so that criticism may be rather harsh. Point being, though, that she paints the possibility (however unrealized it may be, broadly within the academy) of an intellectual as something more than a detached brain walking around, but rather as a "union of mind, body, and spirit." Reading this, I was really psyched to be able to give a name to my internal struggle, and to be given a model – revolutionary in some ways, to be sure – for a more personally fulfilling way forward.
• Upcoming travel:
Next week, doing a tech support/social software consultant gig for the Al-Musharaka summer seminar in St. Paul, MN. Never been to the Twin Cities, though I hear it’s a lovely area.
Tomorrow, going to visit friends in PA and finally get in some outdoor climbing! Am *very* excited.