Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can we talk?

How do we talk? You and I on opposite sides of the fence. Academic and practitioner.
You and I my friend; how do we resolve this inability to talk?
I did live on the other side you know. Your concerns are mine, your doubts are mine, your skepticism I carry as a reminder of the “real” world and as a reminder of my persevering structures that organize the world between real and unreal, between matter and mind. Often I wonder, what is it that I really do? I mean, how does it matter and what does it mean?

I suffer inexactitude, I admit it.

But it’s like this. Imagine A and B at the gym. A has been training for about a month now. The trainer told him that he needs to hydrate. He doesn’t know what the term means. So he absorbs the principle and translates it to include juice, water, lassi and rasam. After all hydration is a general term, isn’t it? It is B’s first day. B asks A for advice on things one must definitely know about while working out. A tells him “hydrate”. And B says, what does that mean? A says, “Ah well, you know, anything liquid? Seems to be the underlying principle and organizing factor that underwrites the practice of working out.” (Can you tell that A is an aspiring academic?). B shows skepticism (well deservedly) but unfortunately throws the baby out with the bathwater. "Ah, all of these gym mantras are hogwash – what does hydration have to do with anything?"

Three months from then, A will have been corrected and will understand what hydration is and what it means and why it is important. B however, no longer believes him. Or the principles he espouses.

The marginally educated talking to the differently educated.
Not an easy resolution this.

And lest I come across as sounding like an apologist for all the other marginally more educated wankers that parade under the banner of academia; let me clarify my stance. I am all for affairs of the head. Not all of them are of merit, not many of them can be translated and very few will come to fruition or make practical sense in the course of my lifetime leave alone forever. But there is something to be said for rigor, doubt and the process of thought. For imagining worlds beyond what we have in ways that have no existence in the world we know. For being of a time yet to come. And this is the only apology I have to offer.

And not that A’s mission in life is to convince B or that B must believe in what A does.
But A and B live in this world and need to talk.

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