Monday, October 2, 2017

That's Just Our Own Lunacy

The former AT&T World Headquarters entry (remains AT&T) at the stretch known as The Zoo, very crowded during spring trout season.

Joe couldn't make his way out of Union in time for me to meet him at 1:00 p.m., or anytime near that, so we canceled on Lake Hopatcong this afternoon and evening, planning on going next Monday. This afternoon, I felt pronounced warmth returned, and last I looked at the forecast, more weather above 80 degrees is coming. We've had three or four very chilly nights, so by now those hybrid stripers and walleye are beginning to shift into the fall feed, but unless more chilly nights ensure, fishing might be tough next week. It might have been tough today despite the auspice anyway.

Sun nearing horizon and my needing to stop at Quick Check, I went to the North Branch Raritan at AT&T with my camera and Sadie, though really, the need was less to go to Quick Check than to get a little of the rough and the finer of a nice day. Walking between Rt. 202/206 and the river, the field had especially cooled, and I thought of warmth as I stood on the porch just an hour before, recognizing it might be some of the last I feel of this summer. It's fall, but seasons really have their own ways. They never really obey lunar arrangements as if by boxed schedule. (That's just our own lunacy.)

No fishing rod, I felt the lack for a moment. Could have caught a few redbreast sunfish. Wow. But I had fun with these fish last year on my two weight. Took note of the fact that within two weeks, trout will be stocked here, and not crowds as April draws will come, but quite a number of fishermen will poke their boots among stones.

Water is low and clear. Felt a little odd, since it's been such a wet summer, but come to think of it, the rains have abated.

I clocked my old Civic (still runs smooth) up 202/206 to the Quick Check convenience store. That place feels cheap and sleazy, yet I usually don't regret patronizing. Driving home, I wondered what's in store, not really only for me, but also other people caught in dutiful worlds of wage work. I recognized it was the Quick Check influence, but I didn't regret the sour feeling, because it was rush hour, and as with any event, I open my mind, pay attention, and process a thought or two. To regret that is self-sabotage.

Ever since Cornelius Vanderbilt said, "The public be damned," referring to millions of Americans in misery at, or slightly below, or slightly above, the poverty line, the working class has struggled as if in the fetters of a penal system. I deserve it, of course, since I could have earned a B.A. degree but chose not to earn any. That's a trick statement, because it instantly makes you think wage work is something horrid, doesn't it?

I did go to college. Eight colleges and universities. (Not one of them Vanderbilt University.) To say I have no college education simply isn't true. I have no degree. No degree beyond an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. The fascination for what began with Plato's school The Academy is no less compulsive than flies on shit, so instead of pretending I can one-up worldwide academia by ignoring it, I pay the closest attentions my time allows. Rather than growing less convinced that true education happens independently of institutions, the more I learn about all sorts of social institutions (all of them directly or indirectly connected to the central institution, academia), the more this conviction grows. You might think corporate power is central, since it buys colleges and universities, but the self-made business tycoon with no college education is more of a 19th century phenomena than one of the present, Steve Jobs aside, and besides, the thinking that made the phenomena of big business possible isn't without academic affiliation--as all important intellectual contributions become academic as soon as possible--though in essence, all original thought is native, not academic.

Not for a moment does this conviction of mine about education independent of academia discount the fact that any student studying at a college or university properly learns by use of his or her own independent mind, which means, in essence and in fact, independently of that institution. By what I observed during my years away at school, the best of these students read on their own, as well as what was assigned.

That claim will incite the pointed rage of a million loyalists, who assert there is no independence from social institutions like colleges. You can never placate them. They are embittered and sold out. Of course colleges and universities influenced me and continue to, as they have influenced and continue to influence you. Anyone who reads this blog. But any mind chooses. And I challenge myself, as I challenge my readers. Which is the primary consideration? This earth, given and independent of our mental actions and yet demanding of our independent reason, or the secondary institutions we erect upon it?

Don't mind me, the amateur philosopher. Once and awhile I depart from the usual romancing of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and ocean, and wrangle not with "monster" fish, but ideas I could be wrong about, since context, point and counterpoint, weighing the ideas against facts I might not have considered, etc. etc., all of this in a vacuum of conversation, not one or more other people engaging me, involves not only what is real but grasp or lack of grasp of what is real. It is true that the earth is not an institution, for example. But before Thales of Miletus some 2600 years ago, no man understood the concept of objectivity anyhow. With that fact in consideration, what does it mean to possess native insight? Does what we learn through our family rearing, at least at the most inward levels of family rearing, count as native? But the family is an institution.

Round and round it goes, and I could write foolishly all night, though any of us might agree that there is a planet. And there are also academic institutions. And the two are not the same. 

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