Friday Philosophy: Addressing the Future

It always takes a few days to turn the switch.

There are still teaching things to attend to over the summer, some of which will be fairly onerous, like building an evaluation instrument for one of our computer literacy classes, a mechanism by which students can test out of the course.  Our students do not come from the burbs, for the most part.  They are what is euphemistically now called “urban.”  Inner-city New Jersey.  They do not generally come complete with computer skills beyond texting and MySpace/Facebook.  Email is a foreign substance, except that you have to have an email address to sign up for things.  I just got half of the gig to build a fair assessment instrument for $1000.

And I maybe need to design a Special Topics class for fall (unless it gets canceled for lack of enrollment) .  The topic is Internet Support Tools.  I may be bugging the shit out of some of you because the topic is blogs, wikis, widgets, RSS feeds, etc.  I suppose I’ll need to learn some stuff myself so I can teach it.  Maybe we can figure out a way for my students to wander around behind the scenes of Docudharma for a bit. 🙂

But that’s the me who is a teacher.  Summer is the time for working on grand ideas…my life’s work, so to speak…for weaving the next layer on the tapestry.  

And for that I have to go…

…through here…  

Sitting inside while outside the swamp they call the Meadowlands attempts once again to reclaim northeastern New Jersey, as it has done for millennia, I ponder the fact that I have no goddamn speakers connected to this machine.  But maybe the words are more important anyway.  Apologies to Harry Nilsson:

Flying high up in the sky

I think I have to find

another point of view

to see me through

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

…over to here.

Another point of view indeed.

Someone has stories to tell and there are words that demand to be written.

At some point in time one may realize that a discussion one is ready, willing and able to participate in is not going to take place until sometime many years in the future…probably after one is dead.  That presents a problem.

How does one address the future?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Between here and where you are, life will no doubt change considerably.  I’m told that the things I want to say will be spoken about someday, after all the other wrongs in the world are attended to…or not, which will no doubt cause catastrophic change in human society…or not.  The long view smooths over many of the temporal spasms we must survive in one way or another.

Some day there will be time to speak of gender and the massive effect it has on the lives of us all.  And some day we who peck at its flaws would like to have your ear for awhile.

How many years is it between me and you?  A decade?  A generation?  A century?  More?  Will my words as I write them still be sensible to you?  Can you accept that there are so many ways in which I got to where you are now so many years before you did?

Can you accept the concept of trying to catapult ideas into the future?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And the writer in me wonders about how to arrange that sort of writing, assuming I could find the space that is required to inhabit in order to produce that writing.  And wonders what changes finding that space might have on the writer.

One thing is sure.  I am no longer confined to being the writer only between Friday and Sunday, as has been the case since Docudharma  opened last Fall semester, except for a few brief respites.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The realist in me wonders how in the hell I think I could package these Letters to the Future so that they might someday be found.

Assuming, of course, that they could be written in the first place.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

…as the rain still falls and the swamp continues to rise.

In a large sense my commitment last year was to my past.  I wonder if any of my wise friends have anything to say on the subject of writing to the future.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

River of Time

Note in a Bottle


strung like beads

into thoughts


into frayed patches

a fragile parchment

from your past

A note

in a bottle

set adrift

in the river

of time

If the words

reach you

can you see to it

that they are read

and then sent

once again

on their way

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–May 16, 2008


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    • Robyn on May 17, 2008 at 12:02 am

    • RiaD on May 17, 2008 at 1:03 am

    or i’m not your friend because i have no answers 🙁

    i’m sorry

    • Alma on May 17, 2008 at 1:12 am

    your’ unwise friends?  😉

    I think there’s a lot of discussion from sites like this that could be packaged for the future, when all of humanity is ready.

    Individually, I think scholars in the future will be digging to find info on trailblazers like you Robyn.  Wanting to know your thoughts and what all you went through, and what you’ve done to try and change the system.

    I think your writings should be in print, on disks, and all over, online.

  1. As to your letters…who do you want to read them?

    As to your summer….GO R!

    As to New Jersey….go Swamp! Asbury it!

  2. because, to me, who YOU will be in the future is equally undefinable in the now…and what is may not always be…and there’s no way to know that a truth seen thru our ‘now’ lens will still be true in whatever reality the future finds itself in.  

    …all that any of us can ever do is convey our truth for a moment in time (although those of us who ‘docudharma’ speak to the future in a weird, screwed-up time-stamp sort of way)….

    the future will have the benefit of your experience as we had the benefit of our forebears.  

    as trite as it sounds, all you can really do is ‘put it out there’.  as with any teaching, the ears/eyes it falls upon will do with it what they will….that’s probably never going to change…

  3. I played them all the old songs;

    I thought that’s why they came.

  4. I like the sound of that!  I’ll be happy to send them on coffee runs and make them clean up the break room show them the ropes.  

    Seriously though Robyn, just ask – I’ll try to answer any questions about teh blog or whatever. As far as the students go, doing some work on our wiki pages might make a good project.  And maybe they could show me how to make a  MySpace page for DD.  I know nothing about those social apps.  

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