Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘inspiration

I came across this list when Bob Sutton, another leadership and management “guru,” discussed it in his blog here. Gardner’s ideas go well with some things I read in the book Generation on a Tightrope (you can see my notes on the book here), specifically the parts of the book discussing where a university needs to make a stand. At a time when a lot of people view universities, at best, as glorified vocational school and, at worst, as wastes of time and money, I think this list makes a good reminder of what is really important. Sutton’s discussion is worth reading as well.

So, according to John Gardner, the university stands for:

  • things that are forgotten in the heat of battle.
  • values that get pushed aside in the rough and tumble of everyday living.
  • the goals we ought to be thinking about and never do.
  • the facts we don’t like to face.
  • the questions we lack the courage to ask.

I think in large measure these values are why I enjoy working in higher education. I think they are also values that librarians share and should be embracing. We should stand for truth and have the courage to ask the questions others will not ask. We should then seek out answers where they may lead, and we should help others do so as well.

By the way, Sutton does not mention the exact source of Gardner’s words, but I did a little searching. They come from the following book:

Yes, remember, remember the 5th of November. I think this year with all that is going on, the Occupy Movement, and maybe the hope that people might finally start getting a clue that the people they have been electing may not have their best interests at heart, that V’s speech is as relevant as ever.

Here is the link to the speech, and this time I got a link with subtitles so you can follow along. The text of the speech is below:

“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

Because at the end of the day, if you are looking for the guilty, you need only look in the mirror. Sure, the 1% may be holding the strings, but in the end, a large majority of the 99% enabled them and elected them. Get a clue. Educate yourselves. Then make sure that the lessons are learned and that the crimes of our governments do not remain unknown nor forgotten.

Here goes another link post of my semi-regular (as in when I get enough clips together to make a post) series of post collecting clips about blogging and writing. My small way of keeping track of things that inspire me or just give me ideas for things to try out in my blogging and writing.

Though I do not blog professionally, or at least with the intention of making money, I always find many of Darren Rowse’s posts to be useful and informative. I always find myself clipping them to look at later for ideas on how to improve my blogging. And who knows, maybe someday, I might make a penny or two from my blogging. In the meantime, hear are some items from ProBlogger blog,

Write to Done is another blog I find useful when it comes to writing advice. From Write to Done,

The folks at Dumb Little Man do more than just blog about writing and blogging. I always find something interesting there. From Dumb Little Man,

  • 10 Hard Truths About Blogging.” A few important reminders that I think, as a blogger, I need to hear once in a while.
  • Five Reasons to Keep a Journal.” Even when I take long breaks from blogging (voluntary or otherwise), I always go back to my personal journal.  And though I do not write in it as often as I would like, I do write in it, and I always know I have it there.

 

From On Techies,

CW, at Ruminations,

  • Wondering how to increase her professional blogging. I know I am wondering that question right now, up to and even considering whether I want to increase it at all (or decrease it). Some food for thought and useful links.
  • A short exercise I would like to try out sometime. I may even consider using the result for my About page in the blog, which I am considering how to redo. She writes “Life in 100 Words.” Writing it may not be as easy as it sounds.

 

I was glad to see this post entitled “because: a manifesto.” The anonymous author writes out her (I presume “her”) reasons for leaving academia. This moved me because it is a topic I talk about very often, if at all these days, but I chose to leave an oppressive, often abusive doctoral program as well. I have not left academia all the way given I work in an academic library. However, there are days when I feel that a lot of what that author writes is very applicable to librarianship– both the profession overall and my particular work situation. I do like librarianship and what I do very much, but once in a while I do find myself wondering what if I left academia completely to do something else. I certainly have good skills someone out there would value.

Anyhow, the post is certainly worth reading, and it is one I think more students in doctoral programs who feel trapped should read as well.

I am listing some of the statements from the manifesto that I identify with or move me. I feel there is some applicability to my current profession, but I will abstain from commenting further since I think that these speak for themselves, and I do want to keep this post short. I also just want people to go read the whole thing:

  • “Because participating in a system that degrades, demeans, and disempowers you is masochism.”
  • “Because stupidity, masochism, and futility should not be rewarded.”
  • “Because obfuscation, elitism, arrogance, and self-righteousness should not be rewarded.”
  • “Because those in a position to change the system do not.”
  • “Because there are other places where that training and preparation will be rewarded, respected, and used.”

So, to the author of the paraphernilian blog, whoever you are, thank you for writing this. May you find peace, happiness, and a good career in your new life outside of academia. And thank you for letting the rest of us know that we are not alone.

A hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.

I posted a link to V’s speech and a little commentary last year at this date. This year, given the election in the United States, I think the speech given by V in the film V for Vendetta. So, here is a link to the speech once more.

And if you want to follow along, here is the text of the speech:

“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

I found this post over at Dumb Little Man interesting and relevant. The post’s title is “How to Know When to Quit.” With the cultural imperative that gets shoved down our throats since childhood about winning and not quitting, I think this post deserves to be read and applies. That whole thing about not quitting no matter what is a load of male bovine excrement. There are going to be moments in life when you will have to quit something– a field of study, a job, a project, so on– for various reasons. You should know when to call it quits and move on to something else. The author of the post, Ali Hale, gives a list of signs to look for. I am going to list the signs, but you should go over and read the post to learn more:

  1. “You just wish it was over.”
  2. “There’s no end in sight.”
  3. “You’re not gaining anything new.”
  4. “Your priorities have radically changed.”

She also goes on to write, “there is absolutely no shame in quitting. In fact, it can take a lot of maturity and bravery to stand up and say ‘I quit'”. Exactly. Anyone can keep going, and he or she can keep crashing in the same wall, treading water, whatever metaphor you want to use. They can sound tough and resilient, but in the end, if the only real option is quitting, and they refuse to do so, they are just fools. Have the maturity and bravery to quit when it is the right time.

And then move on. Life is too short to waste it something you should have quit sooner.

 

I like the idea of making a life list, also known as a bucket list. But to be honest, I would not know where to start. There are things I know I would like to do, but there is no chance in hell I will ever do them unless I suddenly win the Powerball. I just personally do not like the idea of putting something down in writing that I know will never happen. I understand that is not necessarily the point of a life list, that part of it is supposed to embody dreams and aspirations, and even if you do not complete, there is value to it. Still, I struggle with how to build it. In the meantime, I am using this post as a reminder that I would like to do it down the road.

This post from the blog Escape the Ivory Tower gave me the idea. Julie, the blog’s author writes, “Whenever I read someone’s life list, I immediately learn things about them — what’s important to them, what they value, what they care about. Writing your own list can have the same effect, showing you themes and connections you might not have noticed otherwise.”

Maybe that is where the value lies, as a sort of reflexive exercise. We’ll see.

 


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