Friday, October 06, 2006
Before and After: A Before Snapshot in Anticipation of my Laptop Detox Desert Weekend
Desk: piles and piles of teaching notes; drafts; research projects; grant proposals; conference announcements; books; reprints…
Desktop: a dozen opened windows, five word docs; outlook; two email accounts; internet explorer; Westlaw; TWEN; typepad; 2 power point files…
It’s been such a long time since I left my laptop behind for several days. Tomorrow I am off to the desert -- to a cabin in Joshua Tree -- ten yogis, retreating for practice and hiking, sans wireless communication. How will it feel?
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When you're gone, I'm going to write three law review articles, post them on SSRN, and get 1,00 downloads and become really famous. Just think -- it could be you!
Just kidding. Have a great break.
Posted by: lawprof | Oct 6, 2006 2:37:24 AM
Well--and with all due respect--if they are true yogis (i.e., not the New Age, commodified variety who've spent little if any time with the Bhagavad Gita or Patanjali's Yoga Sutras), the question, 'How will it feel?' will not be the sort of question that comes to the fore, indeed, I suspect it will (should) be irrelevant. Is it not a wishy washy New Age religiosity that is preoccupied if not obsessed with 'how things feel'? Indeed, this question seems to reflect that sort of narcissistic religious practice that is the prerogative of the New Class, a practice in which 'the frame of reference is first of all in terms of personal fulfillment, and spirituality means "getting in touch with the self"' (Joel Kovel), that nebulous locus of 'feelings':
'[T]he structure of our whole society entails self-preoccupation, and the more so as society is unchallenged. Since New Age thinking does not challenge fundamental social structures, its spirituality remains self-preoccupied, even as it attempts to get beyond the self: thus soul, whose essence is self-abandonment, is cultivated as a project of self-fulfillment. This paradox expresses a kind of spiritual pride intrinsic to the spirituality of the New Age. As the spiritually proud person congratulates him- or herself for humility, so does the aficianado of New Age spirituality congratulate him- or herself for self-abandonment. New Age zealots are forever flexing spiritual muscles, admiring their spiritual transcendence as much as their physical fitness and smart clothing. But how can the self forget or escape itself this way, when spirituality is pursued as if in a gymnasium? The self thus produced is in reality Ego in soul's clothing.' (Joel Kovel, History and Spirit: An Inquiry into the Philosophy of Liberation. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1999): 209-210.
Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 6, 2006 3:18:38 AM
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