Tag: poetics

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

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Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

A Poetic for Sociology

The Haunting Of Social Things

We live the social electric
The air we breathe is social.
The tiny things and the major things.
The social haunting of life in vast time and space.

The social is natural and the natural is social.
We do things together, drenched with people,
attuned to others: there is always the other.
And the haunting of social things.

We make social life stuffed full of the possible
yet we dwell in our habits, the patterns and structures,
the predictable positions we trap ourselves in.
The prisons that engulf us, a daily haunting.

Pounding patterns of structure and wobbly worlds of meaning.
We are prisoners, puppets, and people. Always fragile.
World making actions, and resistance, rebellion-
in worlds not of our making that haunt till we die.

Ubiquitous differences, divisions,dominations: the inhumanities of people.
A haunting ‘matrix of inequalities’: generations at war,
gendered classed races, sexy nations disabled.
And the troubled pathways of excluding and exploiting, dehumanizing and disempowering.

At the brink of a change- a world seething with gushing movements.
Pasts, presents and futures collide in the moment.
Where did it come from and where is it headed?
Cyber capitalisms in global ferment haunting the world.

Standing amazed at this chaos and complexity
of the humanly produced social world;
and its joys and its sufferings,
we celebrate it and we critique these hauntings.

Yet the dreadful dullness of professional knowledge.
Its earnest desire for respectability and order,
abstractions to kill you. Standards to die for.
A dark cloak thrown over the mind.

We need ‘the tricks of the trade’ : practical questions with practical answers.
Rich descriptions and explanations of dense social life.
An intimate familiarity through all the senses.
Explore and respect the empirical world. And look for it hauntings.

We dwell in social tensions, conflicts and contradiction.
Observing schisms, thinking paradox,
and struggling with opposing paths: living with the contradictions.
The hard trick of dealing with them in our lives.

The vast multiplicities of social life: Contested. Contingent. Creative.
And thriving. Progressing. Regressing. Sometimes surviving.
Incorrigibly plural. Intransigently vast.
The complex tales how we order our past.

And the blindness of human beings?
The taken for granted need not be taken for granted.
Doubting the familiar;
living with radical doubt.

Yet all we know is incomplete and open,
Necessarily provisional, partial, perspectival.
Reality is inexhaustible, too complex and dense to be fully comprehended
No finality.  Or closure.

The dream of a better world haunts sociology.
Empowering lives and imagining utopias.
More justice in each generation?
A flourishing life for all?

A dialogue: being personal, being  political?
Passionate knowledge? A garden to cultivate?
A quiet catharsis of comprehension? With the other?
Haunted by doubt, love and hope.

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No Other Way

 There’s no other way

That’s what they say.

Economics must put money before people

And medicine must put profit before health.

Education must put management before wisdom

And religion must put war before love.

Technology must put machines before environments.

And politicians must put power before care.

We must follow the way things are done.

There’s no other way

That’s what they say.

But what if economics valued feelings

And medicine fostered dignity

Education aimed for all to flourish

And religion wanted better worlds for all

Technology looked out for justice

And politicians put people first.

If we would just be kind and care for each other.

Then we would have the road less travelled.

A much better way

Than the way they say.

There is never only one way.

This was my little contribution to Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet which has just been published.

Global Chorus is a groundbreaking collection of over 365 perspectives on our environmental future. As a global roundtable for our times, in the format of a daily reader, this book is a trove of insight, guidance, passion and wisdom that has poured in from all over the Earth. Its message is enormously inspiring, and ominous in its warnings. And yet, united in a thread of hope, its contents are capable of helping even the most faithless global citizen to believe that we have the capacity to bring about lasting positive change in our world. Places at this roundtable are occupied by writers, environmentalists, spiritual leaders, politicians, professors, doctors, athletes, businesspeople, farmers, chefs, yogis, painters, actors, architects, musicians, TV personalities, humanitarians, adventurers, concerned youth, concerned senior citizens, civil servants, carpenters, bus drivers, activists, CEO’s, scientists, and essentially those who have something thoughtful and visionary to say about humanity’s place upon Earth. Compiled for your reading as a set of 365 pieces, Global Chorus presents to you a different person’s point of view for each day of your year.

Contributors to Global Chorus have provided one-page responses to the following line of questioning:

“Do you think that humanity can find a way past the current global environmental and social crises? Will we be able to create the conditions necessary for our own survival, as well as that of other species on the planet? What would these conditions look like? In summary, then, and in the plainest of terms, do we have hope, and can we do it?”

I recently presented this little ditty at the start of a presentation on Cosmopolitan Sexualities in Amsterdam  (for the full summary click here)

Today, being  a difficult day, I thought I would put it on the web site.

Is That All There Is?

 Unknown

(this can be cheerily sung along with Peggy Lee to the song by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and inspired by a short story by Thomas Mann: Disillusionment).

 

When I was fifteen, I discovered homosexuality.

They said it was a crime.

And a sickness, a sin, a shame and a sadness.

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

When I was twenty-five, I discovered liberation.

It was GLF; we were out and proud; we made demands.

We were modern homosexuals out to change the world.

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

When I was thirty, I discovered research.

Transvestites and paedophiles and sado-masochists and more:

The conflicting meanings of the whole damn thing!

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

When I was thirty-five, I discovered AIDS and feminism.

I knew the tragedy of AIDS: twenty five millions dead and still counting

And the tragedy of feminism: its interminable divides.

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

When I was forty-five, I went global and postmodern.

Queer had come around again;

And rights was on the world agenda.

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

When I was sixty, I nearly died: but I didn’t.

Starry starry nights and the incorrigible plurality of snow.

The multiplicities of life, of death, of suffering.

And I said to myself: is that all there is?

So life goes on as I look to seventy.

The inevitability of disappointment and the importance of hope.

And I say to myself: is that all there is? So let’s keep dancing.

 

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human beings, by Adrian Mitchell

look at your hands

your beautiful useful hands

you’re not an ape

you’re not a parrot

you’re not a slow loris

or a smart missile

you’re human

       not british

    not american

      not israeli

  not palestinian

    you’re human

     not catholic

  not protestant

    not muslim

       not hindu

  you’re human

  we all start human

    we end up human

       human first

          human last

      we’re human

    or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs

     and poison gas

  nothing but guns

     and torturers

  nothing but slaves

  of Greed and War

  if we’re not human

          look at your body

  with its amazing systems

  of nerve-wires and blood canals

     think about your mind

   which can think about itself

  and the whole universe

look at your face

   which can freeze into horror

           or melt into love

     look at all that life

           all that beauty

           you’re human

     they are human

     we are human

  let’s try to be human

         dance!

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No Other Way

~im0000

There’s no other way.

That’s what they say.

Economics must put money before people,

And medicine must put profit before health.

Education must put management before wisdom,

And religion must put war before love.

Technology must put machines before environments,

And politicians must put power before care.

We must follow the way things are done.

There’s no other way.

That’s what they say.

But what if economics valued feelings,

And medicine always pursued dignity.

If education aimed for the flourishing of humanity,

And religion wanted better worlds for all.

If technology looked out for justice,

And politicians put people first.

If we all just tried to be kind to each other?

There surely is a much better way

Than the one that they preach to us everyday.

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A MANIFESTO FOR A CRITICAL HUMANISM

IN 

SOCIOLOGY

ON QUESTIONING THE HUMAN SOCIAL WORLD

 Ken Plummer

(Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, U.K.)

 This was First Presented at the VI Congreso Andaluz de Sociologiá, University of Cadiz, November 2012

In June it was  published in

Daniel Nehring: Sociology: A Text and Reader ( Pearson, 2013).


This is the first edition; it is now under revision for a 2nd version. Comments are welcome

Contact Ken Plummer at plumk@essex.ac.uk

 

_________________________________________________ 

Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon World-Affairs,

            Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit

            A social science

– W.H. Auden  ‘Under Which Lyre’. 1946

 

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, 1869

These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. William James:  The Will to Believe. 1896

 

SUMMARY

  1. Prologue: A very human animal in an all too human world
  2. On the Human Search for Meaning
  3. On Sociology
  4. The Challenge of Humanism
  5. Righting the Troubles with Humanism
  6. On Critical Humanism
  7. The Human Condition: Obdurate Features of the Human World
  8. On Human Potentials, Capabilities and Rights
  9. The Challenge of Plural Worlds, Ethnocentrism and Cosmopolitanism
  10. On Becoming Human: The Process of Humanization
  11. A Sociology of the People:  Being Practical and Pursuing the Wise Society
  12. We are the Story Telling Animals
  13. The Politics and ethics of Humanism: Living a Better Life and Making a Better World
  14. Dark Hope and Dreaming Ahead in Perpetually Troubled Timers: Key Directions For a Future Humanistic Agenda
  15. Further Reading

 Click here for the rest

Unknown

Kalama Sutra

“Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching. Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words. Rely not on theory, but on experience. Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

– the Buddha

 

Return to contingencies: It’s a wonderful life?

holidays at the blog! have  a wonderful holiday It’s a Wonderful Life Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he. Clarence ,the angel, as he shows George Bailey what the world would look like if he had not lived.    …

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