This week I attended my third and final session for the spring quarter at Pacifica. It’s been a good way to ease back into things as I only had two courses this quarter instead of the usual three. (However, philosophy has kicked my butt enough that it feels like it’s taken up the time of two classes!). And, now, two and a half years after I started the program, I’m getting close to finishing my first year of PhD work! It feels really good. I knew I had to take the leave of absence when I did, just as I knew I really needed to return when I did. I’ve been welcomed back with open arms by old and new friends. I really cannot ever emphasize how blessed I feel for this entire experience.
The course work for this session was daunting for my Philosophy class yet great for my Jungian Psych class. I’m just going to brain dump my thoughts about the week now.
On Monday night, I met my Philosophy teacher at the hotel bar. (Yes, we stay at a hotel for our school, and sometimes I’m taken aback when I see a family in swim suits or something. I forget some people are there for vacation! ). My Philosophy professor is absolutely brilliant. I honestly told her that night that when she’s lecturing, I’m right there with her and it all makes sense. But then I go home and read new material and I’m lost again. I think she appreciated my honesty, and she was glad it at least makes sense in the classroom for me. I seriously could see this class absolutely flattening me if I had any other teacher. Ultimately, she has convinced me I have enough of a thread to go on to start my Philosophy paper. There was one idea in our second session that really stuck out to me: Kant places thinking above all else. He’s really putting humans at the top of the totem pole, and everything else below it. So what about nature? Won’t this eventually bite us in the ass? We aren’t the biggest thing out there. So, of course, this train of though led me to pop culture… and images from The Happening kept playing in my brain. So, my mission right now is to re-read Kant, re-watch The Happening, and then probably re-read Kant again and see how it all gels together.
On Tuesday we had our Philosophy lecture. Have I told you these classes are usually about season hours a day? Our instructors really amaze me. The longest I’ve ever taught in one block for one class is four hours. Seven hours could be painful. Fortunately, I’ve yet to have a teacher that makes me feel like scratching my eyes out. Something as challenging for me though as Philosophy is really intense brain power for seven hours! Because of my fast typing skills, I can take notes nearly verbatim. This is a great advantage because I will hit spells where things stop sinking in, but then I can review them later in my notes. On Tuesday we explored a lot of Derrida. Fortunately, when we got to his “Plato’s Pharmacy” from Dissemination I was actually able to keep up. I had read in a review that Dissemination is perhaps one of his easiest-to-read texts. And we had read The Phaedrus, which he analyzes, at the beginning of the semester, so I already had a grasp on Plato. It was actually really interesting.
Wednesday was my Jungian Psychology class. We continued an in-depth exploration of Jungian concepts, focusing greatly on the archetype of the self. We also had to view the original The Day the Earth Stood Still which contained an archetype so many of us were surprised to have not picked up on: the Christ figure! A being comes to the Earth, looks like man, walks among men, has an important message, is killed and resurrected. Klattu even takes on the name Carpenter! Now I want to rewatch the film and play with those ideas. That’s what’s really so crazy about these classes: every five minutes will be packed with something you could spend years exploring and playing with! So you grab the best of your ideas and run with ‘em, hoping to at least get a paper topic out of it for the class, and, if you’re lucky, something applicable to your dissertation. For this class, I was drawn immediately to the concept of the Shadow, which always makes me think of one book in particular: Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. I haven’t read the book in quite a while, so I’ll be re-reading that this week and delving into all the implications and ramifications of Ged’s shadow. I’m excited about this work!
In the meantime, I’m just a week away from my summer semester of teaching ending. Whew. I absolutely adore my job and wouldn’t want any other job in the world, but when the break comes around, it’s always welcomed.