by and of Maxwell Clark
I am rather unfamiliar with academia. I much prefer learning for myself, if you will---and if you will also pardon perhaps the naïveté of this affirmation I have just put forward ("I much prefer learning for myself..."), or its appearance as such thus far as this has gone. This, indeed, seems the only way I ever learn, that is, when I do so for myself; rather than for, or under, the rule of any ruling academic authorities. It seems, at least, that I must be involved in my own learning somehow for it actually to be mine at all. If I am not the one doing the learning, then who? Who learns for me if I do not learn for myself? My academic authorities? Fortunately, I no longer am privileged to any of that kind of person anymore. For, if my academic authorities are the ones learning, for me, rather than I learning for me, for myself, than I may very well doubt I am learning at all under such authorities as these. Or, how does one learn if not by oneself? One learns from others, of course, in teaching, of course. Thus, the interposition of academic authorities in between myself and my own learning, and, so, also, their own learning apart from mine, as authorities and/or learners unto themselves, finds its justification, or justice, in being done for me (if only maybe sometimes, in the best of circumstances), if you will, or as teaching. Who would ever deny this? Yet who also can defend that the teachers, then (and to stumble upon a more felicitous term here than "academic authorities"), somehow, do not interrupt, but substitute their learning---which is actually also embodied in -- or as -- themselves (or corporeally, then)---substitute it for my learning, as I am corporeally embodied in actuality as myself? I am not my others, much less the Other---I am myself alone. Yet, still, they (others) teach me. I cannot yet doubt this, or do not yet doubt this, except in the most the over-reconstrictedly (excuse), or orthodoxly Cartesian way---which is more on the register of fancy herein than conviction---I only protest that somehow, maybe---or, make that assuredly?---in some way I will never persuasively, much less really, know, how this said substitution (and this key term far more to be read in terms of embodiment than with that of knowledge, if only just for me) of the teacher for their student, is even possible, or desirable? Is teaching even assuredly so---as it is so far said above (as sort of a vaguely so far defined as a "substitution of embodiments", academic or otherwise)? Further, but also as a sort of aside---as it continues what was just before closed-off between the immediately foregoing parentheses ending the sentence before this---if teaching is delineated, as it were, and as so far as it is herein, on the register of the bodies which perform it, and, if this said (or tentatively-posed?) corporeality of teaching is further taken as a salient paradigm (if only insofar as it is so, or otherwise, for you, my dear audiences)---and, if perhaps then also only more or less---if this is then accepted to "function" (although my conviction is already waning at this somewhat awry term) "through" (or mayhap, rathermore, or also: "within", or "about", "by", "as", or "whatever else have you..."---prepositionally, but this is an almost absurdly pleonastic twist of that word---or, that is, more plainly, with especial regard to my preposition-use at the literary space defined as that immediately preceding this foregoing open-parenthesis) aforesaid and therein minimally contextualized, or not very ramified, name of "substitution"? Is this, my conceptuality, good enough? Or, does it hold good? And, then again, how do I further proceed with this abrupt introduction, or seemingly sudden foregrounding, of the ethical---in one among its core, if you will, or most signature terms: "good"? how? except as aggrieved, or apologetically, as guilty of what I have so far dared to fling out so hastily as I have in this---whatever it is (that it is). You, my audiences, I ask your forgiveness---whether in each uniquely individual reading of yours it is ever granted, or no; I can do no more than that, to ask it of you---and thereafter go on, if still very much uneasily aggrieved (perhaps even moreso in, or for, the deferral, or, more likely post-mortem delay, or again, wait, I must suffer for this thing I have so foolishly as such written here; as it is, before you, and so too almost necessarily before you may ever grant me my/its desired atonement). To go on then, I return to my afore self-interrogated terminologies (in brusque: "embodiment" and "substitution") and their deployments here-above in this text... and, then, I wonder: how does one go on addressing that other issue which had arisen just before this once before said (as once also before that too?) self-interrogation of my own usages, which was, but of course, as it nascent-emerged, again, from those other, even more anterior, thematic schemas I see and/or recall seeing coalesce within/as this work? Is it good, again---to deploy again that already (for me) troublesome word---whatever my somewhat strong inclination to disavow its use herein already---yes, that word which is also a signal or marker suggesting (or is it imposing?) an ethical register for this document and your receptions of it---is it, again, then, good that this writing cannot seem but to "implode" back in upon itself the moment it affirms anything? Why even affirm anything then, or as such, if I am simply going to recant each of any of those affirmations at some place in their afterwards? In order simply to recant it? That is, affirm for the sake of recantation? What then is the attraction of such ritualistic recantation to me? To slip then back into my ominous habit of affirmation, then, is it not that I emulate Plato's Socrates when he affirms in the Apology (and elsewhere, I believe) that his only knowledge is that he knows nothing. And, then, does recantation---which is, or is it "not", the same as negation? (I, then, maybe foolishly, as too abrupt, and so as ever and again, tend to suggest it is otherwise than identical with negation as above brought into issue)---lie like a seed, if you will, within the body, if you will, of each and---only thus---every affirmation? And is this writing not becoming but an incessant tissue of unanswered inquiries? Is not that then how to write something while still knowing nothing? By having no answers? Is questioning (even) a form of knowledge, put otherwise, and if only perhaps? Or, isn't questioning a form of the absence of knowledge? as then also its soliciting, or the calling forth of knowledge itself then too? A knowledge to come, then, and which, in the meanwhile, is again---if to mince one's words very precisely, or over-precisely, mayhaps---absent from its discourse?