ALCStudies Journal

Advanced Labor & Cultural Studies Web Site & Blog

Tag Archives: Brave New World

Attachment & Being Human

I’ve seen a lot of advice lately against getting ‘too attached’ — to people, desires, hopes. Is there’s a gauge like a radiation badge to measure how much is enough, or too much? Is our chief end to control our unruly natures and turn our emotions on and off like robots.1)

Emily Dickinson on Hope

Emily Says —

Something bugs me about non-attachment as a blanket answer to all human desire for connection, never mind the notion of karma. These can become unthinking dogma like anything else. The following nails something self-evident, however much we try to deny it, about our desire to connect:

… It is in our biology, in the fabric of us, to connect to other human beings, and anything which tries to insert shame and doubt into that instinct is bound to always twist us… If the thought, “I am happy right now”, can never occur without an accompanying, “And I am just delaying my ultimate fulfillment in being so”, then what, essentially, has life become? I’ve seen it in action – people reaching out for connection, and then pulling back reflexively, forever caught in a life of half-gestures that can’t ever quite settle down to pure contemplation or gain a moment of genuine absolute enjoyment.Dale DeBakcsy, New Humanist

The idea of non-attachment is useful in the right context. But we are human. We do grow attached to kids, loved ones, hopes, pleasures, ideas, beliefs pursuits large and small.2 Also toxic things. There are a lot of mixed messages in the Buddhist, Christian and New Age traditions. Maybe our goal should be to be more choosy about holding on and letting go and how. And savoring and enjoying worthwhile attachments while we’re here. And not putting so much energy and effort into stupid and harmful ones. — DA

1See most religion, utopian experiments, contemporary psychology, scientific futurism, psychotropic medication, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

2E.g. Wallace Shawn’s appreciation of a cold cup of coffee in My Dinner With Andre

Brave New World: TLPC Starts 5/17 at Pitt Osher LLI

If you signed up for  Brave New World: Technology in Literature & Popular Culture a  dedicated web site and blog are in progress complete. I will add added a link to the course site here on or before May 10th under Events. I am teaching this class May 17th — June 14th  through Osher Lifelong Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Registration is still open. Please see the following summary.

Time: Five successive Fridays from 1:00 — 2:50 May 17th through June 14th.
Location: Cathedral of Learning, Oakland Campus, Room 332
Instructor:  Chuck Lanigan

Format:

  • Readings (online and printed)
  • Discussion
  • Class Contributions
  • Assignments & Readings

We will cover technology through each era’s unique :

  • Events
  • People
  • Literature
  • Popular Culture (Film, Periodicals. Letters, Etc.)

The introductory text is Neil Postman’s Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century: How the Past Can Improve the Future. (Please click to view an online video  of  Postman being interviewed about the book). I will also share printed excerpts (handouts) and links to online sources to be listed on the site, along with examples from film & television.

In the meantime, please feel free to submit comments or questions related to the course. Stay tuned. — CDL

1Q 2013 ALCStudies Quarterly Report

It’s common in the business world for organizations to state their earnings at the end of each quarter. Unlike some, we are not obligated to break a few eggs and cook our books to make an omelet, or engage in other financial shenanigans to show an ROI. While Advanced Labor & Cultural Studies is not primarily a profit-making enterprise, it perhaps makes sense for us to step back occasionally and review the balance-sheet. Of course, returns on investment are not (and should not) always be tallied in dollars and cents. Here, then, is an accounting of our efforts during the first quarter of this year, as well as a look toward what’s upcoming in the next.

1Q 2013 Events & Projects:

January 5th : A return engagement of  The Thin Man’ Comes to Pittsburgh at the Brew House in Pittsburgh

  • Expenditure: The time and talent of a wonderful cast and crew, musician and sound designer
  • Income/Reward:  The pleasure and satisfaction of partnering with the BH folks and the joy of watching the audience enjoy our original live radio production on Pittsburgh’s South Side

January 5th:  Brave New World:  Technology in Literature and Popular Culture presentation at The Carnegie Library People’s University.

  • Expenditure:  Time and thought to gather and organize ideas, historical examples and stories of how we affect and are affected by technology in our daily lives.
  • Income/Reward: The chance to interact with an attentive audience of all ages with varied opinions and experience.

March 19th:  From An Gorta Mor to Riverdance: The Irish Famine in History & Memory at UPMC Cumberland Woods

Expenditure:  Involvement in the heart wrenching story of  the most traumatic event in Irish history, resulting in the death of an estimated 1 million people and the great 19th-century diaspora of the country’s people to other lands.

Income/Reward: The chance to celebrate and honor the Gaelic spirit through recounting first-hand stories and interacting with an engaged audience, many of whom had Irish ancestry.

Upcoming 2013 Events & Projects:

May 17th – June 14th: Offering Brave New World: Technology in Literature & Popular Culture  as a 5-session course through the University of Pittsburgh Osher Lifelong Learning

June 11th: Presenting Labor & Identity in Southwestern Pennsylvania for Alloy Pittsburgh. Alloy Pittsburgh is a unique visual and performing arts initiative at the Carrie Furnace national historic area developed and administered by the Kipp Gallery at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

– DA

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