I’ve been gearing up for lots of land work.
Every semester appears to get busier and busier, but who can know, since the last one is gone into the past. I like to ask this question: where is the physical yesterday? Anyway, the students are busy, too: I’ll have papers coming in next week for four out of the five courses I teach. Hopefully the texts will be in order–documentation, organization, and that the processes have been at work, the ones that aren’t under my control. The best college work is the kind done outside of the teacher’s control, the kind that people do on their own time and using their own mental resources, their own powers of synthesis.
Consider British Lit. We swing into Mill’s On Liberty this week and continue the revenue of ideas.
What does Mill mean by Liberty, since it will have to be defined and continues to go through the paces of the art and practice of definition. Liberty to do what? Is Liberty an action, a state of being, an interdependency, a thing that people want or don’t want? Is one in “Liberty” or does one do “liberty”? Is it an illusion given answers to the former?
The definition matters.
Freedom of movement, because we have legs.
Freedom of speech, because we have vocal cords.
Freedom to think, because we do.
I don’t know the answer, but I must say, this is very nicely written.
What an experience it must be to read the individuality that comes from each of your student’s work, whether it be right or wrong. It must sometimes serve as good grounding for the basics of idea, initiations, or subltle hints to your own pursuits in writing.
For instance, when you start reading the short stories from CW, they will contain stuctures that every story must have such as expo., conflict, complications, climax, and resolution. But the technique of using elements is at the “liberty” of the author. Will it be animated, a love story, or science fiction? How will they fit the characters and setting into their story? What point of view will it be told? Are there combinations that teeter back and forth? The possibilities are endless. While I wrote my own, I wondered if any of the stories would be similar to mine. I think if so, the chances would be like finding two needles in one haystack.
I also surmise that you can connect to some of the readings and identify the authors by personality from their style that performs the duty of liberty. The name typed on the paper is secondary? I guess that could only happen if you didn’t have to read one hundred papers in a week. But there must be a few that stick. Like reading anything, there is a residual effect that comes from the qualities of the author and the state of the reader.
Well, we often hear the term “At liberty”..Like “I am not at liberty to divulge that information and so on”..So perhaps liberty is something that is given to us…It is a not always under our control…