There are so many forms of this mysterious word that it baffles me to sit with just one. It is as if "progress" is the restaurant and at each table within sits myself and a different date. At one table, closest to the door is the image of me sitting with an ambiguous, androgynous individual who could simply be summarized as discursive practices.
We are each discussing literature and post-modernism and at no point do we seem to be engaged with our food. The plates are full, steak appetizers, coffee, dessert, and the two of us are deeply focused on what the other is saying and yet, despite all of this communication we can't seem to get the check to match our orders. So we just sit and talk and talk without any conclusion to our evening. The two of us alone are enthralled with the company, our minds are churning out beautiful ideas, but we never expand our progress beyond the dinner table. It is possibly the progress of the mind without testing this progress on the outside world.
And yet at another table sits myself alone. And I have cleared my plate twice and continue to order food. I'm bantering on about my favorite color and television show and book and ironically I am sick to death of the evening. I just talk and talk, my voice never escalating, but there is no structure to my solipsistic rant. I drink heavily and run through a gamut of emotions, and it is effectively the progress of the body without the progress of mind.
There at another table is myself and an older form of myself, though how far along in years I do not know. Here the younger one is asking all all the questions pedagogically while the older self snarkily responds. The old one disbelieves the true identity of his date. And their plates are bare but the food was great. The only progress being done here is in fact the speculation of progress. It is nothing more than a compilation of "what if" questions that cannot be answered without the younger self's progress at the previous two tables.
At another table is yet another older form of myself and another younger form of myself. Here the older one longs to tell the younger self everything he knows, but can't decide where to start. The younger one is impatient and ready to leave. They are in the wrong restaurant.
Progress is, in the academic sense, becoming an obsession to me. It is the root of happiness and peace and personal glory and yet there is no blueprint for its working nor a docket for my place in it. Alone I am the antithesis of progress, and without the acknowledgement of others the word lacks all meaning in general.
And then there is the final table! It is the most complicated date in the building. At this one is myself and one friend symbolizing all the people I know and another form of myself that takes everything I say to my friend and puts it into quotation marks. He is my interpretive self. For simplicity's sake, the writer is now sitting at this table as the personal self.
Suddenly it dawns on me that there is a fourth person at this table who I did not see at first, and that is a form of my friend whose words have all been put into quotes by the form I was talking to (The Interpretive Friend). Between us all is this list of questions that we have some answers to and most are the same like that the sky is blue and that the plural of cow is cattle. But some of our questions have been answered entirely differently with various tangents and idealisms attributed to these long-winded responses. Some of the times we write in crayon or charcoal and sometimes we just leave one word answers.
All the while it seems like my friend that I couldn't see but who listens is taking these words from my interpretive self and analyzing them from all sorts of viewpoints. He is struggling to garner some image of the form of me that he cannot see. And eventually there arrives two more people at the table. Both silent individuals who are entirely fabricated out of our own reactions to each other's interpretive self. And, being friends, we both enjoy the company of these two new people very much. Each of them are our own impersonal "other-self."
Being a restaurant called Progress, naturally these other-selves get up and leave after a new question is answered by either one of us, and a new one comes in from behind some curtain somewhere and sits in his place. So the six of us, all struggling to enjoy Progress, keep being befuddled by the way the whole process seems to constantly shift our own perspectives of the world. It is as if the Truth of progress lies outside of myself, and my interpretive self, and outside of our friend's own promethean other-self. And while we are all the same at the same point in existance at any moment, it seems we are three very different people with different insecurities and goals and ideals.
The interpretive self fears being misenterpreted, plain and simple.
My other-self fears only what my friend chooses to determine I fear, and I know this because my own form of their other-self fears that which I have garnered as Truth from their interpretive form. I try not to let down their interpretive self by misinterpreting him, but if I do I know not to get upset but only to question further. These fears are relaxed but ever prevalent.
My personal self only fears the absence of progress in any given discursive practice. If we have achieved Truth then the fears that my personal self hold match with the fears that my interpretive self present and with the fears that my other-self holds in my friend opinion. To hide the fear of the personal self is to create a false image of the other-self, and to silence the interpretive self. This shadows the Truth, and ultimately damages any goals of progression.
Where this all comes together is when these selves unite with my static, academic self and Discursive Practices, with my dynamic, physical self, and with my friends own versions of that self. When all of these people come together, when their ideas are applied and when Truth is the ideal and the focus of our dinner conversation, then we are achieving the most valuable progress of all. And when we leave that restaraunt and combine all these selves back into our own whole composite being, we apply that progress to the world together.
applesauce pork chops - really tasty fall or winter meal, i usually serve these chops with green beans and/or egg noodles 1. preheat your oven to 375 degrees and gather the follow...
7 years ago