Category "Mundane Dialectics"
April 4, 2005
What's with the BLOGGIN' title?
One day I was sitting at my desk in Student Services and I heard a loud clump above my head. I was a little irritated, but otherwise I chalked it up as another temptation to simmer in distraction. After a few seconds another thud sounded, this time reverberating the ceiling enough that there was the ubiquitious noise of a shower of falling particles....
I quickly covered my head in fear that the world was truly at its midnight hour and I didn't want any more ceiling dandruff in my scalp. I deduced that some klutz on the second floor was trying to hopelessly carry something large in a manner that shook all creation! One final stomp above me and I noticed that the placid surface of my coffee suddenly quivered. "THAT IS IT," I cursed, "I'm not putting up with this any longer!" My co-worker chortled as I carried my coffee away to be mercifully disposed of (it wasn't really the kind of coffee that deserves a burial...I think CHE was trying to cut the budget when they hired this coffee service)! Anyway, when I returned with a piping new brew, I placed a contraption of two interlocking post-it notes, taped together, and form fitting to a circular circumference, over the top of my newly filled coffee mug. NO CEILING WAS GOING TO SPOIL MY DRINK!
And I must admit that my entire assistantship life has no revolved around maintain a proper covering for any drink that I entertain myself with.
It occurred to me, the other day, that there is a lovely metaphor hidden in this experience somewhere. For, in my crusade to prevent the ceiling in my drink, I had discovered that my drink is directly linked to the ceiling. The reason, isn't the physical proximity or the falling rubbish, it's me. I connect the two disparate things. It is I who give meaning to their connection...as my co-worker can readily attest...it is I who make a big freakin' deal of it!
This is how it is with epistemology and ontology. It is the meaning given to the relationship that goes between those things that is significant. This is the jist of AN idea behind an article written by James W. Maddock in Family Social Science [paraphrase & coffee mine]. There is a "relationship of meaning" correlated between "the act of knowing and the structures of reality" (Maddock, 1993, p. 139). This isn't exactly the example he uses, since epistemology deals with human knowing and ontology deals with that which is knowable about reality (or the process of reality), but the ceiling in my drink reminds me of the meaning I create every time I hear a THUD above my head.