• working/reading

    I am reading through 'both ways' literature of Yolngu and non-Yolngu working their knowledge systems together. Alongside I am reading Lorraine Code's 2006 book Ecological Thinking. I am also browsing through blogs and discussions on knowledge work and community development.
  • About this Blog

    Here I post some of my work and thinking. It is a much harder task than I thought! It is an extension of my research on knowledge and difference connecting my experiences, reflections, formal written pieces, and hopefully friends and colleagues. As work and self cannot be separate this blog is both personal and intellectual. Comments are moderated because, while it is a site for collective work, it is not anonymous.
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  • July 2009
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Blogging here

After my last post on letting go a cherishing quite places of contemplation I thought I would post this which I have had for a while and an image of my current quite place that I like quite a lot …

If you are interested in journal software, blogs and bibliographic software, research tools, or just want to read about the stuff that is behind the screen read on. Part of the motivation for this post is to remind myself and others that blogs come from somewhere. They are typed by hands, in rooms by people, like me, contrived from notes jotted down on paper on trains, conversations over heard and participated in. It is collective work. All this is removed in the ‘post’. I greatly enjoy how writing this blog makes me reconsider conversation and take puzzles I am told about or experience on. So at the moment I sit up stairs in an rather empty version of my family home on Canterbury in Melbourne.


The other part of the motivation is to share what I have learnt so far. So here goes …

I work on a Mac but some of this may be good for PC users.

The blog is all run on open source software so really it is a plug for open source software and the need to support them in use and money as they are better by far.

My main concern when thinking about having the blog was that I wanted to keep notes on my computer but not all of them online; some are rough, boring, personal, and fieldnotes are confidential. So I found Jounler (http://journler.com/ – free), a great way to keep a journal, manage files, and hold ideas. Journler does everything except bibliographic work, but for that there is Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/ – free). Zotero is a plugin for Firefox. It is excellent, much better than Endnote and integrates with Open Office (and MS Word). The best bit is that it can read bibliographic info from websites (including getting any full text links) and also generate records from a website including a full image of the website as it was when you looked at it (great for news items and online resources). Zotero can link to or store any other type of file, generate notes, tags and sub libraries.

Okay back to blogging. So Jounler has all my entires, notes, filed notes, thoughts, stories etc. From any entry in Journler you can send it to a blogging software. I use ecto (http://illuminex.com/ecto/- $19.95). I choose a Jounler entry I want to post on the blog from all the entries I don’t, and simply export it to ecto. From ecto I can add images and media and then upload it to the wordpress online blog. As the blog is on wordpress it is all set up with layout etc. You can choose a few things like themes, colours, and an image.

In the future, I will be using a Creative Common license to make the stuff here more accessible. However, any work like papers I put up, links to them will generate an email to me asking to have a copy. This way, I figure, I get to know people who have similar interests. For this, I have to host my own blog as this email generator thing is not a widget you can add in wordpress hosted blog. But I can still use the wordpress engine which is still open source free.

For reading blogs and subscribe to feeds I have found Shrook (www.utsire.com/shrook/ – free). It is marvelous. You can subscribe to many many feeds and then create folders to find article that mention key words (for me ‘knowledge’ and ‘indigenous’ are all I have now). After trying to get all my online thing together I am actually enjoying having a different piece of software for different uses. So Firefox is for research and surfing, Shrook is for dedicated reading. [From Blogging here]

philosophy and philanthropy

This is just a short little piece about … you guessed it, philanthropy and philosophy. It is perhaps an aroma wafting of what I am trying to cook up at the moment – a piece on what/who a philosopher might be.

So philosophy and philanthropy. As you probably guessed it is the words I am interested in: philosophy – the love (philia) of wisdom (sophia), philanthropy – the love (philia) of humanity (anthropos). Yet today they practice very different kinds of love. You can imagine a common picture of a philosopher loving through cherishing: cherishing books, libraries, comfy chairs, space and time to think. While the philosopher goes about living there is nothing they love more, nothing they cherish more, than some peace and quite and good thought. Love for a philanthropist, however, is not about cherishing but about giving. Their act of cherishing humanity is through giving, mostly money, but also material resources and expertise.

There is a famous quote by Lao Tzu: “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Somewherre along the way, in trying to be kind philosophers have ended up thinking and generating profoundness and philanthropists ended up giving and generate love.

Now I’m sure Lao Tzu didn’t imagine a disciplinary division of kindness, but this seems to have occurred. Artists, poets, philosophers, writers and thinkers apply for grants from philanthropists. One thinks without giving the other gives without thinking.

So maybe philosophers need to spend a little less time cherishing quiet contemplation and a little more time giving (and one could add the counterpoint, philanthropists could spend a little less time giving and and more time thinking).

This might have something to do with my philosophizing in Arnhem Land, and Darwin and Melbourne. Many people are supportive of my research and I am very grateful. When I talk about my research however, I sometimes feel that either, people think I am ‘helping’ Indigenous Australians and they approve of that but don’t really get ‘what’ my research in on, or they get the philosophical traditions I work in but seemed puzzled as to why fixing car called Meṉḏa with some Yolŋu relations has any meaningful contribution to philosophy. I don’t think is because of what these individual people think as individuals but because of the understandings of philosophy and philanthropy we all seem to share, me included. Feeling that my reading of books is irrelevant to helping anything, and feeling my actions as all here and now and without thought are familiar to me.

So if we are to think about philosophy loving wisdom through giving wisdom, rather than cherishing it we might look to what Barry Schwartz has to say. But giving it not always good. the methods and conditions under which philanthropy provides help always influences the running of the project they support. If philosophy offers anything it also is responsible for what it gives. Believing that knowledge is somehow in the realm of consciousness or the ether has contributed to philosophy and the arts being later as ‘useless’, but any challenged to this also must be the challenge that knowledge is not a neutral good. Knowledge has effects in the world – I will explain this later when I attempt a larger explanation of my research. Until then, understanding the worlds that our knowledge effects and how giving can be done better is maybe a future for philosophy.

[From philosophy and philanthropy]