The past few hour-blocks were spent in defining the middle. What is ‘just above enough’ going to be for my students? Thankfully we have numbers to wave aside all questionings. Most people find themselves benumbed and awestruck by them; they certainly do n’t know how to controvert them.
But how much effort should be spent in defining mediocrity? Not fluency, not mastery but good honest paper, a few scratch-marks to maintain balance-of-power, and the greatest of care in avoiding anything resembling an apology — this is the balance which ought to be struck. That is, this is how to avoid the unwanted extremes.
The concept of living in the ‘middle kingdom’ is fit for the highest poets — by which I mean those who can recall the everyday to us. Has our peace-keeping become conflict-avoidance? Are we caught between the greatest powers? hobbits in a world of men? Have we become so media-driven that we serve merely as faceless conduits for the reflections of our great stage-plays? How can there be so much news with nothing to be said betwixt anyone? –such blathering as if the information could n’t dash away quickly enough to slough off into the sea of our un-knowing.
Are our middles become truly hollow so that we are not even in hope of arrival? is our train speeding along its loop only so as to get to the next station. Is there no more becoming?
–Ah, numbers! Numbers have us firmly by the collar, drug (not from here-to-there) but always hitherward. The last few weeks mine and I have spent too much of our time trying to stay awake just long enough to reach the next station, not a wink of time truly our own. Ever more out-going than in-coming, numbers will drive us — but they were made to be driven! They are only meant to describe legitimate interactions — inventions of language meant to simplify. Instead we allow them to grind us to powder.
of ‘Abu-Dhabi’ by Dave Yoder, National Geographic
And currency is worse — for the current is ever cresting waves beyond the reach from whence we might, we might, be swept along willingly. Time escapes us all, and would we chase after with no destining thought. Worse than the question what is behind our currency — what is in our time that it should run away from us so quickly as though we were unwelcome strangers?