a wise man once said…

In the few years of martial arts that I’ve done, there have been a few lessons that I’ve taken away that are, I think, useful to thinking about education. Some of them have uncomfortable levels of orientalist overtones, but you can judge for yourself whether the content is worthwhile.

The first is “don’t go to treasure mountain and come away with stones” – perhaps an obvious idea. The concept is essentially that, given the opportunity for an education, do not squander it. There will, undoubtedly, be people around you who, on one level or another, will be at treasure mountain and only grab the stones, or only see stones. Yes, have fun, drink, socialize, do drugs, get high, get in fights, spend your life on Reddit, or playing games or whatever you feel constitutes being a young adult, but these are not the reason that you’re at university. You’re at university for your education. In order to see the treasure that you’re offered, you have to realize the stones for what they are: perhaps something good to sit on, but they’re a burden to carry away. That doesn’t mean, ‘don’t have fun’, it means, don’t make fun the reason that you’re here, with your educational experiences as the secondary precept. You don’t have to be at school to have fun, but without a massive amount of dedication you can only get qualifications and, hopefully, a critical education at educational institutions.

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spark!

The default first post for WordPress is a standard piece, titled “Hello, World!”. There’s a bit of humour to be had in such a posting – a bit of a double entendre occurring – in “Hello, World!”. The two readings that are being referenced here are a formal speech act, and the act of programming. Both are appropriate for a new venture into digital media, and doubly appropriate for a critical reflection in the first post of a new blog.

On the first reading we have the enunciation – a spark! – the declaration of a beginning. “World: I, me, am here [and without clarity I begin a foray into blogging]”. To be a mix of insipid and poetic, it reads as if spoken by a new-born demiurge about the potentials of the blog – at this point, the blog can go anywhere. It is only after a period where the blog gains a project that it loses this potential and becomes leaden with the expectations that the project contains, or else becomes disused and abandoned like previous blogs of mine.

The second reading is less obvious. When learning a new programming language, usually the first – shall we call it a tutorial? – demonstration of the software is usually designed to instruct people into the most basic aspects of the language’s compiler syntax. The traditions of programming have lead to “Hello, World” as the generic test phrase that these tutorial problems ask a new user to output.

So, with that, I should state the project that this blog aims to work within: To discuss my own writing and thought, to link or publish as many of my future personal publications as I can, and to ruminate on topics of interest to me, prior to developing them into articles.

I am an early stage PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, writing a thesis on the theories of communications, media, and networked activist politics. I’ve written in an academic or professional context on a variety of topics over the years: on books, on videogames, on films, on ethical consumption, on Marxism, on post-political activism, on the social theories of networked activism, on anti-identity politics, on manifestos, on the intersection of the sciences and the humanities, and more. Interesting thinkers (although by no means the most important, correct, or orthodox) to my approaches include Bifo, Castells, Foucault, Harvey, Agamben, Thacker, Tronti, Lazzarato, Deleuze, Raunig, Stiegler, Dyer-Witheford, Zizek, Hardt, and Negri. These interests dominate my research, and will dominate the attitudes I take to my blogging.