Finally hit the breaking point after reading the Blogora and catching up while waiting on my flight from Heathrow to Botswana via South Africa). The post there is a great one to keep in mind while going to a debate tournament and trying to convince yourself to do another one. This time of year gets especially more difficult to leave the house and travel a long way for more debates to judge. It's good for the students though, and I think it is a wonderful soul-transforming experience for them. For me it's a great opportunity to catch up with people I seldom see and visit a new place that I will probably never get a chance to visit again. The quote reminds me of what is at stake in the expansion of debate education.
So a bit has happened since the last update. I wrote a short piece for Achte Minute which you can read here. Additionally, you can see another piece of mine from the Monash Debate Review. Both are on the relationship of Zen and debating, something I am thinking quite a bit about.
But perhaps no link more than this one conveys my actual relationship to debating. At least my jet lagged and bored self who doesn't mind confessing on his blog his love for this sort of music. Anyway, there are several key things about this song that make it a perfect characterization:
Mostly, like any club song, it is oriented around the kairotic (as opposed to chronos or the chronic) - opportune time or momentary, fleeting, situational recognition that allows for and sometimes demands a rhetorical response or possibly some other action. This is recognition of opportunity as opposed to the recognition of regularity in events. At the very least it must be addressed. I think this is the "substance" of debate teaching, if we can nail it down. This is where the cooking metaphor that Socrates suggests for rhetoric becomes positive and productive rather than just a slight - for what does a good chef know? I think debate is one of those nice places where this can be practiced with attention to the practice as opposed to placing attention somewhere else.
Also, it's pretty ridiculously naive and romantic; like most dance music it has really unrealistically high hopes for the future no matter which way the relationship goes, or some sort of hope that springs from inside or everywhere/nowhere at once. Things are going to be fantastic no matter what. Many times I've felt this way about my relationship to debating even to a point of ridiculousness. And I think we see that same feeling here.
Not my most profound thought, but I do like the song and happy I found the video. Happier still I can try to make a metaphor for debating out if it. Should be in Botswana in another day or so!