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Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Discerning Life Questions

#DLQ10 #religion #spirituality #philosophy

# The Need for Certainty

# Lecture 1: Living Our Questions

  1. Problem v.s. Mystery 2. 2 examples: org project v.s. mother. These show the difference between a problem and a mystery 3. Problem 1. begins with not knowing 2. can be solved from a disinterested/impersonal standpoint 4. Mystery 1. begins with knowing, leading to more knowing 2. invites a person into further understanding since the meaning of that mystery is inexhaustible 3. a mystery must include the person inquiring about it -> you need commitment/investment in taking deeper understanding 4. A mystery can be approached with 2 dispositions 1. Absolute certainty 1. We always operate with limited certainty; absolute certainty does NOT exist 1. You cannot fit the largeness/complexity of this world into your mind 2. When we live with absolute certainty, we resort to Reductionism: looking at a complex world from a simplistic perspective 1. Fundamentalism: a firm and rigid adherence to a fundamental set of beliefs and doctrines 1. Typically found in religious circles; laws are laws. E.G. “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” 2. Less about thinking, more about following 2. Relativism: Truth is ultimately dependent on the individual or a group. Objective truth does not exist. 1. The forwarding of so many different truths -> losing objective truths + a shared sense of reality 2. Also does not require thinking 3. Both of these mindsets reveal a proclivity towards control 1. We close ourselves to the possibility of other things 2. Wonder 1. The disposition of a learner. 2. It requires… 1. Constantly revisiting the ordinary. 1. Seeing the mundane with fresh eyes and perspectives 2. Engaging and allowing.
    1. Not taking things as they are 2. Asking questions & being open 3. Humility.
    1. About seeing the truth of who you are, rather than pulling yourself down 2. Knowing where I am right now 3. Comes from the word humus, which means soil 1. A seedling in soil is vulnerable, exposed to the elements, to the vermin, yet this is where it grows 2. This is one way you can discern a life question that will result in change/status quo — will you grow? 4. Commitment 1. You only get to know more about a mystery when you commit to it with wonder 2. Letting go & growth
  2. Complementarities
    1. Atenean indecision?
    2. Thinking in absolutes.
    3. Traps in decision-making.
    4. Order and chaos.
    5. Partial and reasonable certitude.

# Biology of Science Fiction

#BIO21i #sciencefiction #biology

# MODULE 1: Introduction to Science Fiction

# The Science Fiction Genre

# Darko Suvin: “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre”

# Evolution as the Framework for Science Fiction

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” -Theodosius Dobzhansky

Points for Discussion:

  1. How are Suvin’s and Gunn’s ideas on the science fiction genre consistent with each other? How are they conflicting?
  2. Think of a science fiction text (i.e. book, movie, anime, TV show, comics, etc.) that you know. How does evolution inform its main plot and/or characters?
  3. In her Introduction to her novel _The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin says that “Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive.” Is this consistent with how you view science fiction? How do you relate it to Suvin’s and Gunn’s definitions of the genre?

# Semiotics and the Novum

# Language and Biology

# Arrival - The Heptapods

Let’s do a little close reading. In the comments section, respond to any of the following questions:

  1. If we are to look at the heptapods as a sign, what do you think the signified is? What kind of abstract ideas and themes do you think their design is meant to communicate?
  2. What signifiers do you think Arrival uses to communicate its ideas and themes? What aspects of the design of the heptapods, as well as their ships and language, do you believe are used to communicate the ideas you believe they stand for?
  3. What can you say about Louise Banks? How do her profession, actions, and overall plot and character arc serve to make a statement about the ideas you believe are signified by the film? Why, of all possible protagonists, is she our hero?
  4. Discuss the heptapods’ language as its own novum (a novum within a novum!) in the context of semiotics and our discussion in the previous page of language, intelligence, cognition, and consciousness.

# Wonder, Critique, and Possibility

# Creature Spotlight: Here There Be Dragons

This is a part of the course that I’m calling Creature Spotlights. We know our time is limited this quarter, and we didn’t want to overwhelm you with too many texts, but we also wanted the opportunity to discuss some very cool creatures from science fiction that didn’t quite make the cut as full readings. Creature Spotlights are our way of remedying that–a series of quick discussions (**strictly optional–**if you’re low on time, feel free to ignore Creature Spotlights entirely) about iconic or popular science fiction creatures that we can discuss without taking too much time away from the course reading list. And we’re starting here because while this is specifically a science fiction course rather than a broader class on speculative fiction, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about one of the most iconic creatures in popular culture and mythology: the dragon.

# Synchronous Lecture Notes

# The Literature of Cognitive Estrangement

# The Novum

# Science Fiction as Creative Cognition

# Interlude: Semiotics 101

# Relationships with Other Genres

# Wonder, Critique, and Possibility