A segment in which the blogger drinks too much coffee and writes extemporaneously following a passage from Understanding Media. This segment is not intended as an accurate depiction of McLuhan’s theories (nor of mine necessarily).
Page 149: “Now in the electric age of decentralized power and information we begin to chafe under the uniformity of clock-time. In this age of space-time we seek multiplicity, rather than repeatability, of rhythms.”
I think instantly (a by-product of the electronic age) of dueling concepts commonly used in the lingo of online learning: synchronous and a-synchronous, as if such distinctions are possible post-Einstein, post-Schrodinger, post-Big Bang Theory (the show and the actual theory). How to be out of sync? How to be in sync? Language fails us!
The sync is constantly sync-ing regardless of your disposition, physical location, or philosophical stance. Here comes the unholy forward plunge of time, and we can see it all stretched out before us and after us like a mad river or a train off its rails (that train has free wi-fi…the tweeters on board have already logged the future in the backwoods of their feeds.)
There is no classroom. There is a brief physical intersection of student and professor at set times that some adhere to. But where does learning occur? Well, mostly in our sleep. Dreams train us as a whispering wizard might astride our bodies in the night at the king’s command, except there is no wizard. He has been stabbed to death by the hyphen in “Post-metaphysical.” That wizard is you who learns spells by absorbing the world around you, and all the bits that get sucked in, not just the sterile pool water, but also the twigs and bits.
Sleep when you sleep, and be awake when you wake!
Or, barring that, sleep in the classroom and stay awake all night. Your phone will keep syncing with the instant unfolding of the world. Don’t watch the clock, for it just spins in circles. No one is moving forward if everything is moving forward. Look over yonder! Here comes the rock of the past, fixing to puncture our canoe. That canoe is the curriculum. It’s patched up with gum and C+ papers. (The river is actually C++)
Students, you should always be in your classrooms when your classes meet. Faculty, thou shalt be there, too.
However, the question “when is your class” makes as much sense as “when is your dog?”
Each course should be, like a jewel on Indra’s net, a perfect reflection of everything, open and connected to the rest of the web. There is no putting your “course face” on. There is no relaxing your “course face” at 11:05 AM upon emerging from the dusty cocoon of Ancient History. Ancient History never ends! The heated galloping and cuneiform forming proceedth beneath the murmur and shuffle of hallway, and across the crunch of the leaves on the quad.
So, I say, synchronous, asynchronous, this distinction is destroyed, though we don’t need electronics to make it so. When you are in a class you should be in it, always, ensconced by its love like a child in a womb. It’s just that you should never be born. There is no point.
Always be learning (not closing), for as Confucius says in the Analects, it is the highest form of pleasure, and (as some other smart guys and gals say) endless pleasure is better than strife ’cause there ain’t fun left when you leave this life. And so on.
Finally, I say live inside of learning, curl right up inside there and don’t pop out. Scribble witticisms across the boxy confines of some official school calendar. Hang a sign around your neck when you walk around (better yet, tattoo it on your forehead) that reads, “In Class.” Ring a bell to begin your nightly sleep. Upon rolling out of bed in the morning, pretend you’re switching seats to get a little closer to teacher.