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  conceptual prospecting for university leadership
gary e. davis
February 7, 2019

I’m not misled that airy avowals about cultivating humanity pertain much to the leadership challenges of The University (a vastly complex corporation) in advanced technological society, where 1% of a population has wealth greater than the bottom 60% (or “better”), and progressive thinking is like verbose handwringing in the face of globalized Wall Street politics.

Hear The Church Lady: “Oh, ‘enabling, sustaining, and advancing good.’ Isn’t that special!”

Yes, it is. If We aren’t to resort to a high estate that protects us from the market, then gardening in the lowland destines itself to the ceaseless marketing of itself: Let it be that high cultural humanism prevails in our conception of global humanity.

Twenty years after Martha Nussbaum’s call for “reform in liberal education” (and relentless advocacy ever since), we serve the good_ of our children even less now, perhaps: sidelining by market the dream of America that the humanities advance. It’s so beyond The University why liberal education matters. “It’s the Real Thing,” again and again and again: “Things go better with humanity.”

Consider the “evolutionarity” of The University as a fourfold cyclic Event (which my Project also echoes or tropes):

  • Research: sojournal inquiry (as if channeling Divinities)
  • Creation: highland prospecting originality (as if capturing Sky)
  • Presentation: midland appropriations of profession (as if shaping Earth)
  • Teaching: gardening the lowland (as if loving mortality for its own sake).

The parentheticals may seem specious, but a fun point is that tropology can be entrancing for entering into complex conceptuality. (I’ve surmised over 50 versions of such fourfolding, born from Heidegger’s enchantment with Hölderlin; for example.)

Here’s a fun idea: Translation is not only a hermeneutical notion ([2]—> [3] in my pragmatic of conceptualizing); it’s an essential feature of scientific research getting to the points of doing good: a conception of appropriating medical research that should be transposed to all thinking about science, for the sake of progressive policy enterprises that serve professional organizations.

Consider The University altogether as a conception of lifeworld. Consider labyrinthine professional life as a conception of systems. Internal to The University: consider the humanities (the full scope of “arts” and “sciences”) as lifeworld; the full scope of professional schools as system (from, say, chemical engineering through social work). Consider an individual life in a systematized world. The duality of lifeworld and system has fractalic value.

Consider lifeworld irt values of conceptual inquiry, high creativity, and discursive vitality. Consider systems irt service to research, professions, and goodG society (to be prospected next)—“service”: efficacy for long-term value, progressive trend stability, and durability of goodG.

University society is at least—though maybe at most—the appropriating of high lifeworldliness through individuating lives for progressive professions served by goodG systems.

Habermas—who inherited the appeal of lifeworld from Merleau-Ponty (who inherited it from Husserl, who was prospecting Heidegger’s notion of worldly being)—has a lovely notion of “the idea of the university” that I reiterated some years ago: “cultivating humanity.”

What if a university town could be a utropian (model) society?

All is Open: from artistic exemplarity to educational leadership.


next—> goodG



  Be fair. © 2019, gary e. davis