October 25, 2005

Handling Empire

There seems to be different ways of handling Empire (the book… not the concept). The first seems to be to sleep with it under your pillow and wait for all the information to gradually seep in to your head. That I think is a fantastic way. Another way is to use it as a wonderful bedtime reading book. it works like a charm!! Both of these have been used to good effect by me in the last four weeks.

The more hardworking ways are to actually read it!! And sometimes (God forbid) make notes on the side. Scribble till it makes no sense anyways to you! But that actually means that the book makes some sense to you at all! I“m not sure if I can say it does yet. Its just so complex and just when I thought I understood the first line, it gets kind of shattered right before my eyes! Completely and thoroughly.

I move to the second line, undaunted by the fact that the first line and its explanation lie in tatters. I come back to the first impression of Empire as a colonisation of ideas. Is that what it is about? Is that the reason why today, not a single person was able to identify the national as being an important entry point to “solve issues arising out of the Iraq war“. Is it because we have reached a stage of such utter and total despair, that the national does not seem to hold any hope at all?

At some level, that probably is very true. But is that this mystical beast called Empire that is causing it? Is it just a way of explaining away things like apathy of the voter, general disinterest in politics and no engagement in political struggles with this idea of “Empire“ that has now been created? Does that mean that countries that are poorer and therefore less touched by economic development and growth have less of the beast of “Empire“ to deal with?

While at the surface, the idea seems compelling that it is Empire that is pushing us to think in a particular way, we need to recognise that the question was phrased so that it takes on a global scope and it needed to be handled in thirty minutes. Within that time, something that is thought through at a local, national, regional and global level. is that realistic? Wasn“t it also implicit in the phraseology of the question that you would get responses like the ones that were given? Or did I just miss the questions completely (as I was out of the room) and there not pick up the questions in their fullness.

It does throw up the whole issue of how we are conditioned to listen and also conditioned to think. It also shows that we might even be accepting that change is something is EXTERNAL and therefore, it is something that needs to happen “out there“ rather than here and now. In us first and then through us to others. Creating the next revolution?

However, the discussion today did highlight that there are a lot of things that can be agreed upon including the reform of the United Nations and the production of knowledge. The need to access multiple sites in a trans-national way is probably one way of looking at this issue! But at the same time keeping the local and nationl relevant at all times.

I wish that there was a good fiction library on campus. There are many times that you do not want to read Empire and the like. And something like a nice cartoon at those times would certainly not hurt!!

Thats it from me in the blog today.

Other things that might interest those who are around Coventry:

For bus time tables:

http://www.travelwm.co.uk

To book rail tickets:

http://www.trainline.co.uk

To book bus tickets

http://www.nationalexpress.co.uk OR

http://www.megabus.co.uk (fares really cheap… but there“s no way you can get a connecting bus into U of Warwick after you arrive on this bus)


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