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The Cracking of the NOW

Mirror Sites: CSUDH Habermas UWP
Discussion Questions

Portrait by jeanne of a goldfish crashing out of its bowl,
with glass flying, because the NOW is cracking.

Permission to use on personal web pages

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: April 29, 1999
Latest update: Aapril 2, 2001
E-mail jeannecurran@habermas.org

The NOW is Cracking

by Saundra Davis (April 27, 1999)

What's wrong with today
The world does betray

NOW is cracking; it's fact
Morals and values they lack

No glue can fix quake
When the earth starts to shake

The NOW is cracking; It's true
No solutions, No clue

Cracks tell stories, Not myths
Daily it grows and wider it gets



NOW as a Goldfish

by jeanne (1998)

Portrait by jeanne of a goldfish crashing out of its bowl, with glass flying, because the NOW is cracking.

NOW is tough.
More than yesterday.
I don't know about tomorrow.

Used to be I knew
what I should do . . .
what mattered.

Feel like a goldfish
in a bowl
swimming nowhere

Not behaving well.
Got to find the other fish.






Discussion Questions
    The expression, "The NOW is cracking!", came from Richard Moncure, one of our CSUDH students several years ago. He uttered the phrase as he stared at the painting. As I recall, there were a couple of smaller fish trying to struggle upstream back into the rapidly disintegrating bowl. Looking just at the detail of the painting provided here, what does the cracking of the NOW mean to you?

  1. Conceptually link the detail of the painting to anomic suicide.
    jeanne's notes on one plausible response:

    "Got to find the other fish." Recognition that we are social. Recognition that anger turned inwards provides a climate for suicide. Anger turned outwards provides a climate for homicide.

    Anomic means alienated, confused, not able to make the norms work or to find them. But in the sense of anomic suicide it means that there are not enough ties to other humans to give the individual a reason for being. Anomic suicide means suicide brought about by a loss of connection to others. Think of Teresa Mason's painting. "People are afraid to connect." Egoistic suicide means suicide brought about by a god-like sense of omnipotence, that one is the center of the universe. Too many ties, and none of us is up to the job. Do read some Durkheim so you'll have a sense of this important concept.

  2. Conceptually link the detail of the painting to social fact.

    jeanne's notes on one plausible response:
    Our agency doesn't extend to preventing the NOW from cracking.

  3. Conceptually link the detail of the painting to Fellman's concept of mutuality.

    jeanne's notes on one plausible response:

    "We'll all fry together when we fry . . . Yes, we will . . . " Tom Lehrer, a college circuit entertainer in the 50's and 60's, sang this song that still haunts many of us who knew the "flower children." Dr. Strangelove, starring Peter Sellers, was a dark comedy on the dangers of an atomic holocaust.

    This is essentially Fellman's message: this is no longer a time to dominate and compete; we have already done enough of that to survive as a species, and to survive very well. The object is no longer to dominate nature, but to survive interdependently with her, and with each other. Hence, Fellman's call for a paradigm shift towards mutuality.

  4. What does this detail of the painting suggest to us about the "criminal" nature of activities that heighten the possibility of the NOW cracking?

    jeanne's notes on one plausible response:
    If we all fry together, there's no crime anymore, there's nothing. The NOW will have cracked, and even those little fish trying to swim back into the bowl will be lost to this new condition of a cracked universe we do not understand. That would seem to suggest that it's time to place more emphasis on creating a nice large fish bowl we can all survive in together than on punishing the poor fish who aren't doing too well anyway.