Michael Heim on Discipline

Heim writes:

Computerized processing of texts will inevitably become the prime symbolic element for human language. But the philosophical acceptance of this inevitability is not the hard, deterministic type which scoffs at all human endeavor to interact with destiny. The determinism that resigns itself to any and every kind of present, flattening it out into a caused necessity, is as much a rejection of the human spirit as is the retreat into antiquarian nostalgia or the shallow euphoria of futuristic optimism about technology. Through discipline the human being counters shifts and moves with the flow of history--not simply accepting historical change but listening and responding to it. Discipline is itself the paradoxical identification of freedom with necessity, for through discipline a person feels like doing something only after the task has been imposed as something that has to be done.
(Electric Language 234-35)

Heim suggests attaining discipline through techniques such as "clustering" and "blockbusting," ways of resisting speed and attaining "contemplative concentration meditation":

Both might be used as disciplines for releasing, for the pause of the deep silence of formulation in the midst of the vast network of digital text. They can be done to coax out a meditative mood, not to increase productivity. By integrating such disciplines into word processing, we begin to offset the Western proclivity for instant verbalization and for obsessive rational control. We begin to learn other sides of our humanity, just as the Orient must learn its own opposite. The Western world has yet to learn silent hesitation, the depth of what cannot be said, and the limits of the responsiveness of verbal terms and of its rhetoric.
(Electric Language 468)

Michael Heim on Reflection Heim's concerns about electric speed.
Co-opting the Clickable Classroom Why discipline might be particularly important in the classroom.

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