I shall be telling this with a sighAaahhh... good old Robert Frost. I do love him. I thought of him today, and of this poem that caught my imagination for the first time about forty years ago. I have thought of "the one less traveled by" a lot of times in my life, and apparently, it's come 'round again. Two things, here before me, unexpected, obvious, and both branching off to parts unknown. Which to follow, I wonder? Which one is the one less traveled by? (And - poetic heresy, for sure - do I want to be on the one less traveled by?)
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Road the First:
- my still fascinating rock-paper-scissors model of the human person. Somehow, I still want to include it in this degree I'm composing and assembling. We are what we are (the "rock" part); we cover ourselves in socialized behavior (the "paper"); and we choose and can alter our socialized selves (the "scissors"). Our social selves can alter the very composition of our "what we are" selves -- at least, to a point. Our core selves can be used in such a manner as to bend, or even to destroy our wills (prison camps, torture, or the child raised with no limits or guidance ... of these things mess with our basic composition and can smash our will so that we have a very hard time with our choice-making).
- This idea sits like a paper weight on the desktop of my brain, waiting for the best place in the arrangement of things. I still don't know where to put it, but it's just too attractive to throw away.
- I have only just this weekend discovered that there is a new literary model emerging in the academic world. It's called Darwinian Literary Theory or literary studies.
- (background: I've finally hammered out what on earth the discussion actually says when it comes to evolution and the resistance to the idea of evolution in the natural world (thanks to a class that forced me to find these things out for myself if I wanted an A ... which I did ...). I suspected I would find out that I'd been handed a straw man to defeat, and this was true. Christians really and truly need not fear anything with Darwin's name or the word "evolution" attached to it.)
- Here's are sentences that makes me just about come to pieces in excitement:
Many literary Darwinists aim not just at creating another “approach” or “movement” in literary theory; they aim at fundamentally altering the paradigm within which literary study is now conducted. They want to establish a new alignment among the disciplines and ultimately to encompass all other possible approaches to literary study.
- and this bit here, too:
Brian Boyd (On the Origin of Stories, 2009) argues that the arts are forms of cognitive “play” that enhance pattern recognition. In company with Ellen Dissanayake (Art and Intimacy, 2000), Boyd also argues that the arts provide means of creating shared social identity. Dissanayake, Joseph Carroll (Literary Darwinism 2004), and Denis Dutton (The Art Instinct, 2009) all argue that the arts help organize the human mind by giving emotionally and aesthetically modulated form to the relations among the elements of human experience.
My degree is called "Composing the Human Experience." If there are people who are currently figuring out that narrative is as vital to the understanding of humans as more traditionally quantifiable science is, and if I can get in on the discussion ... well, I think sparks have started to fly out of my scalp, and words have failed me.
So ... which road?
Or, better yet, do these two ideas converge?