the unmeasuring of meaning

I have officially sucummbed to the blogging world, claimed my little sacred space, and started writing. But what I have in mind, and why I’ve finally been seduced by the blogosphere has to do with this idea of shared space. It has to do with the reason I bother with reading blogs, why I log onto the internet, why I am dorky enough to be a member of facebook: conversation.

So I hope this blog can be a sacred space not just for me and for my ideas, but for the exchange of ideas, big and little, for thinking and for doing, for praying, politicking, living, theorizing, grasping, and seeking.

I started my new Anthropology class at Princeton University today: Culture and International Order. And yesterday I received my own copy in the mail of one of my favorite books, Mountains Beyond Mountains, the autobiography of Dr. Paul Farmer, by Tracy Kidder. It’s got the daunting subtitle, “the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man who would Cure the World.”

Farmer hasn’t cured the world, but he’s one of those out there who’s audacious enough to believe it’s possible to adminster cutting edge medical treatment in forgotten corners of the world. And! He’s an Anthropologist! I remember reading his story in college and rediscovering why I find Anthropology so meaningful.

Discover on your own:

“What is anthropology exactly?” He told her, in effect–I am using words he [Farmer] would put in an article about a year and a half later–that anthropology concerned itself less with measurement than with meaning. As in mastering a language, one had to learn not just the literal meanings of words but also their connotations, and to grasp those one had to know the politics and economic systems and histories of a place. Only then could then could one really understand an event like the mango lady’s death… –Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains, p.72

 

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3 thoughts on “the unmeasuring of meaning

  1. Erin! I’m so happy to see your blog. Very quality. What a great first post with the quote by Kidder! I’m looking forward to reading more and keeping in touch. I love the layout. You may want to check out my friend Wess Daniel’s blog – http://www.gatheringinlight.com. He has some great reflections on emerging church, random stuff and blogging.

  2. Erin – I’m so glad you’re blogging! Yeah! I’m excited about your theme and I agree with Holly – what a great quote. That’s for introducing me to Paul Farmer and the AWESOME book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” I’ve got Gabe reading it now!

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