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Whiling the time away with the text

Posted By: jim field on December 21, 2010
Thank goodness-some sanity and careful thought around reading, out of the land of "every reader left behind". I'd like to add to Newkirks' praise by pointing out that Gadamer links all forms of deeper understanding, those which transform both the reader and the text, to "whiling" (the root of worthwhile). Whiling involves the slow kind of play between reader, world and text, in which all three are "in play"--that is, capable of becoming something new, something not decided in advance. This, according to Gadamer is tantamount to "becoming enculturated", that is, becoming someone capable of contributing to the renewal of a living, literate, multivocal culture. I worry that in this day and age the play--that process that renews both self and culture, has gone out of all things associated with school. We are it seems, more and more, like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, always late for a very important date (that never comes, that cannot come, because we have foreclosed upon it in advance with our fixed ends and our frenzied pace). Bravo Thomas for reminding me not to give up on the pursuit of slow reading with my students!

J Field
University of Calgary

Works cited: Gadamer, H-G. (1975). Truth and method. New York: Seabury Press.
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 Whiling the time away with the text by jim field on December 21, 2010
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