Archives for category: life

I wrote this draft nearly a year ago (2009-11-28) and just unearthed it. So, I’m going to post it without edits. And add some new thoughts below.

For nearly a decade now I have wanted a PhD. I know this sounds strange, I mean wanting a PhD like I crave a favorite food dish or a particularly lovely new piece of technology. The point is however, that I thought the PhD was really important, it meant that I could reach a particular point in my intellectual travels. The PhD had specific conntations of who I wanted to be and where I would be. Now I don’t think the same way. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to study and receive a PhD, but it does mean that I have changed how and where I place importance in my work/research. Let me Explain.

I saw a film recently, it was called Tum Mile, it was a bollywood piece and it wasn’t too briliant. The film did however feature at least one interesting line and it was spoken by the male protagonist, a self confessed artist: “I make my art for the common person”. Now, while I hate the words ‘common person’, I can see what the character means, in his context he is speaking of making art that isn’t for fellow artists, art critics of gallery people, who think of art as a business or as ‘high’ culture, he wants his art to speak to everybody else. In this way I am the same, I want to transform and change myself and others, which also feature in magic, but we’re not going there, yet. I have moved from caring about the needs and interests of academia, which is loosely thought of as the lecturers, professors and students in a high tower separated from the rest of the world, only talking to each other about how their work changes the world but never actually getting involved in changing the world, or trying to live in it. These reasons also seem to be why academia hasn’t been badly effected by any economic downturns but we can get into that later, and in another piece.

Now, where was I? I place meaning, and direct my research to something academia calls the ‘public’ outside ┬áthe tower .

The Philosopher, A C Graying has said numerous times that philosophers have to communicate their ideas and views to a wider public if they are to ave any importance. He even takes it further, he thinks that it is the philosopher’s role to communicate, share and educate everybody they can, breaking the barriers of academia and not, which only disadvantage all concerned.

I am currently finishing my MPhil, and do not want to pursue a PHD right now. In the year since I’ve written the above, my thoughts on life have changed, resulting in the fact that most of what I want to do now is not myopically limited by the PhD. I want to venture into other things, and other realms without thinking that my life and career don’t start until I have a PhD. Maybe in the future I will find something I really want to dedicate to a PhD. We’ll see. For now though, look forward to me annoucing and doing other things.

I’d like to say the Future’s bright…

Create a way for people to see how strange and wonderful the world is. A way to show people the long form complexities that allow us to exist in this time and place.

With a new project and new visitors to the blog I thought it was about time I updated the info about myself. Please read on.

My name is Benjamin Manktelow and I’ll be honest with you, I won’t tell you everything, but whatever I say will be truthful.

I’m from London, the south east, Greenwich in particular, but I don’t sound it. There’s a ‘london’ accent, one which I am only able to identify recently, and I don’t sound like that. But just because I don’t drop all my h’s, t’s and th’s when I speak doesn’t mean I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth or went to school with a top hat.

Why I’m here reading this to you: Ideas: the why’s and how’s of the world, especially the people within it, at any point in time, fascinate me. Thats why I’m an anthropologist, I study being human in any way i find interesting or relevant. There is so much going on here, there, everywhere and i haven’t even finished examining, and enjoying, a single molecule of it yet.

Right now I have two long(ish) term research projects:

(1) The first is building a new framework for how, and what it means, to study the material history of humanity. I am doing this by dis-unifiying the discipline of archaeology and seeing what I find. It is the differences, conflicting ideas, and what is between the cracks of the different approaches to humanities material history that most excites me. This way of investigating archaeology means we have to change how history is talked about and (re-)presented. – The beginning of this research will see the light of day through my MPhil thesis currently in preparation.

(2) My second project is the contexts, people and stuations that gave rise to the cybernetics movement, and I am doing this with Matt Webb. At the time of Cybernetics something special seemed to be happening, but appears lost to the here and now. Many of the ideas and insights seem to have been either fed into other things or subverted. My aim is to plumb the depths and find out what happened. – See this post for details

So far all that I have posted are some early compositions, mainly Haiku verse form. For those who do not know the Haiku is formed in three lines and 17 syllables, the first line comprising of five syllables, the second line has 7, and the third and last line again has 5 syllables. For more information on the haiku, wikipedia has a simple article on the subject located here: Haiku – wikipedia

I hope to use this blog in order to filter and expand my thoughts on a number of subjects. Therefore this blog will not have a single defined purpose, or subject. But, rather it will be subject to my will and whim as to what i decide to post. In many cases you can expect to read entries on technology, maybe some more poetry. As well as my forays into archaeology and anthropology which I am currently studying at University.