Open Letter

It is an intense week, however I can safely make that claim on most weeks. This week is a bit different in that I have been busy with both family and work, neither of which I can live without. Last night I went up to my neighbour, a retired botanist who has given paleoecology (1) quite a lot of time and research attention, and she gave me a lecture on the Carbon-cycle; it was a much needed lecture. This latter preoccupation with climate change was prompted by a rather open discussion yesterday with a visiting law scholar involved in issues of climate change. Our discussions evidently pointed out to me that I was much too ignorant on the subject and that I ought to seek professional help so to say. In this case professional help meant asking all the dumb questions to somebody who actually has worked in climate change issues within disciplines that dovetail into my own knowledge bank. All I can say is that it is good to air out one’s own ignorance and talk openly about it; there is great value in asking all the dumb questions in the presence of an expert. When the expert is as knowledgeable and a talented teacher as is my neighbour, then I am in heaven!

However this morning I looked into my schedule and realized that there is no way that I will make it to the Aikido summer camp this month at the Gen Nei Kan as my schedule just cleared last week and that week of the summer camp – 18 to 24 of July – is already booked otherwise. I thought of writing Joël an open letter, however what is on my mind are two books that I am reading, one by Paul Feyerabend Against Method, and the other by Hugh G Gauch, Jr Scientific Method in Practice. It turns out that I easily get bothered by the use of the word scientific, especially when it is coming out of the mouth of sociologists, statisticians or lawyers. Of course reconciling Feyerabend and Gauch is not an easy task, however given the fact that at this point I am having a serious intellectual wrestling match with research methods, there is no way to avoid this. I do love action research!

(1)  The branch of ecology that deals with extinct and fossil plants and animals. (OED)

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