Sage’s Class: A Non-Credit Experience

Sage Ryza ’15, creator of People Watching Club, One Day Marriage, and “Social Experiment Club Society Thingy,” invites you to take her non-credit class next semester:

From the creator of People Watching Club, One Day Marriage, and Social Experiment Club Society Thingy

I am going to have a class. It will meet next semester, once every two weeks for two hours. The first hour will be a lecture and the second will be structured art making based on the concepts discussed in the lecture.

In the art making portion of the class we will think of art as experimentation, as invention, and as a cognitive vehicle for awareness.

In the lecture portion of the class we will talk about the system through which art interacts with our brains and refers to abstract concepts. We apply our pattern recognition ability to the patterns in art pieces, and turn these patterns into the rules that the artist created and followed in making the art piece. These rules are compiled into a system and this system refers to an abstract concept which can be understood and stored in our brains. We will talk about how this same mechanism makes it easy for us to fit ourselves into systems, and we will talk about systems that we are in, both external and self-constructed.

We will talk about Applied Instrumentalism – the ways in which we have become aware of the mechanisms that have evolved in our brain, and now use these mechanisms as instruments for achieving goals that are detached from their original purposes. We will come to understand that our relationship with our brains is more like steering a raft through white water than driving a BMW. We will talk about simple and complex cognitive vehicles for altering our mental state and entering different levels. We will talk about how we have learned to control our brains in various ways but have not learned to control it in important ones. We will talk about mental disorders as elaborate responses to a world that inherently doesn’t make sense and is paradoxical.

We will talk about art as masturbation, in that recognizing patterns makes us think that the world makes sense. By making and viewing art, we create and perceive an excess of patterns and therefore get pleasure from the world making a lot of sense.

We will talk about synthetic learning syndrome, in which our collective idea that comfort and convenience is synonymous with happiness has led us to invent things so that we can detach all the parts of our life. We end up “learning” things that we already knew and we end up driving our car to the gym so that we can exercise in front of a screen with moving pictures.

We will talk about the relationship between rightness and realness – rightness being the search for satisfaction and realness being a lack of disconnection within ourselves. We will talk about ways in which we have become unreal, and we will talk about techniques for becoming real.

This class is not for credit. If these topics seem interesting to you then please email sryza@wes before January 1.

Contact: sryza@wesDeadline: January 1

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