Syllabi and the role of order

art
Cage’s  Atlas eclipticalis which is based on  Antonín Bečvář‘s sky atlases (Becvar shares my birthday – June 10)

I had a discussion about order last week, the different meanings of the word order. the order of numbers, the order of elements, the order of the garter, a meal order. Cosmos (κόσμῳ), in ancient greek, means order. I think of all the things we order to make a cosmos – we order the stars into galaxies, constellations, brightness, distance from us, light cones, color. The cosmos may also be one of many cosmoses in the multiverse, in another cosmos I am perhaps writing about something different or perhaps I am an allegator (this is a loki reference).

I was reading an article about a new Lorraine Hansberry book. Hansberry was a writer, famously of A Raisin the Sun. Anyway, the author of the article had her self written a book about Hansberry, but she talked about the role of the author as curator and as bringing order. How to organize elements, what to include and what to leave out. This shapes the story as much as a narrative. In what sense is the narrative just an order and the inclusion or exclusion of certain elements?

The author of the article made a passing remark about Syllabi. That there is an art to the Syllabi and it is a similar sort of thing, how to order things what to include and what to leave out.

I struggle with making Syllabi. I struggle with making bibliographies. Historically it has been hard for me to order things and select things. I wonder what is stream of conscious narrative or autofiction. What is being ordered and what is being selected? There is a metaquestion at play behind stories and narratives and anti narratives and that is the organizing principle between ordering and selection. Ordering by being an order is selecting some elements and leaving others out.

Creating order is a property of discrete mathematics. To create order we need to create discrete elements that have an order or that are in an order (a category). We could even say that this is the law of computation. Computation is about ordering and moving through the order, it is order with a purpose or a function.

A syllabi is an order with the purpose of learning something. This is what I thought as I examined the Pirate Syllabus and how to make a syllabus this morning and began thinking about the syllabus for my fall class on Computers, Robots and Film.