Composition I

Aloha mai kākou,

One day a man of the people said to the Zen master Ikkyū: “Master, will
you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?”
Ikkyū immediately took his brush and wrote the word “Attention.”
“Is that all?” asked the man. “Will you not add something more?”
Ikkyū then wrote twice: “Attention. Attention.”
“Well,” remarked the man rather irritably, “I really don’t see
much depth or subtlety in what you have just written.”
Then Ikkyū wrote the same word three times: “Attention. Attention.
Half angered, the man declared: “What does that word attention mean
And Ikkyū answered, gently: “Attention means attention.”

What does all of this have
to do with you?  In this class I want you to think about attention in
terms of critical thinking and self-reflection.  Using our text book The
World is a Text: Writing, Reading and Thinking About Culture and its Context
(which will be available the university’s
bookstore) and, of course, our minds, we will examine issues involving gender,
race and ethnicity, and television and entertainment while paying close
attention to what these issues mean to you.  As this is a writing class,
you will of course be expected to hone your writing skills in ways that
effectively convey your attention to the texts we will be reading, our group
discussions, and the world around y ou.  All of you are unique, and I want
you to remain attentive to that which makes you unique-your interests, your
families, your histories, your senses of place.  The issues we will
discuss in class will provide a lens for you to think about and even challenge
your understandings of yourself and others.