How Homelessness-Antenarrative is a Falling, a Downward Plunge, into Inauthentic Being of the ‘they’ – Blog David Boje, Ph.D. Aug 24 2015

Here is a drawing of several antenarrative attunements with the Falling-Antenarrative, depicted as a downward plunge into the sham of authenticity and the “groundlessness of the inauthentic Being of the ‘they'” all those societal stigmas, stereotypes, prejudices, of people who accept the public media representations of the homeless veteran, the veteran, and the homeless ((Heidegger, 1962: # 179).

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Idle Talk, Curiosity, and Ambiguity are each attunements to Being-in-the-world, our embodied ways of Being-in everyday manner of ‘there’ and ‘here’.  These are definite existential characters, these three antenarratives that help constitute the make up of Being. Then there is the everydayness of “falling”  and “Being-lost in the publicness of the ‘they'” (Heidegger, 1962: #176). Our fallenness into the homelessness-world, is an absorption in-Being-with-one-another constructed in idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity, as discussed in the recent blogs.  Falling into a distinctive kind of Being-homeless-in-the-world, means falling into the publicness of the “they” and “not-Being-its-self” (IBID.).

If there is one thing I learned after my divorce, and the x-wife and three kids, fleeing to New York, leaving me with the bills, and a salary of a professor too meager to keep up with the mortgage, car payment, the loans to cover the presents we could not afford, and then falling into bankruptcy, and going to move into public housing, homeless, couch surfing, in Watts, in Nickerson Gardens — its that the ‘they’ is a kind of fallenness from some societal status, falling away from ‘Home.’ This is not an ontic, it is rather and “ontologico-existential” falling into, and falling away from the advance late capitalism culture of the home-full-ness (IBID.).

I promised myself then-and-there, in homelessness, in temporary shelter, a guest in transitional housing, that I would write about it someday. Its my autoethnography, and I don’t need an IRB for it.  It’s my own living story, my own inquiry into the antenarrative of falling. It is “not the Being-present-at-hand-together of a subject and an Object” (Ibid.), such a false duality, too Cartesian, for me.

The falling which idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity disclosed, is a world Being towards itself, and its a “groundless floating” (Heidegger, 1962: #177).

I fell headlong from the public discourse (idle talk, curiosity & ambiguity) into the Falling-Antenarrative, downward spiral, of temptation, tranquilizing, alienation, and self-entangling of spacetimemattering!

As I kept plunging, spiraling, into the “everywhere and nowhere” the “everywhere and nowhere” of Nickerson Gardens Public Housing I came to understand what Being uprooted meant in the very “movement of falling” (IBID.).

We had pulled it off. A group of Loyola Marymount students and one professor (me) working with Nora King (at left below) had graduated 7 residents of Nickerson (e.g. at right) and they had gone on to work in city of Las Angeles jobs, and never missed a day at work, never late, not one complaint. The city a year later, loved the program, and decided to hire 40 more. We had one it, gotten the Peace Corps grant, as a community submission, not a university one, and the money went into a dual management program.

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From Timeline at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/rmctimeline.HTML

There was a happy graduation of residents in Public Housing, in the largest public housing development West of the Mississippi (1024 units, with 5,000 people, mostly single mothers and their children).

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Above a photo of Nickerson Garden Residents, Graduating From Resident Management Program

But, my own life was on a downward spiral, and I had to be in the groundlessness, the constant falling, has its temptations, tranquilizing, alienation, and self-entangling threads.

My little brother Kevin (now homeless himself in Olympia, WN) called me, “David, you are getting older. You had best stop drinking, or you will not be able to control it, and it will pull you under.” So I stopped, and avoided that temptation, its tranquilizing, but I was still Being-in alienation, a particular attunement to Being-in-the-world, and all the self-entangling, in the whole context of Being-in-Falling.

I had a garage sale of the house surrendered back to the bank, and cut up the credit cards, once again.  I filled for bankruptcy, and went to court with my x-wife. “Balling Being-in-the-world, which tempts itself, is at the same time tranquilizing” more so than self-medicating (Heidegger, 1962: #178).

I was free floating between authentic and inauthentic Being,and we, the community and I “hustled” a grant with several other paid and unpaid consultants. Then the idle talk took over, and the City and the Peace Corps, started to take all the credit, as if they had worked two years to get residents into a jobs program, set up the food bank, got a Peace Corps grant, when in fact it was Nora King and her volunteer unpaid consultant, yours truly.

But Nora King got dethroned in a close election,and Pam Griffin took, over and had a very different take on what made sense in public housing, as she put it, “My American dream is not to own” a unit in public housing. Her method of empowerment is to move residents into job/resume training and get them out of NG into more friendly suburbs throughout LA. Nora’s was to get residents to own a piece of land at Nickerson, to do entrepreneurship training and make the community itself sustaining.

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This is photo of Boje (much younger and Pam Griffin taken in front of the memorial for all the fallen children, killed at Nickerson in drive-by shootings.

There is a “tranquilizing” that is “at the same time alienating“(Heidegger, 1962: #178).  The public press release, by the university photo for its own annual fund raising, a way of idle talk of a university, an ambiguity,  since I was now caught between Nora and Pam, and getting entangled, a self-entangling, and still the community was in a “downward plunge … into groundlessness and nullity”  (IBID.).  By that I mean I was between the self-entangling of divorce, and bankruptcy, and the self-entangling of two powerful leaders, one Republican (Nora) and one Democrat (Pam), and this was a lot to balance. The nullity of the groundlessness of the inauthentic Being of the ‘they’ call it homeless in transition, call it Boje in transition, call it the “sham of authenticity” of a press release, in the “turbulence” and movement that is unfinished. How long does it take to finish a divorce? Forever. Which divorce, for I was about to leave California, resettle to New Mexico, to be divorce from many kinds of homes.

What kind of fallenness, “drunk with sin” is not it, nor is “drunk” but rather the temptation, tranquilizing, alienation, and entanglement, and how to turn it into the fore-care, the becoming of care, our next blog topic.

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A photo of me in my McDonald’s Clown outfit, and Professor Judith White, and below Being-with the children of Nickerson Gardens, doing some Trick or Treating in the Garden.  f1It take a Rabelisian clown, a Bakhtin-clown, to poke fun at power, to speak back to power. It takes a clown to ascend out of the abyss of inauthentic Being, and a lot of turbulence.

What is turbulence, if not the turbulence of the ‘they’s their ‘inauthenticity” (Heidegger, 1962: #179).  Falling into the Being-homeless-world-of-Nickerson Gardens, couch surfing, jogging each morning around the Gardens, and getting a strange ‘they’ response from the users, “Are you a narc?” but to the mothers, I was just David.  Falling reveals the ontological fore-structure of antenarrative, in all its everydayness.

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