So, I was talking to someone today and the topic of accessibility came up with regard to OWL’s Asylum. The idea of accessibility with regard to writing is that the writing is capable of being understood. Understanding, of course, is the key word there and the point of contention because it is the most subjective aspect. People understand in different ways. That understanding is not solely based on their interactions with particular symbols like words that they know the meaning of, but also how they know the meaning of that word, how deeply they have considered how or when people apply or use that particular word, and even that word’s texture or feel, it’s rhythm as well as its connotations. So, understanding is not just about a level of socialization whereby a person has been taught the function of a particular word in society, but also how that word once given life actually functions in society.
Let me say this:
All lessons come with an admixture of pain. If it is an actual lesson. If one has actually learned a thing, has developed a full context of conscious awareness about something that also informs(or possibly awakens) subconscious connections allowing for a gut level reaction with a new found accuracy, then they have will have undergone a certain degree of pain to get there. Learning should be difficult. Building muscles is painful; sure, it feels good, and the results tend to be attractive to everyone, but the process is the endurance of pain. In the same way one builds physical endurance in order to build physical strength, one has to embrace the cognitive dissonance associated with developing a new understanding and codifying new symbols of information to memory. The best analogy I can think of for this to be conveyed best is the difference between the free gym and the gym with a monthly subscription fee. No matter which gym you go to, whether you spend no money or hundreds of dollars on a gym with your own personal trainer and a nigga to come and wipe the sweat off of your brow, if you do not have the initial strength and discipline to utilize that gym for its purposes, its level of accessibility means nothing much. If you do not have the discipline and a few core understandings, or a desire to learn them, then no matter the layers I write with or the price I place on the writings will matter.
Now, for me, Asylum is mainly free. I have charged for e-books in the past, and I got an advance check for some research that lead me to being a co-author of a published textbook. However, most of what I do that really has had impact, I did not charge for. In that way, my writing is accessible. I also attempt to convert much of what I read into a vernacular more common to those that I interact outside of the US academic mind space. In this way, sure, one still needs to be willing to at least google a few words I use here and there, but I have for the most part already parsed the symbols(words) used to convey the understanding or the logic into code(language) the majority of my readers will have familiarity with. Accessibility has to be defined as something that respects levels of prior attainment, with also a respect for lack of attainment elsewhere. A person do not have to have spent one hundred thousand dollars on an education to read OWL’s Asylum; they just probably would have needed to read the books that come with a one hundred thousand dollar education.
Or the desire to.