Sunday Sermon

Before we start today's sermon, let me direct your attention to the new poll over on the right sidebar. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Spring Break is ending today. Tomorrow, I return to the grind of being a grad student - and this last week has shown me just how much of a grind it is. I am filled with a deep weariness, that only the end of this semester can remedy. I have never looked forward to Summer so much as I do right now. I've spent quite a bit of time this week trying to decipher my own mental state, and I believe I have realized what the problem is right now.

My education is, in many respects, a fools errand.

In simple terms, Sociology is a social science that seeks to study and understand the problems of society, and find solutions for them. Three criteria - study, understand, and solve. So far, we have one of the three working pretty well, but the other two are just not happening.

We can study things really successfully. We have a plethora of methods, and data out the wazoo about all sorts of social ills, and we have elaborate statistical means for comparing and analyzing and dissecting and interpreting those data, and numerous journals in which to publish said findings. Thus far, however, I don't think we can claim to actually "understand" much, and I'm pretty damn sure we haven't truly "solved" anything yet. We've come up with an asston of theories, and all fail to grasp the vast complexity that is society - for that matter, most don't even try to achieve that lofty goal now, focusing instead on smaller issues and facets of the whole.

In short, we are, thus far, 33% successful as a discipline. Depressing, that.

My part in all this is to learn from the work of the giants who preceded me, and add my little brick to the monumental tower of knowledge we are collectively building. Here is where the futility kicks in...

I don't believe that tower will ever be built.

We are racing toward species-ending sorts of events much more quickly than the tower is going up. Forces so much more powerful than Sociology - things like Nationalism and Capitalism and Religion - are the engines of our demise. Meanwhile, back at the University, the little engines that probably won't - things like Sociology and Psychology and Political Science - are puffing along, struggling to climb the hill on too lean a mixture of money and talent.

I'm going to say it right here, for all the intertoobz to read - I don't think our version of modern society has a prayer. Sooner or later, this way of life will eat itself. At this point, the best thing we can do is try to document as much as we can, and plan to minimize the suffering when it does fall apart. That way, the society that rises from our ashes has a chance to learn from our mistakes.

So - write it all down. Take the time to document, even if it doesn't seem important. Write about stuff that only you know, that only you care about - because there is no knowing what might be important in the future. And with that, I leave you to your own apocalyptic visions.

Go in Peace.


Tessa K. said...

I am writing a thesis... does that count? - it is about food and books ... if there was some sex it would be perfect...

Linus said...

Yes, that counts. And thanks for being the first to break the ice with a comment on this dreary little post...

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