Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Couple of Thoughts

with one comment

It has been a bit since I’ve blogged and there are a couple of reasons for that. For one I spent the better part of three days this weekend near Roan Mountain, TN high up on a ridge, being blown around the balds and seeing some nice views.

Another reason has been being in the midst of an extended move into my new apartment. Hopefully by the time this weekend ends my new room will be in a semblance of order and we’ll have a working oven in a clean kitchen. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll even have living room furniture!

A third reason for my blogging absence is that I’ve been too involved with the immediate to listen to the ideas that sit just past the edge of my conscious though. I often use blogging or journaling to try to find the thoughts that parade through my head when I’m trying to read or listen to a speaker or nap and mock my determination to concentrate or fall asleep. Only they rarely return when I return to normal life. It takes a lot to grab them and make them an organized part of my worldview.

Today, as I walked a new route back from the library, where I had just spent an hour reading about the de-concentrating of America’s urban poor, to downtown Chapel Hill, I found one of those thoughts.

I wondered again about the urgent versus the important. As Iíve talked a friend recently and listen to his outlook on life, I find myself realizing that perhaps I do a lot of things because I want to be a people pleaser. The particular context of this thought was wondering about working in classes. We study political science and the topics we do because we are told to and perhaps because we believe that learning is intrinsically good. You should do the work put in front of you because the powers that be ask you to do so. And generally, if you donít ask too many questions, you can coast along, getting your Passes and High Passes. You write your thesis and you graduate and you get to feel good (or bad) about the hard (slack) work you put in.

I think it is a lot harder to wonder about why we put in the work we put in. Perhaps people outside of academia donít ask this question as much as they see the tangible effects of their work. Iím trying to rid myself of the idea that working hard equals goodness, not theologically speaking, but practically speaking. Itís not the work thatís the point, but the outcome.

As a corollary: I think I’m to the point where I don’t admire learning for learning’s sake anymore. My limitless curiosity is limited.

Of course that’s just one thought. Other thoughts, about teaching and learning and music and the structure of life, sit waiting to be thought about. But so does my homework . . . off to write on the policy of setting driving ages.


Written by furthermusings

October 20, 2004 at 6:43 pm

Posted in Reflections

One Response

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  1. Sounds like you need some time out of academia … I’ve often thought about this very thing (having spent 8 long years in college myself), and I always am driven back to Ecclesiastes where Solomon ponders similar issues. Not the most encouraging of books, but a very real and poignant (i hope i spelled that correctly0 one for me at times when the encouragement to fight the good fight, or to learn for learnings sake rings hollow. Interesting thoughts.


    October 25, 2004 at 7:25 pm

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