Education has always been the answer to whatever ails a nation or a class or a business crisis. Yet if I were to ask any college graduate just what is an education I don’t think I would get the same two answers and all of those answers would be filled with all manner of puffery. But that’s not right, an education is suppose to fill some need, meet some goal, provide some body of knowledge and wisdom. I have found that most professors have little wisdom and their knowledge is limited to what is the professed officially sanctions body of accepted knowledge. This extends even into the sciences, believe it or not. One may undertake the study of physics and when it is time to declare one’s interest may find the opportunities limited. For a great many years may graduate students staked their PhDs and careers on String Theory only to fine that if they were in vanguard of that study their ability to secure teaching assignments was limited. String Theory has not fulfilled its promise as the end all and be all of physics. Then came the shift to superstring theory, but that line of investigation has faltered. While Einstein may have had the luxury of following many paths that led to nowhere, most graduate students have had to choose their paths and if those paths have lead to null solutions, then just too bad for them. The problem with advanced study at the PhD level is that one stakes his or her career on a particular theory or course of study and finds that after five to seven years that line of study has led to nothing. Where do you find work as a string theory specialist when your string theory has not met the test? The same is true in Psychology with the various disciplines and the same is true in the study of history or literature. The research has devolved into knowing more and more about less and less. The emphasis on PhD studies is that narrow focus, the specialization of minutiae that most of us could really give a shit, to put it grossly. When I undertook research in Psychology, the research question included the question what what was my research contributing to the knowledge of science? How would my research advance science in the area that I was attempting to identify and provide some answer. Well, it is called methods, if you must know. So I did my several research experiments and I contributed to the knowledge of science, although if truth be know my contribution was miniscule.
I have read some of the undergraduate and graduate work in literature and all I can think is, “what the hell were you thinking?” Most PhD candidates are merely involved in moving one pile of dinosaur bones from one spot to another. No new knowledge is gained, not new understanding is achieved. The amount of waste we encourage in academia is astounding. If one graduates with a degree in history what is the possible wisdom one has gained? I would grant you that such a degree is almost worthless in terms o understanding history or human behavior. Most of what is learned in sociology is useless. The funny thing is, if one obtains a masters in social work one can prescribe psychotropic drugs. where as if one obtains a masters in clinical psychology one must ask a medical doctor, which is what a psychiatrist is, a doctor with a couple of courses in psychology, go figure. Yet if one investigates the course work for a masters in social work, one uncovers the fact that these graduates have no more understanding of mental illness that the average second year psychology student. Makes one wonder.
Me, I love Socrates. I mean, the man was most irritating. What he really questioned is how do you know that what you posit is true? State your case, prove your thesis, make your point. Okay, you state your position and the man would tear you apart. That is the problem with absolutes, isn’t it? There are no absolutes. But physics says there are. Well, not really. hat may be an absolute in theory of relativity is not in quantum theory. I think I see a problem. To put it bluntly, Einstein like the simple and elegant solutions. When he had to contemplate the idea that probability theory was the only possible way to predict where the electron might be in its orbit about the nucleus and what its strength might be, he was greatly dismayed. “God does not play dice with the universe!” Except he does and on a regular basis. Well, Alfred, what now?
Human behavior does not have absolutes, it has guidelines These guidelines say that given a certain situation certain behaviors may occur. Not must occur, but may occur. You see, we love formulaic behavior, but there is no such thing. It doesn’t exist and never will. The organism, under the most rigorous conditions of light, heat, moisture, and etc. will do as it damn well pleases. There are a great many biologists that will agree to that stipulation. So why should we expect anything different with the social “sciences”, which are not sciences at all. Just as Political Science is not a science, just as Sociology is not a science, just as so much of these areas of investigation are not sciences, why should we expect such great illumination to occur from their investigations? We would do well to pay attention to semantics. As Socrates would have said, define your terms, that is the devil in the details. Definition is a difficult process. We all know what you mean except that we don’t. You want to talk about racism then you need to talk about the ideal that there are races and some races are inferior to others. You want to talk about bigotry, they we talk about the perception that I don’t like you or your friend. This dislike may be based on a particular hatred or dislike of a particular group, but that is bigotry, not a belief that my group is any better than yours by way of biology. To assert otherwise is to assert that emotion trumps erroneous belief in biological superiority. I don’t need a belief in biological superiority to hate anyone. There is no simplistic analysis or simplistic solutions.