Praxis is so over-rated


I love being back in school. So much it takes my breath away. I mean, basically, I get to spend my days reading really cool things and then sitting around discussing them. Yes, I could do with fewer insufferable types in several of my classes (though, the line between insufferable and interesting is a hair's breadth of difference*). And yeah, I could live without the feeling that I'm a naughty ten year old which I daily experience in my Hebrew class. But overall, I can't get enough of it. I love learning that Ancient Greek lacked fricatives. Or that African-American churches were among the first to ordain females. Plus, I can't get enough of ridiculous things like hearing "that depends on your reading of both Bush and Aeneas" or "that is why you should never agree with anything".

The stories are great, but the actual content, that is what I'm learning, is much trickier. My friend Twirl asked after one of the first days of school what I learned that day. I was completely at a loss. It's not that I'm not learning anything, it's just...well, it's complicated. I mean, I could jump into a discussion of how Paul shows evidence of an afterlife where only the good survive. Or one about the nature of symbolic math. Or maybe about dageshing verbs because nuns want to disappear. The problem is that these conversations can't really just start and end like that. The things I am learning are not, sadly, sound bite worthy.

I imagine this is how all fields are when you get to near-graduation levels. But, other fields are more reality-based. That is, they map onto the world in a way that makes learning new things about them actually useful. Us humanities types, though, are ivory tower at its best. We talk about things seemingly for the mere reason of talking about them. We don't care if we can actually do anything, just that we can think about things. And, bonus points for the person who thinks the strangest.

It's nice being back in a place where my obdurate desire to find a context for every minority reading, my ability to soak up new vocabulary words like a sponge, and my skills in deconstructing are pretty much signs of absolute success. Sure, as my sister pointed out to me this weekend, I'll probably be in school until I'm in my mid-thirties, but really, why shouldn't I be? It's all I'm good at. I think I'll stick around as long as I can, thank you very much.

*and it's difficult to see a hair a midnight


Anonymous said...

We are such opposites! We've discussed this but I'll officially post it for the benefit of whoever. My education in the earth sciences is similar to yours in a few ways. I can rarely give one or two word answers to the "what did you learn today" question. I can launch into the different theories of solar system formation, or structural geology if needed. My education, on the other hand, might lead to the actual manipulation of the world around me within my lifetime; or at least a more solid understand of the processes on earth. In addition, I plan to be done with my formal classroom education by my mid-thirties and into on-the-job education. Whereas by your mid-thirties all your talk-based education will only lead to more talk (can we say slightly useless? ;) totally kidding by the way). I'm just saying, who is getting the better deal here? (me)

-A. Twirl

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