Saturday, October 01, 2005

Out-Of-College Blues

I miss college.

I don't miss the classes or the food or the dorm life. I sure as hell don't miss hiking across campus in six inches of snow and subzero weather.

No, what I miss is the seeking after knowledge that I and everyone around me participated in. Even J. C., whom no one will ever confuse with a paragon of philosophical virtue, spent long nights with me trying to get a better understanding the world we live in. I miss those bull sessions around an old trunk, playing spades and debating the finer points of our knowledge of consciousness and what it means to be human.

It seems that as we have continued down life's many paths, we are starting to settle into certain ruts. I'm not satisfied with a water-cooler discussion of scientific breakthroughs. I want to talk, at length, about their implications. The pros and cons, pluses and minuses, the good, bad and ugly of cutting edge scientific discoveries.

Along with that, I want to talk about the ills of the world, and how we can fix them. I was never naive enough to think that I could take on the world alone and make it utopian. But I also think that I can do more than turn my house into a miniature version of what I would like the world to be. That's pretty useless, and pretty selfish. I try to keep up with world events, and I am passionate about the important things going on in our country and the world. I speak out about them. I don't hide my thoughts. That's what this journal is all about.

It seems like most people my age are going about their small lives, keeping their heads down and doing whatever it takes to get by in life. If that's all our generation is capable of, then I'm ashamed to belong to it. We have let the religious right take over this country. We have let politicians, of all stripes, decide what proper scientific inquiry is. We are relying on judges to make our decisions for us.

This is wrong. We have a voice. We have a multitude of voices.

There will always be a religious voice in this country. That's okay. It's what this country was founded on. But that voice should not be a Christian voice. Or rather, the Christian should be only one of many.

There will always be political involvement in science. It costs too much for that to be otherwise. But we should be able to stand up and tell our government when it has gone too far. And I say that it has gone so far beyond "too far" that it can't even see it anymore.

The courts will always be the final arbiters of dispute. That's the whole point of the court system. But the key word there is final. What's happening in Dover, PA is ridiculous. The elected officials of Dover, and every other community in this country should listen to their parents, their teachers and their community at large. They should also be required to read the Constitution, or at least the Cliff Notes.

These are the things I want to talk about. I want to have an hour's discussion on the nature of conciousness. I want a day-long discourse on the weirdness called for by string theory. I want in-depth, thoughtful conversation about evolutionary theory, and the fine points of punctuated equilibrium.

I want to talk about gay rights, and the concepts of freedom this country was founded on. I have always felt that the model to use was one of "My rights end where yours begin." I know there are other models out there. I want to hear about them.

How the hell am I supposed to make sure I am holding the best possible opinions if they're never challenged, or even discussed. Life is more than the day-to-day grind of work, eat, sleep. It has to be. It's also more than watching animals and children do funny things. David Letterman has been doing Stupid Human Tricks for decades. It's old hat. Moldy old hat, even.

Talking about hobbies is okay, too. I have a plethora. I love sci-fi, and gaming, and pirates. I can talk about that stuff for hours. But ultimately, I'm going to start tying it to real-world events. Serenity is the best sci-fi I've seen in years, and guess what. It. Has. Meaning. There is more to it than mindless entertainment. The best entertainment is never mindless. So don't be afraid to tear it apart, and analyze it. Put your own spin on it. Look at your philosophies through it. Use the mind you were born with for something other than "getting the joke". And for goodness sake, avoid pointless eye candy. All that glitters is not gold.

Disagree with me? Fine. I'm up for a good discussion about. >:)

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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain

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Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu