Monday, March 24, 2008

on determinism vs. free will.

Via Neatorama I found this cool blog, called Locusts & Honey which pointed me to this video called Black Button, which very much seems like a meditation on the free will vs. determinism schism which is something I like to think about often.

When I went to Gonzaga, all I knew was that I wanted to do something with my life that involved writing. I'd always liked it a lot and my teachers had told me that I was pretty good at it, so it seemed like the area I wanted to go into. However, even though I was only beginning college, I knew that becoming a 'writer' was very difficult. It's not difficult to write, per se, if you like it and you have people who are telling you that you're good at it, but it's hard to make a living at it. That's been true for a while. So I decided that I would probably do better to look into the journalism program, so as to have a specific field to go into, as opposed to majoring in creative writing and just having my degree (and pretty much nothing else specific) waiting for me when I got out.

Then I came home to UNM, and I fell in love with philosophy. And pretty much the exact thing that I'd feared with a pure English degree happened. What kind of market is there for a thinker? I mean, unless I wanted to sit on top of mountains and wait for people to ask me questions... Okay, that's the end of the lame philosophy jokes.

Anyway, philosophy is a topic that I try to think about and integrate into every possible aspect of my life every single day. I try to teach my students about the big questions, not necessarily to answer them, but rather to show them that thinking is its own reward. (At least sometimes.)

When I see videos like Black Button, I like to think that there are people in the world who are still interested in the big questions and that they're doing what they can to advance the topic of us all talking about those things. Again, maybe not to answer those questions, but to prove that they're important enough to be talked about and thought about. I like the fact that a lot of these things, in fact, might be said to not even have answers. Some of the most important questions don't, in my opinion.

And although I didn't necessarily have a job market waiting for me upon graduation, I like to think that I've found a semi-good fit. At least for now, there's nowhere that I'd rather be than teaching young people about the English language in my own way, where I get to decide what we read, what's important and what's not, and, more importantly, I get the chance to rub off on at least one of them per year with the idea that there are things out there in the world that are bigger than themselves that other people aren't thinking about and that those things are worth thinking about.

1 comment:

Brando said...

Word homey, I like thinking, and the time I spend with you and crazy charlie in philosophy. I think a teacher is a good fit, but honestly, I think you're meant for a little more than middle school kids. Plus, eventually they're has to be some sort of other financially viable solution. Perhaps you can be a consultant and teach adults...

that movie was wacky by the way...but fun...