Monthly Archives: April 2011

Spirit Animal

I have found my anthropomorphic spirit animal. It is colloquially called the “chinstrap penguin”. This guy’s so fresh. Makes me want to put on a fitted hat and get down to “Ignition” by R. Kelly.

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English Major Armadillo

Via fyeahenglishmajorarmadillo.tumblr.com

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The importance of being understanding

One of the best quotes I’ve heard was quoted by Professor Michael Olmert in his Intro to the Novel class: “To understand all is to forgive all.” Of course, the actual origins of this idiom are muddled. Internet research have pinpointed it to an old French proverb or from Siddharta himself. Either way, it’s a powerful quote.

On our quest to seek what life has to offer, if you have any sort of moral compass, that quote is great to live by.

To add to this axiom is the idea that fear and then hatred stems from not understanding the other. That is, when someone says, “I hate [insert racist/sexist/whatever-ist slur here]”, consider their position and, if you can, find out why they feel that way. As much as “love” is such a perplexing word, “hate” is almost as perplexing, yet, oddly enough, easier to understand. I say it’s easier to understand because to hate is a less pressing issue to justify than love. I know that I am being somewhat reductive, I mean look at Hitler. That guy was the hater of the haters. Maybe if the guy spent as much money on therapy than he did on his baller military then we would have avoided that whole ordeal. (On a personal note, I don’t mean to trivialize history.)

Be careful, however, of being understanding. Understanding brings together both thinking and feeling. Understanding all will hinder your ability to actually go out and do something. This is the Catch-22 of being educated. Unfortunately those who have this quality are too bogged down with the grandness and shame of it all to act. This is why all the great thinkers and writers off themselves. It’s too much. As if it’s too hard to forget, here are the words of Horace Walpole: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy for those who think.”

As you’ve just read, the importance of being understanding is paradoxical. My only advice? Balance it out. Of course it is an ideal, and maybe I am being too idealistic. But aren’t we all striving for that same ideal?

I apologize for the srsness I’ve been writing on for so long now. I promise plenty pictures of dogs with computers in the future.

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What I learned in college

As you know by now, the University of Maryland is a business. Their business is selling degrees. (Which, on its own right, is a type of currency in the “real world” for “real world” jobs. But you knew that.) You pay for your degree with an interesting payment plan. The payment plan is a combination of two currencies. One is internal while the other is external. The internal currency is your lost hours of sleep and grades. The other is in the form of cold, hard cash. So other than a degree, what did you actually learn? Think broadly.

I believe that, apart from the accoutrements a university experience affords, the best thing that a university offers is the ability to become more articulate. Now hold up. I’m not talking simply from the humanities standpoint. Metaphorically, let me stretch the idea of this articulation to the sciences. Is it not the nature of chemistry, to reduce matter to the chemical interactions that give it its form, function, etc.? What happens with this education is that it makes clear the things unseeable from first glance (and deeper). By using the toolset our respective majors teach us, we become adept at articulating the problems that motivate such study, and thus be able to find ways to solve them. (In a sense, all education aims to be reductive to solve problems even though some problems are, by their nature, unsolvable. But that is for another blog post entirely.)

Remove yourself from the one-track attitude your majors have instilled in you. As you attend your classes, keep in mind this idea of furthering your ability to articulate yourself. As you learn business models or of South African apartheid, reduce them into their essences. I find it helps to deal with the malaise and depression that comes from learning business models or of South African apartheid.

So. What did YOU learn?

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