Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mental shifts part 1

Eww~! I just saw a guy with his hands in his mouth, then he types on the keyboard. This isn’t his keyboard; it’s in the computer lab. These keyboards are filthy. Any amount of typing makes your fingertips feel GRIMEY. That was the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time. I usually wash my hands after being here, now I always will. And never touch my eyes. Ack.

I have some thoughts; but instead of putting them out as a loose conglomeration of ideas I’ll save them for tomorrow, hopefully I’ll be able to put them in good order.

Today I’m feeling the effects of having learned a bunch of difficult theoretical concepts about how to interpret literature. In general there have been a lot of these moments in the last few days, plus I got a new renter, so mentally life is just shaken up and perceptually shifted. This leaves me with a phenomenon that can be called ‘tripped on knowledge’. It goes like this:
“Woah there’s paint on the walls! Paint is thin! The walls aren’t flat! I’m writing words! Words are symbols! Symbols signify meaning! Meanings of words are a cultural function! “Walls” can be a metaphor for boundaries! If walls are boundaries what is the paint? There’s dust on top of my computer! …” and so on. All the images we see are open to reinterpretation during a perceptual shift.

Such moments are one of the rewards of education, and can contain for more important revelations than what I describe here. I’ve been thinking about changing my minor, and assessing what college really gives a person. You see, much of academic learning is oriented towards learning-as-an-end-in-itself. Knowledge for the sake of knowing about the world. As opposed to knowledge so I can be an expert at a particular job - knowledge to be used for a function. The functional application of knowledge is up to the student, much of academia tries to pretend and keep the image of learning to pursue an ideal wisdom. Learning to make money is opposed to that concept, or at least people feel they are incompatible.
Now, while I would like to sit and consider these lofty concepts, I can’t I need to hurry to run some errands around town before offices close. Conceptual knowledge must bow to necessary chores!

Grady Houger

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