October 28, 2009

Well, I have come to realize something. And this might get me smacked when I go back to Goucher, but there’s no use denying it any longer. Here we go:

I do not want to be a philosophy major.

There! I said it! I’ve decided not to add a philosophy major (and probably not a minor either) to my Communications degree for several reasons. The final straw was that today, when methodically planning out my courses for next semester–because we all know that planning out schedules always goes according to plan–I discovered that I have enough space in my academic year and a half left to graduate on time if I stay very focused on fulfilling my requirement. This means that all art and most philosophy courses will have to be audited or forgone, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice to not put further stress on my mother’s or my financial situation. I mean, really, I cost a lot of money, and it’s about damn time I buckle down and focus on getting out of this leeching stage of my life. Thus, not studying philosophy will give me a chance to get out of under-grad school and either into the big wreck that is the job market or into the bi headache that is grad school.

But there’s another reason that I’ve really only discovered since I’ve been here: I just don’t care that much. That’s not true.  do care, but I just have a lot of trouble throwing myself into something that will really never satisfy me in any way. I am still going to study philosophy and continue to read theorists and attend classes, but I just don’t care enough to sit around burying myself under heaps of material so tall that I lose sight of why the hell I’m doing all this in the first place. I want to help people. Not just the intellectually motivated, but people in general. I know that i can’t save everyone, and that really just reaching one person is going to be a challenge, but that’s my goal. And if I get lost in theory, it just won’t happen. I don’t want to be a thinker who is only talked about after she’s dead. I want to see some fucking results, because if I cross the river Styx and can’t look back on the success of my labor and toil, then there doesn’t seem to be much in it for me. Yeah, it’s selfish, but I want to be able to feel some pride in my work and in my life’s ambitions before I kick the bucket. And if people keep on being inspired or changed or helped after I die, then kudos, I’m even more awesome than I thought.

There are really two reasons I got into philosophy in the first place. One is because I wanted to be able to keep up with my friends and frienemies at Antioch, because they’re all pretty smart and decently well read, and I don’t like having to ask them to slow down and explain things to me (I might have a small issue with being proud). The other reason is that I wanted to have a strong theoretical argument for my goals and for trying to change the world in the way I feel it should be changed. I wanted to be sure that when people disagree with me, I can tell them why I’m right. I also wanted to be sure to keep on learning and adopting new thoughts and theories, because, well, like I was taught through my martial arts years, everything needs to be constantly evolving. Things that become stagnant are typically harmful and useless. I don’t want that to be me.

Well, now I don’t mind asking Andy to explain things to me. And I can read philosophy and comprehend it much better than before, so I can keep learning. And it seems to me that a lot of philosophy kids don’t really know what they want to do. And that’s fine. But I do know what i want to do, and doing things doesn’t happen in theory or in books. It happens in actions, and to perform these actions, I need skills, and to aquire these skills, I need to sometimes think less and do more. There is some fault in being pragmatic, but I think there is more fault in being–well, I don’t know the academic term for it, but in being all talk and no action.

The problems I’ve been having with philosophy are some of the same that I’ve been having with photography. It feels too much like sitting, watching, observing, choosing not to partake, and not enough like experiencing, exploring, risking. I want to hav a solid foundation, but I’m the type of person who has a lot of trouble knowing when to stop laying the cement and start building the house. I know myself and I know that if I stay too in my head, then I’ll miss out on a lot of chances to actually do. I mean, experience can explainably or unexpectedly contradict theory. it does so all the time. How many times have you heard “Well, communism works on paper…”?

I guess it comes down to feeling too passive in a society that has, frankly, become almost completely passive. Great movements maybe inspired by thinkers, but they are sparked by doers, and I want to help usher in a great movement. So maybe I need to stop getting bogged down in all the little intracit arugments of this scholar and that scholar and this branch of theory and why that branch doesn’t work and how this feminist varies incredibly slightly from that feminist and why and just fucking move.



  1. Shouldn’t your title be “Philoso-phail”?

    And nothing says you can’t have it as a hobby.

  2. I feel like the last non-philosophy kid who still likes theory left standing.

  3. P.S. love the zombies.

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