A blog of endless curiosity
When people ask me what I study I always reply with a gigantic smile on my face, “English literature and philosophy”. To this, 9 times out of 10 the response I get is “why would you study that”, “what good are those fields”, or the most common “what job are you going to get with that?” I usually just tell the person that I don’t know what kind of job I plan on getting and that I am studying what I love.
But thinking deeper about these questions makes me wonder why people study what they study? Did a person studying business and economics really make that decision for themselves or were they swayed in that direction by their parents, their school teachers, and the world around them? The attitude to picking university subjects I have come across the most tells us to think of it in terms of “what can I study that will get me a job?”, or make me money, etc. But since when did the gaining of knowledge become simply the means to an end? And what is that end? Being the C.E.O of some giant mega-company not even really knowing what it is that you are actually supposed to be doing at your job. Hasn’t anybody seen (or read) American psycho?! Don’t they know what Prozac –induced, robotic, corporate life leads to?!
What if levelling up on brainpower is the end? What happened to critically looking deeper into what makes the world work? These questions feel like forgotten questions of the past, like when dinosaurs used to roam the badlands. But I feel that they are of the utmost importance in a time when university deans are attempting to make cuts to majors like gender studies (like at The University of Queensland) and Prime Ministers, when questioned about the causes of recent terrorist threats reply with “let’s not commit sociology” (as the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, stated recently).
Perhaps next time somebody asks me a stupid question like “what kind of job are you going to get with that degree?” I should respond with an equally as silly response like “when I grow up I’m going to be an astronaut!” or I could just recite this blog post to them! I don’t know, it feels greatly enriching and important to me to think about these things but maybe one of the reasons I’m seeing education this way is because I’m actually supposed to be doing research for a philosophy paper on commodification in modern society and couldn’t help but draw on some of the things I see happening around me… a question for the ages me thinks!
– Your friendly neighbourhood LP