08 January 2009

Another reason why it's time for me to move on.

"Why would I want to major in English, even if I'm good [editor's note: relatively good at it] at it and I like it? It's shallow, and what those majors do is shallow. Studying that doesn't help anyone, you don't do anything, and you won't make money. Sure I need to repeat the first class in the major here, but I'll get through it."

"I suppose you're right, John."

I've never thought of what I have spent a chunk of my life doing as a shallow endeavor. Maybe if I did, I wouldn't be stultified by the writing and thinking process.

I think that it might be a little freeing to think about myself as a shallow individual. I mean, I do like art, aesthetics, cooking, literature and history and oh, don't forget design, furniture and architecture.

I am interested in world events, but I don't do anything to alleviate the world's ills except by being polite on metro. I can't heal people by operating on their brains or other organs, I don't teach children how to read, I didn't start a charter school in DC, I don't know how to fix a car and I don't know how to renovate a house single handedly. I can't program (or operate) a supercomputer; I can barely code in HTML.

It's starting to get hard to work in a place where many of the students are interested in the bottom line. Mind you, many of them aren't, but large numbers are. It's disheartening.

I'm not saying that I'm against capitalism or earning money. I just don't understand thinking in which undergrad=$$$$$!!!!!! Especially if once you earn that money, you're still the same philistine that started undergrad.

I guess I'm doomed to be shallow and poor. But certainly on my way to happy.


cuff said...

If you want to get really depressed, start thinking that your refined taste is simply conditions of the reproduction of your employment strata -- a little of The German Ideology for you. So being an English major and being acquainted with the finer things in life merely prepares you to give sensitive advice to the next generation.

I try not to think about that myself.

To tell you the truth I was thinking about the same thing this morning as I drove to work. There was a billboard advertising a university..."Accelerate your degree." It made me think that what's being sold is not so much education as certification -- that's what the neoliberal model has reduced education to: it's a credentialing service that opens doors to jobs. Nothing more.

Sorry for the long comment. I'm really depressed now.

finer thing said...

Unfortunately, it's true what cuff said: education is no longer an end to itself.

Books are for pleasure, even if they are of the pithy and academic ilk. I agree that it is very sad and disheartening that the process-oriented education feels like it's fading into the past.

I often wish that making paintings were recognized as the act of charity that I believe them and receive them to be. People now see artists as egoists. So shallow :(

the_real_phony said...

Soon I'll be asking myself the same question as you - What major do I want and what is the use of my chosen major. While I'm interested in English I don't know what I could do with it. Honestly, any interest in humanities is hard to make it a career that really contributes to bettering other people (unless you become a teacher). But I think the thing about the arts is that contributing beauty or original thought to the world is sometimes enough? Well, good luck.

Claven said...

This is more on the comments...I was extraordinarily disappointed when my Masters degree was ineffective as a certification/credential. The BA was education for education. But I approached the M@#* as an specific career investment. When it turned out to be nothing more than education (said on purpose), I was very, very unhappy.