Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When Memes Attack

That Morthos Stare writes:

I'm in the close of my tertiary education career. Here follow some points of interest to me.

Mispronunciations

It's incredibly passe to write on the nature of spelling in the works of students (and also foolish; if I complain about the issue someone will point out a number of mistakes in this post alone). The same goes for grammar. Speech, however, is another matter.

'Somethink' has become an increasingly common replacement for 'something.' 'Mattrix' has replaced 'matrix' and, well, the world is your oyster when you are looking for these things. Part of me tells me that this is not a worry; languages change and evolve and our pronunciation today was somebody's headache yesteryear. I am guilty of a whole host of these gaffes, although I have a great and glorious excuse which explains why I can't read things phonetically. Learning Ancient Greek was a bitch.

Miniskirts

They are everywhere. God bless you. God bless you all.

Daleks

If I had impersonated a Dalek in class one year ago today almost all of my students would have had no idea what I was referring to. Today, however, almost all of them did. Everything old is new again; hurrah. Even 'Hitchhikers Guide' references are now contemporary (there is an entire post that should be written on this; I can date my teaching epochs by whether PHIL100 (Introduction to Metaphysics) tutorials know the Majikthise and Vroomfondel scene). I'm no longer odd, just vaguely eccentric in my pedagogy.

Inverting the Cliche

Whenever a class or lecture appears in a film or in an episode of TV you always get what I call 'The Last Five Minutes.' Fictionally, whenever you see a pedagogue on TV they are giving some impassioned speech about the value of their subject to the way the world works. The fiction ignores the umpteen boring hours prior to that moment, which, in all probability, is the last thing those students will hear before heading to their final assignment in the course/class. Prior to the last five minutes the teacher is a boring prat incapable of keeping the students' attention for more than a few seconds.

Still, there are pedagogues who rise to the mantle of walking cliche. This is a good thing; it is one of the few times where the cliche isn't an accurate picture of the world at all. I'd like to think that my team in PHIL105 have become the caricatures that the students wanted but never expected.

'The Last Five Minutes' has lasted seventeen hours thus far this semester. Seven more to go. After that... Maybe never again.

Intelligence and Education

When I started in this gig I thought that education was the most important aspect of a person's self-development. University education was essential in the formation of good people. I no longer believe that.

Education does not make you better. Education is not essential to the furtherment of the species. Humans need sex and they need food; everything after that is just... luxury. Intelligence... Maybe I'm jaded because I teach people far smarter than myself, far more capable. My tutors know the material better than I do. I excel because of style, not because of substance. Intelligence no longer impresses me. Perhaps I'm jealous; I suspect intelligence only makes you feel better when you think you lord it over everyone else. There's a curious pleasure in the notion of sinking into a horde of similarly average intellects come next year. No more games of one-up-manship. No more living fear of being caught in the lie.

Perhaps education does you make you better. Perhaps intelligence is important. I think I just stumbled at the last hurdle.

Still, I've still got my pompous and overbearing personality. It makes me happy.

Intelligent Design

I think I've managed to get three people to give up on ID this semester. I hope Darwin was right, otherwise I and three others have just been condemned to Hell...

4 comments:

TomV said...

I long ago came top the belief that too much intelligence is counterproductive. You can see too many options and everything becomes grey with lack of certainty.

Since this revelation I've been working studiously to lower my IQ brain cell by brain cell until I become a raging success......


What was the question again?

Josh said...

Wish I had your record with IDers. I was talking with one of the two (that I know of) creationists at work yesterday -- the guy honestly believes that the world is 6000 years old, that there is no real evidence for evolution, and that I am being overly credulous for believing otherwise. There's just no way we'll ever see eye to eye, so any sort of discussion is an exercise in futility.

Quiet said...

Ahh ID.

http://www.venganza.org/

the postmodern geek said...

If you are interested in theories on evolution that includes the ideas of Darwin's model rather than simply denying them, yet transcends it by explaining possible mechanisms for evolution of emergent memes (which he calls 'holons'), I can highly recommend A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber.