September 03, 2003

Classes Start

Posted by shonk at 09:26 PM in Ramblings | TrackBack

I went to my first graduate class today, and I'm pleased to report that I actually knew what the hell was going on. I'm sure at some point in the near future (like tomorrow) the concepts will start flying over my head and I'll get that underwater-with-no-air-tank feeling. You know, the one where you don't know if you're ever going to understand what's going on and start questioning your motivations, your career goals, the personal and financial implications of failing out of school and so on. No doubt, I will soon be checking out the webpages of economics, philosophy and linguistics departments around the country in hopes of finding something less impossible, but I think that sort of thing is normal, probably even healthy. After all, doubting the path you've chosen, but ultimately sticking with it shows a greater level of dedication than never having doubted at all. Plus, it means you're challenging yourself (or that what you're doing is too easy, I suppose, but I tend to doubt that will pertain).

I think that attitude is why I tend to have more respect for the likes of St. Augustine than of the stereotypical Benedectine monk; Augustine experienced the (enjoyable) things he ultimately rejected, whereas most monks in Medieval times were raised from birth with the expectation of becoming a monk, never having been very far outside of an abbey or convent and not having much exposure to the things they vowed to abstain from. On the other hand, modern monks typically have been exposed to what were once called "secular aims" and chosen to reject them with full knowledge of what that rejection implies. Which might explain why there were significantly more monks in medieval days than there are now (even though population has increased by a few orders of magnitude).

Okay, that was a bit off on a tangent. Needless to say, I didn't start writing this with the intention of delving into religion and monasteries, but it seemed appropriate at the time. And I think The Name of the Rose is affecting my brain.