Michael Battalio

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Serious conversations (part 12):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. We began with religion and have now moved onto many other things. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The twelfth entry is about where I am going in life:

Both my friend and I are having difficulty in narrowing our focus in life. Here’s what I have to say about it.

        College is becoming more about gaining life experience, which we all would do without college anyway, but a specific kind of life experience.  An experience which will enable us to parse out ideas, troubleshoot problems, embrace diversity, and become a better person than a life experience without college. College in general is a good idea, regardless of whether or not you come out of it in a specific field.  However, I am not necessarily saying that each further layer of education narrows your choice of career by a level.  I'm just saying that after you finish a layer of education you have a smaller world cone of possibilities that you could become, for example with a degree in physics, you probably wouldn't go to grad school for theatre.  An undergrad degree has narrowed your scope at least some, though not to a specific field.  
        I think it's obvious to say that as the average person becomes more and more educated, undergraduate degrees will erode in prestige; you'll have to have more degrees for the same reward in a career.  Also, as the body of knowledge of our race grows, an undergrad degree makes up a smaller and
smaller percentage of knowledge that can be known.  Eventually people will have to have careers that are very specific simply because a human brain isn't capable of understanding the amount of knowledge in a general field. So, comparatively not long ago an equivalent undergrad education would give you enough knowledge to make breakthroughs in a field that cannot be done today.  Therefore, we cannot blame ourselves completely for neither being able to specialize enough nor for being as enthusiastic as we should simply because the world around us is changing, not so much the typical undergrad.
        My enthusiasm for different things changes all the time, hobbies, different music, books, etc.  So, I would think that it would be no different for a field.  Perhaps it will just take us time working in different things we find intriguing to find the subject we can become excited about.  The beauty about college is that you are exposed to many different fields and can try out many different subjects to find one that suits you.  


Matthew said...

to mbatt:

1. Do you embrace atheism?
2. What do you mean by "narrowing your focus in life"?
3. Atheism in my opinion is a misinterpreted illusion of a theoretical facade. From the comments I am reading, you contradict yourself quite often...(e.g. one minute atheist, next minute God-fearing). Explain further please.

mbat said...

1.) No, I don't.
2.) I mean that with each successive degree one gets, you narrow the number of possibilities one can generally focus on in life. I simply mean specialization.
3.) Perhaps I misrepresent myself. I have never intended to appear to be an atheist. Agnostic, yes, but not atheist. And you point out the exact thing that bothers me. I don't know what I believe. Much of the time it seems logically impossible for there to be an omnipotent being; other times I feel very faith-filled. I absolutely do not deny that I contradict myself quite frequently. I still have no idea what I think.

I also recognize that my stream of consciousness style of writing can be very confusing.

Thanks for reading.

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