Modesitt on the Fallacy of Undergrad as Vocational Programming

I am guilty of advocating more women pursue STEM degrees, but I’m also one hundred percent behind my daughter’s choice of career in vocal performance. At one point in her life, she was perfectly happy to pursue a STEM related career in zoology or chemistry. But her talent and love of music won the battle for her vocation. I have a career, more aptly referred to as just a job, in technology, but I can in no way begin to claim it is a calling or satisfying as a true vocation would have been. Ah, the regrets.

Recently, a semi-prominent president of an educational institution told a group of music professors that they shouldn’t complain about the fact that they were paid less than professors in other disciplines or that they were required by the institution to work longer hours and more days than most other professors because they “knew what they…

via The Education/Business Fallacy — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

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On Human Nature and Political Ideologies

This paragraph in the “Human Nature” chapter of my Introduction to Philosophy textbook speared me, considering the turmoil before, during and continuing after our most recent elections.  It’s a long paragraph so bear with me.  I’ll split it at points to add more white space for emphasis and where my mind flipped thoughts from ‘right’ to ‘left’ instead of its usual on-edge position:

Your perception of human nature determines even how you think we should set up our society. Ask yourself this, for example: Should our society be based on capitalism or socialism?

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Defining Philosophy Survey Results

As I promised in yesterday’s post on my Brain Upgrade Project, the following are excerpts from the email responses I received to the following question:

“Ask six friends what they think philosophy is.”

The study of critical thinking.
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. . . philosophy is the contemplation of our existence, sentience, and interaction with the universe and its inhabitants. I believe we as humans agree that our capacity to reflect upon our existence is unique. And that we are seeking  elusive knowledge for our propose through this process.
∞ ∞ ∞
Narrowly, philosophy is the love of knowledge. Broadly, it’s the inquiry into what is real, true, valuable; how we know it and what difference it makes; what is man, who am I, why am I here, what am I to do? It is the search of meaning and purpose in life.
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Philosophy to me is a general moral framework to help determine one’s actions and explain how the world works (or should work).
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After taking two required philosophy courses in college many moons ago, I decided philosophy is the opportunity for a professor to put forward his/her agenda and give you poor grades if you don’t agree with it-no matter how much you support your point of view.
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I guess I would define philosophy as the study/search for answers regarding, well, existence:  who we are, what things are, why things are the way they are, and how things should be (i.e. ethics and morality).  I believe (although I could be wrong) a lot of science has it’s roots in philosophy (if I remember correctly, it was one of the very early philosophers that theorized the existence of atoms).  You could almost say that philosophy is the study of questions.
∞ ∞ ∞

I would say philosophy is the study of thinking, the why we think, that we can think, the how we think ~ leading to our conclusions ~ which remain in a state of flux,  to a point!!

The importance of this should be that we understand the decisions we make, there is a trail or should be of how we got to that point.
∞ ∞ ∞

My answer to the similar question posed to my Philosophy class by our professor:

“How philosophy is defined? How would your define it?”

Philosophy means the love of wisdom with a goal to help us achieve autonomy, by making us more aware of our own beliefs and encouraging us to think through issues for ourselves.  Philosophy is also an activity, and not an easy one, but the struggle for freedom never is, especially when we examine our most basic beliefs and assumptions under the microscope of reason.  I would define philosophy as unrelenting curiosity and drive to ask, and attempt to answer for ourselves, the hard questions about our purpose, our place in the world and the universe, our mortality and our morality

Next post I’ll ruminate about my reading of the second chapter of my Introduction to Philosophy textbook:  Human Nature

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My Brain Upgrade Project

Back in the mid 90s, I resigned myself to not finishing my undergraduate degree in mathematics/computer science.  Life happened (I’ll spare you the stressful, depressing details).  Fast forward to the present, nearly two decades into the second millennium, where my life seemed to be stable and my faculties ready to take on a return to college.  I jumped through the various academic and bureaucratic hoops  last year to get my college credits transferred to a local university.  I pre-enrolled at two different institutions, one where I planned to complete my undergraduate, but also at a local community college that offered many online courses that could better accommodate my schedule as a full-time employee.

Then Fate, Chance, the Devil or all three, decided my life wasn’t complicated or challenging enough.  Over Thanksgiving, a co-worker resigned, one who was responsible for the enterprise-wide document management system for the large law firm where I’ve worked for the last twenty years.  Fortunately for the firm, but not so much for me, from 1997 until 2009, I performed those same duties.  Can you see the writing on the wall?

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Let’s TALK About ‘A Little Princess’

This week the Lansing Community Library Adult book discussion group meets for the second in a three-part series on reading “Children’s Classics,” a Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC).  KHC furnishes the books and discussion leaders for the Lansing TALK series. For more information about KHC, please visit www.kansashumanities.org.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 12, 2017

WhereLansing Community Library, 703 1st Terrace, Lansing, Kansas 66043 – 913.727.2929

Who: Sister Rosemary  (Rosie) Kolich is an assistant professor of English at the University of Saint Mary.  She teaches at both the main campus in Leavenworth and at the Overland Park campus.  She earned her PhD from Saint Louis University. One of the courses she team teaches is called Good Books, which pairs works from theology and literature with similar themes.  Sister Rosie joined the Kansas Humanities Council TALK program as a discussion leader in 2008.

WhatA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

Burnett’s turn-of-the-century Cinderella story tells of a little girl who goes from riches to rags to riches again, all along maintaining her compassion and love for those around her.  After wealthy Sara Crewe moves into a strict girls’ boarding school, she learns that her father is dead, leaving her both penniless and an orphan.  Her faith in her father and her sense of justice enable her to overcome poverty, hardship, and abuse, and to create her own family and community.  Burnett, a playwright and novelist for adults before she wrote children’s books, never over-simplifies the complexities of a dangerous world; at the same time, she never forgets what it’s like to view that world as a hopeful child.

From WikipediaA Little Princess is a children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published as a book in 1905. It is an expanded version of the short story Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchin’s, which was serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine from December 1887. According to Burnett, after she composed the 1902 play A Little Un-fairy Princess based on that story, her publisher asked that she expand the story as a novel with “the things and people that had been left out before”.[4] The novel was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons (also publisher of St. Nicholas) with illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts and the full title A Little Princess: Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Being Told for the First Time.[1]

Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. In 2012 it was ranked number 56 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. It was the second of two Burnett novels among the Top 100, with The Secret Garden number 15.

♥ ♥ ♥

Please join us Thursday evening as we TALK about A Little Princess in the warm indoors forgetting momentarily the bleak midwinter outside.

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First Book Club Gathering of 2017 Results in Book Recommendations

Between the Lines Noon on First Fridays at Westport Library

Every First Friday of the month I venture a few blocks north over lunch to the Westport Branch of the Kansas City Public Library to discuss books and other tangential topics with the women (and an occasional man) of the Between the Lines book discussion group.  When last we left off in December, we did not have a designated book to read for January, so we were supposed to come ready to give recommendations.

That got sidetracked by the good intentions of our library liaison, Seth, who provided our facilitator, Rose, a last-minute selection for us to read.  I received the email a few days ago and happened to run into Seth at the Plaza Branch (which just happens to be on the first floor of the building I spend every week day at) and asked him for a copy of Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.  We both went searching for a copy, Seth to the New & Notable display section and me to the Fiction section.  Neither one of us found it at first but I returned to the New & Notable display and found it on the top shelf (neither Seth or I are what you’d call tall).  I checked it out and planned to read it over the weekend since it appeared to be a short book (short to me is anything less than 500 pages).  I did finish it quickly, over a couple of days.

Due to the late notice, only one other member of Between the Lines actually read Kitchens of the Great Midwest and she and I agreed that it was an interesting read for the relationships portrayed but not that interesting as a ‘foodie’ type book.  I found the book oddly compelling to read up until the last couple of chapters and then it just fell flat for me.

My Top 5 Books from 2016

In conjunction with my previous blog post about my reading statistics from 2016, I referenced my ‘loved-it’ shelf at GoodReads but didn’t give specifics.  Faced with a blank page provided by Rose to be passed around the table asking for Recommended Books, I quickly reviewed Continue reading

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Double Infinity Sideways

I said farewell and good riddance to 2016 three days ago.  I set a reading challenge goal of seventy-five (75) books at the start of last year.

2016gr_readingchallengecompleted

I participated in three real-world book discussion groups in order to diversify my reading horizons.  I nominated, voted and attended the Hugo Awards during 2016.  I joined two reading programs at my local library (summer and winter).  I also set other personal goals that I didn’t statistically track but achieved despite real-world hurdles.

I began the year by reading my first ever graphic novel – Persopolis by Satrapi – one of three graphic novels I would read in 2016, two of which were for different book clubs.  I wrapped up the year with my second ever Hemingway book in paperback edition – his memoir A Moveable Feast – for a total of eighty-eight (88) books read.  Click here for a complete list of books I read in 2016.

88 looks like double infinity sideways to me (hence the odd title to this blog post).

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