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Did it "change your life"?
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Kerrigan
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Jan 11, 2007, 11:51 PM
 
Whenever I hear someone say that something blew their mind, and/or changed their life, I always listen with a heavy dose of scepticism.

I most frequently hear this claim when used to describe their experiences with anthropology classes, and the other soft sciences (read: worthless courses) such as sociology, psychology, etc.

When a class, book, etc, "changes your life", what you are really saying is that "it ostensibly confirmed my pre-existing world view, and it backed up all of my prejudices so thoroughly that now I no longer have to question them."

What a level headed person would call edification or reinforcement of a concept, an idiot would call radical change.

I've always felt this way, but it came to a head today when I met a girl who, as part of her sociology degree course, went and lived in a tent in Africa for a semester. What did she do? She lived in the tent, bothered the local tribe, boiled water, and then smugly congratulated herself on hew newfound compassionate worldliness.

Did it blow my mind that she would do something this stupid and patronizing? No, but it reinforced what I already thought about people who major in the soft sciences.

[/rant]
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:00 AM
 
I agree with you for the most part. People often seek to reinforce their preconceived beliefs and then when the find "the source" that puts it in concrete for them they are "changed". And in some small way they are. But it is very small.

However... reading a certain book for me completely turned my belief structure 180 degrees and radically changed my life. I lost friends, lost the respect of loved ones, and gained a hope that can not be compared to any other. The gains far outweighed the cost. I would probably be dead, in jail, in rehab, in despair, or homeless if not for that book.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:04 AM
 
Do we get to bet how many people need more than 1 guess on that book?

Don't stereotype the "soft sciences." That's just silly.

greg
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Kerrigan  (op)
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:07 AM
 
I certainly believe that life changes can occur, as you said happened in your case.

And, just like in your case, true change is often unpleasant and destroys many of your beliefs. I'm just talking about people who claim to have changed their life when in reality they've just learned something, or done something, which backs up what they already thought.
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:10 AM
 
"Have you ever read a book that changed your life?

Me neither."
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
I'm just talking about people who claim to have changed their life when in reality they've just learned something, or done something, which backs up what they already thought.
100% agreement.
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Do we get to bet how many people need more than 1 guess on that book?
I hope no one thought I was being mysterious. Certainly not my intent. But for some people who hold belief system, they believed at a very young age. I was 19 when I came into my beliefs.

I read a book. It was life changing to say the least.
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
I was 19 when I came into my beliefs.
Now that you mention it, I suppose I was 20 when I realized what beliefs had been.

Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
I read a book. It was life changing to say the least.
In my case, a class opened my eyes.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:22 AM
 
How can you possibly say that "soft science" topics like sociology and psychology are "worthless courses"? That offends me. What do you study? I did a B.Sc with a History minor, and I've always laughed at the seeming pecking order – Engineers look down on everyone, Science students on the Arts, etc. etc. Incredibly silly and childish and utterly void of reality.

greg
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Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
Now that you mention it, I suppose I was 20 when I realized what beliefs had been.
I should have been clearer. It should read "my current beliefs". I had a belief structure and it changed completely. Destroyed my previous beliefs completely.

Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
In my case, a class opened my eyes.
But did it change your life?

... or simply give you beliefs that you did not previously have?
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
I should have been clearer. It should read "my current beliefs". I had a belief structure and it changed completely. Destroyed my previous beliefs completely.
No, I understood what you meant. My situation was a little different. It was more of a case of, "Oh, so this is why I've felt weird the entire time."



Originally Posted by Railroader View Post
But did it change your life?

... or simply give you beliefs that you did not previously have?
It gave me a clarity and insight as to why I had had the feelings I had.

(There's a fun sentence)
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
How can you possibly say that "soft science" topics like sociology and psychology are "worthless courses"? That offends me. What do you study? I did a B.Sc with a History minor, and I've always laughed at the seeming pecking order – Engineers look down on everyone, Science students on the Arts, etc. etc. Incredibly silly and childish and utterly void of reality.

greg
To me they are worthless. "Silly and Childish™."

It's very simple. Compare this finite life with infinite existence. If it were possible to place it on a revised MacNN timeline reflecting my beliefs, it doesn't even show up.

Worry and fret over it all you want, but if it is a priority in your life then your priorities are out of whack.

You shouldn't be offended by trivial things.
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
It gave me a clarity and insight as to why I had had the feelings I had.

(There's a fun sentence)
Sooo.... Kerrigan is correct.
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:30 AM
 
None of my statements in this thread have been an attempt to agree or disagree with him.
     
cjrivera
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
When a class, book, etc, "changes your life", what you are really saying is that "it ostensibly confirmed my pre-existing world view, and it backed up all of my prejudices so thoroughly that now I no longer have to question them."

What a level headed person would call edification or reinforcement of a concept, an idiot would call radical change.

I've always felt this way, but it came to a head today when I met a girl who, as part of her sociology degree course, went and lived in a tent in Africa for a semester. What did she do? She lived in the tent, bothered the local tribe, boiled water, and then smugly congratulated herself on hew newfound compassionate worldliness.
I understand what you're saying and have known a few people like this person you are talking about, but can't someone have a "reinforcement of a concept" or "confirmation of a pre-existing world view" while at the same time having a life changing experience?

Take your example, from the way you described her it doesn't sound like a life change, but perhaps someone who "knows" there is poverty, disease, and famine goes somewhere as part of a course and really experiences the destitution and despair, more so than on TV or in a magazine, and realizes how much better they truly have it than they realize. And they come back, not patting themselves on the back for learning this, but rather doing things they may have never done before (donating more time and money to the poor, collecting or going on medical mission trips, or even actually appreciating to a fuller extent what they have and that some of the things they had found to be major catastrophes, now are merely minor inconveniences in the grander picture.) While this likely doesn't happen as often as people say it has happened, I don't think that edification or reinforcement of a concept necessarily discounts the possibility of a simultaneous radical, life change.
"It's weird the way 'finger puppets' sounds ok as a noun..."
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
None of my statements in this thread have been an attempt to agree or disagree with him.
You're posts appear to be in english, but I am not understanding them tonight.

Time for bed! /GOES TO BED]
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:41 AM
 
Me too, in a sec.
     
keekeeree
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
I've always felt this way, but it came to a head today when I met a girl who, as part of her sociology degree course, went and lived in a tent in Africa for a semester. What did she do? She lived in the tent, bothered the local tribe, boiled water, and then smugly congratulated herself on hew newfound compassionate worldliness.

Did it blow my mind that she would do something this stupid and patronizing? No, but it reinforced what I already thought about people who major in the soft sciences.

[/rant]
Reminds me of the college or high school kids who spend one night outdoors in a box to "experience" what it's like to be homeless...stupid and patronizing.

On the upside, at least she wasn't there with a bible in-hand as part of a missionary group...*bleh*
     
Face Ache
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
I've always felt this way, but it came to a head today when I met a girl who, as part of her sociology degree course, went and lived in a tent in Africa for a semester. What did she do? She lived in the tent, bothered the local tribe, boiled water, and then smugly congratulated herself on hew newfound compassionate worldliness.

Did it blow my mind that she would do something this stupid and patronizing? No, but it reinforced what I already thought about people who major in the soft sciences.

[/rant]
Dude you have issues. Try a self-help book.
     
quattrokid73
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:51 AM
 
How can you possibly say that "soft science" topics like sociology and psychology are "worthless courses"? That offends me. What do you study? I did a B.Sc with a History minor, and I've always laughed at the seeming pecking order – Engineers look down on everyone, Science students on the Arts, etc. etc. Incredibly silly and childish and utterly void of reality.

greg

------

i agree completely. Reality might be comprised by the rules of science, but in our consciousness we share the bond of the human experience, one that is vastly changed and improved by people who study the soft sciences...not to say that the 'hard' sciences haven't made life easier though!
MBP 2.4, 2gb, 8600GT, 120gb 7200rpm; white iPhone 3G

     
Eug
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:53 AM
 
Did it "change your life"?
No, but I had to change my shorts.
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 12:54 AM
 
Hot.
     
Railroader
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Jan 12, 2007, 01:02 AM
 
Another annoying thing they have kids do in high school is have them "take care of" and carry the "life like" baby dolls around.
     
starman
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Jan 12, 2007, 01:10 AM
 
This thread changed my life.

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macintologist
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Jan 12, 2007, 01:46 AM
 
Is political science a "soft science"?
     
Gossamer
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Jan 12, 2007, 02:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by quattrokid73 View Post
I did a B.Sc with a History minor, and I've always laughed at the seeming pecking order – Engineers look down on everyone, Science students on the Arts, etc. etc. Incredibly silly and childish and utterly void of reality.
That definitely exists here.
Typically it's Engineering > Math/Physics > Science (chem, bio, animal science etc) > 'language' stuff (journalism, communication, english) > still kinda science-y (health and human performance etc) > business/finance/econ > psychology > > > > fashion design.

Or at least that's how I see it.
     
macintologist
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Jan 12, 2007, 03:32 AM
 
Comon, where does political science fall in the pecking order? Government is a kick-ass major.
     
Chuckit
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Jan 12, 2007, 03:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
No, I understood what you meant. My situation was a little different. It was more of a case of, "Oh, so this is why I've felt weird the entire time."
I think that's what Kerrigan was talking about when he said people mean something that reinforces or edifies on the life they've already been living, rather than something that actually brings about drastic changes.
Chuck
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Gamoe
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Jan 12, 2007, 04:46 AM
 
Experience can change one's perceptions. Whether it does or not and to what level depends on an individual's maturity and awareness. Knowledge can do this to, in another way.

Certainly this is not something that happens every day to an individual. However, I have had certain experiences which have changed my perceptions and given me awareness of which I had none. I wouldn't say that any one of these events was particularly "life-changing" in itself, but the sum of these events have altered my perceptions and the course of my life.

I'd like to think that these experiences and new awarenesses are steps towards truth and unity. However, life-altering experiences are not limited to such and can aid someone step further away from truth and unity as well.
     
Dakar²
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Jan 12, 2007, 08:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
This thread changed my life.
And we haven't had a Salty appearance yet.
     
mrtew
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Jan 13, 2007, 10:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
And we haven't had a Salty appearance yet.
Good point.... talk about someone who's life changes every time he hears the words coming out of his mouth reinforce what he's always believed for the past week.

I love the U.S., but we need some time apart.
     
   
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