Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Running Thought

I'm going to try to make running a regular part of my life again. It hasn't been for about the past year. I've always enjoyed running, and being busy is no excuse to stop. It's so good for me in so many ways, long term and immediate.
I love thinking while running, and always seem to have clarity on those runs. I should share those thoughts here, I've decided.

I thought about a couple things. Here are some of them. They may seem muddled, but they are perfectly clear in my mind.

1) Coincidence forgoes Omniscience. What I mean is, if you are a person who believes in a conventional deity, i.e. an all-knowing, all-powerful God, then what is coincidence? The very idea of coincidence supposes incomplete or flawed knowledge. Something happens and you say, Oh, what are the odds of that?! But that simply loses all meaning for a person of faith. Coincidence is necessarily unforeseen. But for One who sees everything? If there is a being who is omniscient and omnipotent, then what is calculated, planned, and choreographed on His part, and what is simply allowed to happen? There ceases to be much distinction. "Coincidence" is at best a term denoting our lacking perception, but for the true believer, I suppose coincidence doesn't exist at all. The same goes for some intellectuals.
I'm obviously not the first person to have this thought.

2) Academia shouldn't construct false obstacles in the name of preparation, the greater good, the real world, or any other ridiculous reason. I am infuriated by teachers that make things hard hard hard, giving you Cs on all your assignments, telling you how strict the admission policy is, only to have everybody get a B or higher, and everybody gets into the program. Tell me, what eternal principle is that supposed to emulate? What real world situation works like that? The reasoning, of course, is if they can get over my silly high standards, then they will be able to surmount whatever demands the future makes of them. FALSE, that is. If you want students to learn how to achieve the highest heights, then give them a real and natural height. If you want students ready for the real world, give them real world assignments. And I don't mean assignments that look like the real world, or are as good an approximation as you can construct. If you want it to be like the real thing in every way, then give them the real thing, and if you're trying to give them higher standards than any real situation would ask, then WHAT THE *$%&#@* ARE YOU DOING? WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE MY LIFE HELL? WHAT DID I DO TO YOU? If you want students to be prepared for what's outide the classroom, give them an actual task from outside the classroom. I took a class where our assignment for the semester was to start a successful business. It wasn't simulate a business, it wasn't write out what you would do if you were starting a business, it was start a real-deal, no-jokes, legally incorporated business. You know what that does? It gives students motivation. They want to treat it like the real thing because it is. Not some absurd arbitrary construct made up by the teacher in what appears to be an exercise in cruel and unusual punishment. If I remember correctly, most people pay to get an education, whether that be through taxes or tuition, and the role of the teacher is to teach, to instruct, to edify, to help. NOT to make a monkey jump through hoops, certainly not to make their students feel like lesser primates, performing for peanuts in the form of premier lettering on the top of their papers and transcripts, i.e. a big fat A+. In short;
Teachers, treat your student like people. Better yet, people you care about personally. You'll get better results.

3) The guy who lived at our house before us came over and noticed a couch he had left here. He demanded it back. He hadn't said anything about coming to get it since he moved out, and then his story was something like, I'll come back tonight or tomorrow and get it. He didn't. He came back four months later, and got all indignant that we didn't want to give it back. That couch has become a fixture in the home. He never informed anybody that he had plans to retain it. He could have come and gotten it. He should have taken it with him when he moved. He could have had a friend come get it if he was leaving Utah for the summer. If this had been an apartment complex, they would have thrown it away and charged him a service fee. My roommate Dave, who handled the situation with considerable grace, gave him the option of buying it back at a very reasonable price, of paying a storage fee, and paying for the steam cleaning it's gotten since we've had it. Dude refused. Instead, he showed up with a van and some brute to lug it into the van and frighten off anybody who would challenge them. Dave stood his ground and told them he wasn't unlocking the door for them to get it. Good Job, David.

What do you think? If Dude leaves his huge couch here for four months, is it his anymore, and does he have the right to come here and demand it back?


natter said...

You think about all that while you're running!? Intense. And about the couch... We once, as you may recall, stored a coffee table and a gong in our apartment for the summer for some fellow tenants. And we really didn't want to give them back in the fall. Now of course, the situation is completely different because it was pre-arranged for us but even still we didn't want to give them back because we were used to having them. So I completely understand why you'd be bugged since they'd become a fixture in your apartment. And you'd miss having that extra couch. Just like we missed the gong.

I think it was handled well.

Maybe you should blog about the epidemic of people and their feelings of entitlement.

Emily said...

Making him buy it back and pay a storage fee is ridiculous. It's fair to ask him to pay for the steam cleaning, since somebody put out money for that. But, c'mon. If you had hated the couch and threw it away and he wanted you to pay for it when he came back to get it 4 months later, that'd be a different story. He'd have no leg to stand on. But you received benefit from the couch for 4 months.

Did you get a bad grade that will affect you getting into the major? Aren't you already in the major?

Austin said...

I'm in the program, but it's that kind of thing that really gets my goat, just as an example.

I'd like to remind everybody that, to our knowledge, this guy made no attempt whatsoever to arrange for his couch. It was abandoned. And he was over to pick up something else, and noticed the couch, like he had forgotten about it. That's when he decided he wanted it back.

Austin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Austin said...

Oh, and Natter, glad to see we're blogging friends. What is your blog again?

Nancy said...

that is kind of funny about the couch. So you didn't give it to them? You might want to watch your backs.

Jasie said...

It says in the Utah Renter's Handbook that property can be considered abandoned after 30 days and that the landlord can keep or sell the property.

Austin said...

Very helpful, Jasie. Thank you.

Geoff & Cali said...

Touche. About the teachers.