Today, while smoking a cigarette outside of the building in which my first class had just ended, I heard a fellow student talking on his cell phone about dialectical reasoning. He went on and on about it. How he’d always wanted to understand it and, now that he did, he was ready to live a happy, complete life.
Now, I know that this guy was likely embellishing a bit, but, from my own experience on other occasions with him, he is rather like a caricature of those “rebel” students you see in movies — the black-clothes-wearing, sulky poets who sit in the back of class and are always the most intelligent. He holds court at a table outside the campus coffeeshop with some of the other mediocre students at St. Ed’s and talks about the supernatural meanings of dreams (in response to which, I once told him, I don’t dream because I don’t believe in a god).
Regardless of his popularity with some other students, one must question a person who is satisfied so easily. To understand dialectical reasoning is fine. It’s as honorable as any other search for knowledge. But to remain in the process and theory section of life forever? For that to be one’s only goal? Bah. How about figuring out a way to get rid of poverty or increase equality among the people of the world? How about solutions to the continuing conflicts in the Middle East?
I’m all for the search of knowledge for one’s own sake, but unless you plan on being a scientist (studying pure science), show me something you want to do concretely, something that improves the world around us both, and then you’ll get my respect. Maybe then I’ll join your table outside the campus coffeeshop.