Now listening to : The GoBetweens - Oceans Apart
Especially recommended : track8 - The Statue
My feelings toward the Undergraduate Library here are pretty predictable: on the one hand, i once was an undergrad - though not, i'll admit, at a state university - so there's a feeling of comfort. On the other hand, the one with the fingers that tap the side of my coffee when i'm stuck behind two students talking about how, "Martin isn't not-hot, he's just not AS hot", i'm a little impatient with all these tiny, random people who haven't finished their binge-drinking or started a full-time job. So I really relish going to the undergraduates' library -- comfort, plus giddy superiority; it's better than the cineplex.
But: today, i got no satisfaction. My favorite essay - probably ever - is called 'Science as a Vocation' by Max Weber. I read it when i'm sad, or lonely, or have just signed up for a latin class that meets five days a week at 9:30 in the morning and i'm starting to realize how much this is going to cut into my sleeping-in plan. I do have a book with the essay in it, but it's being lent at the moment, so i thought i'd just pick up a little something from the stacks to tide me over, security washcloth-like. This is what i thought, until the undergraduate library let me down. So instead of hanging out at the site of my disappointment, i came to this site to talk out my troubles.
The thing that i love about the essay is the completely schizophrenic picture it paints of the human condition. Because i can't find the damn thing itself, i'll quote from the paper i wrote back when I was an undergraduate (for the record, i think all the Martins i knew back then were comPLETEly hot.) : "His categorization of the rational process as a valuable means but a valueless end is his attempt to allow progress, specifically science and academia, not only to continue but to retain a validity, [despite] negative associations of its alienating social effects." I argue that Weber wants knowledge to be something that one uses to get to ones goals, but it can never provide them, and should therefore incur no responsibility for doing so.
This is still, despite the efforts of dozens to make me older and wiser, how i come at the idea of melding religion and politics; thoughts are tools, their trajectory aether, the hand between nothing but an act of choosing. A politics capable of taking advantage of our scientifically progressing world lacks - or should lack - the language to get into true theories. A true theory is a theology unsatisfied to be merely faith, whereas what i want from government is a plan satisfied to be nothing more than concrete. Er, right? Initially i like cutting down the middle that way, siding with Weber and saying that rationality (which i've decided is where i like my politics, although i doubt Weber would be ok with my conflating the two) is where we fight our battles, not how we pick them; but i get less comfortable as i read back -- it sounds facile. Weber took his tack in part to avoid the crackups that come with this debate and it seems like a safe harbor for me, as i start my comparative religious studies, so that's where i'm starting. But in a week or so, once i've actually done some of my reading, we'll see how far from port i've gotten.