About Me

!nversed Poignancy!

...I am an eclectic amalgamation of many seemingly paradoxical things. This can be exemplified in both my seemingly endless persistance on many topics and arguments, as well as my careful cautiousness on other topics and arguments. This is largely due to how astute I am of the topic: more knowledge, more persistant; less knowledge, obviously more cautious. I also have times of obsessive compulsions regarding certain things (mostly just my thoughts, however)...

Life and Death

!nversed Poignancy!

Life

An assembly

Possibly impossible

Perfectly interchangeable..

Death

That lives most upright

Beyond the unspoken

Neither a squiggle nor a quibble..

She and Me

!nversed Poignancy!

She

A daffodil

Tyrannizer of me

Breaking the colors of dusk!..

Me

The rising sun

Infringed with violations

The impurity in the salt..

Love and Poetry!

!nversed Poignancy!

Love

A puerile desire

Buried in the heart

Never leaves..

Poetry

Sentimentally melodramatic

Cursively recursive

My thoughts idiotic!

A Theory in Practice ;)

Scribbled by Bharath C On June 10, 2010
Just about a week ago, I was in conversation with a friend of mine- about what sort of active thinking needs to be inculcated in Undergrads before they go ahead and pick their majors.

This is a sentiment of a cry that usually lurks behind academia at large—for classics and philosophy majors who do not know what to do with their majors, for social science majors who become frustrated with the gap between jargon‑intensive theories and real‑life phenomena, and so forth. Except, perhaps, for premedical students, the academic journey taken by most students in college is fraught with questions of purpose.

In the past people have attempted to bridge the gap between academic theory and practice. One of the major points was that “in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.” In other words, if the theory is well‑supported with evidence from reality, it should naturally have relevant implications for practice.

But on the other hand, I would like to point out a subtler undercurrent of student attitudes towards academic texts like those read as part of the Core. The attitude, which I argue changes over time, goes something like this:

We enter into college, or for some of us, high school, excited about discovering truth and enriching our minds. We soon discover that we can’t agree amongst ourselves on interpretations of texts, let alone on fundamental concepts. Does “thou shalt not kill” apply to acts of self‑defence? To animals? What about capital punishment?

Frustrated with the ambiguity and dissonance, we throw our hands up, sighing, “It’s all relative. It’s all the same. Who cares?”

I think that this disillusioned response is due to a previous presumption that there must be one coherent theory that contains all truth. With this presumption framing our minds, the conflicting plurality of theories bowls us over—we swing over, deflated, to the other end, denying all truth. But to maintain this presumption would be to reject Newtonian mechanics simply because they do not work on the atomic level. It would be to deny what each idea and person has to offer. At its worst, this attitude becomes an ear‑closed arrogance, but a polite one at that—a kind that often takes a variation of the response, “Oh that’s interesting. Well, that’s just what you believe.”

So reading and thinking about theory does inevitably translate into an attitude and, consequently, a practice—the question is, what sort of attitude? A retreat into cynicism can become, I argue, a thinly veiled intellectual laziness that does not actively engage ideas different from one’s own. An active engagement means a critical assessment of ideas to judge whether or not one would subscribe to them and often involves a revaluation of one’s ideas. Such a mental exercise of reflecting, judging, and even imagining is useful in its own right. It trains the mind’s faculties and the heart’s toleration of difference—“mental gymnastics,” as my geometry teacher once said.

Theory may enlighten our understanding, but it ultimately trains our way of thinking. It is left to us to strike the right balance between contemplation and action and to translate the mode of thinking into practical action—a frustrating and ambiguous responsibility, certainly, but ours, and only ours, nevertheless.



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