Spritzophrenia

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Optimism Doesn’t Work. Voltaire’s Candide.

Posted by spritzophrenia on December 26, 2012

Christmas is a low stress affair in my family. We don’t give gifts to adults any more, so the frantic “What-on-earth-do-I-get-X?” is removed from the holiday. One of the few gifts I did receive is a new translation of Voltaire’s satire Candide, subtitled “Optimism” (published in 1761). I’ve never read it, and it turns out to be very enjoyable and full of surprises.

For example, Candide is a young man. I’d always assumed the hero(ine) was a woman. The name equates to “white”, and by implication, “innocent”. Candide is indeed somewhat of an innocent, being convinced that his tutor Proffessor Panglosse is the greatest philosopher in the world, and that Panglosse has proven beyond doubt that this world is “the best of all possible worlds”. I first came across the idea of the best of all possible worlds when I was studying the problem of evil, and it appears this kind of thing was being promoted in Voltaire’s day – perhaps by Leibniz? More on this below.

Another surprise for me, is that Voltaire’s real name was Francois-Marie Arouet. He published under 178 pseudonyms during his life, but Voltaire was his preferred name, an anagram of “AROVET LI,” the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of “le jeune” (“the younger”). The adoption of the name “Voltaire” following his incarceration at the Bastille is seen by many to mark Voltaire’s formal separation from his family name and his past. The name also conveys connotations of speed and daring, and you can refer to Wikipedia for the rest.

existence

Also surprising is how enjoyable Candide is, if an adventure that features rape, hideous floggings, disease and numerous disasters can be enjoyed. In parts it reminded me very much of Monty Python.

From the translators introduction:”The word optimism, first used in print in 1737, represents a philosophical position, a claim that in spite of errors and appearances God’s creation is as good as it could be.”

God, being perfect, can only create perfect things. Ergo, this world must be perfect. In Candide, the entire book is a series of misfortunes which poke fun at this idea. I once read something by evangelical philosopher Norman Geisler, who said this world is clearly not the best of all possible worlds. However, he claims, this world is the best WAY to the best world. In other words, he believes that the sufferings and misfortunes of this world are permissible (or perhaps necessary) in order to achieve the best world. Putting it another way, the horrors of this lifetime do have either some purpose (eg, *some* suffering may improve one’s character) or some necessity (eg God cannot make a consistent physical world without allowing the possibility of drowning or falling). Geisler lists a number of explanations for evil and emphasises that each one only covers *some* aspect of suffering; there is no single catch-all explanation that explains everything. However, Geisler believes that taken together, these explanations make suffering and evil understandable.

In similar vein, I picked up Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God again. For some reason, my mother now owns it. It is a good, popular exposition of the reasonableness of belief in God, specifically the Christian one. But I found his chapter on the problem of evil somewhat dissatisfying. I suppose in this world we should never become comfortable with disaster, suffering and failure and a book that makes us feel comfortable would probably be missing something. Keller is absolutely right, in my view, that the problem of evil is not proof that a good and loving God cannot exist. Where the argument from evil comes undone is that we are finite beings without full knowledge: We cannot KNOW all of God’s reasons for why things happen, therefore evil does not prove that God cannot be. Emphasis on the word “prove” there. However, while Keller is not twee, I think more acknowledgement of how shit this world can be, and sympathy for those affected by it, would improve his book. His chapter defending the church’s mistakes suffers a similar lack – he almost breezes over some of the horrors and banalities of Christianity. I think his defense is reasonable, but a little more humility would make me love him. Ah well, these books are never perfect and the appropriate bits should be added to one’s personal worldview rather than treating the whole as some kind of Bible.

Which leads me to my sister’s cancer.

I think I blogged about it over a year ago when we first discovered it. Briefly, it was pretty serious liver/colon cancer, at the point where she might not have long to live. She went through chemo and it looked successful – Hallelujah. Then the tumors came back and she had more surgery. This may have been successful (test results in the new year will tell us something), but has resulted in very painful adhesions. So she is gaunt, in regular pain, and may only have a year or two to live.

I’ve been thinking about optimism and pessimism. Since the days of Voltaire, optimism has altered in meaning and entered the common lexicon. I don’t think either pessimism or optimism can be proved. One can look at the world and see violence, disease, crime and war. This is Voltaire’s story of Candide. Or one can see beauty, charity, nurture and success. Both perspectives are true, and I think the philosophical position that can sum them up will be extremely nuanced. That’s probably why the Christian story (if it’s true) comes to us as a story, rather than a philosophy. Stories tend to be better for nuance than philosophy.

What can help is a perspective. Some of us like to claim we are “realistic”. Is this possible? Whether true or not, it’s more fun to be optimistic, but at times pessimism seems hard to deny.

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Carbon Based Lifeforms | Photosynthesis

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Science Has Failed, Spirit Moves Through All Things

Posted by spritzophrenia on November 15, 2011

I have much to say, but nothing to add. Watch. What do you think?

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Shermer on Belief: I Want To Believe

Posted by spritzophrenia on September 30, 2011

Perhaps, dear reader, you can tell me whether Michael Shermer applies the concepts in his new book to his own ideas. Essentially, The Believing Brain (2011) says that we create beliefs and then find evidence to reinforce those beliefs. On those terms, Shermer’s statement is also a belief, and Shermer is merely finding evidence that supports his idea and ignoring other possibilities. I want to know if Michael Shermer raises this problem and answers it.

Shermer‘s book seems to be a good read. His essential point is “Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow. I call this process belief-dependent realism.” He uses neuroscience, psychology, history and some sociology to explain what people actually do. So far, so good. There are various chapters with stories of people who believe in things like ghosts, ufos and God. He uses Leonard Mlodinow for beliefs on cosmology, and Mlodinow scratches his back in return, providing one of the publisher’s reviews on the cover of Shermer’s book. If you find this blog interesting, you might also like my review of Mlodinow and Hawking’s book.

However, I’d like your help, because I simply don’t have time to read The Believing Brain in its entirety yet and I have to return it to the library in two weeks. In that two weeks I have to finish writing about 10,000 words so reading Shermer in depth just ain’t going to happen yet. The problem: If our brains create beliefs, and then we find the evidence to support these beliefs how does Shermer know his idea is true? He may simply “want to believe” that his ideas are correct and conveniently only look at evidence that supports him. Even the idea of “looking for evidence” is a belief itself, a belief about how one best discovers “knowledge”. I don’t think– from my brief look so far– that Shermer addresses this. I may be wrong. Can you tell me if Shermer talks about this?

believe

If he doesn’t, I think it might undercut much of what he says, because deciding how we find truth and know truth is not a simple question. And some people don’t even think there is a “truth” to be found. The epilogue is where Shermer talks about what he thinks is the best method to find the truth, which he says is science. He writes, “What makes science so potent is that there is a well-defined method for getting at the answers to questions about the world – a world that is real and knowable.” Notice the assumption that the world is both real and knowable – this is philosophy, not science. He continues, “Where philosophy and theology depend on logic and reason and thought experiments, science employs empiricism, evidence and observational experiments. It is the only hope we have of avoiding the trap of belief-dependent realism.”

I may be reading too much into it, but it seems Shermer doesn’t like philosophy much. This is sad, because as I pointed out above, he doesn’t seem to realise how much of his own point of view actually depends on philosophy, not science. I was surprised to find no mention of Thomas Kuhn’s ideas, let alone Bruno Latour’s or even Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” even though I suspect the model of science Shermer is using is based on the latter. This is a constant surprise to me: Scientists who seem to have absolutely no awareness of the philosophy or sociology of science which their discipline is based on.

Let me say at this point, that I love science. I trained in it in my undergrad degree, and I’m so grateful to live in a world where we have things like cars, medicine, and the computer on which I’m typing this. What I don’t love is scientism, the view that almost turns science into a religion. Scientism says that science can solve anything, including things which science just isn’t built to solve. Shermer concludes his book with the statement that the truth is out there and that “science is the best tool we have for uncovering it.” I will conclude by quoting him with a small modification: “In the end, I want to believe. I also want to know. The truth is out there, and although it may be difficult to find, science is one of the best tools we have for uncovering it.”

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King’s X | Believe (Great song! Lyrics.).

Posted in agnostic, epistemology, Philosophy, Science, Sociology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

My Name Is Jonathan and I’m an Addict

Posted by spritzophrenia on July 26, 2011

Ahh, books. My reading life is an exemplar of non-chaotic natural selection. Or should that be intelligent design? Don’t laugh, while my intellect may not be god-like, I think is suffices for curating a brood of shelf-replicating volumes.

You see, for every book I return to the university library, I take out 5. In this one-step-forward-two-steps-back fashion I calculate that in 23 years I will have every book ever published in my living room.

We’re on holiday in Gold Coast, Australia. Given that I haven’t been to the library in… oh… 6 days? … I had to augment the 5 texts and 10 articles I brought with me for relaxation reading. Yes, this is true, I read turgid academic prose for entertainment, not to assist with insomnia.

12 step addict

I am, after all, the man who took on honeymoon such sexy titles as “The Law, The Gospel and the Modern Christian”, and Hegel’s “Prolegomena to the Natural Philosophie”. No wonder the marriage didn’t last. OK, I’m lying about Hegel – he’s dense as wood, why would anyone torture themselves with that shit?

Ergo, today I had the shakes and when we chanced upon a “massive book sale”, my addiction raged through my veins. I managed to reduce my spending from AUS$ 190 to $152.45 by being ruthless: I returned two books to the shelves.

Three books were gifts for others. I bought Happygirl a classic on French cooking. No, I’m not patriarchal, cooking is a hobby and a love for her. Also, The Best Spiritual Writing of 2011. In the introduction, Phillip Zaleski writes,

In the spring of 2009 A.N. Wilson, the English novelist and historian, author of contentious studies of Jesus, Tolstoy, Belloc, and C.S. Lewis, announced in the pages of New Statesman that after several years as an enthusiastic atheist, he had returned to belief in God. Wilson, never afraid to bloody the page with his pen, seized the occasion to skewer several of his skeptical colleagues- and, unusually, himself as well, declaring that as a natural doubting Thomas, he should have known better than to trust the deep self-satisfaction that suffused his being when he announced to the world that God was dead. He had thoroughly enjoyed the “heady sense of being at one with the great tide of nonbelievers”; the problem was that certain irritating realizations kept getting in the way.

That’s an excerpt from one of eleven great reads I now have in my sticky paws. But for the rest, you must await part deux.

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Cheap Trick | The Dream Police

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I Got Nothing

Posted by spritzophrenia on July 14, 2011

… so I’m gonna steal this straight from my friend Santi’s blog. Life is just too full to write much — beyond the notes I’m taking and the essays I’m writing, that is. So far, I got a B+ and an A- for two 4000-word essays, and I have 5000 words of notes already towards another 4000-word essay, and I haven’t even started writing about the main topic.

Santi writes:
====

Why Atheism is as Question Begging as Theism

Is the atheist conclusion that matter preceded mind from the very “beginning” of the universe more plausible, evidence-based, or rational than the theist conclusion (that mind preceded matter)?

I say no.

Here’s why. As a matter of logic, if you reject the existence of God or mind prior to matter and believe that atoms rustling in the void wholly accounts for all that is, then matter must have always existed or it must have come from nothing.

There is no third option. On the matter of ultimate origins, if you’re a strict materialist (matter precedes, and has always preceded, any appearance of mind) then you’re faced with Aristotle’s law of the excluded middle. Either way, you are in the same conundrum as the theist with regard to this question:

Where did the mind of God came from?

If it is question begging for the theist to say, “The mind of God came from nothing,” or “The mind of God has just always existed,” it is also question begging for the atheist to say, “Matter came from nothing,” or “Matter has just always existed.”

Be an atheist if you want. Just don’t pretend that the grounds for your belief enjoy more evidence, or are any less implausible or mind-boggling, than the person who says that she has chosen to believe that the mind of God precedes matter.

===

There, that was quick, wasn’t it? Santi is neither a theist, or atheist. (See what i did there?) He’s an agnostic, a university lecturer and a fairly smart cookie. That doesn’t mean he’s right, that’s for you to decide, and perhaps argue about in the comments 🙂 I bet they’re arguing already over his blog.

Posted in agnostic, atheism | 3 Comments »

Who Said Gods Have No Need To Dream?

Posted by spritzophrenia on May 9, 2011

I’m downloading the “Batman” (1966) TV series, to further my 12 y/o’s cultural education. I’ve already shown him a few of the original Star Trek series 🙂 Shakespeare schmakesmear! Speaking of high culture…

Gods

Who said Gods have no need to dream?
They dream darkest and most,
their night eyes inflaming a realm
their waking weeps as lost.

Chafing through torture of control
burning mastery, they serve;
sleeping in soul made mortal
embrace their human love.

The lonelier their peaks of cloud
the closer their dreams come
to warm plain and peopled hillside
– Gods most have need to dream.

Janet Frame, from The Pocket Mirror

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The Age of Doubt (and The Day of Hope). Christopher Lane’s New Book on Agnosticism

Posted by spritzophrenia on May 7, 2011

Christopher Lane has recently released a book, The Age of Doubt, on doubt and agnosticism (surprise!). He’s adapted a chapter for New Humanist (UK), which I’ve excerpted below. But first, for those who saw my last post, an update on my sister, Carol.

Carol had her surgery yesterday, and the news post-op is much better than we thought. The colon tumor has been removed, and the ??? in her ovary was not, in fact, cancer. It was removed and her ovary is still intact. No other new signs of cancer were found, so that’s good news too.

She’s walking around a lot today, as that’s a requirement to aid the healing of the colon. Apparently it heals very fast, perhaps in 48 hours. In a couple of weeks she’ll be starting chemotherapy to get the small tumors in her liver. So all in all, the news is very positive.

That’s the hope. Here’s Christopher Lane on doubt:

Our culture has become impoverished by certainty. In our overheated climate of polarised public debate, we give less credence to uncertainty; yet the crises that preoccupy us – including religious extremism – demand that we tolerate increasing amounts of it.

Doubt and its religious cousin agnosticism, a word rarely heard nowadays, may have fallen out of fashion, but they have much to teach us, despite the disdain of Richard Dawkins, who famously wrote in The God Delusion: “I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.” He also quotes approvingly Quentin de la Bédoyère, science editor of the Catholic Herald, who in 2006 wrote that the Catholic historian Hugh Ross Williamson respected firm religious belief and certain unbelief, but “reserved his contempt for the wishy-washy boneless mediocrities who flapped around in the middle.”

To see doubters and freethinkers such as Herbert Spencer, Leslie Stephen, George Eliot, Thomas Huxley (who coined the word “agnostic”) and Darwin himself mocked in this way, given their intense engagement with complex human issues, only highlights the boldness of their thinking and the intellectual hubris of today’s unbridled certainty. The stridency of both Dawkins and de la Bédoyère misses how these and other Victorian intellectuals saw doubt as a creative force – inseparable from belief, thought, and debate, and a much-needed antidote to fanaticism and zealotry.

Ironically, it was the Victorians, often dismissed as prudish and uptight, who led the way to an open-mindedness and engagement with ambiguity that stands in stark contrast to the impoverishment of contemporary thinking about religious doubt and belief.

Fifteen years before Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the Scottish editor, writer, and publisher Robert Chambers anonymously brought out a book called Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844). In it he argued that the progressive evolution of species was fully compatible with God-given laws. Vestiges reached a transatlantic and cross-European audience far larger than David Hume could secure with broadly compatible claims in the mid-18th century. Among Chambers’ fascinated, sometimes horrified, readers were Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, Alfred Tennyson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Disraeli and Charles Darwin. The book became a widespread topic of conversation across Britain in particular.
[Interesting: Darwin wasn’t the first to have a concept of evolution, only one of the first to come up with a successful model of how it might work. Apart from Chambers, there was another chap who’s often regarded as a co-inventor of evolution, whose name escapes me. Can anyone remind me?]


[As a sociologist, I find Herbet Spencer’s inclusion illuminating:] One of the most prominent thinkers to advance [the agnostic] claim was Herbert Spencer. The polymath sociologist, philosopher and biologist argued in First Principles (1862) that religion and science must grapple with “the Unknowable”, a blind spot in human understanding that faith had once seemed to fill.

Despite his forceful defence of Darwin and agnosticism, however, [Thomas] Huxley did not embrace full-blown atheism. He acknowledged “a pretty strong conviction that the problem [of existence] was insoluble”, a position that asks doubt and intellectual inquiry to replace hedging, complacency and anything resembling easy acquiescence.

A more astute contemporary thinker than Dawkins on the issue of agnosticism, in its broadest, existential sense, is the American playwright John Patrick Shanley. In the preface to his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt (also a film), he argues that “doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite – it is a passionate exercise.” While such questioning takes us past a point of comfort, he claims, it is “doubt (so often experienced initially as weakness) that changes things”, and thus represents “nothing less than an opportunity to reenter the Present”.

Lane’s full essay is here and the book The Age of Doubt is at Amazon.

Even in the last day I’ve had new subscribers to this blog– thankyou. It really flatters me that forty-five people value my thoughts enough to want to be updated when there’s something new. If you haven’t yet subscribed, it’s easy, just enter your email in the box at the left.

Doubt, Hope; let me conclude with the trivial. Today we hired a car seat for the impending arrival of baby (7 weeks or so away), test played the new board game my son Master T is working on and I bought some new clothes. It’s strange how new clothes can make one feel so much better. Not that I was feeling bad, I’m refreshingly happy these days. (Note to self: Get new depression meds on Monday.) Sometimes maybe it’s best to ignore the big picture and enjoy the small things in life.

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Split Enz | Poor Boy

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Is It May Already?

Posted by spritzophrenia on May 5, 2011

Hi all, and a special welcome to the new subscribers. It seems like an age since I last wrote from the land of Spritzophrenia.

Some personal goings-on first. It’s less than 8 weeks until our baby is born. Happygirl is getting extremely round, and is somewhat physically uncomfortable, but all is well and as normal as these things go.

I found out two weeks ago that my younger sister Carol has cancer. She’s not quite forty years old, and it’s serious. It’s colon cancer, with some nodes in the liver and a tumor has spread to one ovary. She goes into surgery tomorrow to remove the growths, and within three weeks they hope to start 9 months of chemotherapy. Things are not good, but the doctors have also said it’s potentially cure-able. All is not lost. Needless to say, I was quite upset after she rang me. (You might want to go back to my short series on sickness and pain.) Strangely, in the last week I’ve become very confident that she’ll be able to beat this thing, and I feel peaceful. I don’t know how much stock to put in such feelings, but those of you who pray are welcome to do so. (Yes, I did.)

My postgrad sociology study is going very well, however there’s a huge workload which doesn’t leave me with much energy to blog. I do have a lot of thoughts, theories and mental meanderings to share with you, it’s just a question of when. I’ve just finished my thesis proposal on “Why Stay if You’re Gay?” (Homosexual Participation and Identity in the Church). Would you like me to put it up here for you to read?

sunrise woman

Among other things, I’ve been reading up on Queer theory. You may or may not know that the word “heterosexual” was only coined a couple of centuries ago. Some people (notably a chap called Foucault) argue that the conception of heterosexuality was very different before this. As part of les-bi-gay studies, the study of heterosexuality has emerged. Given that I’m studying gay Christian men for my thesis I find it enlightening to look at things from the other side, so to speak.

Here’s some thoughts from one writer (Richard Dyer, in a 1997 paper, for what it’s worth). What do you think of these?

Dyer considers heterosexuality and homosexuality are not acts, or an identity, but what we desire. “Heterosexuality is not man-woman coitus, but the desire for it and/or the fact of being identified by the desire for it.”

Here’s his list of five attributes of heterosexuals:
1. Difference is at the heart of sexual object choice.
2. Difference is conceptualised as oppositeness.
3. Difference is, in fact, power imbalance. (Eroticised power imbalance)
4. Sexuality has something to do with procreation. (For many religions sexual reproduction is the purpose of sexuality.)
5. Sexual practice is an affirmation of one’s identity as normal.

The notion of race is profoundly heterosexual. Race is a way of categorising bodies that reproduce themselves.

Society enforces a “compulsory heterosexuality” (Adrienne Rich).

So there we go. How do those of you who are hetero feel about these? Identify with any of it?

Till next time,

Jonathan

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Tori Amos | Crucify

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Expanding the Mind

Posted by spritzophrenia on March 11, 2011

Apropos of nothing, here are some sites I enjoy. I used to have RSS feeds from them until I discovered how much bandwith my RSS reader sucked. Some of them I haven’t looked at in months, and it’s a salient reminder to return. In no particular order:

Science and Theology
Justin is a biologist who writes thoughtfully about religion and science.

“When I’m not watching sports or laughing at life, I enjoy reading and writing on science & religion/theology, with interests as of late that include brain/mind, evolution, the soul, and what it means to be human. I am deeply committed to science but believe that it is not the sole provider of truth. I resonate the most with the “scientist-theologians”, the most well-known being John Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour, and Arthur Peacocke. The pursuit is both an academic and personal one for me and I write from within the framework of Christian faith.”

Prometheus Unbound
Santi is an agnostic academic who quite happily skewers both atheists and the religious when it suits him. He’s good at referencing great literature. I read him regularly.

Huffington Post Religion
In an age when many newspapers no longer have dedicated religion reporters, it’s heartening to find such a good resource on a popular site. As I’ve said before, I don’t think religion or spirituality is going away anytime soon, much as committed atheists might wish it so. There’s articles on atheism here too.

reading

Guruphiliac
“Revealing self-aggrandizement and superstition in self-realization since 2005.” Reading this, you could be forgiven for thinking every guru on the planet is dodgy as fuck. I think the writers are probably followers of “Eastern mysteries”, but I appreciate their candid exposure of frauds.

Saudiwoman
Thoughtful blog by a Saudi woman. What more do I need to say?

The Piety that Lies Between
Eric Reitan teaches philosophy, and calls himself a “progressive christian”. He tends to write long posts, but it’s worthwhile stuff.

Mark Vernon
Another agnostic, Mark Vernon wrote After Atheism, a book I rather like. He’s an agnostic theist, or agnostic christian who writes about all kinds of cultural-philosophical stuff.

Barth’s Notes
One of the most respected news and investigative journalism sites on religion, particularly the more obscure stuff. He knows his subject, and is remarkably fair. I still have no idea what his personal beliefs are.

Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture
Sociology and media studies for those who like dance music! Doof doof doof.

Alternet
When you’re bored with news from the big boys, get your news from the radical fringe. Who turn out to be not so radical or fringe-y after all. In fact, some of this looks eminently sensible and well-reported.

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Buggles | Video Killed the Radio Star

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A Decade Out

Posted by spritzophrenia on March 10, 2011

As I expected, my blogging has been a little less regular now the semester has started. So far I’m really enjoying it. I’m doing four sociology courses– a theory paper, one on “Settler Societies”, one on analysing documents and a research paper.

Thanks for all your suggestions a couple weeks back. I’ve decided my research topic will be

“Gay and Lesbian experiences of remaining in the Christian Church”.

I’ll be surveying as many as I can contact, and interviewing four to six people. My particular interest will be in why they stay– it seems fairly clear why one would leave. I suspect my topic may end up being further refined, eg perhaps lumping men and women together isn’t going to work. Theoretical angles will include things like identity, deviance*, family, power, religion, sexuality, gender… I’d like to use Foucault a lot, and perhaps Durkheim. I’m discovering lots of writing in this area already, so my literature review will be easy. Happily, it now looks like I can take a sociology of religion angle.

* Note, “deviance” in sociology is not a derogatory term, it’s intended for any study of groups who go against a perceived societal norm. Though I have my own opinions on this, and prefer “difference” as a term.

For the text analysis course, we had to write a short piece on “What we hope to see in our lives in ten years time”, which we’ll be analysing as a class next week. I thought I’d share mine with you:

books

Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.
~ Niels Bohr

Jonathan A Decade Out

I’m surprised to discover I have clear ideas on what I’d like to see happen in the next decade of my life, as I haven’t been the sort of person who’s had definite plans or goals in the past.

Foremost is the baby we’re having in June, hoping that will go well and my relationship with HappyGirl will continue to grow. In ten years my new son or daughter will be that many years older, and I hope it will be as satisfying and joy-filled as the first ten years with MasterT, my now twelve-year-old son. In ten years he’ll have left home; I hope we’ll have a close relationship through his teens.

This year I’ve embarked on an academic journey. In nine more years I hope to have earned my PhD and found a teaching position at a university. Along with that I hope an income beyond the student struggle will arrive, although remuneration isn’t foremost in my mind.

I’ve just had my first music released by a real record label, and in ten years I’d love to have the chance to play music around the world, or at least in New Zealand. To be able to regularly play festivals would be fun.

I guess I’ll always be a writer. Perhaps I will have published a book by then, and I hope my blog has a solid following concurrent with that.

Who knows if we’ll be living permanently overseas, but perhaps we’ll have spent two or three years living somewhere sunny and dry; Arizona, New Mexico or certain places on Australia’s East coast spring to mind.

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Here’s the music video for my recent release:

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