What Do They Know?
Letter from Seeker
I just started going to the University of Alaska, Anchorage and have declared my major in Philosophy. I thought that this was supposed to be the classical foundation of all of the liberal arts dating back to the times of the Greeks. So why are all of my friends making fun of me!?! Is there not any value left in a well-trained mind!?! What the heck!?! They’re all “Oh, you’ll never get a job,” and “have fun at McDonald’s.” Please tell me that my friends are just being mean.
Your friends are serving you up a heap of negative, with a dash of bittersweet hyperbole.
The value of your major to you and to your career is based on your personal logic and your motivations. Are you pursuing this degree because it is of interest to you? Or are you planning on using your degree to further your career after school? Your friends seem to be thinking of your degree as a vehicle toward the latter option exclusively. If you are making this declaration out of passion and you haven’t ascertained your trajectory, some reassessment may be in order. While there is great value in this time-honored school of thought, truthfully, there are few non-academic careers that require a Philosophy degree.
However, if you are geared toward an academic career and plan to pursue Philosophy through a Masters or even a Phd program, then it would be wholly applicable to your career after all and you should tell your friends to mind their own business. Actually, you can do that in either case.
Angry Liberal is Angry
Letter from Seeker
Liberals piss me off!
Sometimes liberals really piss me off more than anything else. I am a liberal but being around some of them is too much to take. I can agree with them on a lot of stuff until they add their own remarks. Like they’ll make a good point and then follow it up with “If only you could understand” to the person their arguing with. Like their so much better. Its frustrating and it makes me not want to talk to them because they could talk to me like that to if I disagree.
Thanks for taking questions.
(I don’t want my real name on this)
~ A… Response ~
Well hello, no-real-name. May I call you [sic]? There was not a goddamn question mark IN that question. If only you could understand how difficult it is to offer advice on questions without any being posed. And frankly, I’m not sure I believe you are a real liberal. Your grammar reeks of tea.
The Theist and the I.D.G.A.F.ist
Letter from Seeker
Interesting name [Brahm] because I have a religious question. My girlfriend is converting again. She’s had a few religions since I’ve known her. I don’t care but she’s always asking me if I mind. I don’t fucking care. Being with her makes me really happy, and I’m getting older, I’m not a model, and I have a health problem so I’m not going on the market anymore. I don’t have a religion and she keeps asking me if I care about the decisions she’s making. Sometimes I wish she would just do what she’s going to do and just let me be happy being with her.
~ An Answer ~
I would not fault someone for being a seeker. Questioning our own beliefs leads to higher thinking. This desire to find something greater than oneself is unique to mankind and very powerful. It is what has made us climb out of tide-pools and into rocket-ships.
I’ve spent a lot of years seeking – I sought out many teachers of faith, philosophy and living. In searching, a pattern comes forth – one religion sends one down a rabbit trail to another branch of faith. Some loop around back into the first. In exploring faith we see patterns of humanity that are the same all over the globe. It’s quite an amazing and rewarding journey. Once you get past dogma, you can see the similarity and the interwoven nature of the spiritual quest.
She keeps pestering you? Maybe she is devout and worries for your soul.
More likely she seeks some guidance, and is asking for a little input from you. She is trying to find a compass that fits. She takes a studious approach, and is perhaps getting a thrill out of these endless loops of faith. Maybe she is having a good time and simply wants you along for the ride.
I am worried about how you say you don’t care… twice. She is asking you to. You say you are happy with her, and you are obviously making a commitment out of the relationship (even though the motives you express here seem rather clinical), so why does it bother you that she needs a little validation in her choices? Some people ask for their better halves to help figure out a new hairstyle; some ask their spouses to read the letter to their boss before they send it; some just need to hear they are still beautiful.
It doesn’t sound like she’s asking you to convert to anything. She just wants you to tell her she looks nice in Judaism; or that you would still care if she was reincarnated as a frog.
Do you need some life advice? Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may see your answer get published in a future column.