School and philosophy

Microbiology is hard. Lets just get this said. It’s especially difficult for someone who is more English and history oriented. I find science fascinating, I just have to work at it. The other class I’m taking is sociology. Absolutely right up my alley. Studying social problems and phenomena and trying to make sense of them. There are several competing theories but each makes sense in its own way for different circumstances. The Marxist interpretation of everything stemming from economic differences and class struggle is especially fun to play with. Living in a capitalist society (mostly), it is fun to try and figure out just how many social ills can be blamed on class and unequal distribution of wealth. There are other theories of course, but Marxism is one of the most pessimistic and therefore the most fun to mess around with.

I have been discussing with my husband different theories and trying to figure out with which I generally align, and have discovered that my husband is terribly pessimistic. He believes that the reality of the world is that people are selfish and lazy. Depressing, right? But hard to argue with. There is an element of selfishness and laziness in all but the very best of people. Maybe Gandhi wasn’t selfish and lazy, but that’s the level we have to get to. He pointed out (my husband, not Gandhi) that his worldview doesn’t take into account that extremists are the ones who change the world. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandella, and on the opposite side, Hitler, Napoleon, Alexander the Great. All changed the world and all were extremists in one manner or another. Not all change is made by extremists but, if you subscribe to my husband’s theory, there is no incentive for truly positive change. The only incentive is to invent or get something that other people want but don’t have. Selflessness doesn’t exist in his world. Or at least, it does, but those people are on the fringes, not the normal run of society.

I tend to be a tad more optimistic. I believe people are basically good. I agree that most people will do good when it doesn’t cost them anything but, I also  believe that a good number of people will do good even if it causes them some discomfort or inconvenience. My world view encompasses the people who do good as well as those who don’t. There are people who do not do good but they are the exception rather than the rule. People can be selfish and lazy but they will do good when they think of it, and they are not selfish and lazy out of malice or even consciously.

I don’t know though. I am beginning to think the truth is somewhere in between. After all, we are all somewhat selfish and lazy, but most of us will do good when we can, be it for family and friends, or the wider world.  My husband pointed out that I take the easy way out of charity work. I throw money or food at it. I donate food to the food pantry when I think of it, and I donate money to charities when I can. It may be the easy way, but at least I’m doing what I am able. School and family prevent me from doing much more right now. While I am taking the easy way out, I am at least doing some good. 

My son’s philosophy comes from Disney.  Hakuna Matata. Life is so much easier when you’re 9. He agrees.  

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