I am easily amused. Especially when observing silly games of oneupmanship.

“My discipline is better than yours. It does real stuff.”

“No, my discipline is better – we use math.”

And so on.

It reminds me of high school science classes and describing the various disciplines.

  • If it moves, its biology.
  • If it stinks, it chemistry.
  • If it doesn’t work, its physics.

It also reminds me of the discussions of astrology in both Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” and the fifth book of Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy. In both cases, the use of astrology is justified as being no more than a way to organize your thinking and perception of the world around you. I’m not sure this is all that much different from truly academic disciplines.

I guess it would be easy to ask, “Why can’t we all get along?” but then, I would have less to be amused about. I have spent enough years raising children, grandchildren, as well asĀ 10 years as an active scout leader, to learn to enjoy observing childish behavior. You can’t really stop the behavior (other than yelling “shut up!” and separating the offenders) just work to help it dissipate over time, so you might as well learn to appreciate it at as an art form. Clearly, it is art from the naive school, but art nonetheless.

The sad thing is this. They are all wrong. The only truly meaningful discipline is art. After all, art is about learning to really see the world around you BEFORE you interpret it or describe it. Once the basics of the tools are covered (how to make a line) the lessons focus again and again on “What do you see?” “Are you sure you are what’s there and not what you think is there?” The tools (media) are then used to fill in the gaps of knowledge or interpretation….

Oops. I guess that is no different from making assumptions. “Assume a friction-free surface….” “Assume a ladder…”

Damn. I guess there are no real differences, just variations in tools and methods for grokking the universe.