Columnists | The Socjournal – Part 4

Big bucks in buff bods and super-powers. Collectively we have a fantasy, a fetish perhaps, with notions of super power and hidden divinity. From the X-men to Superman to The Hulk, perhaps there is something more than the the mere dust and detritus of human existence. As Bruce Cockburn once sang, “Behind the pain fear, etched on the faces, something is shining like gold, but better…” As Dr. Tim says, let fantasy lead where science fears to tread.

Timothy McGettigan | Sep 22, 2011 | Comments 1

Do so-called authorities know more about us than we know about ourselves? “The Big Lie” asserts that authorities, in the form of theologians and academics, seem to think they do. Further, those authorities tend to take a dim view of human nature—and those negative perspectives often produce very negative consequences. Because authorities are cloaked in a mantle of institutional legitimacy, their opinions are perceived as being more truthful than those of non-authorities. Nevertheless, “The Big Lie” argues that the truth is often at variance with the opinions of authorities. Be skeptical! (Timothy M.)

Dr. Michael Sosteric | Aug 22, 2011 | Comments 6

Despite this author’s reliance on EPMO, the work represented here is quite interesting. The author is basically issuing a challenge to our academic notions of plagiarism. In a digital work where it is so easy to COPY, and where the copy is not degraded from the original in any way, maybe we should put aside notions of “ownership” and “acclaim” and instead embrace the COPY and fashion a new work from the foundation provided. COPY FREELY and COPY OFTEN. GNU-COPYLEFT and Wikipedia as the epitome of this truly post-modern ethic! Bravo Dr. Dornsife.

Timothy McGettigan | Aug 16, 2011 | Comments 0

So what is intelligence? What is IQ? What makes one person smarter, and thus more deserving of reward, then another. Well, as Tim points out, and according to many psychologists its a magic number. Like a gypsy’s gaze into the crystal ball, this number, derived with suitably esoteric and “unbiased” (not!) scientific instrumentation, reveals all. Or does it? And, as Tim asks, can it? Can a simple number like 42 really reveal all the secrets of the human experience, or is just (as Douglas Adams has suggested) a big joke.

Timothy McGettigan | Jul 14, 2011 | Comments 4

Well it looks like the end of the world is finally here. Obama has just admitted there is no more cash. Unless the U.S. Government agrees to up the debt ceiling, all those who depend on social security are going to be sacrificed at the alter of economic accumulation. The situation seems dire, and hopeless (at least for army veterans, the handicapped, the aging, and the disabled). Even the greatest economic minds of our time seem stumped and unable to understand, much less fix it. Oh woe is me. What are we going to do?

Dr. Michael Sosteric | Jul 12, 2011 | Comments 2

It’s not often you get a honest account of the foundation of modern science. To be honest, accounts of science, especially those given to second year initiates” is often more polemic and ego that it is science and rationality. But here’s an account that exposes the irrational roots of our rational inquiry. Science, it seems, is as much founded on the irrational (and often egoic and competitive) pursuit of fantasy and imagination than the cold hard facts of reality. And in fact that’s a good thing because, as Tim points out, without fantasy and imagination to drive us, we’d not have achieved the technological wonders of the modern world. It is interesting though. If imagination can bring us the technological world of Captain Kirk, can’t it also bring us the social world of the future as well, a world where money is abolished, everyone is provided for, and nobody suffers or goes hungry. Perhaps you’ll say its just “human nature,” but perhaps its really just a failure of imagination!

Timothy McGettigan | Jun 26, 2011 | Comments 2

Are humans basically good, or basically bad? Some people, like Freud, Hobbes, and Foucault, say bad. We’ve got a beast within and the only way to control that beast is to beat it down and repress it. You want proof? Just look at how badly the adults in this world act. They are greedy, selfish, violent, and brutish. But is that the result of human nature, or is it simply the result of toxic socialization? Personally, I think its the latter. Take one giggling, innocent, bubbly, effervescent child, subject them to two decades of disregard and abuse (statistically, rates of child abuse are high), and turn them loose damaged, angry, and desperate! It’s no wonder we live in the world we do. But is it human nature, or should we fault our The System and its agents of socialization? It’s up to you to decide. But be careful, the choice you make determines the society we build.

Timothy McGettigan | Jun 17, 2011 | Comments 12

We, especially those of us who live in North America, like to think we are stout individuals. We set our own course, navigate the waves, and actualize our potential. Like Bill Gates we are self made individuals, heroes or losers in our own stories and in the end we’ve got only ourselves to congratulate or blame. But honestly, that’s a Hollywood story. As any Sociologist will tell you we are not the masters of our own fate but are in fact embedded in social networks were Agents of Socialization train us, tune us, and turn us out like so many cogs on an assembly line. Are you born into the working class, well your socialization will NOT prepare you for higher education. Are you born in the upper classes. Your education and training will be different. Different attitudes, different values, and even the presence of paid tutors will increase your odds of educational success. Sucks, but its true. It’s not a level playing field and whether you like it or not, you are the products of the agents who trained you.

rperrino | Jun 01, 2011 | Comments 0

The first article I wrote for the SocJournal set the tone for my general opinion in regards to social media and online “friends.”  I discussed the concept of cyber “friends” with a dear friend of mine when he offered up a “lesson learned” story which had recently taken place. To steal a phrase from Estelle […]

Tim Hutchcraft | May 31, 2011 | Comments 0

When I was a kid I was always disappointed by the toys I got. They never lived up to the crazy expectations generated by dissembling advertisers as they manipulated my soft and malleable child-mind. I remember, and now I tell my own kids to watch out because the toys they see on television are never, ever, ever as good as they appear in the commercials. Well I guess not everybody remembers their childhood disappointment because now we have a new generation of older children who, dutifully obeying the media manipulators, buy the lie and live with disappointment. But then, at least they get to live. Can’t say the same for the workers at the Foxconn (where Apple builds its iPads) are so disappointed with the way the company treats them they’ve actually had to install nets outside the windows to prevent the workers from jumping out and killing themselves as a result. Thanks S. J. for a job well done! – Mike Sosteric

Timothy McGettigan | May 11, 2011 | Comments 8