Friday, June 30, 2017

Devaluing Math & Science

I have to begin with sharing Vinod Khosla's medium post.

Is majoring in liberal arts a mistake for students?

Critical Thinking and the Scientific Process First — Humanities Later

So happy this is being spoken about now. Till middle-class parents kept saying this to their kids, it was uncool. I hope more cool folks spell it out too.

There is an India version and simplistically put, yet highly precise, on Live Mint.

Literature graduates aren’t the answer to India’s job woes

There is an urgent need for a revamp of the education system to provide holistic learning which includes crucial skills that allow a person to earn a reasonable livelihood

There is this thing that has creeped in wildly into popular culture. That Math Trigonometry, Science - Bad bad; Humanities - goody good. It's become the lazy go-to point to create sympathy. Or to make a point.

In a lot of fiction or near fiction writing, it is a general lazy-trend to "imply" that Math-Science is forced by parents on unwilling high-schoolers while humanities is an loved and the only preferred option by kids.

For example, this one.
17 Kaafi Useless Things All Indians Were Taught In School That We've Never Needed As Adults
How is any of these useless? Is twitter & argumentative training the only thing needed ?
Why this intense effort to devalue Math & science and only promote Humanities and Performance Arts ? How did they come up with a list like this ? How did they expect anyone who went to school in 90s to agree with them ? Have they not seen the large nostalgia packages, specifically 90s kids ones ?

There is beauty in life, in grown-up adult life thanks to Math and Physics as well as Geography and History. Knowledge of History gives you enough fodder for gossip. And that Geography gives you the wanderlust, enough to make you a camera yielding globe-trotter, even while whirling around sometime mundane 8-5 day job.

Negating a child's achievement of 50% or 98.8% because the neighbors kid got 99.2% - now that is deplorable horrible parental behavior. And that is a totally different thing. I mean if not anything else, but just the role models of internet should be enough to show that the nerds rule the world, not sports jocks (to use 2 terms, I have no idea what they actually mean in life). Sheer diversity in Science and Technology fields, along with well-paying career path in those, are alone to lure kids in STEM path.

But the same whisper campaign continues against corporate jobs. Drudgery, non-challenging 8-5 desk jobs. Oh the disdain, at a well-paying job which keeps your personal life in order. This kind of motif has taken on the Gemino Curse or Doubling charm and multiplied throughout MSM generated opinion articles.

I have lost a friend when I shot back in rant, when he tried to shame me, for not working on a book or film-making. Publishing a book or making a short, feature or commercial film is a career boast, when your profession is politician speech writer, or award function script writer or astro-science technology news-writer, basically part of the writing or film-making world. If not, then it makes makes no sense to dedicate a huge portion of your day away, from your priorities, towards some kind of day-dream when no specific real-life plan in place to jump orbits.

I can't even begin to list, how many kids I have met, who have been exceptional in their STEM fields and yet faced self-doubt because it's more glamorous to write a book or make a movie. If anything, this is the time when you can do both. It is so possible to come back from office and indulge in activities that bring in joy. Take classes or be active in leagues in art, cricket, sports, fitness, writing. There are just way too many forums to compare notes, and then to showcase your output.

Unless the regret is not being part of the industry, living a life of 24/7 thinking, talking, meeting people absorbed in that world. I agree if the longing is for that, then the secure, methodical, "well-settled" life brought by a corporate job is not the same.

A huge amount of Political science material and generic literature have been generated by folks, who went through the technical stream. Loads of runners, musicians, artists all hold a corporate day job thanks to their technical studies. It keeps them from being starving moody artists.
How can dedicating a life to hedonism be glorious ? Its only self-destruction.  Actually a lot of literature has been created by those living a mundane life. Technical studies are not a lost opportunity here. Instead it builds the very strengths these creators have - discipline, networking, technology tools.

To quote Stephen King (from this panel in Zen Pencils), "Life isn't a support system for art. Its the other way round."

1 comment:

Deepthi said...

Loved this ! :)

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