It’s another week of very relevant topics around the internet.
Politics and Society
Where are they? (Image via Franz DG)
I was a first year student in the University of the Philippines Diliman when news broke out that two UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan were reported missing. The case of the “disappeared” was rekindled as many from the left were reported missing. Enforced disappearances were also the stuff of conversations until a few years ago. Indeed, if we really consider ourselves to be a democratic country, then why do these things happen? As Mira said,
A true democratic nation should guard freedom of speech, no matter who it is that utters their opinion.
The Scientific Community
Academic paywalls mean publish and perish by Sarah Kendzior
Studying and eventually teaching in a so-called third world country (or as others would call it, developing country), I have faced the problem of acquiring academic articles more often than not. Publishers require $20 per article and around $40 per book. Tough luck. But anthropologist Kendzior talks about how we’re building elitism in the academe instead of sharing our knowledge to the public who is supposed to be at the receiving end of our research endeavors. The pricey amount for knowledge also marginalizes those who are from non-first world countries to obtain up-to-date and relevant studies. These all end up to one thing: only a limited number gets to read published materials. Kendzior writes,
“Publish or perish” has long been an academic maxim. In the digital economy, “publish and perish” may be a more apt summation. What academics gain in professional security, they lose in public relevance, a sad fate for those who want their research appreciated and understood.
The Rationality of Irrationality by Peter Kaufman
Modernism has changed us in so many ways as people moved from the villages to the cities. We are all alienated with one another and everything needs to be speedy. This is because speedy and efficiency is the “rational” thing to do work, and rationalism is the forte of modernism. As my professor once said, “everything is touch-and-go”. Face-to-face interactions are done in split second. When you’ve finished getting your order, you have to leave the counter immediately. This is what sociologists call McDonaldization. However, irrationality might be the better way to live on this planet. Kaufman draws an example through Community Supported Agriculture.
CSA’s are really the antithesis of McDonaldized systems. I don’t know what varieties or how much food I will get each season because it all depends on unpredictable forces (namely, the weather). When I pick up the food it is not cleaned, there may be signs that bugs had a few nibbles before it was picked (not to mention the occasional bug that is still there), and the produce may not even be in recognizable shapes. There are also vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers that I can pick myself each week thereby reversing the McDonaldized trend to replace human efforts with non-human technology.
Even Albert Einstein questioned the reliability of common sense. Many scientists have many times told us that our organs can lie. Thus, science was created to decrease the errors our organs make. Fuentes, in his Huffington Post article, calls for us to be critical and not to be complacent in what we think is the “truth” — because that “truth” is not absolute. It is enfeebled by our culture, our history, our nature and our biology — or as Fuentes says, or “naturenurture”. We always have to question. We always have to think.
But we all have to realize, and accept, that the process of becoming and being human is messy, and it takes a lot of work to try to direct your own path in life. One must be an active learner and a critical thinker, always.