We share good ideas and conversation here.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment
bioemerl  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I think the tech interview process is broken – Medium

Computer science is the study of computers. Schools require general education when you get a degree so that students have knowledge of art and other "higher cultures" crap. That's where communications courses belong, not in CS.

The humanities are the classes you half listen to before giving a bullshit answer to the questions the professors ask that they absolutely gobble up and love. Just throw in there about how meaningful and special it is and how it expanded your worldview. It's not about substance, it's about making them feel good. When your teacher asks you to write about your thoughts on the recent election and how that reflects on democracy you damn well know you are only allowed to write one thing.

    Oh wow, donald trump is evil and the system needs to be fought. Wow, republicans are racist and evil and repressing true democracy. Wow.

What's bad is that I agree with the concept of Trump being shit, but every bone in my body wants to write a big-ass paper on how awesome Trump is. Every instinct of me screams "come on, argue why he isn't that bad". But I don't, because I want to pass the class. There is no room for original thought.

If I were in your class, and as a soon-to-be graduating CS major I would be, I'd be writing big long fake paragraphs about how meaningful and great all these poems were, because I know it's fucking arbitrary and I know it's the best way to get a good grade. It's all about the generation of piles and piles of bullshit.

___

And here's how I think it's done right, how you really get people to think. Mind, these classes aren't really making people think, you are allowing them to express themselves. Some, many, will just not think or put any effort in. That's what failing grades are for.

The professor that I respect the most goes on rants about his thoughts and opinions. He asks us to find something and write "our thoughts" about it. That's it. No poetry analasis, no bullshit. Find something, think deeply about it, and give me your thoughts. He asks students to give a presentation about things and debate their thoughts, with no or little input from himself. We are not given a topic and a lecture, force-fed and opinion that we have to or feel that we have to pander to.

We don't even have points in that class. He looks at what we did and gives us a grade. I absolutely love that system.

We are not given a solid direction or a place to stand from. That's not how you create or inspire thought. Instead, we have a simple order. "Search, Read, Think, Share, Repeat". That's what general education should look like. Not poetry. Not bullshit. Even with all the liberal arts classes, I can assure you that the vast majority of students aren't learning to think, they are learning to bullshit .

To be fair, that was a CS course, but the important thing is that we were learning ABOUT computer science. The things we were to speak about were things that were strictly relevant to computer science. When our teacher talked he talked about situations like dealing with managers who ask for something they don't want, or about how it's bad to ignore security. He speaks from sixty or more years of experiencing bullshit and attempting to impress that knowledge onto people who haven't lived a fraction of that.

Classes that want to make us into thinkers should not lecture us and tell us what and how we ought to be thinking. Instead, they should inspire and create the structure necessary to force people to begin to think, and to think deeply, before they can progress. Bullshit shouldn't get a passing grade, and it gets that grade over and over and over again in the liberal arts classes.

It's because they want bullshit, they don't want real original thought. The philosophy classes aren't about you thinking, it's about you understanding how plato thought. The reading classes aren't about your thoughts on the book, it's about learning the agreed on symbolism in the texts. It's not about what you think, or what you learn, or what you observed, it's about what you should think, what you should learn, what you should learn.

So, yeah, poetry is hollow bullshit. Does it have to be? No. But it is regardless!

If I want to think about the world, I will one day get a paddle boat and go out in a lake where I can close my eyes and just rest and think. If I want to improve the world, or challenge my values, I will speak to those who challenge them and try my hand at improving my local community. I will not sit in a brightly lit room while a teacher lectures me about how much beauty there is in the world, or how ones values should be reconsidered. I will not read a couple of sentences intended to be some deep and great meaning, or read some book written in great prose. I will read sentences of people just expressing their honest thoughts, and I will find within those meaning that is far more substantial and life changing than any of this poetry can ever be.

If I want to know the world, I will do it by observing the world, by debating with real people expressing real opinions. A college course is not such a thing, and no matter how much all these professors pretend to stand for "real honest discussion" that couldn't be further from the truth in the classes of today.