by: lil

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Devac
lil
kleinbl00
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I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those posts of mine that will ruffle some feathers. Let's make one thing clear: I've tried to put aside my own bias, pretty much failed at it but I am leaving it to show where I'm coming from. I'm only interested in the answer. That's it. It's not intended to be personal. Cool? Thanks.

    He came into the program as a multi-dimensional, highly skilled and multi-talented human being. I can't take any credit.

and this thing from IRC on the 20th November 2016:

    22:32 < lilski> I said earlier that I teach computer science students - but I basically teach them how to be human beings

What does it actually mean? Sorry for being peevish about it, but as someone who is focused on hard sciences and getting patronising treatment from most humanities-oriented people around me ever since I can remember, I can't help but resent some of this attitude (don't blame me, blame multiple people who told me verbatim that I must lack a soul to not appreciate some poem or picture :/). I've read a lot of your posts, many of the ones you've posted before I found Hubski and ones posted since then, but I'm at loss about what you actually do in class. What is the thing that your students lack and how does acquiring it make them into 'human beings'? What's about your students that your aim is to make them into those 'multidimensional human beings'? Sorry, but I simply loathe when in my own life the, supposedly, attuned to humanity people just throw me into some easy 'cog-head' category and go forth with their pre-existing assumption. I'm not angry or resentful specifically toward you, lil, but I'm asking because so far you have proven that you will not just dismiss my questions outright with something along the lines of "you will not understand, untermensh".

Aside from that, I agree with Odder. I had only one such interview so far and it was just… baffling. The guy who was interviewing me seemed to be thrown out of the loop when I didn't answer with some cliche line from a tutorial on interviews. Suffices to say that I ended up working in a bookstore as a clerk afterwards.

    I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those posts of mine that will ruffle some feathers.
Not at all. Thank you for writing. In fact, your letter made me immediately realize how I appear to some people.

    He came into the program as a multi-dimensional, highly skilled and multi-talented human being. I can't take any credit. and this thing from IRC on the 20th November 2016:

    22:32 < lilski> I said earlier that I teach computer science students - but I basically teach them how to be human beings

First of all, what does it mean to be a human being, let alone teach someone to be one? I will make more of an effort to describe what I do because my flippant shorthand sounds stupid and arrogant.

When the usual response from people is a sad nod, and "Good idea," I am only reinforcing negative stereotypes -- and like all stereotypes, they can potentially lead to prejudice.

    Sorry for being peevish about it, but as someone who is focused on hard sciences and getting patronising treatment from most humanities-oriented people around me ever since I can remember, I can't help but resent some of this attitude (don't blame me, blame multiple people who told me verbatim that I must lack a soul to not appreciate some poem or picture :/).
and not appreciating some arty thing doesn't make you any less human.

    but I'm at loss about what you actually do in class.
I focus on interpersonal communication skills, particularly listening to others; listening to what they say and don't say; examining our own reactions to stress, conflict, and confusion; understanding that what we see and perceive and interpret might be different from others who are with us; examining how, like it or not, our emotions are the engines of our lives and often objectivity is subjective. In addition, public speaking classes are all about connecting with others not talking at them.

    What is the thing that your students lack
My current students don't particularly lack anything more than any other group. We all struggle with communication and connection.

    and how does acquiring it make them into 'human beings'?
I regret ever using that phrase, but I will say this: the students often tell me that the class asked them to engage in new thoughtful self-reflection, that they have changed the way they relate to others, and that they feel more in control of their lives. That's not being a human being, but it's something.

    What's about your students that your aim is to make them into those 'multidimensional human beings'?
I want them to be happier and more effective. I want their teamwork to be more successful. I want them to understand their unintended contribution to their own problems. I'm grateful to have a chance to work in an area that seems meaningful to me and seems helpful. I hate coming across as arrogant. I imagine I will share this thread with my students. That will be an interesting conversation.

    Sorry, but I simply loathe when in my own life the, supposedly, attuned to humanity people just throw me into some easy 'cog-head' category and go forth with their pre-existing assumption.
Have you challenged their preconceived notions? What did they say? What evidence did they have?

    I'm not angry or resentful specifically toward you, lil, but I'm asking because so far you have proven that you will not just dismiss my questions outright with something along the lines of "you will not understand, untermensh".
I hope I have responded non-dismissively.

Speaking as a twice-optioned screenwriter with an engineering degree, the divide is this:

The mathematically inclined - STEM-heads - know what something is. They function on the quantifiable and defendable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which data and facts and evidence hold the greatest sway.

The romantically inclined - liberal arts majors - know what something should be. They function on the desirable and intuitable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which concensus and persuasion allow us to achieve great things.

An engineer understands that the engines canna take much more of this, captain. The speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute. You can't fit ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. And they also know that all the hope in the world won't change that.

A poet understands that dammit, Scotty, we're counting on you. Laws are meant to be broken. You can be all that and a bag of chips. And they know that the bumblebee flies anyway.

We cannot function as a society without both aspects. We cannot function as humans without both aspects. HOWEVER

- Human Resources departments are never crewed by engineers.

- Boardrooms have few engineers in them.

- Lawyers are rarely engineers.

The tribe is led by liberal arts twits. They'd lead us all into the wasteland without people who understand double-blind testing but they'd still lead us there because your average stem-head generally believes that people should follow the evidence, not the leader.

But we don't.

It's an unfair stereotype to say that sciences majors are incapable of relating to liberal arts majors. However, it's an accurate stereotype to say that sciences majors do not relate to liberal arts majors as well as liberal arts majors relate to themselves, and it's fair to say that STEM-heads benefit from learning to meet the liberal arts majors where they live, if for no other reason than the parties tend to be less awkward.

That said, it's drearily routine for any liberal arts class inflicted on STEM majors to be seen as "humanizing" but any science class inflicted on liberal arts majors to be "degrading." "When am I ever going to use algebra again?" "How is the ideal gas law at all relevant to my future as a corporate raider?" "zeroth law? Can't you nerds even count to three?"

The STEM guys are far more likely to have a job, though.