I guess this week's been fairly stressful for me, with a cystoscopy on Monday and midterms yesterday. Though I can't say I was really stressed about midterms. It'll be pretty clear why by the end of this post.
My paper for American History ended up being about how humanity can't overcome its own self-destructive greed and bloodlust, which seemed to me something that would connect pre-contact Native American culture, European colonisation, and the Revolutionary War. I probably should've included more about Christianity as the philosophy of humility Westerners continually failed to adhere to, but I was kind of checked out while I was writing. My concluding paragraph;
A land formerly inhabited by a more modest population of natives, who espoused a cultural and religious embrace of violence and exploitation of nature, was now the stage for a more numerous and confused people. Professing allegiance to a religion that promoted humility and self sacrifice, capitalistic fervour ran passionately through any boundaries of shame at adopting a lifestyle of flagrant hypocrisy. Conquistadors desiring to make themselves lords of a foreign land, impoverished peasants seeking subsistence from a land unlike those largely depleted in Europe, and ambitious traders seeking to secure merchandise all employed or gave in to modes of conduct that required the shedding of blood and the enslaving of people. No philosophy of peace could prevent, and no philosophy accounting for violence could curtail, the rampant and myriad forms of destruction that would take place. Preoccupation with property and its association with survival prompted more violence. The human need to survive by dominating and possessing was therefore the single greatest motivating factor among all people in the New World.
Hopefully I've inspired some despair.
The teacher assigned reading for us from chapter 7 of one of our text books for next week, which was one of the chapters the midterm assignment asked us to cover. I don't know if anyone'll ever notice or say anything. Then we left class after turning in the midterm because, according to the teacher, there was a big basketball game on that day.
I'm not complaining. It's all cool. This world is illusory and transitory. I did kind of wish the class I'd left early from had been my last class of the day, especially knowing that Mr. Blood, my anthropology teacher, never, ever ends his three hour class early. I ended up filling the time between classes wandering campus taking pictures. It was just around sunset, so it wasn't a bad time for pictures.
It took me a moment to realise the reason it looked like this stump was glowing was that the only break in the canopy of leaves and branches above happened to be sending sunlight directly on that stump.
The midterm for my anthropology class was entirely on scantron, fifty multiple choice questions, which the teacher had fed through the grading machine before the class was over. I got a 94%. Though it was marked as 90%. Correct answers were printed in red beside the ones I got wrong. Two of the five questions I got wrong, for which I'd bubbled "C" and "D" had printed beside them "C" and "D". This mystery was promptly solved when the teacher admitted to the class that he'd gotten the answers wrong himself--the first eight questions were based on some assigned reading from a few weeks earlier for which he had upbraided most of the class for not having read. It's amazing how karma keeps getting this guy.
He told everyone to add 4% to whatever score we had. "Even if we got it right?" asked someone.
"Everyone," he repeated.
So I guess if people got the same wrong answers he did, they're going to be rewarded with an extra four percent.
One of the other three I got wrong was something like, "A scientific attempt to predict based on untested data," and the options were "Hypothesis, Law, Theory," and two other choices I can't remember. I chose "Hypothesis," but the marked correct answer was "Theory." Which contradicted what I'd learned in a few science classes and other places. A guy a few seats in front of me flatly pointed out that the correct answer ought to be "hypothesis" and a chorus of people throughout the class agreed with him.
"No, it's 'theory'," he said. "A hypothesis doesn't predict anything. And your book won't save you," he said as he saw several people reaching into their bags for their books. "Instructors know a lot more than the books. Books are written by writers trying to take your money."
He really said this.
He insisted that he'd gone over "the real" meanings of hypothesis and theory several weeks ago. He asked if anyone remembered. One girl raised her hand. That was good enough for him.
So, no. I wasn't stressed about midterms.
Twitter Sonnet #245
Cold air tailgated under a scorched sky.
A grey rabbit watched a religious lawn.
White flecked lips purse on the too lucid guy.
Odysseus wandered Libya at dawn.
Seventeen big babies choked on old maize.
Pocahontas would have Mel Gibson killed.
Frightened colonists wandered woods for days.
Beavers can wait centuries for wergild.
Sexually disturbed hedgehogs court jail.
Small eyes recede back into a cheese head.
Blanks fill randomly with a new female.
Ronald Reagan made a helm of white bread.
Dust flake whistling's a keen synthetic sound.
Hell's big cigarettes protrude from the ground.
EDIT: I should add that I think it's the teacher's wording of the question that's at fault and not his understanding of hypothesis and theory. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation, indeed not a prediction. The problem here is "untested data," which makes it sound like the "data" isn't necessarily data at all. In which case "predict" might be read to mean something like "explain."