Friday, December 03, 2004

A Recent Sociology Paper

Last week, my sociology class was to turn in a paper that answered the question: "If you could change the world, what would you change, how, and why?" Now, I wasn't able to be in class for the discussion because I had a bit of a drive ahead of me (last day of class prior to Thanksgiving Break). Though I don't know for a fact, I can probably make a safe assumption that the other papers contained things such as "I would get rid of racism," or "I would fix public education," or even the good ol' classic "I'd eliminate world hunger."

Well, I didn't choose any of those. Quite simply because that wouldn't make a worth-while impact on the world. No, I'm not racist. No, I don't like the notion that there are starving people in other countries. As for public education... I'm a libertarian, and I'll leave it at that. More on public education at a later date!

I know I'm asking a lot from some of you, but think with me for a moment. If the problem you decide to solve is world hunger, that is the only thing that will be fixed. Your "solution" will not lead to progress in other areas. Not to mention that there is no way for such a thing to come about because where is the food going to come from? Is it just going to appear? And what would be the driving for to ensure the food continued to come? Have the people farm the land? Well, if they would farm the land, they'd have food anyway. This sounds rather
rhetorical to me.

If you decide to eliminate racism, what will that do for the world? Yay, we can finally all sit around and play patty-cake. So what? There would be no additional problems that would be solved. We'd still have gangs, they'd just be racial diversified... And all the liberals said, "Amen." Instead of racial "hate crimes" we'd have social-class hate crimes or something equally ridiculous that would be given a catchy 'buzz word' name.

The solution I proposed was to require people to think. Read on for my paper and solution.


In My World...

In my world, I would require every person to spend 30 minutes doing nothing but thinking at the beginning and at the end of each day. If I could birth the habit of thought into every person’s life it would dramatically change the behavior of those who don’t already spending “thinking time”. Now, the only way for such a rule, if you will, to be enforced would be for me to be God. So, this is an unrealistic expectation because some people simply cannot be helped. Some don’t believe they should or need to change. You cannot help those who do not want to be helped. It is like when you try to pick up an 8 year old, but he or she does not want to use his or her own power to stand upon his or her own feet.

Before I continue on with my idea, let me take you on a short journey. In my Principles of Leadership class, we have learned that effective leaders utilize a certain process that requires them to think. Most leaders (and people in general) find out a situation has come up, they issue their instructions to the subordinates and finally observe the outcome. Effective leaders, however, will then reflect on the entire event. This was introduced to me as the AO|R Model (Action, Observation | Reflection; “|” indicates the point in time where most leaders end the process).

Meanwhile, in my world… If a person would simply spend time thinking for 30 minutes at the beginning of each day, it would eliminate so many problems that we encounter. There is no way to tell how many things would be affected by this habit. Actually, there is no limit, either. The person’s day would be more organized, first off. People would begin to create goals for what they wanted or needed to accomplish that particular day which would lead to more productivity which, in general, leads to happier people.

The second part of my plan would require people to also spend time thinking at the end of each day. During this time, people would evaluate their day. If they had made any poor decisions throughout the course of the day, it would become evident at this time. This would again, help build productivity within people because they would no longer make decisions that either wasted their time, after they had spent time thinking about the outcomes (reflection). After some time, people would begin to thinking about what they truly believed. For example, if a person was racists and he and she encountered a black person, the thinking racist individual would then question why he or she had the thoughts about the black person that he or she had. Or, the racist individual would begin to think about why he or she began to act strange around that black person. Though it may take time for the change to occur, the racist person would eventually drop the belief that his or her race is superior to other races and that people are, more or less, all the same. There are only cultural and social differences.

In conclusion, I know the day will never come where every person spends time thinking at the beginning and end of every day. However, I strongly believe the habit of intentional thinking to be a critical component of living a sociologically mindful and productive life. A good way to measure yourself is to ask, “Is ____ a better place because I was there today?”



Update: And yes, I got an A on this paper.