day 19: poor abandoned education
Yesterday’s picture was taken at a school nearby. They kicked me out of their gym hall the day before. Obviously I wandered in there to take pictures.
I graduated from high school about 7 years ago. However, I still sometimes have this dream that I am back in school and that I am called to the black board to solve a maths problem. It is an easy one, but I can’t read the numbers and I am utterly lost. The other kids get impatient with me, start laughing and the teacher says: “Well, at this rate you’re never going to amount to anything!” And I start saying “Hey, I already have a university degree, I don’t even know why I am here … and who are you to judge me?” – “If you can’t solve this simple problem, then your degree probably isn’t worth anything, right?” and so on and so on.
Maybe the dream doesn’t mean anything, but after I have it I always end up questioning whether the problems I seem to be dealing with in real life are really all that difficult to handle. There is a film by the Coen brothers called A Serious Man where the protagonist has all these problems with his job and with his family and his son is being bullied in school. In the end the doctor tells him that he’s seriously ill and there is a tornado coming towards the city on the horizon. What I’m trying to say is: Are we not all making a big fuzz over nothing until we’re facing the real big stuff? Are we dealing with the adult equivalents of silly maths problems that we used to take so seriously before we went to university and discovered that there is always a harder problem out there?
In the end it is all not that important. And this is a good thing to realise for me just before the final deadline push of my MSc dissertation. It’s all just the things we do, because we’re supposed to do things. There is this notion in society that really bugs me: Who won’t work also won’t eat. This notion is what is driving us to worry about education and jobs and simple maths problems as if they were the really important things in life. The real problems are not as easy to deal with as a deadline at school or in your job.
Yesterday in a conversation with my friend Sarah we realised that if life was ideal I would be an artist and she would be a comedian. And we both wouldn’t be staring at the screen worrying about whether our simulated robots move or not. Well, sadly life isn’t ideal, so I best get back to my experiments.
And I best also stop wishing that I’m in 5th grade and my biggest problem is figuring out fractions …