The pen is truly mightier than the sword and capable of executing the deadliest blows known to humankind through the immense power of words. For many philosophers throughout the ages, a single ink quill was all that was necessary to pierce the hearts of humanity until the end of time.
Fall semester 2001 at the University of Alaska Anchorage keeps students' noses glued to texts of a variety of different authors. Writers, philosophers and scientists ranging from Freud in psychology to Newton in physics to Pythagoras in algebra continue today to hand down the knowledge of the ages.
Fully embodied knowledge blossoms into an entire garden of understanding for aspiring college students, while only a scruple of knowledge can be extremely dangerous. Half-hearted understanding may temporarily be useful, to pass an exam or to participate in class, but fails to encompass the individual beyond the classroom.
College students frequently coast through a semester receiving a grade in a course that even a trained chimpanzee could likely attain. Managing to meet minimum requirements, the student does not even have to pick up the text book, let alone buy it.
Grades are by no means the sole purpose for taking a course, or they shouldn't be, and the knowledge gained hopefully will be useful later in life. The true test of any course is not the mid-term or the final, but how the knowledge can be applied after the semester.
The greatest danger of not fully understanding reviewed material in a course, is not failing the test, but misinterpreting what the author the philosophy of the ancients is when one falsely interprets an idea explaining inconceivable concepts like that of God, an afterlife and more recently extraterrestrial life. Concepts of this sort many philosophers do not particularly or specifically identify and open the reader up to confusion.
Contrary to what some may think, the fault does not fall on the part of the writer or philosopher when a college student attempts to get by without reading the content for a class or cramming the night before. The student who doesn't read learns nothing. The frantic student cramming the night before a test might retain a miniscule amount of information. The danger lies in limiting the knowledge useful in experiences for come.
Students selectively reading content based on personal interest and using ideas out of context are themselves at fault for poor comprehension of the material. Berkeley says philosophers are in a position of great risk when discussing issues they haven't or cannot conceive. Likewise students who limit their knowledge in college are hindered when life presents a situation where the knowledge left behind could be of great benefit. Unfortunately the student will err like a philosopher, vaguely and poorly describing inconceivable concepts and misinforming the next generation.
Adam P. Mackie is a JPC major and Philosophy minor. The muse for Jedi Mind Tricks can be attributed to philosophical predecessors, late night contemplation and esoteric rants.