Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Against Vulgar Professionalism (A Warning)

I understand a need for formality and presence when in certain situations. I would like to distinguish, however, between a "professionalism" that is a result of maturity and a "professionalism" that is a result of inhumanity.

When I would administer PRAXIS tests for my school (sort of a ACT for teachers), I am required to read verbatim to a room full of adults the test instructions written within the associate supervisor manual. The very first paragraph even says, "I am required to read these instructions and I cannot deviate from them." Each time I would read that particular line, I would quickly add, "So don't hate me." This lone addition would in turn result (without fail) in a distinct murmur of laughter from the test takers and a subsequently relaxation of the room's somewhat tense atmosphere.

Once, however, after I administered such a test, I was rebuked (not at all rudely) by a fellow associate who stated that I must avoid such humorous addendums in the future in order to maintain a sense of "professionalism" during test administration. Though my naturally amicable nature inclined me to initially approve of their sentiment, in truth I vehemently disagreed with it. If that is what "professionalism" is, then professionalism is for the birds; or better yet, for the machine, for only a machine can vomit any recitation without inflection or addition.

I am not a machine, nor do I address (in a test administration or any other aspect of real life) other machines. Speaking specifically to the test administration, I am a human addressing other humans who are currently in an environment of immense pressure and tension caused by (1) a test that holds their careers in its hands and (2) being in a room full of strangers. Nothing breaks such awful tension more than a sense of communion with other humans, and laughter is communion.

Thus is what I call vulgar professionalism, and I am defiantly opposed to it because it is a mechanistic adherence to inhumanity and therefore must certainly be a severe damage and detriment to one's soul. If your "professionalism" reveals a mature and advanced mind, capable of an acute awareness to environment or human needs and the communion that can address them, then you are guilty of no transgression. If, however, your "professionalism" reveals the machine, take heed to yourself and amend your ways. You continue at your own peril and the peril of others.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Validity of Self-Identification

I know that the Bible is the inspired word of God because it says so.

This is not circular reasoning. Circular reasoning requires two objects that alternatively serve as the necessary proof for the other ("I know 'X' because of 'Y'; I know 'Y' because of 'X'"). The statement "the Bible is God's word because it says so" cannot be circular because it has only one object, i.e., the Bible. It has nothing to "circulate" to. It stays with itself. It is its own referent; it does not refer to something that alternatively refers back to it for validity.

In addition, calling such a statement "circular reasoning" is fallacious because it reveals a lack of understanding about the nature of the Bible. The Bible is not a code book of maxims and creeds. It is a verbalized revelation from another person; in short, it is a message. A message implies de facto a sender, and it is certainly not uncommon (nor implicit of circulation) for a sender to identify themselves in their message (we would find it odd if they did not). Thus, the real question is not, "How do we know that it is God's word?" The real question is, "Why should we not accept it as God's word?" After all, the sender identifies themselves, just like my friends identify themselves when they send me a letter. Why then should I accept their self-identification but not God's?

-Jon Vowell

Monday, November 23, 2009

Against Emergent Doctrine (A Tidbit)

Faith is not doubt. It is the certainty of that which is, for the moment, empirically unprovable ("the evidence of things not seen"). I cannot (as of yet) empirically prove the existence of God, but I have no doubts about His existence. This certainty is based on (1) His objective revelations and (2) my subjective experiences (with my subjective experiences seen in the light of His objective revelations).

-Jon Vowell