Why Not Graduate?

My apartment
1978

Bill, Carin’s father, in one of his sermons, once said, “We’re all
here for a reason. When we learn our lessons and graduate we move on
to the next level.” I kind of liked that idea. In fact, back in Mt.
Pleasant, after spending that particular weekend with Carin and her
family, I checked into what it would take to get me graduated. What I
found was that I had enough credits already, but I needed two more
courses in my major. Spurred on by Carin’s encouragement, I decided to
go back to school. Theory Of Knowledge didn’t worry me. That class
would be fun. It was the Logic class that scared me. My math
skills were never good, and logic required skills in analytical reasoning.

It all came together in the end, though. At work, I went from
dishwasher to university custodian, (my seniority got me a nightshift
job), I also became a CMU graduate—the icing on the cake. It wasn’t
easy. On my first day in class, my Logic Professor said, “Tutors are
available for anyone who needs help.” I signed up by week’s end.
Fortunately, my tutor had good communication skills, and I got an A in
the class. My grade, amazing as it was, wasn’t as amazing as what I
learned.

I started out the class believing that logic was all about how “I
ought to think if I did it right.” That wasn’t the whole truth of the
matter. It was true that mastering the techniques of formal logic
helped a person think correctly, but there was more to “good
reasoning” than what was contained in the truth or falsity conditions
of a statement. Logic did not help us make correct inferences; it only
told us if the inferences made were correct. No amount of mechanical
rules could make us reason correctly. However, logic did indeed tell
us if the conclusions actually followed from the asserted premises. I
guess that’s why my Professor, on the first day of class, said, “I
can’t teach you how to reason correctly, but, with a little luck, you
can teach yourself.” Anyway, it was a good class, but I was sure glad
when it was over.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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