Crushes? In Our 20’s?

You would think as we approach 30 the issue of “having a crush on someone” would be moot. After all, that’s only something that happens to children, right? – Only children get totally taken with how someone presents themselves. –

Well, last night I was talking to someone I consider very mature and he was describing how he had a “crush” on this one woman, and we started wondering aloud if we should have disposed of the concept of “having a crush” years ago.

After all, a crush is irrational in the extreme. It is spontaneous, connected only with the hope that someone might continue to excite merely by being themselves, and part of it is predicted on the thrill of newness. Most people don’t have crushes for years; it just happens here and there, and it fades away.

The deep problem with having a “crush” at this age is pretty simple: if passion is the only element that matters in love, then crushes are acceptable. One feels excited about someone, and that drives the attempt to create the relationship and sustain it. And when the excitement goes, the relationship ends and all the sustenance it had looks awfully hollow.

That we still have crushes, if we have them at this age, points to how shallow our conception of love may be. Why can’t we conceive of love as something that happens after a groundwork is laid down (god, I can’t say that without thinking of some dumbass thing I encountered where some Neanderthal said, “yeah, we need a foundation, I’ll pour the sex concrete” Oh yeah, I remember) – I mean, okay, a relationship is built first, leading to passion stemming from there? If that latter conception were how things truly worked, of course, world peace would probably be within our grasp.

Still, it’s worth thinking through whether there is a more mature conception of love that we were supposed to grow into, and whether “crushes” signify that we aren’t growing at all anymore.

Decline & Fall

Someone asked me about the faculty situation in the University the other day, and I gave my conspiracy theory response, which is as follows.

The big problem with universities is that none of them are hiring new faculty. The market for new PhD’s is terrible; the Chronicle of Higher Education consistently has horror stories where very well-credentialed, intelligent people have put 20-40 job applications to schools across the country and can barely get hired at a community college, if they get hired at all.

I surmise that the failure of academic jobs to exist has nothing to do with a lack of funds on the part of the universities, but rather a congruence of interests. There are two major actors involved in creating positions that need to be filled: the administration of a school, and the current faculty there.

The administration of any given school usually has business types in it, people who “know” from business that the way a cost-effective unit is run is that production is maximized and labor hours are kept to a minimum. You would think faculty are up in arms about this, but the same logic which leads one to want more power – and faculty, as we all know, are tyrannical by nature – also leads one to be paranoid about their standing. The safest position a faculty member can be in is that of being necessary to the existence of the University. The fewer in a department, the more indispensible – and there will be, of course, more opportunities for serving on committees, etc. – those faculty members will be. Also, to create a top notch academic department in a given field means a faculty member has to put aside his own ego, and admit someone is better, and try to pay that someone more than he is being paid. So why not eliminate the problem of having bright, thoughtful colleagues from the start, and just have fewer colleagues to begin with?

This congruence of interest is why I think the University, as an institution, is finished. We are expert at churning out mediocre academics that can barely even manage to be trendy nowadays; the most boring blogs I’ve read have been created by academics (my blog is boring, too, so I guess I’m not exempt from this). As always, the question of what needs to happen now, or whether I drew this picture correctly, is for you to consider.

Things to Do:

  • Clean the apartment
  • Arrange a move-out date
  • Arrange taking exams early
  • Talk to Graduate Dean about comprehensive exams

Things I’m doing:

  • Plato’s Laws is currently being read
  • Dissertation proposal
  • piano and choir

Bad Days and Terrible Days

Said several things today that made me look like an insane jackass, unable to keep my marbles together or be civil.

I’m also feeling insanely jealous of several graduate students familiar with material I’m not familiar with.

I refuse to get depressed. I’m just going to be brilliant – that I can do, that I will do.