Sunday, November 18, 2012
The Geology of Sociology (revised)
Geology is not all that different than Psychology, really. Admittedly, Geologists have a little more "science" on their side because experiments with the earth's properties tend to behave in more repeatable, thus, predicable, patterns than the psychological constructs of human personality. One thing common to both Geo and Social Studiers is that they examine subjects in "layers," one, with picks and shovels (if a river canyon isn't handy), and the other, with probing questions. So, in a sense, both dig for evidence... pealing back layers of time one by one... delving deeper into their subjects "history" for answers to today's questions. Perhaps Pearl Buck said it best, "If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday." So let's do that, let's examine yesterday, shall we, how my little tantrum ended up getting pal Boonie "burned at the stake."
You see, this is why Geology is a "science" and Sociology is not. Geologists can explain the past and predict the future based on experiments where outcomes are repeated, while Social "Scientists" can only take "educated guesses." Take "mob mentality," for instance.
If asked, each of you could come up with great examples of unpredicted mob mentality... how a victory, or defeat, in a football game can end up producing the same destructive result... riots, looting, police cars turned over, fires, injuries and even, death. In the "lab," a social scientist might predict that a "victory" would be celebrated peacefully and in good cheer. But those darn "variables," (alcohol) they are sneaky little buggers.
Maybe yesterdays post didn't read to you the way it read in my pea brain. You understand how reading the same text with different voice inflections can spell the difference between seeming agreement or sarcastic disagreement, right? Well, let's just say the voice "inflection" didn't come through. One must be careful when inserting "tongue in cheek," the outcome is often "foot in mouth," or, worse, "head in ass."
If you would be so kind as to take off your scientist's "lab coat," for a minute, and put on a Shrink's "bow tie," you might, as I did, find yesterdays comments instructive and interesting. Now I'm not about to draw your conclusions for you; I'm not a certified Therapist nor do I possess an "armchair" or "pulpit" from which to speak with authority. Still, if you would indulge this quack... take a second look at the comments... and then re-examine your newly drawn conclusions with the benefit of "hindsight," (the new information provided above). Keep the words, "mob mentality" in mind... maybe you'll catch my drift.
Please, don't think I'm being critical of your comments; after all, it was my words that lit the fuse. Besides, this blog would quickly die and fall into the Abyss without the fuel of feedback; it's the only reward this humble and "Adsense-less" blogger gets.
As I look back on what was intended to be a tongue in cheek "Boonie Rant," I think of it as an interesting example of how unintended consequences can spring from group dynamics... sort of a Social Experiment gone awry in a Mad Blogging Scientist's Laboratory. I must say, it reminds me of a novel I read as a kid, "The Ox-Bow incident."
One thing Boonie is not, is a hypocrite. He lives an austere life by choice... no postcards, no fancy rig. All he needs is his dogs, Coffee Girl and Poncho, a roof over his head, and a desiccated wash to hike in. Sometimes I envy the simplicity of it all.
Now, on to some real Geology. Join us on a Chinle Trail hike... out of the canyons for a change, and into wide open sunshine. Chinle Trail is by no means one of our "secrets," it's on the map of trails. That said, we discovered some pretty cool secrets beyond the end of the trail a few years ago... just doing what comes natural, wandering around like lost Israelites, looking for the Promised Land.
Have a great Sunday... get outside for a hike or walk... and thank you for participating in the conversation.
mark and bobbie... wandering the west.