Should I major in creative writing when I attend college/university/higher education?
The question **seems** to suppose an either/or choice (or a person might have that outlook)
Perhaps as a Minor or Double-major…..but probably not standalone degree.
Tim Cox also points out the ways in which this might not be
The other option is YES….and get published like crazy while you are in school and/or get internships. The later seems to solve the challenges with this degree. This also allows you to dip your toe in the water…..and learn what you like and might dislike about the field (or specific types of creative writing).
Your education is your own. Your time outside the classroom can be spent:
1. writing & projects & contests
4. reading about how to be a better writer (books, classes, seminars, etc..)
5. helping others (i.e. writing labs at school)
And in fact, working in writing labs and writing actual pieces that are published in the popular press can potentially make you some money. (i.e. defer the cost of education or give you extra spending money).
My guess is most people in creative writing go on to:
2. writer (publishing or news)
4. teaching (high school or college depending on degrees)
But here is a brainstormed list of possible careers with that degree (link) In addition, you might also check out what people from the university you hope to attend have done with the degree. This can help sketch out in tangible ways what people have actually done with the degree you may potentially seek and invest a decent amount of time & money into.
You obviously want to pick your university well. You want a community of writers and learners–who cherishes learning/creativity, etc… You want a department and institution which supports writing/writers communities and activities.
Also, what is your opportunity cost of doing so? What alternatives are you giving up to major in Creative Writing? As a side note….is there a specific type of creative writing you want to do? (narrative/stories, film, poetry, articles, etc…)
“The material universe is perhaps more like an organism than like a repetitive machine. Whereas an older generation of scientists and philosophers thought the universe was like a watch, many now regard the universe as more like a large organism. It grows and develops, and its first stages can only be properly understood when its completely developed state is perceived.”
“A human embryo does not unexpectedly and accidentally become an adult person, and it can only be properly understood as a potential adult…On the organic view, this trajectory of development, of increasingly integrated complexity, producing new sorts of properties, and eventually the ability to comprehend and conciously shape the future of the universe, is implicit in the universe at the moment of the Big Bang or in whatever gives rise to that primordial explosion.”
“From this point of view, it is a basic mistake of reductive materialism to try to explain everything in terms of its simplest elements–as though a large enough group of such simple elements just had to be mixed up at random for a long time, and would then produce brains, thoughts, and the theory or relativity.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 83-84)
“The universe does not consist of discrete temporal slices, all isolated in their own little bubbles of time. Causal tracks and connections extend back and forth through time, and a present moment of consciousness can contain echoes of the past and premonitions or anticipations of the future. So we might see the universe not as a set of atomistic time-slices accidentally stuck together, but as one interconnected or entangled space-time whole. We do not see what objects are by seeing just one temporal slice of their existence. That would be like trying to understand a person by looking hard at them when they are asleep. We need to see them from beginning to end of their temporal existence and within the whole context in which they exist.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 84)
“It is consistent with modern quantum theory to regard the whole cosmos as a web of interacting energies, of spatially and temporally located powers. Each part is not, like Leibniz’s unfortunate monads isolated and closed in on itself. Each part is essentially open to the totality of the space-time nexus. Each receives stimuli from all the others that surrounds it, integrates those stimuli into a unity of being, and actively responds in accordance with its own specific powers. At the simplest level, for instance that of subatomic wave-particles, both stimuli and responses are more or less algorithmic–they behave in accordance with regular and largely predictable routines, described by basic forces of nature like electro-magmatism, gravity, and nuclear forces. Only in this way can they take form stable atoms upon which more complex unities can come to exist.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 100-101)
“Humans have private perspectives on, feelings for, and thoughts about, phenomena interpreted as expressions or mediations of external objects (including other persons). They express such feelings and thoughts in external ways, like language. But humans know that language or physical gesture may conceal inner thoughts or fail to state them adequately or be interpreted in many ways, some of them quite mistaken, by those who perceive only the observed expression. Thus each thought or feeling is known two ways–as expressed physically and as experienced internally.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 101)
“Even materialists have to admit, however, that according to quantum theory there can be alternative futures, and that we do not know the causal principles that select between them.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 97–this one is a bit out of context)
“Computers are very bad models for human beings, as they lack awareness, evaluation, and purpose, the very qualities that are distinctively personal.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 131)
“Most of us know that conscious experience adds properties–like beauty and pleasure–to the universe that otherwise would not exist.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 134)
“Without the capacity to feel, to evaluate, and to choose future goals, humans would not be morally responsible agents, worthy of respect and compassion, that most of us take them to be.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 156)
“The best hope of human happiness may lie in fulfilling our natures as human beings, as essentially related and interdependent and social agents. We are not machines that accumulate as many units of pleasure as possible, and who see other human machines as competing pleasure-units who are primarily useful to us as providers of our own pleasure.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 157)
“Humans are so bound together as social animals that good humour is infectious, and so is sorrow.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 160)
“Feelings differ enourmously in different people and are not separable from individual awareness, interpretation, and responsive action. We cannot sensibly aim at having feelings as discrete items isolated from the states or activities they are feelings about–that is the utilitarian mistake. Yet without feelings we would be automata, and it would be hard to giva nay value to human awareness or any purpose to human actions. Human life is largely concerned with the kinds of feelings we seek or avoid, with the activities that evoke or sustain them, and with the social relationship that enrich or destroy them.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 164)
“Human animals, supremely among all species on earth, are capable of abstract intellectual understanding and of delight in beauty and in artistic artefacts. They are able to be creative in their thoughts and actions, transforming their environment in new ways. They are able to empathize with the feelings of others, and to cooperate in learning and in action, so that they can share in the experience of others and work jointly with them to devise new cultural projects.”
“The capacities are not discrete and isolated from one another. They are intertwined, so that understanding and appreciation of beauty are creative acts that involve cooperation with others. They suggest an ideal for human personhood that consists, as Aristotle put it, in the unimpeded exercise of distinctively human capacities. To understand and appreciate fully, to act creatively, to be compassionate, and to cooperate with others–these are the virtues of a genuinely human life. Each human being is born into a unique situation and faces problems and possibilities never shared in detailed with anyone else. Never the less, there are goals for human life as such, and in every historically particular situation the mind can be disciplined to love those excellences that are distinctive to human personhood.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 166-167)
“The goal is founded upon the distinctive capacities of human nature, which characterize what is rationally good and desirable for a being with such capacities, and what is bad or diminishing and is to be avoided. This moral ideal is concerned with feelings, but feelings considered as integrated with social and personal activities, with knowledge and understanding, and with rational evaluations of envisaged states and acts…They give human lives a sense of value and a sense of purpose (to realize objective values), which is perhaps the most important and distinctive feature of being human.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 169)
“So far so good (except Decarte did not himself believe the Cartesian myth). But humans are also essentially morally responsible agents, capable of pursuing goodness for its own sake and of shaping both the world and their own characters in light of their moral ideals–or, more often, failing to do so. They have a rich inner life, in which understanding, feeling, evaluation, and intention play a major role, a life and quality of experience which is not open to others to inspect.”
“This inner life is known by introspection, by a form of self-examination which inspects a person’s feelings, beliefs, evaluations, and motives without the use of the senses. Introspection is non-sensory knowledge of one’s own states of mind, and it is an important part of coming to know if and to what extent and in what ways one is pursing a life which is wholly good.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 174-175)
“The ability to known oneself fully and to direct one’s own actions freely to a personally chosen goal in positive cooperation with others is what defines a fully human life. That ability is rarely exercised to any great extent, and it remains for most of us a distant ideal rather than an actual achievement.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 181)
“This is after all philosophy and not chemistry. But we can scarcely escape having some such view, and idealism will always continue to be one of the most intellectually impressive high points among human attempts to achieve real insight into the nature of the complex and mysterious reality of which we humans are part.”
“The point of his discussion has been to emphasize that we all have privileged, though not infallible or complete, access to our own inner lives, our thoughts, memories, feelings, and intentions. This fact gives us very important information about the world–namely, the conscious experiences and intentional actions are real, not reducible to materially and publically observable facts, and morally crucial for the way we live.”
(Keith Ward, More than Matter, p. 182-183)
You can learn more about Keith Ward, the Philosopher here.
Here are 9 of famous Christian poets which come to mind–and two other options for exploration and research:
1) David (Psalms) (link)
2) William Blake (link)
3) John Donne (link)
4) St. Francis Assissi
5) Thomas Merton (link)
6) GK Chesterton (link)
7) Elizabeth Barrett Browning (link)
8] Milton (Paradise Lost)
9) Bronte (?)
10) Various Christian song writers (classics & modern)
11) Another list of various Christian poets (link)
See also the following resources for Christian poets & Poetry:
• Bartleby: Poetry Anthologies and Tens of Thousands of Poems. (link)
• The Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes. (link)
• Wikipedia: Christian poetry (link)
• Poem Hunter has a recommendation engine…..you could search for a specific poet…..and see the other poets they look at, which has a high probability to be speaking to the same themes or to be a Christian poet (although obviously not guaranteed to be). You can access their list of poets here or obviously do a Google search.
Here are are a couple more from Bartleby, but I’m sure there are more:
• W.G. Horder, comp. 1895. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament (link)
• Hymns of the Christian Church. 190914. Vol. 45, Part 2. The Harvard Classics (link)
• Contents. Grierson, Herbert J.C., ed. 1921. Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c. (link)
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I’ve been studying philosophy since I was 14 in high school due to my experience with debate. Here are 18 response one might have to hyper-skepticism:
1)Skepticism is a type of hyper-pefectionism that doesn’t work. (also undermine the value or need for absolute certainty for action). It creates stasis and paralysis. Its good to have goals–but dynamic ones–not rigid ones.
2) Historical verification. Skepticism is a cul de sac of truth and reason. Its intellectual suicide.
3) Practical implications of a world of radical skepticism
4) The biographies of skeptics are interesting test cases for the ideology
5) Some knowledge is better than no knowledge
6) Either/or creates a false perception. It fails to have the nuance to deal with reality. Creating a contiuum of credibility, truth, and reliability is better than out of hand rejection. This implicitly takes aim at the underlying assumptions of skepticism–and its overall framework/worldview.
7) The argument to act as if makes more sense.
8) Hope is better than skepticism
9) Faith is better than skepticism
10) Love is better than skepticism
11) Skepticism kills innovation and creativity. It creates static beings. We are made to grow and learn and seek truth. Not to just tear it down.
12) Skepticism destroys goals, life, and values. Its anti-thetical to anything a person could ever want, need, or desire. Its anti-thetical to virtue ethics and character.
13) Similar types of skepticism in other fields fail (Multi-disciplinary and/or Analogous cases
14) Its self-refuting. Its like cutting of your brain. You’d be dead if people in the past adopted this belief.
15) Science good. Science works. Science better than the alternatives.
16) Abductive knowledge good. Thats specifically about the future. (link to Wikipedia on abductive reasoning)
17) Alternative: to adopt skepticism as a thinking hat or thinking perspective (making reference to De Bonos Thinking Hats). In the same way that Heideggers reflection can’t be a 24/7 activity….neither can skepticism. We need other thinking perspectives to help illuminate reality. This might be a sort of positive post-modernism.
18) Skepticism doesn’t have the tools do everything modernity good–which is historically and experientially proven.
I think the perfectionism & either/or arguments have serious implications and could be developed further. The various virtue arguments (8 to 10), the cup-de sac argument (2 and elsewhere), and the argument for everything valuable about life and life itself (11) are I think quite compelling as well.
In addition you might check out this, which provides criticisms of post-modernism.
This is the result of a response to someone on Quora (it gets better at the end):
Unlimited power doesn’t seem to be a paradox. His core urge, his core being is defined by his essence. The idea of him against himself probably doesn’t make sense in this context.
I don’t see why personifying God is bad. He personified himself in Jesus. Moreover, those are the only terms we have. If you talked to ants about humans….you would need to use terms and frameworks which were familiar and relatable to ants.
Us questioning God through our own human constructed paradoxes…..first betrays the openness necessary to find God and be in relationship (even with friends and family). In addition, it can be an operation in missing the point. Its like the 2 inch Lego guy telling me I can’t make a Lego village or make whatever Lego creation I want.
Also, paradox is not the same thing as not possible. Further, paradox and contraction are part of life….the entire notion of bitter-sweetness is one example.
Also, there is a sense in which without unlimited power of creation…..and God……the universe doesn’t make sense. How did we get such a huge universe? How did rules come into the universe? Why are we alive today? Why are we breathing today? Why do we have people in our lives that love us? The answers to all these questions is beyond human power and infers a God. In fact, I think both in Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as well as a number of other academic scholars it mathematically and logically requires a God. Anything else assumes the universe–and its rules–arrived in the form of a 2012 Oxford English Dictionary as a result of an ink factory explosion. The probability simply goes the other way, in my humble opinion. For instance, For Evidence for the Universe’s Fine Tuning read this short article.
If you would like to read more that I’ve written (from Compassion in Politics) about Fined Tuned Universe click here for those articles.