“Who am I and why am I here?” That is the nutshell version of the first assignment in an online blogging class I am taking from WordPress. Actually I started this blog a couple of years ago but a lot of life and my own lack of confidence got in the way and it went nowhere. I’m now ready to take this on again with a much better sense of focus and idea as to where I’m going.
While questions such as “who am I” can get you involved in lots of metaphysical stuff, I’ll skip that and simply answer the question in terms of my my current self-concept. This is, of course, always subject to change which may be one of the reasons I find the idea of doing a blog attractive. As a sociological social psychologist, I see the creation of the self as dynamic rather than static. We are constantly acting upon our environment which in turn is acting upon us. Because it does not contain the delay inherent in hard copies which must be written, printed, and distributed; blogs allow us to respond in the moment. This is especially true now that many carry the means to do a posting in their pockets or backpacks.
As noted above, I’m a sociologist happily retired from paid labor market participation. One of my goals for this blog is to use the approaches of sociology to talk about a number of things going on in the world. At least in the U.S. we tend to look at the world through the lens of psychology and see people as individual actors not especially influenced by the world in which they exist. While this fits well with standard american propaganda, it is simply not true. For example, I am currently working on a critique of the wildly popular podcast Serial. While I certainly enjoyed listening to it, the show raised many important issues that need to be considered using the sociological approach. For example, in looking for someone who may have been wrongly convicted of murder, why did the producers select an upper middle class person? Was it because of the assumption that such a person would be more interesting to the upper middle class profile of NPR listeners? At any rate, stay tuned and perhaps contribute to our discussion of the show and wider issues of class biases in the media.
As to details I’m currently living in Chicago which I have embraced after an absence of several years. As the name of the blog indicates, I’m older and identify with a punk viewpoint of the world. My experience has been that those occupying positions of “authority” are generally not to be trusted. We have minds that allow us to think for ourselves and we should never surrender that ability to anyone else unless we voluntarily decide to do so. A decision that should be based on a reasoned assessment of the person’s expertise. We often hear of people being criticized for their lack of respect for authority. What we don’t often hear is the obvious fact that the significant problems we currently face are directly caused by the tendency to follow authority.
At any rate, I welcome you to my blog and encourage responses to what you read. I am not bothered by disagreement, rather I see it as a road to possible learning.