Monday, October 15, 2007

Intellectual Masturbation

Intellectual Masturbation Rubs Me The Wrong Way

Intellectual masturbation is a big problem on campus. Every class I go to, there’s one or two people with no shame. They don’t hesitate doing it in front of everybody who is there trying to learn. The time has come to take a long, hard look at intellectual masturbation and examine how it affects our campus.

Intellectual masturbation can be defined as: 1. The act of satisfying one’s ego through statements intended only to show off one’s intelligence. 2. Acting like a know-it-all jerk that no one likes to listen to and everyone wishes would just shut up.

The most common form of intellectual masturbation comes in class discussion. Students will be exchanging ideas on a topic. Most listen and respond to what others say. It seems that real academic dialogue is taking place. Then, without warning, the intellectual masturbator intrudes with a five-minute rant on something remotely related to the topic. He will bring in outside reading that has little to do with the subject area and certainly didn’t appear anywhere on the course syllabus. The other students will sit in pain and watch as the student continues for what seems like hours. When the act of self-satisfaction is finished, the class is incapacitated, and the professor struggles to connect what was said back to the class discussion. Sometimes the professor succeeds in retaining the class’s focus, but more often than not, the class discussion never reaches the same level it had been before someone decided to turn it into an ego-stroking session.

The truly talented intellectual masturbator doesn’t need a class discussion to satisfy his urges. Even in a large lecture class, he will find a way to show everyone else in the class how smart he is. The most common technique is what I like to call the “Trojan Horse.” It works like this:

Professor: “Does anyone have any questions about this, anything they need cleared up? Yes Mr. Jones, you have a question.”

Student: “I’ve always thought that … [five minute dissertation entitled ‘Look at me, I’m smart.] … would you agree?”

I’m sure we’re all familiar with this technique from freshman year. It appears to be very popular with the more experienced practitioners, as it requires a higher level of skill and carries more risk. Yet at the same time, it seems to be much more pleasurable for the student, most likely because he has a much larger audience. Intellectual masturbation is inherently exhibitionist in nature.

This brings us to the third common type of intellectual masturbation. It requires by far the most hubris, presents the greatest danger and clearly provides the optimum level of pleasure for those who do it. It is a close cousin of the “Trojan Horse” technique but occurs on a much grander scale. I speak of the “Prove to the famous person that they’re wrong and you’re smarter than they are” technique. As its name implies, this technique requires the presence of someone famous, and at Georgetown that means it can only be done during the question and answer session that follows a speech by a major figure.

After the speaker is finished, the student will be one of the first in line at the microphone. When his turn comes, he will indeed ask a question. However, the question will approach 10 minutes in length, include every possible counter-argument to the speaker’s position and usually be quite rude and unoriginal. Yet, when the student is finished asking the question, self-satisfaction flows over him as he basks in the warmth of his own genius.

What makes this form of intellectual masturbation the most painful to witness is not so much the audacity or arrogance of it but its inherent futility. Just what does the student expect to accomplish?

Student: “ … [After eight-minute presentation of every imaginable pro-choice argument] … So how can you possibly be pro-life Mr. Keyes?”

Alan Keyes: “My God, you’re right! The fetus is not a human person! And to think I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life working to take away a woman’s right to choose. I should be ashamed. Thank you, sir, for enlightening me.”

It’s like trying to persuade the Dalai Lama that he should start a violent Tibetan resistance movement. Did students really think that Larry Flynt would stop publishing Hustler because they showed him how pornography objectifies women? Did they expect Charlton Heston to hold a press conference the day after speaking at Georgetown to announce the NRA was now backing handgun control?

I don’t mean to be so judgmental about intellectual masturbation. I respect your right to tell yourself how smart you are. I don’t honestly care if you stand in front of your mirror late at night and contrast Plato’s Republic to the liberalism of J.S. Mill. I just don’t want to watch.

Quietly Making Noise appears regularly in The Hoya.

Friday, October 12, 2007



This statistics is a result of the study conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), based on the average passing in the BOARD EXAMINATIONS OF ALL COURSES of all universities and colleges in the Philippines.

This study is concluded every 10 years. The following is the result of the first study from
1992 to 2001. Five schools come from Luzon, two from the Visayas and three from Mindanao.

1. University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus /Luzon)

2. Silliman University (Dumaguete City / Visayas)

3. Ateneo de Davao University (Davao / Mindanao)

4. Ateneo de Manila University (Manila / Luzon)

5. University of Sto. Tomas (Manila / Luzon)

6. Mindanao State University (Mindanao)

7. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (Manila /Luzon)

8. Saint Louis University (Baguio City / Luzon)

9. University of San Carlos (Cebu City / Visayas)

10. Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro /Mindanao)

Wooh! My school is in the list! The only one from Cagayan de Oro too. I don't know the latest list though but I bet XU would still be in the Top 10. I heard that there was a latest statistics where XU ranked top 7. I wonder if this would be because of the well-known 100% passing rate of board examinees from the XU College of Nursing...

But you know what? These statistics are so unreliable... plus people are so biased... to be honest, I am one of those biased people hehehe. Who would say that "I'm enrolled in the worst school ever" right? We would definitely say that "my school is the best".

But what are the criteria for being the best? And why is the school so damn important in our lives? One thing for sure is that if you graduate from a reputable and respectable university you would propbably have a greater edge over those who graduated from other unknown schools. And this is a fact. One company I know of in Cagayan de Oro hand-picks applicants who came from XU or a better school outside Mindanao and then if there are some vacant slots chooses from the other top performers from other schools. My source is very reliable thank you.

But in the end, if you don't perform well as expected you would still fail and be fired and you will definitely bring shame to your school. This is why the best schools just don't allow any student to graduate unless they perceive that that student is already capable.

So conclusion? Just work your way to the top and stop wasting time by trying to defend yourself that your school is the best! I'm not hehehe... I'm not the one saying nah my school is better than that school because they know more about skills and stuff and this school is only based on theories... but if I were a person so concerned with people comparing my school to theirs just to prove that they are better, then my rebuttal would be: how can you apply skills when you don't know the theories or reason behind it... duh?! hehehe...

Peace to all!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


You try to stop… you swear false vows… you are full of optimism…

But deep inside you, the desire is unquenchable; your yeaning is insatiable…

You know that what you are doing is wrong. You know that it will hurt you, and most of all it will hurt and offend other people around you.

But still deep inside you know that you simply can’t live without it. You tell your self that this is the last or this is only a bit or piece of that and it doesn’t matter… you fool yourself and keep on making excuses to be able to do what you sworn to abstain from…

In the end, your addiction takes over you… you then become guilty and even get depressed from your lack of will power… but days after the horrible cycle of abstaining and breaking loose repeats itself over and over…

And then you ask yourself, why do I have to stop in the first place? Maybe this is who I am and I should just embrace it… what do I care what other people think, that is not my business. My business is to live my life the way I am.

Morality simply means doing things that makes you happy and you do these things because you know that they are right… that in it’s manner makes the act right. If your addiction doesn’t harm the rest of the world why stop right?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On Morality

"There is no way that we can understand other people's feelings... no matter the feeling... if they're in your mind, they are yours. Therefore... you agree with them, that alone makes them right. What is and isn't right varies from person to person. Happiness also varies from person to person." -excerpt from xxxHolic

I agree. We define our own morality. Only we xan know what is the right thing to do in a totally awkward situation. The society may have it's own preformulated rules that they expect you to follow but in the end, you must follow your own heart because what ever makes you happy is something that is right. But of course this is only valid if you don't step on other people's rights or violate them.

Geez... morality sure is problematic...

Do What You Shouldn't Do

"The desire to do what you know you shouldn't is indeed one of the very desires that define humanity." an excerpt from xxxHolic

Why is it that we get a kick out of doing what's wrong? We think that doing what is illegal is an adrenaline rush, it's exciting, it's hip. Maybe it really is.

Doing something wrong and breaking the rules is like being free and you have a sense of control and it is amazing. You feel that you can do absolutely anything.

Maybe this is why so many people do stuff that society thinks is wrong... like adultery for example. What is wrong is really tempting because just the thrill of the chase, the process of doing what is prohibited is exhilerating.

But of course, one must only be prepared for the proper punishment that comes with it. Again, rule of equivalent trade people.