Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Cogito, ergo sum."

I doubt myself often. Is that something that many people hesitate to say? As if to doubt yourself is in some way signs of a flawed character, or lack of confidence. That's not where my second-guessing of myself comes from, an absence of confidence or insecurities, but it serves rather as a safety net. Am I doing the right thing? Am I looking at this situation objectively? Should I invest this much of myself into this? The doubts are potentially endless, and inherently thought provoking, and still, the way I see it, necessary.

In my Org Comm class we talked about ideologies; sets of beliefs and ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations and so forth. We talked about how these ideologies are formed, how they differ across cultures, and even vastly differ within cultures, and then we explored the underlying powers that construct these ideas, ideas that are so common sensical to us, we have trouble seeing the world from outside of them. For example, the example used in class, a "real job." And a "real job" has a number of qualifying stipulations that make it distinct from just any job one can find; must be on salary, related to your major, full-time, etc. etc. Now, it seems common sensical to me to want a "real job" after graduating college, otherwise why you'd waste everybody's time and resources going to college? But my ideology of a "real job" is completely separate from someone that say didn't go to college, or a felon, or someone with a disability. 

The whole ideology talk didn't sit terribly well with me because obviously you can't exactly say one is better than the other, or one is wrong. But my ideology seems so right, I'm married to it and, in being completely honest, I'm incapable of understanding an alternative view and taking it as being equally as legitimate. But why? Why do I feel that way? What social construct gave me this notion that I must go to college and upon graduation I must get a "real job?" At what point in my life did I consent to this hegemonic guidelines by which I'd later plan my life? And why at the age of 22 am I just not realizing that I've done so. 

Like I said, I doubt myself often, and the doubting game is a daunting game. But still, I think that if you're not doubting yourself, maybe you should start. If I'm in a tiff with someone or in some aspect straying from my norm, it feels natural to attach doubt. It's scary--the idea of questioning whether or not I'm doing the right thing and then deciding I'm not, that's terrifying. But, to call on another class I'm taking right now, philosopher Rene Descartes was an avid doubter. In fact, he doubted everything until he finally found something that he couldn't doubt. Descartes realized he couldn't doubt the fact that he was a conscious, thinking being, and thus came about the old adage "I think, therefore I am." Or, in it's original form, "Cogito, ergo sum." I doubt myself because you can never be too sure. But then what?

Descartes' doubting clarified the meaning of his existence for him. Mine has merely clouded mine. Maybe I haven't doubted enough, as I'm still meandering my way through this life according to some hegemonic convictions that were thought about probably hundreds of years ago by some old wealthy, white men--The American Dream perhaps? Is that the foundation of the ideology that I've been sold on? Sell that shit to Troy Davis or little Caylee Anthony, or any of the millions of Americans that subscribed to the idea of the American Dream only to have their dreams killed by America. I doubt they buy it.