Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Social science is the art of naming things everyone already knows.

I wonder what would happen if we added up all the time and money wasted on government-imposed red tape. I'm not talking about wasteful spending; I'm pretty sure no human brain can even wrap around that staggering figure, and I'm not here to talk about politics anyway. I mean red tape for the sake of red tape.
For example, in most college classes I've taken at the beginning of the semester you have to sign a release (because of the FERPA legislation of 1974) that says it's ok, or not ok, for the teacher to return your homework to you in a pile. The idea is that if your homework is returned in a pile other people could see your grade. I guess the idea behind the policy is that if someone sees your homework and you got a bad grade you will be ridiculed, your self-esteem will plummet, and will send you into a downward spiral of low self-esteem and bad grades that can only end in suicide or working as a greeter at Wal Mart. I don't know which is worse.

Anyway, on to the social sciences.

A brief list of things already in the realm of common knowledge that psychology, sociology, and all the fields in between have assigned a name to and taken credit for discovering:

"ADD" = not interested in public education

"ADHD" = a really energetic child that's not interested in public education

"Inferiority Complex" = you suck at something you want to be good at

"Superiority Complex" = you suck at everything and pretend you're good at it

"Dunning-Kruger Effect" = pompous moron

"Avoidant Personality Disorder" = shy

"Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" = perfectionist

"Dissocial Personality Disorder" = jerk

"Dependant Personality Disorder" = momma's boy

"Generalized Anxiety Disorder" = worrier

"Oedipus Complex" = total sicko that needs help

Some questions it might be useful for sociol scientists to tackle: Why do women go in groups to the bathroom? Why do some BYU students sing hymns out loud while walking between classes? Why do big, fat Packers fans come half naked to games with their entire bodies painted at a higher percentage than other teams?

The paradox of social science is that it at once says not to label anyone, that if you label someone they will conform to that label, and then spends most of their time creating the labels.

The problem that I can't get over when I study social sciences is that complex human beings can't be put into convenient boxes and categorized. There is nobody in this world that is simple enough to be labeled "Type A" or "ISTP" or whatever else they use.

And I'm sure there's a name for whatever disorder I have that makes me dislike it.

1 comment:

  1. Whoever wrote this is morally bankrupt.