I'm thinking about Psalm 33. It's a good one. It begins with music and ends with this reminder that princes and horses are not actually running the show. I know. I was surprised as well.
Some days it might feel that way, mind you, but it's not really the way things are. I always want question that kind of logic...ontology again. If Congress reinstates the draft then they are running the show. There is this thing called "power" and some people have more than others in some contexts. How does an ontological theo-philosophical argument slow down Congress or what have you?
The psalmist wants us to remember that there's something beyond our power structures that is just, beatutiful, and true...something praiseworthy.
But that's not this world.
Or is it?
I'm spending too much time with the election coverage...and I'm spending a lot of time (too much?) with my own Ph.D. process. This is the term where I'm finding myself compelled to develop my own scaffolding for academic work. There's are no more classes to take next year. The classes I'm taking this year are very self-directed. And, it is clear to me that self-directed work is what stretches out before me. In my nacent attempts to learn how to do this "self-guided" scholarship, I have discovered that I have absolutely no accurate metric for self-evaluation. More simply put: I never know if I'm right or wrong. I just can't tell.
It's rather unsettling.
I realize that some pedagogies don't assume one must be "right" or "wrong." In lieu of a "provable thesis" one develops a "compelling question" in the humanities. There is little of science here. There's no proof, if you will. There is simply discourse...ideally thoughtful discourse, but discourse no less. The "thesis" has been relegated to the social sciences and hard sciences. One can wrangle with this apparent shift in pedagogy all one wishes, but there it is. In either case, however, I stll have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.
I get my good grades back and I don't know how I managed to get them. All the feedback in the world doesn't help because most feedback doesn't address the fundamental assumptions I'm making about my work. There's no self-critical method. There's nothing there.
I truly cannot tell if I'm doing good work or not.
So in Whom shall I place my trust? In myself? There should be something of that at work. In my teachers? Of course. In God? Well...yeah, but that doesn't seem to alleviate this cognitive confusion.
Trust. Again with trust.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
Praise befits the upright.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to God with the harp of ten strings.
Sing to God a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
God is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in the Lord,
because we trust in God's holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.