Leap

College is galloping along at a pace that’s slightly terrifying. Like the geek I am, I’m proud to admit that I love my classes – but seriously, stressing out about them and staying awake far too long and eating slightly too unhealthily is really not good for my long term prospects. I’m afraid of mid-term burnout.

It would also be nice to remind myself that if I spent less time worrying about how badly I’m doing, I might actually have time to improve on things. Ugh.

It’s been a particularly cold and wet spell in Austin recently, and I have had to employ the umbrella against annoying pissy rain. The only reason I was carrying it around was because I had to protect our microcontrollers, which are in cardboard boxes. I can’t imagine how demented I look, lugging around a cardboard box – the final resting place of my future grade, no doubt – to class and back all the time.

And then of course there’s my programming partner and myself – the total insanity that we’ve developed over the labs. She breaks out into song, I threaten to punch her, we make horrendous jokes about the hardware, we prop each other up over failed tests. Today as I was talking to the prof, she and a couple friends decided they would make up horribly geeky pick up lines: “Want me to flip your bit?” and “Rising edge and falling edge, baby” were particularly hilarious. I haven’t come up with any myself, but clearly it’s only a matter of time.

Just in case this sounds as though my life revolves around the engineering building – um, it does right now, actually – my religion/psych class is also picking up the pace a little. Although we all seem very polite and nice to each other, I think it’s becoming very clear what the divisions in the class are – between those who like the scientific reasoning, and those who’re far too religious/spiritual themselves to take the science very seriously. I’m probably being unnecessarily enthusiastic at 8 am, but I really do love the discussions. We spoke about whether reducing religious concepts to science was a bad thing, about people’s experiences attending other religions’ services, about the common concepts of religion amongst different cultures, and most excitingly, someone had the same idea that I did about religion and science.

It was something like – religion serves a great many purposes in our lives, including explaining the inexplicable. Of course along the way it developed other characteristics that led to it being retained as an evolutionary advantage (which in itself is a fascinating topic). But the first thing that might have spawned the earliest, most basic pagan responses would’ve been things in nature whose causes weren’t immediately observable. Lightning gods and rain gods would’ve arrived in short order.

Since we now have science, though, does that mean we don’t need religion anymore? The number of angry atheists, as I refer to it, publishing vitriolic books against the stupidity of religion has been kind of alarming. On the other hand, it looks like there’s been a backlash against the scientific trend with a lot of New Age Christian group things springing up – sort of spurn the materialistic excesses type thing. So are we at some kind of delicate balancing act between scientific and religious supremacy?

Edit: “I want to access your ports *eyebrow wiggle*”. The results that sheer classroom boredom can produce.

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